Friday 30 March 2012

FTC report on best practices for consumer privacy

The Federal Trade Commission, which calls itself  "the nation's chief privacy policy and enforcement agency", has issued a final report setting forth best practices for businesses to protect the privacy of American consumers and give them greater control over the collection and use of their personal data. In the report, "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations For Businesses and Policymakers" (112 page pdf), the FTC also recommends that Congress consider enacting general privacy legislation, data security and breach notification legislation, and "data broker" legislation. The report includes a chronology (page 93) of FTC action on consumer privacy beginning in 1970, and including laws, cases, reports, workshops, and educational publications. 

App that simplifies smartphones

Digital Inspiration reports on an app for Android phones that "turns your smart phone into a simple phone for seniors".  Or for anybody else who doesn't want to have to deal with all the bells and whistles all the time.  The Phonotto app is free and hides all the junk, giving access to just the essential phone functions, with  nice big readable buttons to use. 

Clever idea for pizza lovers

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Japanese Court tells Google to turn off auto-complete

PC Magazine reports that a District Court in Tokyo, Japan has approved a petition seeking to force Google to turn off the auto-complete search feature. The petition against Google was filed by a Japanese man who claims the feature breached his privacy and eventually led to the loss of his job. According to the man, when his name is typed into the Google search engine auto-complete suggests words associated with criminal behavior. And when those suggested searches are clicked, over 10,000 results are shown that disparage or defame him. According to the plaintiff, this negative Google footprint has prevented him from finding employment since his initial firing several years ago. Unfortunately for him, "Google has rejected the order, saying that its U.S. headquarters will not be regulated by Japanese law."

Friday 23 March 2012

Statistical Abstract revived

Good news for Statistical Abstract fans: ProQuest has announced that it will be picking up where the Census Bureau left off: The Statistical Abstract of the United States has been published by the Census Bureau since 1898, but the Census Bureau announced  in March 2011 that it would cease production of the Statistical Abstract after the 2012 edition, prompting widespread concern among librarians, journalists, and researchers about the disappearance of this essential research tool. .  ProQuest will take on publication of the Statistical Abstract beginning with the 2013 edition. The move ensures continuation of this popular guide to a wide array of statistics about the population of the United States. 

Thursday 22 March 2012

Lexis Advance adds graphical Shepard's

Shepard’s citator offers the direct comprehensive prior history and subsequent history of case law, showing good law, including positive treatment from courts, versus what has been overruled or diminished. Now Lexis Advance has announced Shepard’s® Graphical which the history of the citing decisions in an easy-to-browse visual grid or map format. This feature is available on Pitt Law's Lexis Advance accounts. All Shepard’s features are still available, so you can filter by editorial treatment(s), headnotes etc.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

LexisNexis acquires Law 360

LexisNexis has announced the acquisition Law 360, a trusted online legal news service. Law360 publishes breaking news and analysis with a particular focus on high-stakes litigation across more than 30 practice areas. This content is distributed through online daily newsletters that are read by well over 100,000 law firm and business professionals ranging from litigators, corporate counsel and transactional attorneys to law librarians and legal administrators. Founded in 2004, Law360 produces more than 30 daily newsletters covering major practice areas and regulated industries.

Saturday 17 March 2012

More info on FDsys

The GovernmentBookTalk blog has a post with concise information about FDsys- including that "those in the know" know to pronounce it "F D sis". GPO exited the internet yesterday, March 16. The blogpost informs us that FDsys boasts key enhancements to GPO Access that allow users from librarians to scholars, researchers, lawyers and the public to:

  • Easily search across multiple Government publications; 
  • Perform advanced searches against robust metadata about each publication; 
  • Construct complex search queries; 
  • Refine and narrow searches; 
  • Retrieve individual Government documents and publications in seconds directly from each search result; 
  • View more information about a publication and access multiple file formats for each search result; 
  • Access metadata in standard XML formats; 
  • Download content and metadata packaged together as a single ZIP file; 
  • Browse FDsys alphabetically by collection, by Congressional committee, by date, and by Government author; and 
  • Utilize extensive help tools and tutorials.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

citing tweets?

Digital Inspiration has a post titled "The Proper Way to Cite Tweets in Your Paper". The author notes that "tweets, though still limited to 140 characters, regularly inspire news stories in traditional media, researchers cite tweets in their academic papers and authors have written complete books using curated tweets " He goes on to provide two widely used academic citation styles - the APA (American Psychological Assocation) and MLA (Modern Language Association) - for citations to Twitter. Bluebook style is not mentioned.

Monday 12 March 2012

There's an excellent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today called "Digital Magic Preservation for a New Era".  It's by an English professor who talks about the problem of keeping our writings accessible even if they are preserved in formats that are obsolete or becoming obsolete, like floppy disks and CDs.  

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Goodbye GPO Access

News from the Federal Depository Library Program:  On March 16, 2012 (not coincidentally, James Madison's birthday), after 16 years of keeping America informed, GPO Access will shut down for good. URL redirects will be enabled to send users to the FDsys equivalent of GPO Access resources.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Vuitton claims Penn Law IP symposium poster infringes their trademark

An post on the Business Law Post blog has an interesting story. The University of Pennsylvania Law School's Penn Intellectual Property Group is planning a March 20 symposium on Fashion Law. The students hosting the symposium designed a poster that parodies the well-known Louis Vuitton handbag design, with copyright and trademark symbols inserted into the design. This triggered a cease-and-desist letter from Louis Vuitton to the law school's dean. However, Penn's general counsel disagreed in a response that discusses willful infringement and parody.

PA ethics for cloud computing

The Pennsylvania Bar Association's Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility has published an ethics opinion (20 page pdf) on the use of cloud computing by attorneys. It discusses the risks and benefits of using cloud computing for storage of potentially sensitive information, with access both from computers and portable devices such as smart phones. The committee provides a long list of specific precautions and questions to ask in the development of an office’s data storage practices and discusses the risks and precautions necessary in the use of web-based email services. The PA opinion joins a growing body of ethics opinions and reports about the use of cloud computing in law firms, warning that care must be taken in choosing vendors as protective provisions granted to data can vary substantially.

US - Canadian joint law degree program

The University of Houston Law Center and the University of Calgary Faculty of Law have announced a new program, beginning in fall 2012, that will allow students to obtain U.S. and Canadian law degrees in four years. In the International Energy Lawyers Program, law students at the universities of Calgary and the University of Houston Law Center will earn both Canadian and American law degrees in four years, rather than six years if the two degrees were done separately. Students will spend two years at each law school and take courses that will enable them to be admitted to bars in the United States and Canada. The program will focus on on preparing students to practice natural resources, energy and environmental law.

Monday 5 March 2012

PA Code still available in print, but index is online-only

A recent discussion on the law librarian listserv has alerted PA legal researchers that the master index to the print Pennsylvania Code is dead. Yes, that's right, the PA Code itself is still published in print, but without an index. As several librarians have pointed out, the death of the index "makes the print set pretty much unusable". Apparently, one is supposed to use the online index when referring to the print PA Code. One librarian at a multi-office firm says that she investigated this with with Fry Communications, the publisher of the official Code, and learned that Fry was instructed by the PA Legislative Bureau (i.e. the Commonwealth of PA), that the Index would no longer be produced and that subscribers should be told to pitch their current Master Index and Finding Aids contents.