Friday 17 July 2009

The databases they are a-changin'

It's the middle of July and the middle of the summer - it's that time of year when all the database companies roll out their changes for the new school year; I receive the news with both happiness and some trepidation. Here are a few that I've been notified about recently:
CCH Tax Network is rolling out IntelliConnect calling it "the revolutionary research platform that will streamline your workflow, improve accuracy and efficiency, and give you unprecedented access to CCH’s world-class content." It's a whole new platform and a whole new interface that is supposed to be very intuitive. No specific date but they say that it will be "in a few weeks". There is lots of information on their website and once it's been released for our use we can set up training sessions.
LexisNexis Academic is making some "significant enhancements to the interface" before the beginning of school. You can read about them on the LN Academic wiki, you can test drive the new interface on the beta site and you can register for free training webinars that will be available after AALL.
Westlaw has been updating the look of their products to reflect the ThomsonReuters color scheme and branding. There may be other changes but they haven't been announced yet. TWEN has made some under-the-hood improvements that should make for a better user experience.
If you would like more info about any of these updates, contact Susanna Leers, eResearch & Technology Services Librarian.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Congratulations Jamie & the Steel City Kings

Barco's own Jamie Keller - the redheaded library student intern who mans the reference desk evenings and weekends - was a member of the Steel City Kings book cart drill team that competed in the Book Cart Drill Championships at the American Library Assn. meeting this week. The emcees were children's authors Mo Willem and Jon Scieszka.
National Public Radio has a story about the competition, complete with video. The Steel City Kings were 8 students from Pitt's School of Information Science, who dressed as Elvis in black and gold and performed an elaborate choreographed routine with bookcarts. You can see their dress rehearsal in Posvar Hall on YouTube.
Gold book cart went to a team from Oak Park Il who dressed as Valkyries, but the Steel City Kings won the Bronze!.

Monday 13 July 2009

PLI publishing for Kindle

The Practicing Law Institute has announced that it is now releasing its legal practice books on the Amazon Kindle store, becoming the first professional legal publisher to make the commitment to the Kindle and Amazon. There are currently 67 PLI titles available on Kindle, covering such areas as business, corporate and securities law, banking and commercial law, intellectual property law, estate and tax planning law, real estate law, insurance law, elder law, and litigation. The iReader Review blog has more information and a link to the the other 4,500 Kindle law books on Amazon.

Digital Natives v "digital immigrants"

July's First Monday has an interesting article titled "The digital melting pot: Bridging the digital native-immigrant divide". The author, a doctoral candidate in the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, argues that while the digital native–digital immigrant metaphor has been useful when having initial conversations, over time it has become increasingly innacurate. She proposes a new metaphor, the digital melting pot, which supports the idea of integrating rather than segregating the natives and the immigrants. She says that "instead of segregating individuals based on their skills or lack thereof, the digital melting pot is a place where all individuals, including those with low levels of competency, experience technology in a way that fosters opportunities without barriers."

Friday 10 July 2009

June DoD report on Afghanistan now available

The Department of Defense has released it's latest Report on Progress toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan (77 page pdf), published in June 2009. The report includes a description of the comprehensive strategy of the United States for security and stability in Afghanistan.
It is the third in a series of reports required by Congress every 180 days through fiscal year 2010 and has been prepared in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, the Attorney General, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the Secretary of Agriculture.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Demise of the blawgosphere?

Law dot com's Legal Blog Watch discusses the possibility that the legal blogosphere has "gone to pot".. due to the rise of lawyers marketing themselves on their blogs and cliquishness in the blawgosphere.
Though Barco 2.0 isn't ready to call it a day yet. :-)

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Pro Se on the air

This week's edition of the Chicago Public Radio show This American Life is about self-representing litigants. It's called "Pro Se" and is described as "It's tempting to act as your own lawyer, to argue your own cause. Who better to defend your position than you? This week, stories of pro se defenses: some brilliant, some disastrous. A man fakes his way into an insane asylum by pretending to be crazy, and then can't argue his way back out. And another man uses vigilante justice to defend his sister's honor, using a strategy he didn't know he had in him."
In Pittsburgh, the show is on WDUQ, 90.5 FM, Saturday at 1:00 pm and Monday at 12:00 am; it also airs on WYEP, 91,3 FM Thursday at 7 pm and Monday at 7 pm.

