Friday 10 January 2020

Government Information Online service

The govdocs listserv had a posting today that was a reminder about the Government Information Online Service. This is a project of the Education Committee of GODORT, the government documents group of the Association of American Libraries, and it "is available to handle the toughest (government document) reference questions and requests for copies of documents." Their website says,
"Through Government Information Online (GIO) you can ask government information librarians questions on almost any subject from aardvarks to zygomycosis... GIO is a free online information service supported by libraries that participate in the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s Federal Depository Library Program... Government information librarians with a specialized knowledge of agency information dissemination practices — as well as expertise in how to use government information products, resources and or publications — answer all the questions submitted to GIO. These librarians are dedicated to helping users meet their government information needs."

Thursday 9 January 2020

Tax Notes offers brief online trainings

In honor of Tax Season, Tax Notes (a Barco subscription) is offering 10-minute webinar overviews of their resources. In addition, they offer webinars on using Tax Notes for Low Income Tax Clinics and a webinar called "Life of a Tax Reg," which shows you "how to track a tax reg from its announcement in the priority guidance plan through release of a proposed reg, public comments, the public hearing, and release of the final reg."
Tax Notes is also promising an updated research platform that will move their primary tax law resources - the Internal Revenue Code and regulations - outside their paywall so they will be available to anyone. 

Wednesday 8 January 2020

WK study aids updates coming soon...

For the New Year, Wolters Kluwer has announced some updates to the Study Aid Library that should be available by the end of this week:
• Ability to choose either ePub or PDF when reading online/offline
• Only titles available in your school’s subscription will be visible
• More than 200 short videos on fundamental concepts of law
• Ability to save favorite study aids for easy access
In early February, they promise to have:
• 200+ audio lectures and text-to-speech capabilities for all books
• Updated MARC records delivered through our new partnership with OCLC.
If you have any questions about accessing these study aids at Pitt Law please contact the eResearch & Technology Services Librarian.  

Friday 3 January 2020

Free casebooks for law students (?!)

Inside Higher Ed has an article today discussing how an increasing number of law professors are publishing their own casebooks at little or no cost to students. The examples they give are from NYU Law: "Barton Beebe, a law professor at NYU, published the sixth edition of his trademark-law textbook last year. Fellow NYU professors Jeanne Fromer and Christopher Jon Sprigman also published the first edition of their copyright-law textbook in 2019. Both titles are available to download electronically at no charge."
Interestingly, the article points out that these free books are not necessarily considered to be Open Educational Resources (OER): "Definitions of OER vary, but many advocates agree that OER content must be openly licensed to make clear that users can revise and remix the content however they desire. Creative Commons licenses requesting that users provide attribution to the original author, or preventing them from selling the work commercially, are common for OER materials. But licenses stating “no derivatives” are not. These licenses prohibit users from sharing content they have modified without prior permission, even if their changes improve the original material."

The article does NOT discuss Harvard's Berkaman Center H2O Open Casebook Project, of which Pitt Law's Barco Law Library is a member. H2O is an OER platform for creating, editing, organizing, consuming, and sharing course materials; it helps law faculty create high quality, open-licensed digital textbooks for free.