Friday 26 August 2011

Tracking Hurricane Irene

As the east coast of the United States battens down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Irene, you can follow the progress of the hurricane on a Google map app called crisislanding that lets you add layers to a US map and provides links to information. 

Thursday 25 August 2011

Bloomberg buying BNA

The ABA Journal reports that  Bloomberg has announced a deal to acquire BNA (Bureau of National Affairs), the  legal, tax and regulatory research firm for $39.50 per share in a cash offer for a total purchase price of approximately $990 million. The transaction is expected to bevcompleted in 2011.  The acquisition is expected to strengthen Bloomberg’s offerings in the legal information market by complementing the relatively young Bloomberg Law research system with BNA’s trusted legal, tax and regulatory content.  In addition, the combination will enhance Bloomberg’s news coverage and analysis of tax and accounting, labor and employment, health care, intellectual property and telecommunications issues.
The acquisition is also going to significantly expand Bloomberg’s presence in the Washington, D.C. area, where BNA is located,  to provide coverage and analysis of U.S. policy and regulatory issues for its customers.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Statistical Abstract

The Statistical Abstract of the United States isn't dead...yet; though the Census Bureau says that the 2012 edition will be the last, because of budgetary considerations.  For what it's worth, the American Association of Law Librarians, Special Libraries Assocation, and Medical Library Association have sent letters to the House and Senate about this issue. And this weekend, the Washington Post published a lengthy editorial by Robert J. Samuelson titled "Don't kill America's databook" in which he says "Without the Stat Abstract, statistics will become more hidden, and our collective knowledge will suffer."  And yesterday on his New York Times blog Paul Krugman agreed, saying "The Statistical Abstract is a hugely important resource; experts in a particular field may not need it, but it’s invaluable to non-experts in need of basic information."  

Monday 22 August 2011

Speaking of Google...maps

Google Maps has added a new Weather feature; you can now add information about the weather to any Google map you are looking at, according to their blog. Google Maps now displays current temps and conditions around the globe, and will hopefully make travel and activity planning easier. To add the weather "layer" to any map, hover over the widget in the upper right corner of Google Maps and select the weather layer from the list of options. When zoomed out, you’ll see a map with current weather conditions from

A Google a Day

AGoogleADay.comis a Google campaign aimed at improving your ability to retrieve information with a search engine. Each day you answer a reference question posed by Google, and you can time yourself or not for how long it takes you to find the answer.
The Atlantic online magazine mentions AGoogleADay in a recent article titled "Crazy: 90 Percent of People Don't Know How to Use CTRL+F", in which the author bemoans the lack of what he calls "electronic literacy" in the population. He says that the Ctrl+F factoid "blew my mind"; though no librarian would be surprised; keyboard shortcuts are something that you have to discover on your own, for the most part.

Friday 19 August 2011

LLMC Digital recent updates

The Law Library Microform Consortium (LLMC) Digital has announced the most recent additions to their digital collection, available on their website.  They've added 147 titles in the last month. As always, many of the additions are historic primary law, both domestic and foreign. Much of it is pretty obscure,  like the Italian penal code from 1890 and the Barbados Law Reports from 1903. There are also a few treatises; several from the 1800's about Blue Laws and Prohibition, and a sort of early Nolo book called "Wells' Every Man His Own Lawyer, 1860, Being a complete guide in all matters of law and business negotiations, for every state in the union; Containing legal forms".  (note that LLMC is only available on computers in the Barco Law building and the Sennott Square clinics.)

Friday Fun: The Batmobile does the 'Burgh

They've been filming a Batman movie in Pittsburgh for the past couple of weeks, which is fun except for the traffic gridlock when they shut down half the streets in the Golden Triangle. Anyway, here's some amateur footage of the Batmobile trundling around down by Kaufman's and Cherry Way (we think) in the snow, no less. We hope that in the movie it will be zipping along a bit faster than that; and also that Pittsburgh's notorious snow removal (or lack thereof) won't inconvenience the Caped Crusader.
You can also see Anne Hataway's stunt double riding a snazzy cat motorcycle around Liberty Avenue here.

