January 29, 2005
Internatioal Legal Research from FLARE
FLARE, a collaboration between the major libraries in the United Kingdom, has released a series of international legal research guides focusing on central and Eastern European jurisdictions. Each guide provides an introduction to legal research and guidance on legal sources. Currently, the research guides available cover Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the topic, public international law. A Union List of European Legal Gazettes is also available.
Ron Jones, UC Law
Smart Tools on Westlaw
Westlaw has developed a tool that will automatically prompt the user when their search results contain incorrect spellings or yield too few hits . With prompts like did you mean, add related terms, and expand search, Smart Tools will enhance both Natural Language and Terms and Connectors searches. Read all about this new feature from West.
Ron Jones, Univ Cincinnati Law Library
January 28, 2005
Research Task Pages from Lexis.com
"LexisNexis® Research Task pages combine critical information and relevant resources, focused by areas of law.
The Research Tasks pages are tailored specifically for your information needs, offering you quick accessibility to the material you need all in one handy location.
Each Research Tasks page is specific to a particular area of law, but the consistent look and feel of all Research Tasks pages provides convenience and ease of use."
Several tasks are available including:
Labor & Employment
Ron Jones, Univ Cincinnati Law Library
Working Paper Series from bepress
bepress, from Berkley Electronic Press, has added several new working paper series. The bepress legal repository provides advance searching capabilities along with ability to browse by subject areas. You can also sign-up for a free email notification of new content in a particular subject area.
Ron Jones, Univ Cincinnati Law
LexisNexis Launches Chinese Online Service
Earlier this week, LexisNexis Group announced the launch of a new Chinese language online service called LexisNexis China Online.
From the press release:
"The service will be of key importance to legal and professional services firms who have a need for "China" and "Chinese language" content and also domestic and international corporations who need up-to-date Chinese legal and regulatory information available at their fingertips."
Now that's capitalism!
Ron Jones, UC Law Library
Federal Criminal Case Processing
New from the Bureau of Justice Statistics:
"Describes the case processing of defendants in the Federal criminal justice system. The report includes the number and disposition of suspects investigated by U.S. attorneys, the number of arrests for Federal offenses, the number of defendants in cases filed in U.S. district courts, sanctions imposed on criminal defendants, the number of persons under Federal correctional supervision (probation, parole, supervised release, and incarceration), and trends in annual Federal criminal case processing. This annual report is available as a web only document.
Highlights include the following:
Between 1994 and 2002, investigations initiated by U.S. attorneys have increased 25% — from 99,251 to 124,335. Investigations for immigration violations increased from 5,526 to 16,699; for drug offenses, investigations increased from 29,311 to 38,150.
During 2002 criminal cases involving 80,424 defendants were concluded in U.S. district court. Of these, 89% were convicted. Almost all (96%) of those convicted pleaded guilty or no contest.
U.S. attorneys declined to prosecute a smaller proportion of those investigated, as declinations of matters concluded decreased from 36% during 1994 to 27% during 2002."
Ron Jones, Univ Cincinnati Law Library
Ask Law Review Laura is Alive and Well and Waiting for Your Questions
UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh is bring back Ask Law Review Lara!
If you have questions — again, whether you're a student, a lawyer, or professor, whether you're on law review or want to get on law review, or whatever else — just pass them along to me at volokh at law.ucla.edu. I can't be sure that I can answer all your questions, but I'd like to give them a shot.
State Legislators' 2004 Personal Disclosures
"Researchers at the Center collected nearly 7,000 personal financial statements state lawmakers submitted in 2004 to oversight agencies in the 47 states requiring disclosure. Three states-Idaho, Michigan and Vermont-do not require disclosure at all."
Ron Jones, UC Law Library
O'Connor First Choice to Replace Rehnquist
From Zogby International:
"Sandra Day O’Connor tops a list of potential Chief Justice nominees should ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist retire, a new Zogby International poll reveals. The survey also shows the High Court's two most conservative justices not faring quite as well individually, but polling a slightly higher combined 21% to O'Connor's 18%. Zogby International polled 944 likely voters from December 17 to 21, 2004. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.
O'Connor was the top pick from a list of Republicans considered possible Chief Justice nominees. The list included everyone from sitting associate justices to long-shots like outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani."
