Monday 30 January 2012

Email providers work together to stop phishing

Information Week reports that the big free Email-service providers Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and AOL Inc., along with financial service companies Bank of America and Paypal, are backing a new effort intended to dramatically reduce "phishing" emails which attempt to trick recipients into thinking they come from a legitimate source. To achieve that, the firms have created, a working group of 15 companies that plans to promote a standard set of technologies that they say will lead to more secure email, making email more trustworthy and phishing more difficult.
Besides email providers and financial-service firms, initial participants include social-networking companies such as Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. and messaging-security providers such as Agari Data Inc. DMARC chairman Brett McDowell says it won't cost a lot for companies to start using the standards, but it will require them to identify every server that sends email and ensure that the technologies are in use. The same holds true for third-party firms such as marketing agencies that send email on behalf of a company.

law school lunch theft "epidemic"

Above the Law reports that there has been a rash of student lunch thefts at the UCLA School of Law. The law school's administration sent an email to all the students reminding them that "there is no locking mechanism on the student refrigerator. As such, you always assume the risk of using the student refrigerator". Shortly after this report, another lunch theft email, this time at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, KS, was reported.

Friday 27 January 2012

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries has just published the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, which was developed in partnership with American University's Center for Social Media and Washington College of Law. The Code identifies eight situations where there is consensus about acceptable practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials. Librarians affirm that fair use is appropriate in each of these contexts, providing helpful guidance about the scope of best practice in each. The Code states that “This is a code of best practices in fair use devised specifically by and for the academic and research library community. It enhances the ability of librarians to rely on fair use by documenting the considered views of the library community about best practices in fair use, drawn from the actual practices and experience of the library community itself." Pitt Law professor Mike Madison was a member of the legal advisory board that helped develop the Code.

First US county gets Super wi-fi

Wilmington, North Carolina and New Hanover County have deployed the first "Super Wi-Fi" network in the US. The innovation will let the public have wireless internet access outside in county parks.  According to an article in the Wilmington StarNews Online, a new type of "white spaces" technology allows the wireless service to go through trees and thick foliage outside, something nearly impossible with the type of Wi-Fi service familiar to most. White spaces will help eliminate bandwidth constraint and will allow wireless services to reach rural areas and other places that the standard wireless signal can't access, said Alan Stillwell, deputy chief of the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology. For more information, the Gizmodo Blog has a nice clear explanation of how Super Wi-Fi works

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Wikipedia anti-SOPA protest

Wikipedia has announced that tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18, 2012, it will black out the English language Wikipedia for 24 hours as a protest against proposed legislation in the United States—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate—that Wikipedia says would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.  The blackout will begin at  05:00 UTC (midnight in the Eastern time zone).  Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, says:
"This is an extraordinary action for our community to take - and while we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world." 

Monday 16 January 2012

Guggenheim eBooks

The Guggenheim Museum has digitized a number of out-of-print publications and is offering them free on their website - a treasury of art books. Selections from key museum titles dating back to the founding of the Guggenheim in 1937 are now freely accessible. Over 60 catalogues of Guggenheim shows were scanned in their entirety with the help of the Internet Archive project. Included in the collection are classic titles such as Alexander Calder: A Retrospective Exhibition, or the Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection of Non-Objective Paintings (1937), one of the museum’s first publications. The website also offers the Syllabus as a finding aid, which highlights key themes, topics, and trends found in the Guggenheim archives. The Syllabus also offers suggestions for additional readings as well as links for further exploration. This is a fine example of  how creative digitization by thoughtful educators can make knowledge and learning more widely accessible to the public. 

Friday 13 January 2012

Dewey B Strategic Asks: Is Lexis the Next Acquisition for Bloomberg?

Dewey B Strategic: Is Lexis the Next Acquisition for Bloomberg? is a thought-provoking blog post by law librarian Jean O'Grady about a report that discusses problems with Reed Elsevier's management of  LexisNexis and implies that Bloomberg Law might be in the wings waiting to possibly buy LN or some of the LN content.  