Thursday 18 August 2011

WestlawNext webinars

West has scheduled a series of 6 webinars that offer an introduction to WestlawNext for law faculty and law librarians.  
Weds. Aug. 24, 2011  1 p.m. ET  Faculty and Librarians #1: WestlawNext Introduction: This introductory session will provide you with an overview of WestlawNext.
Weds. Aug. 31  2:30 p.m. ET  Faculty and Librarians #2: Adding WestlawNext into your Curriculum for Students:  Join guest speaker, Tim Kelly, Head of Public Services at Williamette College of Law as he discusses how you can integrate WestlawNext into your curriculum.
Fri. Sept. 9, 1 p.m. ET Faculty and Librarians #3: WestlawNext and KeyCite:  How KeyCite works on WestlawNext including Graphical KeyCite for Cases and Statutes.
Weds. Sept. 14,  1 p.m. ET  Faculty and Librarians #4: Folders and Productivity Tools on WestlawNext
Learn about folders and all you can do with them, as well as other productivity and efficiency tools including Highlighting and Annotations, Copy with Reference and much more.
Tues. Sept. 20, 1 p.m. ET, Faculty and Librarians #5: WestlawNext Cost Effective Tips:  Learn how WestlawNext makes research more cost effective and how you can prepare your students to research on WestlawNext in the most cost effective ways.
Mon. October 3,  3 p.m. ET  Faculty and Librarians #6: Integrating WestlawNext into your TWEN courses
Join guest speaker, Tim Kelly, Head of Public Services at Williamette College of Law as he discusses how you can easily integrate WestlawNext into your TWEN courses.
To register for any of these webinars go to the Faculty Webinar page on Westlaw

Wednesday 17 August 2011

free Supreme Court apps

Prof. Jerry Goldman from Chicago-Kent law school and the Oyez Project has created two great free apps for anyone researching and monitoring what’s happening at the US Supreme Court. They are available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices; you can find them at the App Store and Android Market, just search for them by name.
OyezToday tracks the current business of the U.S. Supreme Court in the form of abstracts in all cases granted review. It shares SCOTUS audio in a searchable format linked to transcripts. It is possible to identify and create clips of segments or turns to share and repurpose. The app also makes written opinions available shortly after release. This means that you needn't besitting at a computer to read the latest decisions. The Oyez Project will transcribe and add opinion announcements from the 2010 Term shortly after the Court releases them to the National Archives in October. The iPad version of this app offers additional features for note-taking and highlighting.
PocketJustice focuses on the Supreme Court's constitutional jurisprudence. The free version provides abstracts, voting data, searchable arguments& transcripts, and opinions in the top 100 most frequently employed cases found in con law casebooks. The FULL version of the app costs $4.99 for iPhone & Android, $8.99 for the HD iPad version (All income supports the Oyez Project.).  It covers the entire corpus of 600+ cases  identified through a survey of major constitutional  law casebooks. Here's a screenshot of the Pocket Justice app for iPad :

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Freedom of Information Act contact information

The Department of Justice has a link to "FOIA Contacts"  on the website that allows you to find FOIA contact information for all the federal agencies. You can also download the entire FOIA contacts list, by agency,  in Excel spreadsheet format here (784 rows; has name, title, address, phone, email, and website information). The FOIA website also has an easy interface that allows you to create data reports by federal agency, year, and type of report.

Same-sex couple Census data

The Charles R. Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law has partnered with the federal Census bureau to present the most detailed information to date on gay and lesbian households.  According to the Williams Institute's Census 2010 website, the Institute will be releasing Census Snapshot: 2010 reports throughout the summer. These Snapshots will provide demographic and geographic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children for all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The site has an interactive map of the United States; when you click on a state, such as Pennsylvania, you pull up a detailed report (2 page pdf) of  same-sex couple data for that state. 

Friday 12 August 2011

Rocket Lawyer attracts Google $$

The ABA Journal reports that Google Ventures  is part of a group that infused $18.5 million into Rocket Lawyer, a website that calls itself the “fastest growing online legal service.”  Founder Charley Moore is quoted as saying that Rocket Lawyer has 70,000 users a day and has doubled revenue for four years straight, to more than $10 million this year.
Rocket Lawyer provides online legal forms, such as  wills, Powers of Attorney, leases and rental agreements, etc. that non-lawyers can fill out and store and share on the internet. For $19.95 a month, consumers can  have their documents reviewed by a real lawyer and  get legal advice at no additional cost.

ABA recommended apps for iPad

Simon Fodden at Slaw reports on a dozen iPad apps for lawyers that were recommended at a session at the recent ABA conference.  Prices range from free to $89.99.  Briefly, here are the apps:
Dropbox, for storing and synching files (free).
GoodReader for reading and annotating most types of documents ($4.99).
Documents to Go for creating and editing various types of documents, including MS Word (9.99).
NoteTakerHD lets you write on your iPad with your finger or a stylus.($4.99).
SignMyPad lets you have someone look at a pdf doc and sign it right on the tablet ($3.99).
MindMeister is the tablet version of this popular mindmapping tool (free)
Atomic Web Browser offers an alternative to Safari on the iPad, with tabbed browsing ($0.99).
Deponent App is a deposition question and exhibit app for lawyers ($9.99).
idocumentREVIEW lets you tag, annotate and redact docs for discovery ($29.99).
iJuror lets you make notes about jurors as a trial progresses ($9.99).
TrialPad is a useful and powerful trial presentation app ($89.99).
AppAdvice keeps you informed about what's new in iPadd app releases ($1.99).