October 12, 2005
Google's Mission Accomplished in 300 Years!
According to a story in C|net, Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicted that it would take 300 years to index all the world's information and make it searchable. Quoting from the story:
"We did a math exercise and the answer was 300 years," said Schmidt.
First Monday Book Reviews
Book Reviews: the following works were reviewed in the October 2005 issue of First Monday.
The Information Revolution: The Not–for–Dummies Guide to the History, Technology, and Use of the World Wide Web.
Winter Harbor, Maine: Ironbound Press, 2005.
cloth, 350 p., ISBN 0–976–38574–0, US$26.95.
Ironbound Press: http://www.IronboundPress.com
Information Politics on the Web.
Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004.
cloth, 200 p., ISBN 0–262–18242–4, US$35.00.
MIT Press: http://mitpress.mit.edu
Books in the Digital Age: The Transformation of Academic and Higher Education Publishing in Britain and the United States.
Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005.
cloth, 480 p., ISBN 0–745–63477–x, US$79.95.
paper, 480 p., ISBN 0–745–63478–8, US$29.95.
Polity Press: http://www.polity.co.uk
Liberty Alliance Releases Legal and Privacy Guidelines
The Liberty Alliance released guidelines that address some of the legal and privacy issues surrounding federated identity systems. Tech Law Prof Blog, now edited by Mark Giangrande (DePaul), has the story with a link to the Guidelines.
CRIV's LexisNexis Site Visit
CRIV's Site Visit Subcommittee, chaired by Larry Meyer, Director of the Law Library for San Bernardino County, CA, is organizing a visit to LexisNexis . The entire CRIV will be on site at LexisNexis November 16-18 to meet with high-ranking company officials and others about a number of topics. Please let the Site Visit Subcommittee know your thoughts and concerns. Forward questions, comments and/or concerns to Larry Meyer at email@example.com no later than Tuesday, October 25. A summary report on the meeting will be made available following the visit.
The Implications of the Google Print Library Project for Future Multi-Institution Mass Digitization Programs
In Anatomy of Aggregate Collections: The Example of Google Print for Libraries, (D-Lib, Sept. 2005) Brian Lavoie, Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC Online Computer Library Center, offer some perspectives on the Google Print Library Project in light of what is known about library print book collections in general, and those of the five library participants in particular, from information in OCLC's WorldCat bibliographic database and holdings file.
October 11, 2005
Survey of Congressional Blogs
In A Capitol Hill Presence in the Blogosphere: Lawmakers Try to Balance Value of Openness With The Medium's Blunt Tone, Brian Faler surveys the blogging activities of members of Congress for the Washington Post.
Webcast of OSU's Inaugural Blackmun Lecture Today at Noon
The Moritz College's inaugural Harry A. Blackmun Lecture will be featured as a part of the Mentoring and More @ Moritz Program. The Honorable Diane P. Wood, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, will discuss "Justice Blackmun and the Common Law Tradition." Mentoring program participants, along with faculty and alumni guests, are invited to hear the lecture at the Barrister Club at Noon. Students in the mentoring program who wish to attend should contact Beth Short . Others who wish to see the lecture, can view it live via webcast at http://streaming.service.ohio-state.edu/live1.htm or in Room 250 of Drinko Hall. The webcast will be archived for later viewing at http://www.moritzlaw.osu.edu/webcast/archive.html .
The Blackmun Lecture honors the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-1999) by addressing the justice's enduring contributions to the Court for more than 25 years. The series was developed by five former Blackmun law clerks on the Moritz College of Law faculty: James J. Brudney (1980 Term), Ellen E. Deason (1986 Term), Alan C. Michaels (1987 Term) Edward B. (Ned) Foley (1988 Term) and Michelle Alexander (1993 Term). The lecture is underwritten by the Michael E. Moritz Dean's Innovation Fund.
Miers, Microsoft and Buggy Software
Slingshot.org has identified that SCOTUS nominee Harriet Miers once represented Microsoft. In Microsoft Corp. v Manning, et al, No. 06-95-00058-CV (Texarkana), the Company was sued in a class action for distributing faulty compression software for MS DOS 6. The software destroyed data occasionally. Microsoft then charged purchasers for an update that fixed the problem. My hunch is the charge only covered the cost of media, shipping and handling.
