Monday 29 November 2010

Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective database

In case you've missed it, we're happy to announce that the problems we've been having with the Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective database have been solved and it is now up and running smoothly. This retrospective database, from H.W. Wilson, indexes over 750 legal periodicals published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand (you can see the full list of journals, including the dates available, here). Annual surveys of the laws of a jurisdiction, annual surveys of the federal courts, yearbooks, annual institutes, and annual reviews of the work in a given field or on a given topic will also be covered (according to the Wilson blurb).

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Law Library wanted in Harlem

Black Star News reports that a community activist in Harlem proposed the development of a Charitable Memorial Law Library  at a recent forum at the Harlem Branch Library of the NY Public Library system at 9 W. 124th St. The library would give free access to legal resources to community residents.  Cornelus Ricks, the community activist spearheading the proposal, said that "The Harlem community needs to build a law Library as a memorial to our great African Americans ancestors who fought for justice for all Americans.”

Monday 22 November 2010

App for citizens to complain to city government

Technology Today has an interesting article today about a startup called CitySourced that has created an app (for smart phones)  to help cities get information about citizen complaints in a helpful way.  The app lets people send pictures of problems like potholes, downed tree limbs, or graffit to city hall complete with a georgraphical tag to pinpoint the location, a tag category like "graffiti", and a note.  The information is fed into the city's back-office workflow management system—servers that manage work orders for various departments.  Because of the way it works the right people in city government get the information quickly and can respond quickly. CitySourced says the app could save cities a lot of money.

Reimagining the University Press

The Journal of Electronic Publishing's Fall 2010 issue is dedicated to the topic "Reimagining the University Press".  The Editor's note, written by Phil Pochoda who is the director of the University of Michigan Press, says that his hope in announcing the subject of  this issue that it would "elicit guidance for this radical overhaul of scholarly publishing—and, in particular, would provide useful predictions of how or even whether the presses will play a role in a fundamentally reconfigured and mutating publishing ecosystem—from many of the individuals whom I have found to be the most informed and prescient on these complex issues." He invited submission of articles in which the authors would "take nothing for granted about current organization, goals, processes, venues, business models, disciplinary publishing, personnel, of the presses, etc. but to rethink from scratch what scholarly communication in the fully digital era might look like; how it might be organized within and among universities; how scholarly texts and materials might be best recruited, organized, reviewed, edited, produced, marketed, disseminated and funded. There cannot be only one ‘correct’ solution to any and all of these questions, but any proposed transformation will certainly impinge on (or obliterate) all of them (and more). I am most curious to see what ideas people can come up with when unshackled from all existing relationships and arrangement.”

Friday 19 November 2010

Hein Legislative Histories webinar archived

Yesterday's excellent Legislative History webinar given by Marcie Baranich of HeinOnline is now archived and available online to view at your convenience. Some of the topics that are covered in the webinar include:
  • Where you should start your research in HeinOnline when looking for a legislative history
  • What is Nancy Johnson's Sources of Compiled Legislative History Database and why should you use it?
  • Browsing by popular name or public law number
  • Linking to Nancy Johnson's database entry from the title listing to view additional resources related to the public law
  • Viewing the cumulative contents for a legislative history
  • Searching across a specific legislative history
  • Searching across a specific document within a legislative history
  • Cross library searching within the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library
  • Faceted searching and it's integration into the HeinOnline libraries.
The HeinOnline Federal Legislative History Library is a great resource for researching legislative histories and the webinar gives you lots of excellent advice on how to use this resource best.

3 Geeks ask Thomson Reuters what's up

The 3 Geeks Law Blog (specifically Greg Lambert), hearing of the latest shakeup of the Library Relations team at Thomson Reuters Legal, took the initiative to find out what's going on over there.  He got a reply from Chris Cartrett, VP of Sales & Account Mgmt., large and medium law firms.  Mr. Cartrett told Greg he could post the complete reply on the 3 Geeks blog, so we can read all about it here. Mr. Cartrett says, "This week’s changes aligned our resources across the company to give us greater coverage to more firms and more librarians. Specifically, we have increased our dedicated coverage to branch offices six-fold. Our librarians have consistently requested that we assist them with more in-house training, e-learning, on-demand virtual support options, and greater support of branch offices. The moves we have taken this week help us achieve these goals.... Obviously, these are difficult decisions, but we do feel that these changes allow us the best opportunity to service you better."

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Kentucky Bar Assn. proposes regulation of lawyers' use of social media

According to an article in the Louisville Courier, the Kentucky bar association is proposing a regulation to limit lawyers' use of social media websites like Facebook for communications that are legal in nature.  Under the proposed regulations, the bar's Advertising Commission would regulate posting on such social media sites, and lawyers would have to pay a $75 filing fee.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

HeinOnline news

You may have noticed that HeinOnline has recently updated their home page so that it has a slick professional look.  Instead of clicking on the green "Subscribers Click Here to Enter" link on the old home page, you can now click on the "Log in to HeinOnline" link in the righthand menu; since our access is through IP address you won't require a login if you are on campus.  Or bookmark the page link to go directly to our subscriptions.
Hein is also offering a free webinar in Legislative Histories in HeinOnline on Thursday Nov. 18, at 10 am and 2 pm.  You can read more about the webinar and register online on the HeinOnline Blog.

