Monday 30 March 2020

The legal minds behind stay-at-home orders

Law360 has an interesting article titled "The Attys And Legal Logic Behind Stay-At-Home Orders" (login required), discussing the attorneys who are helping local governments draft unfamiliar and unprecedented orders requiring citizens to stay at home to slow the coronavirus' spread.

"Drafting those orders is akin to tiptoeing through a legal minefield. Government attorneys must balance constitutional rights like freedom of assembly with public health concerns. The orders can’t be so loose that they’re useless, but they can’t overstep local authority and open themselves up to a legal challenge."

Tax issues related to the Coronavirus

Tax Notes, a Barco Law Library subscription from Tax Analysts, now has a designated page for tax issues related to the Coronavirus.
Please note that this page is outside the TaxNotes pay wall and available to everyone.

Saturday 28 March 2020

Zoom sends iOS user data to Facebook

In an article in the online ITPro magazine, the reporters says that "The video conferencing platform Zoom is sending iOS users’ analytics data to Facebook without explicit consent, even if users don’t have an account with the social networking giant... According to the analysis, Zoom notifies Facebook when an iOS user opens the app, and then provides details on the user’s device, including the model, as well as their time zone, and city they’re connecting from.Zoom also sends Facebook information about their mobile network operator, and the unique advertiser identifier created by the device, which is primarily how companies target users with adverts... Many of the scores of people joining the video conferencing platform may be unaware their privacy is being undermined in such a way."

Friday 27 March 2020

Pittsburgh Legal Journal free during Coronavirus crisis

The Pittsburgh Legal Journal is freely available until April 14. From the Allegheny County Bar Association website:
"The Daily Pittsburgh Legal Journal is being published as an electronic PDF only – and on two days a week, Wednesdays and Fridays – until April 14, 2020, due to the Coronavirus crisis. Each issue will be in a PDF, and the most recent issue can be found on this page at “Quick Links” below; click on the last item, The Daily Pittsburgh Legal Journal. During this time, the Pittsburgh Legal Journal is available to the public and no subscription is required. The changes were made in accordance with a March 20, 2020, court order by President Judge Kimberly Berkeley Clark, Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, that decreed the Pittsburgh Legal Journal shall be published as an electronic PDF through April 14 'in the interest of public health.'”
hat tip: Pat Roncevich

OCLC lists free online resources during COVID-19

Information from OCLC about online resources that are offered free during COVID-19:
"Many content providers have offered free access to e-content collections to help you maintain online services during the COVID-19 crisis. OCLC is actively partnering with global content providers to ensure access to these valuable resources through OCLC cataloging, discovery, and resource sharing services  Content providers are using a variety of models to open access to different types of content, including no-charge access to existing collections and special collections of information relevant to the current pandemic. In many cases, existing collections in the WorldCat knowledge base already contain the content newly available at no charge during this crisis. In other cases, we will work with a content partner to create needed knowledge base collections that can be configured for MARC record delivery or access through services such as WorldCat Discovery,, WorldShare Interlibrary Loan, Tipasa, and ILLiad. OCLC is maintaining a growing list of this freely available content at which includes recommended options to access through OCLC services. We will continue to update this list as new information becomes available."
As of this writing, there is a list of 63 publishers/providers offering free access to some or all of their content during the COVID-19 crisis, including the University of Michigan Press, Proquest, the New England Journal of Medicine, EBSCO, Edward Elgar, and Cambridge University Press. The list continues to be updated by OCLC.

Bloomberg Law Dockets disruption

The dockets in Bloomberg Law are a popular feature. But courts are shutting down and not all dockets are going to be available. Here's what Bloomberg has to say:
"Because of the coronavirus pandemic, courts are closing or restricting access. As a result, our researchers are unable to access some court facilities. We are temporarily unable to offer Breaking Complaints for the following courts:
For your convenience, we are tracking court closures and disruptions. We will keep you apprised of additional significant developments."

Tuesday 24 March 2020

U.S. Documents Masterfile free access through June

Paratext is offering free access to the U.S. Documents Masterfile (USDM) to all Institutions through June 2020. From the blurb:
"USDM has millions (upon millions) of links to full text so they should assist you and your researchers in getting to needed text from wherever you may be. U.S. Documents Masterfile brings together foundational government document indexes and full-text collections to create an easy-to-use single index to governmental publications. USDM includes 15 million citations with 10 million links to full text, making quality primary research easier and enabling a single search for indexes and records for nearly 250 years of United States federal information."

Monday 23 March 2020

Off-campus access for all Pitt Law databases

With the excellent assistance of Pitt Law IT and Pitt's IT department the Barco Law Library now provides access to all our databases for the Pitt Law community whether working in the building or from home or other off-campus location. The links to all our databases are on the Barco Law Library A-Z databases list page. If you are a Pitt Law student or faculty and have any problems with your off-campus access please contact the eResearch & Technology Services librarian for help.

Friday 20 March 2020

Pandemic Information from the Government Publishing Office

Through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 Pandemic, GPO staff members are working to provide Federal depository librarians with information they need to assist patrons and administer their depository services, both in person or virtually. We are continuously updating the homepage with links and resources, and we are adding resources each day as more become available.