IMHO, Miers did a great job in getting the class, defined as everyone who owned the defective software and purchased the the update, decertified. Essentially Miers argued that a class of individuals who were not harmed by the software bug -- who lost no data -- should not be able to claim damages from the Company. Read all about it.
Imagine the consequences if software companies faced class action lawsuits based on a cause of action that was nothing more than selling (and then) fixing buggy software for personal computers.
Supreme Court Justices Who Joined the Court from Private Practice
There have been 41 Supreme Court Justices who had no prior judicial experience before joining the Court. They including some of the most influential justices in the history of the Court, such as William Rehnquist, Earl Warren, Robert Jackson, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, Louis Brandeis, Salmon P. Chase, Roger Brooke Taney, Joseph Story and John Marshall.
However, only eight of the 41 justices came to the Supreme Court from private practice. Of those eight, only Louis Brandeis left a legacy worth noting.
Is Harriet Miers going to be another Louis Brandeis? The only comparison at hand is that Brandeis was the first Jew on the Court and, if confirmed, Miers will be first Evangelical on the Court.
NBER Report on Technology Adoption
Technology Adoption In and Out of Major Urban Areas: When Do Internal Firm Resources Matter Most?
by Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein - #11642
Abstract: How much do internal firm resources contribute to technology adoption in major urban locations, where the advantages from agglomeration are greatest? The authors address this question in the context of a business's decision to adopt advanced Internet technology. Drawing on a rich data set of adoption decisions by 86,879 U.S. establishments, the authors find that the marginal contribution of internal resources to adoption is greater outside of a major urban area than inside one. Agglomeration is therefore less important for highly capable firms. The authors conclude that firms behave as if resources available in cities are substitutes for both establishment-level and firm-level
Law Library of Louisiana Update
Snippet from longer email distributed on law-lib listserv:
We know that many of you have wondered about the status of our library, which is located on the second floor of the Louisiana Supreme Court Building in the middle of the French Quarter, and about our ability to resume normal operations. As you've no doubt learned from the media, the French Quarter did not flood, and power and water have been restored to most buildings. Several of our staff members were able to visit our library on Friday and reported that although there was only partial lighting and very unpleasant odors, the collection and our offices seem to be fine. The sad exception is with a small part of the collection housed in compact shelving in the basement of the building, where several inches of water had accumulated. Because of environmental restrictions, we have been prohibited from entering that area to check on the condition of the books there. We fear that the dampness and heat have done serious damage and don't know yet whether restoration willl be possible.
The library and the building remain closed to staff and to the public. The Supreme Court has established temporary headquarters in Baton Rouge at the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals building near the capitol. Court staff, including our Serials/Preservation Librarian Miriam Childs, who were able to find housing in the Baton Rouge area or within commuting distance, have been assisting in various capacities to help get the state-wide court system up and running again.
Of course we are all anxious to return to our library in the French Quarter but do not know when the Supreme Court will be able to reopen the building. In the meantime beginning on November 1 we will be driving back and forth daily to Baton Rouge 80 miles away. The good news is that all of us have e-mail access and can be contacted at our normal e-mail addresses shown in the AALL Directory. Of course we cannot be reached at our office phone numbers in New Orleans. If anyone needs to reach our staff by phone, please call Miriam Childs at the court in Baton Rouge at 225-284-0743, and she will provide the necessary phone numbers where we can be reached. Alternatively, the main court number in Baton Rouge is 225-382-3161.
Carol Billings, Director
TOC of Latest Issue of the International Journal of Constitutional Law
A conversation between U.S. Supreme Court justices
The relevance of foreign legal materials in U.S. constitutional cases: A conversation between Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen Breyer
Int J Constitutional Law 2005 3:519-541.
October 10, 2005
Gag Order in Library Records Case Stands (for now)
In Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Reveal Plaintiff in Library-Records Lawsuit (The Chronicle), David Glenn reports:
The anonymous plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the federal government's right to search patrons' library records lost a skirmish on Friday, when the U.S. Supreme Court denied an emergency appeal that would have allowed the plaintiff to identify itself publicly.
