Wednesday 17 February 2010

International Amateur Scanning League

Carl Malamud at Public announced that the inaugural meeting of the International Amateur Scanning League took place Feb. 11 at the Sunlight Foundation. The League is is an experiment in volunteer-based crowd-sourced digitization to help government and other institutions make their archives more widely available. The first project involves the National Archives & Records Administration which has over 1,500 DVDs that are works of the government and can be freely copied using a DVD duplicator. NARA is allowing the installation of a DVD duplicator for use of Scanning League members, who will systematically copy those 1,500 DVDs and send them to Public.Resource.Org, where they can be uploaded to the Internet Archive and YouTube. Malamud says "What makes this grassroots digitization effort so remarkable is that it has the full support of the government. Indeed, David Ferriero, the U.S. Archivist, joined me in the initial meeting where we taught volunteers how to rip DVDs!"

hat tip: law librarian blog

The Law Librarian on blogtalkradio this week

This Friday, Feb. 19 at 3:00 Eastern time The Law Librarian at BlogTalk Radio show will discuss WestlawNext and other hot topics in the world of law libraries. You can listen to the broadcast at , and you can also join the show's chat room with questions or comments. If you miss the show, podcasts of previous shows are available for free on iTunes.

Homeland Security Newsletter

The latest edition of the Homeland Security Digital Library Quarterly Newsletter for Winter 2010 is now available online. The newsletter includes information on the featured topic of Mass Evacuation (including General Documents & Resources, Plans & Guides, Reports & Studies, and Websites), information about setting up email alerts from the HSDL, and links to the HDSL's extensive collection of Homeland Security Theses. You can also download for free the US National Counterterrorism Center's daily planner 2010 Calendar (160 page pdf), which "marks dates according to the Gregorian and Islamic calendars, and contains significant dates in terrorism history as well as dates that terrorists may believe are important if planning attacks to commemorate particular events."

DOJ announces new Intellectual Property Task Force

US Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the formation of a new Task Force on Intellectual Property. The Task Force will be chaired by Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler and includes Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, and representatives from the Criminal Division, Civil Division, Antitrust Division, Office of Legal Policy, Office of Justice Programs, Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and the FBI. According to the press release, the Task Force is part of a Department-wide initiative to confront the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property (IP) crimes.

Guides to Pennsylvania Law

The law librarians at Duquesne University and the Allegheny County Law Library have made two new guides to PA legal resources available on the Center for Legal Information website. The Bibliography of Pennsylvania Law: Secondary Sources (a 17 page pdf), prepared by Joel Fishman, compiles encyclopedias, indexes and treatises available for PA legal research alphabetically by topic. The PA Secondary Sources Databases on Westlaw & LexisNexis (10 page pdf), compiled by Dittakavi Rao and Tsegaye Beru, lists primary and secondary source databases on Westlaw & LexisNexis, and includes descriptions of the resources available. The list includes PA Forms, Briefs, Dockets, Court Rules etc., that are available in each database.

Monday 15 February 2010

More info on WestlawNext

The buzz about "WestlawNext" continues to build. This morning the Academic Law Library SIS got an email from West's Librarian Relations giving more details about the WestlawNext rollout to Law Schools:

"In a previous note, I said that we would begin showing WestlawNext to law schools in a phased rollout of trial passwords, beginning with librarians and faculty this spring, and that we were making plans for launching WestlawNext to law students, with possible introduction as early as the Fall 2010 semester. It appears that it was understood by some that this meant that WestlawNext would be in all law schools by the fall of this year. To be clear, we are still determining timing for our rollout to law schools, and will work closely with law schools and the legal profession overall with the goal of helping them make better potential lawyers as we have always done."

We have tentatively scheduled a limited rollout and training for Pitt Law librarians and legal research & writing faculty for March 2, 2010; this is just before our spring break. More information will be provided as it is received.