Thursday 12 January 2012

And then again, maybe Google's new search isn't so great?

Slate Magazine has an opinion piece by technology columnist Farhad Najoo that is pretty much all negative about the new Google+ search. The piece is subtitled "Google’s disastrous decision to muck up its search results with stuff from your social network", and begins "Google just broke its search engine.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Google Search + Your World

Google has just launched an update to their search engine called 'Search plus Your World,' intended to incorporate users' social network with Google search. Searches on Google will automatically provide personalized search results based on Google+ friends, sharing, pictures and likes. These personalized matches will appear along your normal search results. For example, if you are searching for images of babies, Google will now personalize your search results and give high preference to baby photos from your Google+ circles

New CALI lesson feature

Just in time for the new semester, CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction) has announced a new lesson feature called CALI Lesson Resume. Many students have requested this feature; until now, when a student left a lesson before completion the score wasn't saved. With this new feature, when a student leaves a CALI lesson, the student can now return to the spot they left off with the scoring details saved. It's automatic: it doesn't matter if the student left the lesson by closing the browser, shutting down the computer, or losing internet connectivity. The only time resume is not available is when the student opts to "finalize" the lesson.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

AALL on the Stop Online Piracy Act

The American Association of Law Libraries Government Relations Program has published an advocacy information statement on SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.  The statement was authored by Barco Law Library Director George Pike, who chairs the AALL Copyright Committee.  From the statement:
"AALL urges members of the House of Representatives to vote “No” on SOPA because:
- SOPA is overly broad. If used as intended, SOPA provides mechanisms for attacking websites that engagein infringing activities. However, the broad language opens too many websites to liability. For example, a library website that streams or posts content that is knowingly or unknowingly protected by copyright -- even if the post is arguably covered by fair use, or is reposted from another site -- could be subject to the sanctions by SOPA. Many websites that are neither rogue nor trying to enable infringement could be sanctioned.
- SOPA threatens free speech and fair use rights. The expansion of content-owner notice and take-down powers could be used to target fair uses and chill willingness of users to fairly utilize copyrighted works.
- SOPA inhibits free expression. SOPA discourages the use of copyrighted or potentially copyrighted works (e.g. orphan works) for any purpose, even legitimate, non-harmful ones. For example, the criminal penalties raise the specter of YouTube videos of individuals “covering” copyrighted songs being subject to criminal sanction even if their use of material is non-harmful and non-commercial."


This lovely video, the Joy of Books, comes to us from Type, a bookstore in Toronto.

hat tip: Pat Roncevich

Thursday 5 January 2012

Duncan School of Law files suit against ABA for non-accreditation

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the Duncan School of Law of Lincoln Memorial University, located in Knoxville TN, has filed suit against the ABA in federal court after learning that the ABA's accrediting arm had denied Duncan's bid for provisional accreditation. Instead of appealing the decision by the ABA, the law school  filed a  complaint on Dec. 22, 2011, in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The school claims that an appeal would be futile because of the “complete and utter disregard” by the Council of the ABA of all the facts presented by the law school. This week the ABA filed an opposing brief with the court this week, detailing why Duncan had not fulfilled the requirements for provisional accreditation.
The school  claims that the ABA colluded with other law schools to restrain competition amongst other schools by denying accreditation for the school.  The Duncan School of Law was featured in a recent New York Times article about how the ABA's accreditation standards contribute to the high cost of a legal education.

LexisNexis Academic free online seminars

LexisNexis is hosting a series of free webinars on the LN Academic database in January and February. There is a webinar specifically addressing legal research on LN Academic offered on three different days:
Thursday, Janaury 26, 2012 2:00p.m.-3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:00p.m.-2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Thursday, March 1, 2012 1:00p.m.-2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
You can read more about the webinars and register for individual webinars on their Online Seminar Registration page.