Monday 6 July 2009

What's (left that's) black and white and read all over?

There's been a lot written about the newspaper business recently; Monday's Silicon Alley Insider has an article about the demise of newspapers entitled The Year the Newspaper Died which presents sobering statistics about what's happened to newspapers in 2009:
105 newspapers have been shuttered.
10,000 newspaper jobs have been lost.
Print ad sales fell 30% in the first quarter of '09.
23 of the top 25 newspapers reported circulation declines between 7% and 20%.
Hmmm, maybe that's why my Sunday NYT home delivery subscription just zoomed up to $7.40 per week. Also why I'm thinking about cancelling.

printable AALL schedule

The 2009 AALL annual conference is fast approaching, and for those who are attending, remember that Tom Boone has created a printable schedule (pdf) as well as ScheduAALL, an online scheduling tool that lets you make up your schedule and share it with your friends. Both are, IMHO, superior to what is offered on the AALL website.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

West CLE tie-in to film Public Enemies

The West Legal Education center is offering a CLE to tie in with the new film "Public Enemies" starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Marion Cotillard as Dillinger’s girlfriend Evelyn ‘Billie’ Frechette. West is offering a re-creation of the 1934 trial of Frechette as a continuing legal education (CLE). Dillinger’s Moll: The Trial of Evelyn ‘Billie’ Frechette will be a live event in St. Paul, Minn. - and online - on July 14, beginning at 7 p.m. Central. The re-enactment will take place in the F. K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium inside St. Paul’s Landmark Center, the actual location of Frechette’s trial. After the live event, the CLE will then be available on-demand, online. They have also pulled together a complete list of criminal law resources relevant to the film.

screenshots of webpages

Here's a cool tip from Digital Inspiration: If you want to get a screenshot of a webpage, open the web page that you want to capture, go to the address bar of the browser and type "" just before the http:// part of the URL.
For instance, if you want a screenshot of the Pitt Law homepage, type "" before the http in theURL, so the new URL will become; hit Enter and in a minute you'll have an editable screenshot image of that page.
You can save the image or add annotations using the Type Tool, freehand brushes, arrows and other tools available in the Aviary editor.

Declassification Policy Forum launched

The Public Interest Declassification Board is an advisory committee established by Congress in order to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities. On Monday, they launched an online forum on their blog , asking the public for comments on how classified national security information policy should be revised in four topical areas: Declassification Policy (June 29 - July 1), a National Declassification Center (July 2 - July 4), Classification Policy (July 5 - July 7), and Technology Challenges and Opportunities (July 8 - July 10). Each topic will be available for comments for three days. At the conclusion of the third day, the comment function on the topic will be turned off and the next topic will begin the following day. After each topic closes, a concluding summary will be posted. Participants may make suggestions or comments, vote on previous postings, and flag topics that are off-topic. The Public Interest Declassification Board members "look forward to receiving thoughtful ideas and innovative suggestions that will further the policy discussion and assist the Board in making recommendations to the National Security Advisor. "
In addition to the online discussion, the Board will also accept input via email (, fax (202-357-5907), and US mail (Public Interest Declassification Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 100, Washington, DC 200408-0001).

Electronic blue book

Just a reminder that the Blue Book is available as an online subscription if anyone is interested in using it electronically. The website is and the cost of a subscription is $25 per year. In addition to the electronic version of the bluebook, your subscription gives you access to "Tips" from the editors (here's a sample tip: “United States” and “U.S.”, (Related Sections: R10.2.2, T.6) “United States” is never abbreviated when the United States is a party in a case name. However, it may be abbreviated as part of another party’s name, like any other word in T.11. In textual sentences, “U.S.” may be used as an adjective, but it should never be used as a noun. For example: United States v. Church of Scientology W. U.S., 973 F.2d 715 (9th Cir. 1992).)
The Bluebook Online also allows online collaboration: you can set up groups with other subscribers who can share and search group bookmarks and annotations. It is simple to allow group members to edit or only view group notes, or to allow some to manage the group.

Wednesday fun: Web Side Story

Thanks to Elmer Masters for the link.