Wednesday 27 November 2013

Google Scholar amps up features

Google Scholar Blog has announced the launch of Google Scholar Library, a feature that allows a user to "save articles right from the search page, organize them by topic, and use the power of Scholar's full-text search to quickly find just the one you want... with a single click, you can import all the articles in your profile as well as all the articles they cite.". You're able to use "labels" to organize the material you've saved to your library. And Google Scholar's database includes U.S. case law, legal journal articles, and patents, as well as scholarly articles from many other disciplines. You can also save library access links for up to five of your most-used libraries.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Project Management Software

Law Library Tech Talk, a pretty regular online show brought to you by several geekish law profs & librarians, discussed and recommended  some online project management software products yesterday.  These are, in alphabetical order:

  1. Asana: "Teamwork without email."
  2. Azendoo "We make it easier for people to do their job, to work better, together."
  3. Trello "Organize anything, together." 
  4. Wrike "Project Management Software that makes your life easier!"
All have free trial options, as well as various levels of pricing.  

Friday 22 November 2013

Scheduled GPO website maintenance

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) will be performing scheduled maintenance on its Web services this weekend, and many GPO Web services will be unavailable.
Start Time: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 7:00 a.m. EDT * End Time: Sunday, November 24, 2013, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Approximate Duration: 36 hours
 During the maintenance period,, FDLP Community, Digitization Projects Registry, Browse Topics, and Ben's Guide will experience downtime. The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and the Federal Depository Library Directory will not be affected. The GPO says:  "Scheduled maintenance is a necessary and vital aspect of Web services. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation during this time."

Wednesday 20 November 2013

GPO assembles publications about JFK

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was one of the most historic—and horrific— events of the 20th century. In commemoration of this important milestone in our Nation's history, the U.S. Government Printing Office has assembled a number of Official Federal publications that help us reflect on the legacy left by “JFK” in his 1,000 days in office.  These include publications containing the text of his speeches as a Senator, the story of the Peace Corps, and publications that tell about US involvement in the Cold War.  

Monday 18 November 2013

The truth abt legal research vendors, irreverently

This 10 minute video succinctly tells the story of electronic legal research in thrall to big vendors.

hat tip: Joe Hodnicki

Friday 15 November 2013

The Google Books verdict came down yesterday. Google won.

Wow. The use of the full text of tens of millions of books for its online search function is a transformative use and thus Google's mass digitization of those books without authorization from copyright holders constitutes fair use, Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Nov. 14. The story is all over the news and the full 30-page decision is available in pdf format online. The current citation for the case is Authors Guild, Inc. v. Google Inc., S.D.N.Y., No. 1:05-cv-08136-DC, 1:05-cv-08136, 05-cv-8136, 11/14/13.
PW reports that "After years of fair use legal wrangling, the case wasn’t even close. Chin found Google easily prevailed on three of the four fair use factors, and lost slightly on one."
Libraries are pleased with the decision; the ALA said that "This ruling furthers the purpose of copyright by recognizing that Google’s Book search is a transformative fair use that advances research and learning.”

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Considerations before weeding print in favor of digital

Government Documents librarian James Jacobs has posted a reminder on the govdocs website that all libraries should bear in mind as we are pressured to weed our print collections.  He says please take these four things into account:
 1. Do you actually have access to a digital copy? Note, for example, that some documents in the HathiTrust are fully available only to HathiTrust members.
 2. Are the digital copies you expect to rely on complete and accurate? Many are not. See the article in D-Lib: "The Digital-Surrogate Seal ofApproval: a Consumer-oriented Standard." by James A. Jacobs and James R. Jacobs. D-Lib Magazine, 2013, 19(3/4).
 3. Do the digital copies you intend to rely on match the needs of your users? Not all digital copies are created or delivered equally. For example, Have they been OCR'd? Is the OCR text searchable? Can you copy the OCR text? Are numbers in tables preserved in the OCR text? Was the original a large-format or did it contain images, color, fold-outs, maps, etc., and are those as legible and as easy to use as the original? Do your users expect to use digital books in a different way from paper (textual analysis? convert to ebooks? read on tablets? use text-to-voice? etc.) and do the digital copies you intend to rely on meet the needs of your users?
 4. Finally, providing digital copies for enhancing access and use is a good thing, but please do not assume that it is necessarily a good idea to discard paper copies once digital copies are available. Print copies were made to be used in print (size, layout, accessibility, visual context, etc.). Digital copies of those may or may not adequately preserve that same usability and accessibility and few digitization projects take the time to remake the paper into a fully functional digital object designed to be consumed digitally. The preservation of these valuable paper copies will continue to be important unless and until many questions can be adequately addressed ( Discarding paper prematurely, without ensuring the long-term preservation of these historic documents would be contrary to the spirit of the FDLP and would not serve either your constituents or the nation.

