Wednesday 29 June 2011


News from the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction, aka CALI:. Starting this school year, CALI lessons will have a very new look. The educational content remains the same, but the new-look versions include a number of new features  including  iPad and iPhone compatibility, auto scoresave, and easy copy & paste.
You can  register for an upcoming live webcast about the new CALI lesson on July 12, 3PM Eastern, 2PM Central. The webcast will cover what's changing in CALI Lessons, the expected time line for implementation, and provide time for answering questions. Faculty can preview of the new viewer on each lesson description page. Click the lesson title - not the play button - from the listings, and then click on the link that says "Try the new lesson viewer (alpha)".

Tuesday 28 June 2011

LexisAdvance & WestlawNext, two views

Two interesting discussions of the two big new legal research products have been published online and provide a lot of food for thought for law librarians and legal researchers.  Ron Wheeler, from Univ. of San Francisco School of  Law & Director of the law library has a paper on SSRN titled "Does Westlaw Next Really Change Everything: the Implications of WestlawNext on Legal Research".  And Dan Baker of the University of Houston O'Quinn Law Library has published Part 1 and Part 2 of his First Thoughts on Lexis Advance for Law Schools on the library's blog.  

Tuesday 14 June 2011

EBSCO, H.W. Wilson merge

Publishers and database vendors EBSCO and H.W. Wilson have announced that the two companies have merged as Ipswich, MA-based EBSCO acquiring the staff and product lines of H.W. Wilson Co. According to the announcement,   the “vast majority of Wilson databases will continue to be maintained, and there are many planned enhancements. Some Wilson databases will be merged together with closely related EBSCO databases to create more robust versions.”

Chart of forthcoming changes and enhancements due to merger provided by EBSCO.

ABA moves to improve law school employment data accuracy

The National Law Journal reports that the ABA's section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved changes to the annual law school questionnaire that require more detailed information on the employment status and salaries of law school graduates. Law schools will be required to report in much greater detail on the types of jobs in which their graduates have found employment.  They will also have to provide information on graduates who are unemployed or whose employment status is unknown. 

Project will digitize older Technical Reports

The Technical Report Archive & Image Library (TRAIL) is an initiative led by the University of Arizona in collaboration with the Center for Research Libraries  to identify, digitize, archive, and provide access to federal technical reports issued before 1975. These technical reports communicate research progress in technology and science and deliver information for technical development to industry and research institutions contributing to the continued growth of science and technology. While availability to more recent (1994–current) technical report literature has greatly improved with Internet access, legacy technical report documents remain elusive, and this initiative aims to close that gap. Some of the report series digitized include divisions of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; U.S. National Bureau of Standards, the U.S. Bureau of Mines and more.

Thursday 9 June 2011

NTIS Technical Reports

The June 2011 NTIS Technical Reports Newsletter (from the US Dept. of Commerce National Technical Information Service) is now available online. This  issue has been designated as a Special SLA Edition to correspond with NTIS’ participation at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Annual Conference, and the issue highlights the topic The Virtual World. It features enhanced graphics and design, and includes selected information from the NTIS Subject Categories:

• Communication (45)
• Computers, Control & Information Theory (62)
• Library & Information Sciences (88)

If you are attending this year’s SLA Conference, the NTIS will be previewing the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) Repository Beta Version 2.0.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Libguides for (ProQuest) Congressional databases

The editorial team at ProQuest, the company that recently bought the Congressional databases from Lexis, has created a collection of useful bibliographies that provide links to documents in the Congressional databases on current topics. The bibliographies are on the following topics; when you click on the link, click on the blue tabs at the top of the page that say "Committee Prints and CRS Reports", "Hearings", and/or "Congressional Record" for live links into the Barco databases. You need to be on campus or accessing via the Pitt remote server to use these.

Al Qaeda
Egyptian Revolution
Gas Prices
Haitian Earthquake (updated)
Health Care Reform
Immigration and Naturalization
Libyan Unrest
Natural Disasters
North Korea (updated)
Nuclear Crisis in Japan
Osama bin Laden
Same Sex Marriage (updated)
U.S. Natural Disasters

Monday 6 June 2011

Newspaper Map

The Newspaper Map website is a visual map where you can identify newspapers from all over the world, translatable to and from many languages with one click. In many cases you will also find links to the newspapers sites on social media like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. You can search for specific cities or newspapers, filter by language, or look for historical newspapers that are available online.

Friday 3 June 2011

A Mullet view of law school?

The Chronicle of Higher Education this afternoon has a brief article titled "Overcoming a "Mullet" View of Faculty". The author defines a "mullet" view : a university president told him that when new faculty attended their first faculty meeting, the "serious" ones sat in front, with the malcontents and disengaged at the back.  Hence the mullet: professional in front, party behind. The author said professors tend to view the way students choose classroom seats in the same way: A’s in the front, C’s in the back.  Is this true in law schools too? 

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Electronic course packs

The Wired Campus blog reports on a couple of University of Chicago graduate students who have launched an online version of coursepacks called Sibylus "the syllabus, reimagined". The students realized that the photocopied materials they were buying from the bookstore in coursepacks are available online to students via the databases licensed by the university; or even on free websites.The students—who are both studying business and law—started a pilot program this spring in several classes at Chicago’s business school . The online coursepacks aren't free, but they are cheaper than the photocopied versions sold  by the bookstore. 

Public Libraries

The New York Review of Books blog has a post titled "A Country Without Libraries".  It is a pretty wonderful essay on the value of public libraries, and the disheartening news of how many public libraries are being closed or having their hours curtailed.
Here's some of the essay:
Over the years I thoroughly explored many libraries, big and small, discovering numerous writers and individual books I never knew existed, a number of them completely unknown, forgotten, and still very much worth reading. No class I attended at the university could ever match that. Even libraries in overseas army bases and in small, impoverished factory towns in New England had their treasures, like long-out of print works of avant-garde literature and hard-boiled detective stories of near-genius. Wherever I found a library, I immediately felt at home."
The main branch of the Scranton public library, where this blogger spent many happy hours.