Wednesday 26 February 2014

Law 360 now in Lexis Advance

Lexis Advance updates last week include the addition of Law 360 to our law school accounts. Law360® is a current-awareness tool providing recent breaking news in over 30 practice areas. According to their publicity, "It is the only news source that covers the entire spectrum of practice areas every single business day". The Lexis website provides instructions for setting up Law 360 email alerts using your Lexis Advance account.

PacerPro provides easier access to PACER dockets

A free service, PacerPro helps you find and manage Federal Court cases and documents. However, you need to have a PACER account to use it.  If you find the PACER interface complicated, difficult to use, confusing... you will be a fan of PacerPro, which offers all these features that PACER lacks:

  • Simultaneous searches. (Search across one or more district courts in real time.) 
  • Aggregated results. (Say goodbye to wading through multiple web pages to see complete results. )
  • One-click download. (Download the entire docket with a single click.) 
  • Freebies. (Previously downloaded documents are free). 
  • Automatic PDF labeling. (PacerPro saves you time by sensibly labeling your documents. )
  • Bookmarking. (Once you’ve found a case on PacerPro, you’ll never need to search for it again.) 
  • One-click docket update. 
  • Advanced docket search tools. (Locate the right record with robust search options, including boolean and proximity searching.)

You will need to provide your email address and PACER account information, and then you are ready to go. Note that you will still be charged PACER fees for the documents you download, via your PACER account. 

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Telephone Interpreting Program in the US Courts

The Telephone Interpreting Program (TIP) provides remote interpretation for court proceedings where certified or highly qualified court interpreters are not reasonably available locally. The Third Branch News on the website of the United States Courts has an interesting article about the program, noting that From 2001-2013, fifty-six U.S. district courts in 102 locations used TIP for approximately 42,000 events, saving an estimated $14 million for the Judiciary in travel and contract costs. Since 2009, the average number of events per year has been approximately 3,900, for an estimated yearly savings of over $1.5 million. The story gives the history of the program and you can listen to an audio clip and watch a video about telephone interpreting in the federal courts.

Monday 24 February 2014

HeinOnline and Fastcase

Caselaw from Fastcase is now integrated into our HeinOnline content.   Which means that Hein now provides federal and state case law powered by Fastcase to HeinOnline subscribers via inline hyperlinks, along with providing the option to retrieve case law by citation. Fastcase is a legal research resource that is competing with the big legal databases by providing legal content with more flexible subscription terms and pricing. A number of Bar associations provide Fastcase to their members because it is a useful service for smaller and solo law firms.
In addition, HeinOnline announced today that future plans include a "Fastcase Premium" option which will have additional Fastcase and case law features, including searching and ScholarCheck enhancements, integrated.  Furthermore, Hein is in the process of working with Fastcase to integrate both databases to create a seamless transition between the two to "create the best possible research experience". 

Sunday 23 February 2014

Interlibrary eBook lending

There's an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled "Library Consortium Tests Interlibrary Loans of e-Books".  As the title suggests, it's about the problems that libraries have with lending eBooks via Interlibrary loan, something that isn't currently allowed because of technical and licensing restrictions.  But a pilot project called Occam’s Reader will test software custom-built to make it both easy and secure for libraries to share e-book files while, they hope, keeping publishers happy. The software was developed by Texas Tech University and the University of Hawaii- Manoa, and is being tested by a consortium of 33 academic libraries called the Greater Western Library Alliance. Springer publishing is allowing their ebooks to be involved in the test.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Yale Law Library online exhibit: 350 Years of Rebellious Lawyering

In conjunction with the 20th Annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference at the Yale Law School, the Law Library's Rare Book Collection has a new exhibit, "350 Years of Rebellious Lawyering." The exhibit showcases nine historic examples of public interest lawyering, ranging in time from William Leach's The Bribe-Takers of Jury-Men Partiall, Dishonest, and Ignorant Discovered and Abolished (London, 1652) to Mr. Natural in Bailed Out, an underground comic published by Boston's Legal Defense Group in 1971. Also are on display is Clarence Darrow's 1920 defense of Communist labor organizers, a notorious 1854 fugitive slave trial, and Thomas Pearce's The Poor Man's Lawyer (1755). The exhibit was curated by rare book librarian Mike Widener and is available on the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.

Friday 21 February 2014

Gale's Making of Modern Law

The Barco Law Library has trial access to six databases from Gale's Making of Modern Law collection.  The trial access is available for students, faculty and staff of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law through April 25.  Access is via IP range, which means you need to be in the Barco Law Building to use these database trials.  The databases are:

Making of Modern Law: Foreign, Comparative, and International Law, c. 1600-1926
For a description of the content of each database, click on the link è click the Proceed button è click the “Help” link located in the center of the black logo bar at the top of the page è click the link to “Product Description”.  

