Tuesday 30 April 2013

DPLA opens

The Digital Public Library of America website has launched, despite the delay of the grand opening festivities due to the Boston Marathon bombings.  MIT Technology Review calls it "he start of a bold project to digitize America’s cultural heritage." Yes, it is still in beta, but already contains about 2.4 million digital objects including books, manuscripts, photographs, recorded sound, and film/video. It also gives access to the application program interface (API) Codex for the site, enabling users to tinker and create new tools for sorting and presenting the library’s materials. The DPLA created an open API "to encourage the independent development of applications, tools, and resources that make use of data contained in the DPLA platform in new and innovative ways, from anywhere, at any time."

Monday 29 April 2013

Law in Graphic Novels

This week's edition of the Current Index to Legal Periodicals tells us that the latest edition of the peer-reviewed legal journal Law Text Culture has been published, focusing on the topic of "Law in Comics and Graphic Novels". Law Text Culture is a trans-continental peer reviewed journal from the University of Wollongong (Australia) that "publishes critical thinking and creative writing across a range of genres - from artwork and fiction to the traditional scholarly essay". Fans of comics and graphic novels will enjoy the articles which include Spider-Man, the question and the meta-zone: exception, objectivism and the comics of Steve Ditko and The Aesithetics of Supervillainy.

Digital Libraries now subdomain on Pew Internet

The Pew Internet homepage has added a subdomain (libraries.pewinternet.org) that aggregates Pew publishing on digital libraries. The site hosts a number of interesting Pew reports on libraries and related information. For example, there is a report on Library Services in the Digital Age and an infographic that shows what services are wanted by the public.
It also includes a blog that recently posted an updated timeline of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life project, which has received a grant to study the role of libraries in users' lives and communities.  

Friday 26 April 2013

Students prefer face-to-face courses for some subjects

Inside Higher Education reports that a study from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University gives interesting insights into student attitudes towards online courses.  The study looked at community college student experiences with both "face to face" and online courses, and how/when they chose the online sections of courses.  Students reported that online courses had lower levels of instructor presence and that they thus needed to “teach themselves” in these courses. Accordingly, most students preferred to take only “easy” academic subjects online; they preferred to take “difficult” or “important” subjects face-to-face. The study concludes that "While it is important to respect and accommodate the flexibility needs of busy students by offering online options, it is clear that the majority of students still prefer to take many types of courses in the face-to-face setting. Accordingly, colleges need to take care to avoid curtailing the availability of face-to-face course sections, particularly in academically challenging or advanced areas of study."

Revised "Federal Websites for and about American Indians" website

Thanks to govdoc librarian Steve Beleu, of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, for creating and updating the excellent "Federal Websites for and about American Indians" website that provides links to all federal websites and webpages containing significant information for native Americans. 

Wednesday 17 April 2013

US dictionary history

A recent  newsletter from Readex has an interesting article  titled "War of the Dictionaries" about the history of the Merriam-Webster dictionary which has been published since 1847.  Apparently Naoh Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language was not well-received, and after he died the Merriam brothers,
a pair of entrepreneurial printers, purchased all remaining copies and the rights to the dictionary. They revised Webster's work, aiming at standardizing US spelling, pronunciation, and definition.  A rival from Cambirdge Ma. published a rival dictionary that preserved British language habits. The rivalry continued for more than a decade before the Merriam-Webster version became the dictionary of choice.  

Friday 12 April 2013

Article: WestlawNext v. Westlaw Classic

A new article in the Legal Reference Services Quarterly by Emily Marcum of the law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC, in Birmingham, Alabama compares the cost of using Westlaw Next with that of using Westlaw Classic (for her law firm). Her methodology included running a variety of searches, both "real-world" and artificially generated, across categories in the databases. Her conclusion is that for her firm, WestlawNext transactional is twice as expensive as Westlaw Classic transactional under the old pricing scheme regardless of whether a real-world experiment is employed or artificial questions are generated. Expert materials are an exception to the rule, however. WestlawNext under simplified pricing is cheaper than Classic for primary law materials, like cases, statutes, and newspapers, as well as expert materials, but more expensive than Classic for verdicts and treatises. She adds that "If a phase-out of Classic Westlaw is indeed planned for some unspecified future date, then it is possible that charging more for a platform that will eventually be the customer's only option is simply another way to raise prices."
The citation: Emily Marcum (2013): The Quest for Client Savings in Legal Research: WestlawNext v. Westlaw Classic, Legal Reference Services Quarterly, 32:1-2, 142-159.
Hat tip: Joe Hodnicki, Law Librarian Blog

Library of Congress invites no-cost digitization proposals

The Library of Congress's preservation blog, The Signal, recently posted an open invitation, essentially seeking collaborators interested in digitizing Library collection materials at no cost to the Library. In order to respond to increasing expectations for collections materials and related items to be made available on the Library's web site, the Library seeks to supplement its existing digitization programs by entering into no-cost contracts for the scanning or digitization of Library materials for the mutual benefit of the contractor and the Library. The Library has issued an ongoing Request for Proposals for third party digitization projects. All digitization projects must comply with Principles for Library of Congress Third-Party Digitization Agreements. For more information contact thirdpartydig@loc.gov.

Monday 8 April 2013

GPO and FDLP to conduct virtual meeting on preservation of government info.

As Barco's many fans know, we are a Federal Depository Library. On April 23-25, 2013, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) will celebrate Preservation Week 2013 by conducting a virtual meeting with the theme, "Partners in Preservation: Government Information for Future Generations." The meeting will convey how GPO and Federal depository libraries are "Keeping America Informed" by preserving our nation's documents of democracy for permanent public access. Through a mix of information updates, focused discussions, and training sessions, the meeting will explore:
* GPO's role in preservation.
* Depository library views on preservation as reflected in FDLP Forecast Study responses.
* Partnerships for preservation.
* Digitization project guidance.
* Preservation of tangible collections.
* Digital registries.
The meeting is free, but registration is required. For those who are unable to attend the live programming, sessions will be recorded and made available for later viewing here.  The complete schedule and agenda is available here

Monday 1 April 2013

South Dakota Rural Attorney Recruitment law signed

The Argus Leader reports that South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a bill recently that would encourage attorneys to practice law in rural South Dakota. The law will provide incentive payments over a five year period to attorneys that practice law in counties with a population of 10,000 or less. Any participating attorney will have to agree to practice law on a full-time basis in the eligible county for five years. Attorneys would have to meet eligibility requirements set by the Unified Judicial System.