Wednesday 30 October 2019

Society for Empirical Legal Studies questions ULS News plans

Inside Higher Ed reports that the Board of Directors of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies has written a 5 page letter to U.S. News & World Report to "express concern" about its plans to create a law school "scholarly impact" ranking based on HeinOnline data. The letter says that
"HeinOnline’s present citation-measurement system has three principal problems: (1) it is biased against interdisciplinary legal scholarship; (2) it omits all book manuscripts and chapters; and (3) it systematically undervalues the academic contributions of junior scholars, which would inhibit law schools from recruiting diverse faculties."
They add that "For instance, Google Scholar’s database of citations includes nearly all academic publications, including books. It can also be tailored in different ways, such as giving more weight to recent publications. While Google Scholar currently contains some attribution errors, so does HeinOnline, and data scientists are already developing ways to clean and harvest more accurate citation data from Google Scholar."

Friday 18 October 2019

State government publications and copyright

Works of the federal government are in the public domain and free for anyone to use according to 17 U.S.C. § 105. What about States, territories and the District of Columbia? Harvard Library has a State Copyright Guide online that makes it easy to look up the copyright status of state documents. The site says: "It turns out that figuring out whether state documents are copyrighted is a tricky question, and we've created this website to help identify the relevant laws in each state."

Tuesday 15 October 2019

NASIG webinar of interest to librarians

NASIG is offering a Webinar titled "Designing for Accessibility" on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 1 pm EST. The webinar is not free but is $35 for NASIG and NISO members, #50 for non-members. Description:
From online course materials to documents and presentations, we all share some responsibility when it comes to creating accessible content. This session provides a brief introduction to designing for accessibility: the importance of accessible design and high-impact practices digital content creators can apply to create documents, images, audio, video, and web content accessible to users of all abilities.
Webinar participants will:
Discover the importance of accessible design
Explore common accessibility challenges and solutions
Identify resources for creating accessible content.
You can find out more and register at the NASIG website.

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Search term emphasis on Westlaw

A recent announcement from Thomson Reuters points out a new enhancement to Westlaw searching called "Search Term Emphasis." You can see this when you are searching Westlaw Edge and click on the "Search Tips" button under the jurisdiction selector next to the search box:
Add emphasis to your most important search terms if your initial search did not return desired results. Search Term Emphasis can promote documents containing the emphasized terms. Apply Search Term Emphasis by adding a caret '^' after an important term. The caret symbol '^' is above the 6 on the keyboard 
dog canine /p detect! /s drug /p trunk tire^ car automobile
qualified immunity excessive force taser^
Note that the "Search Tips" guide is also newly expanded and offers more help in conduction searches on Westlaw.