Ron Jones, UC Law Library
GPO's Abrupt Decision to Eliminate Print Distribution
Stop GPO's Abrupt Decision to Eliminate Print Distribution of Important Government Information to Our Nation's Federal Depository Libraries
BACKGROUND ON GPO'S PLAN TO ELIMINATE PRINT DISTRIBUTION OF IMPORTANT GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
Although the Government Printing Office's appropriations bill for FY 2006 has not yet been introduced in Congress, Superintendent of Documents Judith C. Russell announced during the recent ALA Midwinter Conference in Boston that GPO has requested level funding in their FY 2006 appropriations for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), plus cost of living increases. As a result of this action, Ms. Russell also announced that the following changes in the distribution of print materials to our Nation's federal depository libraries will take effect October 1, 2005.
First, GPO will produce and distribute only the 50 titles listed on the "Essential Titles for Public Use in Paper Format." This will have a profound negative impact on access to authentic government information in formats most usable to the American public. The Essential Titles List last revised in 2000, does not include important materials including maps, geological information, administrative decisions and other legal materials, as well as Senate and House reports, documents, and hearings that inform the citizenry of the workings of Congress.
Second, GPO will initiate a Print on Demand (POD) Allowance Program of $500 for selective depository libraries and $1500 for the 53 regional depository libraries to purchase titles that are not on the Essential Titles List. Since depository libraries will only receive the few "Essential Titles" distributed in print, GPO is in effect asking Congress to support a new fee-based Print on Demand Program that has not yet been established or tested. Further, depository libraries will have to expend significant funds from their own budget to cover administrative costs associated with this new program and purchase print titles, formerly distributed through the FDLP at no cost, when print is the appropriate and needed format for their user communities. GPO admits that POD technology is not archival and that the materials depository libraries purchase through this new service will have a shelf life of only 20 to 30 years.
Third, there will be a small amount of money to distribute a handful of important titles that occur unexpectedly in any given year, such as the 2004 9-11 Commission Report.
As FDLP partners, the depository library community has historically provided GPO with feedback on how to successfully manage the FDLP to meet the needs of all user groups. Unfortunately, the library community was not consulted about this latest move. GPO has alluded to other possible options but only announced this one. And although Superintendent of Documents Judith Russell informed us in Boston that alternative options could be discussed at the Spring Depository Library Council meeting in Albuquerque this April, we believe that will be too late to affect the FY 2006 appropriations process that Congress is beginning to undertake right now.
GPO's plan, which has not been approved by Congress, represents a major disruption to the FDLP's role of ensuring no-fee, permanent access to government information for the American public. GPO has not yet established a reliable system ensuring delivery, version control, authenticity, permanent public access and preservation of government information products they disseminate and make available online. Until such a system is fully functional and GPO can ensure permanent, no-fee and ready public access to electronic government information, GPO should not gut its print distribution program.
These changes will deprive citizens of their ability to access important authentic government information in the most usable format that will best meet their information needs. Further, many citizens are economically or technologically disadvantaged and cannot make use of necessary technological infrastructure to access electronic government information. It is important to remember that the goal of the FDLP is to provide government information to the American people in a convenient and useable formatฏnot to make it convenient for the administrative agency responsible for that dissemination.
Public Printer Bruce James notes in his recently released strategic plan that GPO must change with the times and that the GPO of the 21st Century must use "the technologies of today and tomorrowฏnot yesterdayฏto keep this vision alive." The library community has long embraced the move to digital technologies and libraries are on the front lines of developing systems that provide the public with easy, reliable and permanent access to authentic government information. During the past decade, the library community has consistently applauded GPO's move toward a more electronic FDLP. A number of libraries have established formal partnerships to assist GPO when their technological infrastructure proved unable to provide sufficient access to certain types of electronic government information. Librarians embrace technologies that enhance the ability of Americans to access government information more easily from their library, their home or their business.
But we have also cautioned Congress, most recently in the joint testimony on behalf of five national library associations for the April 28, 2004 hearing on GPO oversight before the House Committee on Administration, that "we should not eliminate completely print distribution because at this time the difficult challenges of the digital life cycle remain unresolved: the authentication, permanent public access to and preservation of electronic government information. It is important that the government recognize the need to validate the authenticity and integrity of an electronic document, whether it is available through GPO Access or located on agency, congressional or court web sites. It is not enough to disseminate and preserve digital documents; users must be assured that the electronic government information that they locate and use is authentic."
