Tuesday 29 May 2012

Women's Equality around the world

The Law Library of Congress has prepared a resource called "Constitutional Provisions on Women's Equality" (9 page pdf) that provides links to the constitutions of foreign jurisdictions with language stating women's equality and/or states' anti-discrimination policies.

Chrome edges out Internet Explorer

Web analytics firm StatCounter reports that for the first time the Google Chrome browser has edged past Internet Explorer in browser usage. In the same report, it looks like Firefox usage has stayed fairly constant.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Ruling in Georgia State copyright infringement case

Judge Orinda Evans of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has handed down her ruling (350 page pdf) in the case of Cambridge University Press v. Becker. The case is a closely-watched lawsuit in which a group of academic publishers sued Georgia State University over its use of copyrighted material in electronic reserves. The ruling is being hailed as something of a victory for Georgia State, as the ruling cleared most of the copyright claims against the university, although Businessweek reports that Georgia State was held liable for five of the 99 claims. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the publisher-plaintiffs in the case are disappointed with much of the ruling.  

Summer reading...

If it's May, it must be time to catch up on non-law reading for pleasure.  The Christian Science Monitor has an especially interesting list of 15 new novels recommended for summer reading. The plots range from a story about a duck-billed playpus in Adelaide, Australia (Albert of Adelaide), to a book offering an updated version of "Age of Innocence" set in a Jewish suburb of London (The Innocents).  If you prefer non-fiction, they also provide a list of 21 "smart" nonfiction books that are being published just in time for summer reading.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

LLSDC provides major update to the online section of the Legislative Source Book

The Law Librarians' Society of Washington D.C., Inc. (LLSDC) has announced a major update to its 21 year old publication entitled, "Internet and Online Sources of U.S. Legislative and Regulatory Information" part of LLSDC's extensive and highly regarded Legislative Source Book. The ten page publication briefly describes and then sets out in a comparison table more than 60 Internet and online sources for U.S. federal and state legislative and regulatory information. It describes both subscription sources and non-subscription source, so that readers can see what kind of legislative and regulatory information is or is not available from each provider, and frequently the dates of coverage and the file name.

ProQuest announces individual access to databases

ProQuest has announced a new service called Udini that is geared towards "the individual researcher".  According to the press release, Udini is geared towards knowledge workers without access to research libraries, providing  individuals with access to "premium" ProQuest content like peer-reviewed and trade journals, dissertations, newswires, and more. It includes content from publishers like Springer, the Economist, Cambridge University Press, and 3800 others. It is easy to sign up for a Udini account, and you get 5 articles for free to keep forever.  After that you can preview articles and decide if you want to pay to get the entire article added to your Udini library.
It certainly marks a new approach to selling proprietary content, and it will be interesting to watch.
Hat tip: Law Librarian Blog

Graphic: gay rights in the US, state by state

The UK Guardian has an interesting "data visualization" on their website that illustrates gay rights in the United States, state by state. The categories in which states are compared include gay marriage, gay adoption, hospital visitation and medical decision-making, and various anti-discrimination areas of law. The states are grouped by region.
Hat tip: Pat Roncevich

Tuesday 8 May 2012

National Archives catches inside thief

The Washington Post reports that a sharp-eyed collector of radio ephemera has helped the National Archives bring a thief to justice. The collector was shopping on eBay for additions to his collection when he came upon an item that piqued his interest: the master copy of a broadcast radio interview with baseball legend Babe Ruth as he hunted for quail and pheasants on a crisp morning in 1937. A close look, however, made him realize that the item had been stolen from the National Archives. Working with federal authorities, he helped them track down the seller- who turned out to be a longtime Archives official who has admitted to stealing 955 items from the Archives – including original recordings of the 1948 World Series and a rare recording of the 1937 Hindenburg disaster.

Monday 7 May 2012

NYC public schools forbid Facebook friending for teachers

The New York Times reports that the New York City Dept. of Education has issued guidelines governing social media interactions between teachers and students. Following numerous inappropriate relationships between students and teachers that began on social networking sites, the rules prohibit teachers from communicating with students using their 'personal' Facebook or Twitter accounts, and requires parental consent before students can participate in social networking for educational purposes. The rules also state that teachers have no expectation of privacy online, and that principals and other officials will inspect teachers' profiles.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

LOC on born digital collections

The Library of Congress's Digital Preservation blog today has a really interesting post about the Rhizome ArtBase online archive of digital art. This is the beginning of a new series that the LOC is trying out that will focus on interesting and valuable "born digital" collections. The series will look at particular collections and include conversations with archivists, curators, librarians and others who work to collect, preserve, and provide access to "our born digital cultural record". Today's article features an interview with the digital conservator of Rhizome ArtBase, who talks about the sort of work that is in the collection including Jellotime.com (2008) and the Endangered GIF Preserve (2012-ongoing) which collects animated GIFs that have been marked for deletion from Wikipedia.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Digital library for all

Technology Review has a terrific article feature titled "The Library of Utopia". The article discusses the utopian ideal of making all knowledge available to everyone in a public library of all books ever published. In particular, the article looks at two projects with these ambitions: the Google Book project and Robert Darnton's Digital Public Library project. The author discusses the problems that have arisen with each, and the prospects for the future.

Dropbox price compared with other online storage

Amit Agarwal's Digital Inspiration blog has a useful post in which he compares the cost of "cloud" storage in the top online storage services. The services he looks at are Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box, and SugarSync. He points out that the pricing strategy of Google (for Google Drive) and Microsoft (for SkyDrive)has pressured Dropbox to offer smaller and less expensive plans.