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Statistical DataSets and Ready Reference

Our subscription and the links to Statistical Datasets have been updated to reflect that the database is now owned by a company called Data-Planet.  It is available campus-wide via IP address. 
You may recall that Statistical Datasets, prreviously owned by Lexis and then ProQuest, is a very complex database with a sophisticated interface.  Data-Planet has done a nice job of providing a set of libguides to help navigate.
Another helpful thing that Data-Planet has done is to create a separate database for us to use called Statistical Ready Reference, also available campus-wide. They have created a series of datasets (191 page pdf)  that may be frequently used by reference librarians with accompanying charts and graphs for quick access. They also provide libguides for Statistical Ready Reference. 

Lexis Advance updated this week

Wecome news for law school users: LexisNexis has "rolled out" a major update to Lexis Advance. There's no info on precisely what changes were made, but one improvement is that your searches will no longer get "stuck" in a particular database. Law 360 should now be included in your results when you search "news". There is also a new "Faculty Tip of the Week" program: For 8 weeks, beginning February 10, a weekly email will link you to a 1-2 minute faculty video tip on an important resource or tool on Lexis Advance, including Verdict & Settlement Analyzer, Law360, Legal Issue trail, and more…If you view all 8 short videos you will receive a $25.00 gift card.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Sell your privacy?

Technology Review reports on a startup called Datacoup that is running a beta trial in which people can earn $8 a month for allowing access to their personal data, including not only Facebook etc. data but also information on credit card purchasing.  The company hopes that the information they collect can be especially useful to advertisers because few data providers can combine traces of a person’s online activity with a record of their spending activity.

Google Glass at Yale library

The Yale University Bass Library has announced that Google Glass is now available for faculty and student groups to borrow.  The Glass is being provided in cooperation with Yale's Instructional Technology Group and the Student Technology Collaborative as a joint program to develop and use Glass in a library and classroom setting. Google Glass, of course, is a wearable computer with an augmented reality visual display that is being developed by Google[x], Google’s experimental lab. Yale Library IT is also working to help develop library-specific uses for the new technology, such as a “first-person scanner” Scan and Deliver application which would allow library staff to fulfill patron scanning requests directly from the library stacks, as well as using Google Glass to assist library patrons with disabilities.

New database: National Geographic Archive

Thanks to the University Library System we now have access to Cover to cover access to National Geographic magazine from 1888-1994.  You can browse all the magazines by date, or there is an excellent search facility. The magazines have the beautiful photos for which Nat Geo is justifiably famous, and also include all the map inserts that have come with the magazine over the years. Watch out, it can be a serious time-suck. 

Friday 7 February 2014

Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog’s Supreme Court Challenge

BloombergLaw and SCOTUSblog have announced the third annual Supreme Court Challenge. The object of the competition is to predict how the Supreme Court will decide 6 merits cases and six cert. petitions in April 2014. Students can form teams and compete against other law students around the country. First prize is $3500, with an additional $1,500 if the team also beats the experts at SCOTUSblog. Second Prize is #2500, 3rd is $1500, and the top team in each region will receive $200. You must register for the competition by March 22, 2014.

Thursday 6 February 2014


The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has partnered with the Library of Congress (LOC) to make House of Representatives bill summaries available in XML format for bulk data download from GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). Bill summaries are prepared by the LOC’s Congressional Research Service and describe the most significant provisions of a piece of legislation. They also detail the effects the legislative text may have on current law and Federal programs. The bill summaries are part of FDsys’ Bulk Data repository starting with the 113th Congress. Making House bill summaries available in XML permits data to be reused and repurposed for mobile web applications, data mashups, and other analytical tools by third party providers, which contributes to openness and transparency in Government. GPO already makes House bills as well as the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, and other documents from the executive branch available in XML format for bulk data download. You can view the House bill summaries on FDsys here.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Law Library of Congress Report on Bitcoin virtual currency

Foreign law specialists and analysts at the Law Library of Congress recently completed a report that highlights the emerging global discussion around approaches to regulating virtual currencies, particularly Bitcoin. The report, titled "Regulation of Bitcoin in Selected Jurisdictions" (25 page pdf), surveys 40 government jurisdictions and the European Union to compare Bitcoin regulation. The report notes that "Of the countries surveyed, only a very few, notably China and Brazil, have specific regulations applicable to bitcoin use..." and that "Bitcoin system’s possible impact on national currencies, its potential for criminal misuse, and the implications of its use for taxation” concerns many governments. The LLOC's report concludes that “Overall, the findings of this report reveal that the debate over how to deal with this new virtual currency is still in its infancy.”

Law Library of Congress offers webinar on

The Law Library of Congress is offering a webinar about on Tuesday March 11, 2014 and again on Thursday May 15, 2014. is, of course, the successor to, the federal government's website for all information about what's going on in Congress. The webinar will highlight new features of The webinar is free but you need to register using an online form.  

Yelp fingerpointing lawsuits result in no damages for either side

You may have heard about the Yelp defamation lawsuit. A woman in Virginia wrote a scathing review of her home contractor on Yelp and Angie's List. The contractor sued for defamation and asked for an injunction against past and future statements from the woman. The woman accused the contractor of defamation in online posts responding to her reviews. And so on.
Well, a jury in Fairfax County, Virginia recently returned a verdict on the case: the two had defamed each other but neither would get a cent in damages.  The case has received lots of attention in the media, you can read the full story in the Washington Post.