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED
Superintendent of Documents Judy Russell has announced a plan that effective October 1, 2005 all government documents with the exception of the Essential Titles List will be disseminated in digital format only. While the library community has been very supportive of the GPO move to digital formats, the issues of version control, authenticity and permanent public access to digital government information have not been addressed. Your help is needed to ensure that libraries and the American public continue to have access to authenticated government information.
Please contact your congressional delegation immediately, by email or fax, to tell your representatives about GPO's plan to eliminate almost all print distribution to depository libraries and its impact on access to authenticated legal and government information.
If you work in a law depository library, please alert your director to this abrupt and significant change in the FDLP distribution program because it is essential that everyone in your institution understand the serious long-term implications of this action on your users and contact their representatives.
If you are a law library user, your help is especially needed in contacting Congress because the purpose of the depository library system is to provide you with ready, local, no-fee permanent access to authenticated legal information.
Whether you're a law librarian, law library director, law professor or student, or a concerned citizen, please contact your representatives and make sure they understand the unique value of a depository library and its collections. Tell them how these changes will impact your ability to access government information and be sure to include examples of publications that you need in print for legal research.
Since this latest threat to the depository library program comes from GPO officials, it's also very important that they hear your concerns firsthand. Please send a copy of your letters to Public Printer Bruce James (email@example.com / FAX: 202-512-1347) and Superintendent of Documents Judith C. Russell (firstname.lastname@example.org / FAX: 202-512-1434).
GENERAL TALKING POINTS:
• GPO's plan to limit print distribution to federal depository libraries to only the 50 titles on the Essential Titles List effectively impairs public access to key authenticated government titles, including Senate and House reports, documents and congressional hearings needed by the legal community and the public.
• GPO is taking this abrupt action before it has established a reliable system ensuring delivery, version control, authenticity, permanent public access and preservation of electronic information products they disseminate and make available online. In fact, research and information technology standards and best practices have not yet been developed to the point of ensuring authenticity and preservation of electronic information products.
• GPO is initiating a fee-based Print on Demand (POD) Program that has not yet been established and is asking Congress to fund it through a minimal allocation for each depository library. Libraries will have to expend significant funds to purchase print titles formerly distributed through the FDLP at no cost. Worse yet, GPO admits that POD technology is not archival and that the materials depository libraries purchase through this new service will have a shelf life of only 20 to 30 years.
ASK YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES TO:
1) Urge GPO to allocate its FY 2006 appropriations to provide government information in appropriate formats, including print titles as identified by the depository library community that meet the needs of the American public.
2) Urge members of the House and Senate appropriations committees to increase GPO's FY 2006 budget request to maintain the current production and distribution levels of print materials to depository libraries.
3) Urge members of the Joint Committee on Printing, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee and the Committee on House Administration to hold oversight hearings on GPO's new initiatives and changes to the Federal Depository Library Program.
4) Remind your representatives that the FDLP is their program and that it has proven to be a very successful partnership among Congress, federal agencies, the courts, the Government Printing Office (GPO), depository libraries, and the American public in ensuring the public's right to know.
If your representatives are on any of these important committees, please urge them to take a leadership role in supporting their local depository library because these changes will deprive their constituents of their ability to access important authenticated government information.
Mary Alice Baish
Associate Washington Affairs Representative
American Association of Law Libraries
Thanks to Mark Giangrande, DePaul Law Library, for the tip.
Illinois House Sessions to Become Available on DVD
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that sessions of the Illinois House will be archived and sold on DVD by the House Clerk's Office. The article notes that sessions of both the Illinois House and Senate are available on the Internet, but archives do not exist otherwise. The Illinois Senate sessions will not be part of this program. Each disc will sell for $5, although there are no indications in the article about how much time will be available on each disc, or how many discs will cover a legislative day.
This development raises interesting questions about citation. As of now, the published transcripts are the only source that has official status. Will multimedia now become a source for citation as well?
Mark Giangrande, DePaul Law Library
January 27, 2005
Survey of IP Blogs
Robert J. Ambrogi, author of the The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web (2d ed, 2004), has conducted a survey of IP Blogs. See the results on his website.
Recent Releases from Ashgate
From Ashgate Publishing's online listing of recent releases comes three works on international law and international comparative law:
Just or Unjust War? International Law and Unilateral Use of Armed Force by States at the Turn of the 20th Century by Mohammad Taghi Karoubi, Tehran Universities, Iran.
This study examines the traditional theory of just war in the light of modern principles of international law relating to the prohibition on the use of force repeatedly stressed by United Nations General Assembly resolutions and accepted by the International Court of Justice.
