Wednesday 26 June 2013

Public Resource challenges the Bluebook

Public Resource has published a letter it sent to the Harvard Law School Dean and "select members of the faculty".  The letter points out that Harvard Law is one of the 4 sponsoring institutions of the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. It goes on to say that  "it is clear that the stringent and unbending copyright restrictions surrounding the Bluebook® are a huge brake on innovation for the legal profession. Those who would build new legal tools that incorporate the mechanics of citation are prohibited from doing so by the terms of use and the lack of response to requests for permission by the current corporate owners of the Bluebook®....enforcing a monopoly over a system of citation in the Internet era is immoral and nonsensical." Public Resource bought a copy of the Bluebook, translated it into valid xhtml, put the resulting document on a thumb drive and sent it along with their letter, saying "if you or others choose to publish the enclosed work, we would be delighted."  

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Unpaid internships come under scrutiny

A recent decision favoring the plaintiffs in an unpaid internship lawsuit in federal district court has led to more suits being filed against employers who use unpaid interns. It was decided by Judge William H. Pauley III, federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc., (11 Civ. 6784 (WHP) decided June 11, 2013) that two interns working on the set of the film Black Swan should have been paid, given that the work they accomplished did not meet the six criteria used for determining that an internship may be unpaid, as published in a fact sheet by the U.S. Department of Labor. The judge determined that Fox Searchlight violated the minimum wage law when it failed to pay its interns for their work. The New York Times reported the day after the decision that “ Two former interns filed a lawsuit against Condé Nast on Thursday, saying the company failed to pay them minimum wage at their summer jobs at W Magazine and The New Yorker, and asked that it be approved as a class-action suit.” The ABA Journal reports that the Hearst (publishing) Corp. which has been defending the use of unpaid interns, is supporting the plaintiffs in their request for an interlocutory appeal of a recent trial court ruling in order to obain federal appellate court clarification on the topic.
   Legal commentators at BU,  Business Insider , the Law of Work blog (Canada) and others are  predicting a flurry of lawsuits and saying the days of unpaid internships may be numbered.

"Gov Info on the Web" libguide

Government info librarian Kathy Amen of St. Mary's U. library has moved her helpful "government information on the web subject index" to a libguide. The purpose of the index is to provide starting points for browsing government info subject areas, bringing both broad and detailed subject listings from many libraries together in one index. It aims to provide a single place to find link collections on particular subjects, taking advantage of the varied organizational schemes and terminologies developed by federal depository libraries and other organizations. The Government Printing Office has accepted the Index as a Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Service Partnership, publicizing and supporting the Index.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

ULS adds new database PolicyMap

The University Library System at Pitt has announced that we now have access to PolicyMap, thanks to a state grant. PolicyMap is a fully web-based Geographic Information System that captures data and presents it visually through custom demographic maps, tables, reports and an analysis tool. You can also use the GIS mapping services to incorporate your own data along with that of PolicyMap. Available data include demographics, home sale statistics, health data, mortgage trends, school performance scores, unemployment, crime statistics and city crime rates. The PolicyMap Data Directory has a complete list of the available data.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

United States Code Website Beta from the OLRC

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives has been working to create a new website for the Office and the United States Code. The latest (second) version of the beta website is now available for testing and feedback.
Some key features of the new release are:

  •  Default search and browse is now the most current USC (now called "Online", formerly called "prelim") 
  • Ability to search and browse previous versions of the Code 
  • Internal links between USC sections and chapters 
  • Updates to explanatory material
  •  External links from the United States Code Classification Table to public laws 
  • Miscellaneous usability enhancements derived from first release feedback.
  • Features still under development include  additional enhancements to external links and additional download formats.
     The new website will replace the current website as the primary site after the testing and feedback period is complete. Your comments and questions about the beta are welcome and can be sent to .

Notable Government Documents of 2012 published

The list of 2012's Notable Documents appears in the latest issue of Library Journal and is now available online. This was the result of an effort to raise awareness of noteworthy government information resources issued by state, local, and national governments, and intergovernmental organizations.

Finding or Compiling Federal Legislative Histories Electronially

Recently at a Congressional Information Symposium Federal Reserve Board law librarian Rick McKinney gave a presentation entitled "Finding or Compiling Federal Legislative Histories Electronically." The eight page PDF handout containing more than 240 links, which accompanied the presentation, can be found on the Legislative Source Book of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C. The topics of the Presentation include: -

  •  What Are Federal Legislative Histories and How Are They Used - 
  •  What Kind of Documents Are Included in a Federal Legislative History - 
  •  Some Helpful Resources for Federal Legislative History Research - 
  •  Major Electronic Sources for Compiled Federal Legislative Histories -
  •  Electronic Sources for Customary & Miscellaneous Federal Legislative History Documents - 
  • How Federal Legislative Histories Are Generally Arranged - 
  •  Options in Using Free and Commercial Electronic Legislative Sources - 
  •  Some Bibliographic, Print and Microfiche Sources for Federal Legislative Histories