Monday 15 November 2010

National Federation of the Blind files discrimination complaint against Penn State

The Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus blog reports that the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, requesting an investigation of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) for violating the civil rights of blind students and faculty.  According to an NFB press release, the complaint was filed because a variety of computer- and technology-based services and Web sites at Penn State are inaccessible to blind students and faculty and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public state universities to offer equal access to their programs and services. The NFB cites accessibility problems that  include Penn State’s course-management software, library catalogue, and departmental Web sites. Even the Web site for its Office of Disability Services is not fully accessible to the blind, said the federation. The official complaint is available on the NFB website (7 page Word document).

Brooklyn Law School library photoshoot causes consternation

The ABA Journal online reports that a recent photoshoot at the Brooklyn Law School Library by clothingmaker Diesel has resulted in law school officials being "shocked and mortified" at the results. Last week Diesel posted the photos on its website according to the New York Post. Underwear-clad models are lying on top of computer stations, perched on top of book shelves full of  Reporters, and standing suggestively in the law library stacks. Interim law school dean Michael Gerber sent an e-mail to students after the photos were posted, saying "We are as shocked and mortified as you must be by these photographs," the e-mail said. "When the school gave its permission to do the shoot, the school was assured that the photos would be in good taste. They are not." Law school officials understood Diesel models would be wearing the company’s jeans, rather than what is worn under them. According to the ABA report, "One female student expressed disgust at a photo of two panty-wearing women climbing over law library computers toward an open-mouthed man. 'It's gross,' she told the New York Post. 'I work on those computers every day!'"

Alaska Senate election and misspelling

Prof. Richard Hasen of Loyola Law School Los Angeles has an interesting article in Slate in which he analyzes the Alaska Senate election lawsuit filed by Republican Joe Miller.  Mr. Miller is trailing write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski by more than 10,000 votes. The lawsuit is based on the fact that not everyone who wrote in for Ms. Murkowski spelled her name right, and Miller has sued to block the rules being used to count the misspelled ballots.  Alaska election officials have adopted the looser standard of "voter intent" to allow for misspellings. The complaint filed by Mr. Miller is available online (14 page pdf).

Friday 12 November 2010

Obama administration plans to step up online privacy oversight

The Wall Street Journal reports that The Obama administration is preparing a stepped-up approach to policing Internet privacy that calls for new laws and the creation of a new position to oversee the effort. The strategy is expected to be unveiled in an upcoming report from the U.S. Commerce Department. In a related move, the White House has created a special task force that is expected to help transform the Commerce Department recommendations into policy.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Dirksen Center introduces the Congressional Timeline

The Dirksen Congressional Center has announced the introduction of a new website called the Congressional Timeline.  The timeline gives a history of the US congress beginning with the 73rd (1933-35), and features session dates, partisan composition, the presidential administration, a list of congressional leaders, and notable legislation passed. This first version only addresses legislative output, not non-legislative events such as the impeachment of President Clinton or internal congressional processes or congressional politics. The Dirksen Center plans to leave room for expansion to include such elements as a timeline of notable, non-congressional events and selections from their historical collections.
To see how it works, go to the site and select the 88th Congress from the drop-down menu on the right.  Click the "expand" button under 1963 to see general information about the 88th Congress. To experience the multimedia potential for the site, click the "collapse" button for 1963 and then the "expand" button for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at July 2, 1964. Look at the rotating cube! You will see additional content documents, photos, and a video of the presidential signing ceremony.
You can also contribute to the timeline using the wiki component: click on "wiki" on the rotating cube.

Monday 1 November 2010

Supreme Court agrees to Hear Case on Universities' Rights to Faculty Inventions

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that  U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving Stanford University and Roche Holding AG to consider reinforcing the patent rights of research universities that rely on federal funds.  The justices today said they will hear Stanford’s bid to revive its lawsuit against a Roche unit over patents covering ways to test how well AIDS treatments are working.  The case will clarify the workings of a 1980 law that allocates patent rights among the government, investors and institutions ions that receive federal money. Universities contend that a federal appeals court decision (583 F.3d 832 ) favoring Roche casts doubt on patents stemming from hundreds of billions of dollars in research.

US Copyright Office: Comments on Federal Copyright Protection for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

On Wednesday (Nov. 3) The US Copyright Office is publishing a Federal Register notice requesting written comments from all interested parties on the desirability and means of bringing sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, under federal jurisdiction. Unlike sound recordings created on or after February 15, 1972, which are protected by federal copyright law, these earlier sound recordings currently are protected under a patchwork of state statutory and common laws from their date of creation until 2067. The Office seeks these comments to assist it in conducting a study on pre-1972 sound recordings at the direction of Congress. Specifically, the Office seeks comments on the likely effect of federal protection upon preservation of and public access to pre-1972 sound recordings and the effect upon the economic interests of rights holders. The Office also seeks comments on how the incorporation of pre-1972 sound recordings into federal law might best be achieved. The notice of inquiry is now available here. The deadline for comments will be December 20, and reply comments will be due 30 days later.