Monday 11 November 2013

Transition to

The Library of Congress has announced that on Nov. 19 the free legislative info website will redirect to as transitions into its permanent role as the official site for federal legislative information from the U.S. Congress and related agencies. The site, which launched in beta form last fall and features platform mobility, comprehensive information retrieval and user-friendly presentation, is replacing the nearly 20-year-old

Friday 8 November 2013

Redesigned RegulationRoom website launched

RegulationRoom - the website operated by the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative (CeRI) and hosted by the Legal Information Institute (LII) - has just launched a completely redesigned version of their website They have also opened a new discussion about consumer debt collection practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is considering new rules for the debt collection industry, and needs feedback on its questions and ideas. CFPB believes debt collection is an important issue for consumers and are taking the first steps to gather information to determine what rules would be appropriate to protect consumers who are subject to debt collection. They would like input from anyone who:

  • had an experience with debt collection (good or bad) 
  • counsels consumers with overdue debts
  • has a business where you do your own account collection or 
  • works in the debt collection industry. 

Thursday 7 November 2013

Practical Law Co. on the future of US-EU Safe Harbor for Data

The US-EU Safe Harbor framework is an important cross-border data transfer mechanism that enables certified organizations to transfer personal data from the EU to the US in compliance with European data protection laws. Recently, however, the Safe Harbor's future has been thrown into doubt. Following widespread concern about the US government's covert surveillance programs, European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding announced in July 2013 a plan to review the Safe Harbor and publish the results before the end of 2013. To learn more about the US-EU Safe Harbor and recent developments affecting its future viability, see the Practical Law Company's assessment on  Privacy & Data Security: The Future of the US-EU Safe Harbor for Data Transfers.

New ULS database: OnePetro

OnePetro is an online library of technical literature for the oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) industry. It contains more than 145,000 documents produced by 18 publishing partners, including the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). It may be useful for our faculty and students who are interested in the law of Marcellus Shale development.
hat tip: Judy Brink, Engineering Library

Wednesday 6 November 2013

New free e-resource: Global Health and Human Rights Database

Lawyers Collective and the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington DC have launched the Global Health and Human Rights Database . The Database is a fully searchable online database of more than 1000 judgments, constitutions and international instruments on the intersection between health and human rights. The Database is the first attempt to comprehensively make available health and human rights law from both common and civil law jurisdictions, and features case law and other legal documents from more than 80 countries and in 25 languages. It also provides 500 plain-language summaries and 200 original translations of case law previously unavailable in English. The Database has been created in collaboration with more than 100 partners from civil society, academia, and legal practice worldwide. An official public launch of the Database was held on 24 October 2013, at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

hat tip: Lyonette Louis-Jacques

Portico e-journal service reaches historic milestone: More than 25 million articles preserved

Portico has announced that it is preserving 25 million journal articles—and counting—through its E-Journal Preservation Service. The articles represent content from more than 287,000 volumes and more than one million journal issues. This is a significant milestone for Portico and the library and publisher community that supports digital preservation. "It is quite remarkable to see the growth in the Portico archive over the last eight years," commented Marilyn Geller, collection management librarian of Lesley University, an early Portico participant. "When it first started, the Portico system was an untested concept. But in the ensuing years, the system has proven successful and the organization has demonstrated that they can be trusted when unforeseen circumstances happen. We couldn't be more pleased with Portico's growth." Read the complete news  release online.