Saturday 13 February 2010

Full Screen Weather maps

Just in time for the next snowfall, the Weather Underground has introduced a terrific new service called Full Screen Weather that mashes up Google Maps with weather data for maps with up-to-the-minute weather info. To use the site, go to and enter your ZIP code. The full screen weather map displays temperatures as measured from stations across Weather Underground's extensive reporting areas, and you can also switch to Precipitation and Cloud views (you can even play back cloud or precipitation movement over time). In the bottom-left of the window you get an overview of current conditions and a four-day forecast, with links to more extensive forecasts on Weather Underground.
hat tip: Lifehacker

Friday 12 February 2010

Free past bar exam questions and answers

The LegallyNoted Blog has a post with links to free bar exam questions and answers from a number of states, including New York and Pennsylvania.
hat tip: CALI

Using social media to get around Pittsburgh's snowy streets

Everyone around the 'burgh knows we've gotten upwards of 2 feet of snow since last weekend, and that the snow plows haven't done the greatest job of keeping streets clear. To help drivers navigate around the snowy streets some guys at CMU have set up a website called How's My Street that lets anyone report on road conditions and snow removal in Pittsburgh. It is easy to use and helps spread the word about which streets are passable or not. All you have to do is click on your street on the map of Pittsburgh, click, and fill in a report; when you are done your report is sent to Twitter so all the @howsmystreet followers receive notification.

Friday 5 February 2010

The Top Super Bowl lawsuits.

Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday (not to mention Friday Fun), Bitter Lawyer has put together a nice list of the "Top Six Super Bowl-Related Lawsuits."

hat tip: Legal Blog Watch

LexisNexis Announces Lexis for Microsoft Office

We've been reading about a new Lexis product unveiled at the Legal Tech conference in New York earlier this week. Now Lexis has sent out an official announcement announcement that explains more fully what the product is. Here's the information Lexis has provided:

"In a nutshell, Lexis for MS Office allows users to seamlessly access resources from LexisNexis, the open Web, or local files while reviewing a Word document or an Outlook email message. There is a search box that delivers one-click access to all of the aforementioned sources, with results displayed in a window next to the active document. Users can also highlight any material in an active Word document or Outlook message to find related material. The product also automatically indexes material within an active Word document or Outlook email via hyperlinks.

Currently, the product requires users to have Microsoft Office 2007 (or when it is released, MS Office 2010). We are working with Microsoft to develop a solution that accommodates Mac users.

Lexis for MS Office is scheduled to be released into the commercial market this spring, and into law schools by the fall (emphasis added). Pilot tests in law schools will begin shortly to ensure a smooth fall launch. There is no information as yet about when these will begin.

You may be wondering how Lexis for MS Office ties in with New Lexis. New Lexis is the interim name the company has given to an ongoing program of product development. Lexis for MS Office is the first innovation of the broader New Lexis initiative. In the coming eighteen months, we will introduce other innovations, including the first product built upon our new technology platform. I will keep you posted on any new information that I receive regarding New Lexis. For your planning purposes, I can confidently say that the that you know will be with us in law schools at least through the remainder of 2010, so any major transitions are still quite a ways down the road. "

Tuesday 2 February 2010

WestlawNext, Lexis, Bloomberg Law article

An article in the ABA Journal online has an exclusive look inside the "new" WestlawNext, as well as upcoming changes in Lexis and a look at Bloomberg Law. If you do legal research you ought to check it out! WestlawNext is going to be demonstrated for law librarians and legal research faculty at PittLaw before spring break; they plan to have it ready for students for the next academic year. It is very different from the Westlaw we are currently using.

Jonathan Zittrain to speak in the Moot Courtroom

The Sara Fine Institute at the Pitt School of Information Science is sponsoring a talk by Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain on Thursday February 18, 2010 at 3:00 the Teplitz Moot Courtroom. The talk is entitled "Minds for Sale"; description:
"Cloud computing is not just for computing anymore: you can now find as much mindshare as you can afford out in the cloud, too. A new range of projects is making the application of human brainpower as purchasable and fungible as additional server rackspace. What are some of the issues arising as armies of thinkers are recruited by the thousands and millions? A fascinating (and non-scare-mongering) view is offered of a future in which nearly any mental act can be bought and sold."