·         GPO’s Government Book Talk posted a new blog today, Coronavirus Pandemic: Reliable Government Information Resources: In the blog, a wide variety of trustworthy Government resources on COVID-19 are presented, including information ranging from COVID-19 symptoms to look for to proper handwashing techniques.

·         GPO’s govinfo now includes a new web page that offers legislative, Presidential, and regulatory documents on COVID-19:

·         FDLP LibGuides is featuring the Hot Topics: Coronavirus, which includes several Guides on the topic created by the FDLP community:

·         COVID-19 Guidance for Federal Depository Libraries:

o   March 9, 2020: Guidance for FDLs:

o   March 13, 2020: Additional Guidance for FDLs:

o   March 17, 2020: FDLP Shipments Temporarily Suspended:

o   March 17, 2020: Temporary Closures and Changing Library Operations:

o   March 17, 2020: FDLP eXchange Review Periods Increased:

o   March 19, 2020: FDLP Academy Continuing Education During COVID-19 Pandemic:

·         Other Popular Resources for Patrons:

o   CDC website for COVID-19:

o   CDC Protects and Prepares Communities:

o   What to Do If You Are Sick with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

§  Spanish:

§  Chinese:

o   What You Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

§  Spanish:

§  Chinese:
You are also invited to register to attend the live training webinar, "Coronavirus Frauds and Scams: What You Need to Know,” taking place Wednesday, April 8. Carol Kando-Pineda, Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, will discuss the frauds and scams that play on fears surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). She will explain the scammers’ lures, warning signs of scams in general, and how to avoid them. She’ll also touch on other prevalent scams, frauds related to charitable giving in times of crisis, and how to donate wisely. Register:
Thank you for all you are doing to help keep your library staff and patrons safe and informed.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Understanding social distancing and coronavirus

Yes, we're all getting inundated with information about the coronavirus. That said, this article in the Washington Post has an excellent series of visualizations of how viruses spread and how different methods can slow the spread.
Please practice social distancing and stay safe!

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Webinar: NLM Resources for Librarians

The FDLP is hosting a free webinar on Weds. March 25, 2020, at 2 pm, called "Pandemic! NLM Resources for Librarians to Assist Researchers and the Public in Understanding the Coronavirus and Influenza."
Speakers: Andrew Plumer, MLA, and Eneida Hatcher, PhD, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Learning Outcomes: Following this webinar, participants will be able to: Locate and navigate the consumer health resources in MedlinePlus on Coronavirus and influenza. Locate and navigate NLM’s disaster health resources on the Coronavirus Disease 2019. Describe the types of data freely-available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) resources for the influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 so that they can guide researchers to the most relevant information.
Register here.

Chronicle of Higher Education offers virtual forum on "colleges & the coronavirus"

The Chronicle of Higher Education has announced that it is hosting a virtual interactive forum this Friday, March 13, at 2 pm, called Colleges and the Coronavirus.
From the announcement:
"The spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 is a quickly evolving situation, and campus leaders across the country are scrambling to devise policies, communicate updates, and plan for different scenarios moving forward... The forum will be the first installment of a time-limited series that runs every week until the need for advice, networking, and news abates. Sessions will be hosted by Bryan Alexander, a prominent higher ed thinker who hosts the Future Trends Forum, along with Karin Fischer, a Chronicle reporter who has been covering the emergency. The video chat forum will use Shindig, a participatory video chat platform. Similar to an in-person event, participants have the opportunity to ask a panelist questions as well as share and discuss the proceedings in a private chat with one another. There's no download or account registration required, and mobile users can attend using the Shindig App and participate fully. Forums will be recorded and archived, but space in the live event is limited to the first 1000 attendees – complete your registration now to secure a spot. Here’s what to expect during Friday's session:
 • An update about the latest news colleges need to know about the emergency and its effect on higher education.
• A discussion on how to transition academic programs online during the outbreak.
• An open forum with participants to ask questions of the panelists or moderators."

Monday 2 March 2020

Congressional Research Service Reports Now Available on

The FDLP has just announced a new webinar: Congressional Research Service Reports and the Constitution Annotated - Now Available on," to be held on Monday, April 6 from 2 - 3 p.m.  The webinar speakers are Barbara Bavis, Bibliographic and Instruction Librarian, Law Library of Congress, and Robert Brammer, Legal Information Specialist, Law Library of Congress.
From the description:
Learning Outcomes: The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has provided expert, non-partisan analysis of legal and policy issues for Congress for over a century. Now, in an attempt to expand access to its resources, it has made two of its products available through First, CRS Reports, or the reports and research projects provided to Congress as part of CRS’s duty to provide timely, objective, and authoritative research and analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, are now available at Second, the Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (Constitution Annotated), which provides a summary of U.S. Constitutional provisions and the leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions that interpret them, is now available at This presentation will provide an overview of the features and navigation of CRS Reports and the Constitution Annotated available via"
You can register for the webinar here.