ISBN 0 7546 2375 0 282 pages Hardback $104.95
Defining Civil and Political Rights: The Jurisprudence of the United Nations Human Rights Committee by Alex Conte, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, Scott Davidson, University of Canterbury, New Zealand and Richard Burchill, University of Hull, UK
This book provides a comprehensive analysis and commentary on the decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, for use by human rights lawyers throughout the world. Each of the substantive rights and freedoms set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is considered in detail, by analysis of final reviews and comments of the Human Rights Committee.
ISBN 0 7546 2279 7 280 pages Hardback $104.95
Gender Injustice: An International Comparative Analysis of Equality in Employment by Anne-Marie Mooney Cotter, Law Society of Ireland
Gender equality and the importance of the law in combating discrimination are issues explored by this insightful work. Gender Injustice allows readers a better understanding of the issue of inequality and helps to increase the likelihood of achieving gender justice in the future.
ISBN 0 7546 2377 7 306 pages Hardback $104.95
Reagan Papers Now Available
ND Legislative Blog
This is different. Five state senators in North Dakota are blogging on a private website. At what point, if any, could the content of this blog be used to construe intent?
I believe posts would be treated similar to the treatment given to Letters to the Editor or Op-Ed pieces. However, the ability to post regularly and frequently with relative ease allows the senators to state, restate, clarify, and amplify their opinion about specific bills, particularly ones they sponsor.
Granted, this is the "stuff" of secondary literature, not primary sources for a legislative history, but when one considers the paucity of legislative documentation at the state level, blogging about bills may provide content that otherwise would never be available.
I'm surprised more legislators haven't thought about doing this.
Iowa Hosting Forum on Music Downloading
According to the Press Release:
University of Iowa students will debate the ethics of downloading and suing music downloaders at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, in Van Allen Hall Lecture Room 2. Students who are members of the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum will engage in 45 minutes of debate, to be followed by a roundtable discussion with music industry representatives, local musicians and a UI law professor. The event, which is free and open to the public, is the kickoff for the Semester of Intellectual Properties organized by Kembrew McLeod, UI assistant professor of communication studies, and sponsored by the UI Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry.
In addition to the UI debaters, participants include John L. Simson, executive director of SoundExchange, a nonprofit performance rights organization; Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, a nonprofit think tank with the goal to educate musicians and the public about issues shaping the policy debate in music/technology; David Zollo, a UI alumnus, local musician, and founder/owner of Trailer Records, an independent record label; and Christina Bohannan, UI associate professor of law.
Source: University of Iowa Press Release (January 25, 2005)
New Reports on Iraq, Guantanamo Document Abuse
From the ACLU: "Investigative files released today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggest that the Army failed to aggressively investigate allegations of detainee abuse."
Ron Jones, UC Law Library
January 26, 2005
No Constitutional Right for One Branch of the Federal Gov't To Have Access to Information Held by Any Other Branch
Required Reading: CRS report by Harold C. Relyea entitled "Access to Government Information in the United States (pdf) Updated January 7, 2005
From the Synopsis:
"The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes — the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) — and two meetings access statutes — the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b). Moreover, due to the American separation of powers model of government, interbranch conflicts over the accessibility of information are neither unexpected nor necessarily destructive. The federal courts, historically, have been reluctant to review and resolve “political questions” involving information disputes between Congress and the executive branch. Although there is considerable interbranch cooperation, such conflicts probably will continue to occur on occasion."
Thanks to LISNews for the tip.
Rate Your Prof
Do you go to Harvard, NYU, Stanford, UCSD? Do you want to rate your profs and share your evaluations with others? Now you can. Avishai Shraga makes all this possible at his new site, thecampusbook.com. Shraga started the site as an undergrad at UCLA, and his goal is to make it as popular with students as thefacebook.com has become.
Shraga, who graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) last year, said thecampusbook.com is based on a website he created during his undergraduate years at UCLA. That site, uclaprofessors.com, polarized the UCLA campus and received opposition from the school’s administration, he said.
Read more at The Crimson.
Thanks to The Kept-Up Academic Librarian for this tip:
Are the Hard Drives on Your Public Computers Scrubbed After Each User is Finished?
Q. What do the public computers at the New York City Public Library system and Mohammed Junaid Babar have in common?
A. The US Patriot Act
For details, read today's article in Library Jounal.