The Supreme Court's action stifles the plaintiff's desire to to testify about the Patriot Act before Congress. Time for a wee bit of civil disobedience.
The case will be heard in the Second Circuit next month
BTW In September, New York Times reported in September that the plaintiff was probably Library Connection Inc., a book-sharing consortium of public and academic libraries based in Windsor, Conn.
Members of the Library Connection are
Avon Free Public Library
Berlin-Peck Memorial Library
Bloomfield: Prosser Public Library
Bloomfield: Wintonbury Branch
Bristol Public Library
Bristol Public Library: Manross Branch
Burlington Public Library
Canton Public Library
Cromwell Belden Public Library
East Hartford: Raymond Library
East Hartford Public Library: Hockanum Branch
East Hartford Public Library: Wickham Branch
East Windsor: Library Association of Warehouse Point
Enfield Public Library
Enfield Public Library: Pearl Street Branch
Farmington Library: Barney Branch
Glastonbury: Welles-Turner Memorial Library
Manchester Public Library
Manchester Public Library: Whiton Branch
Marlborough: Richmond Memorial Library
New Britain Public Library
New Britain Public Library: Chamberlain Branch
New Britain Public Library: Jefferson Branch
Newington: Lucy Robbins Welles Library
Plainville Public Library
Rocky Hill: Cora J. Belden Library
Simsbury Public Library
South Windsor Public Library
St. Joseph College: Pope Pius XII Library
West Hartford Public Library
Wethersfield Public Library
Windsor Locks Public Library
Windsor Public Library
Windsor Public Library: Wilson Branch
Obituary for a Law Library
Dan Cordtz writes in the September 30, 2005 issue of Miami Daily Business Review (available in LexisNexis)
The beleaguered Miami-Dade County law library, facing a $600,000 operating deficit, has received a $100,000 emergency transfusion from the County Commission. But that was far short of the amount needed to keep it running at its normal level. As a result, the 68-year-old library in the courthouse at 73 Flagler St. - used by some 700 attorneys and ordinary citizens each week - will lose half of its 14 staff members at the end of October and has already canceled most of its subscriptions to legal periodicals. Three branches - in Miami Beach, at the North Dade Justice Center and South Dade Justice Center have already closed - and a fourth at the Richard Gerstein building is scheduled to shut its doors soon.
John W. Thornton Jr., partner of Thornton & Rothman and president of the Dade County Bar Association, expressed sympathy and dismay at the library's plight but did not foresee a significant contribution from the association. "We started the library many years ago," he said, "but the sad reality is that the Internet and online legal research has made the library no longer as viable as it once was.
The article discusses efforts by the law library director and a local judge to save the library.
Lee Peoples, Oklahoma City University Law Library
Editor's Note: Plans call for the local public library taking the county law library's collection.
I Shouldn't be Doing This
On September 10, 2002, Daniel Drezner (UChicago Political Science Dept) wrote in his blog's first post, "I shouldn't be doing this. I'll be going up for tenure soon." He was right. On October 7, 2005 he was denied tenue. Was blogging a factor? Drezner considers the possiblity that it may have been a factor.
Miers Nomination & the Return to the Spoils System in American Politics
Supreme Court Cronyism: Bush restarts a long and troubled tradition, by David Greenberg for Slate opens with
With cries of cronyism greeting the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the White House is appealing to history—saying, in effect, that there's a long and distinguished tradition of cronyism in Supreme Court appointments. And they're right: From Andrew Jackson to Lyndon Johnson, many presidents have put their confidantes on the bench. But the White House claim omits a key fact. The practice of naming presidential pals began to wane decades ago, and, as John Roberts might say, the wisdom of avoiding cronyism is now a settled matter. The question is whether the Miers choice represents a one-time relapse or a harbinger of things to come.
For Greenberg, the answer is that this nomination is one of a series of adminstration actions that leads one to fear that this is a harbinger of things to come. He writes:
It may be leading us into a period where politics is defined according to the old spoils system rather than the technocratic assumptions ushered in by the Progressive Era. This administration has, after all, disdained independent nonpartisan expertise—for example, in belittling the arguments of environmental science and in endorsing the teaching of religious accounts of human origins. It has politicized agencies once prized as nonpolitical, such as the CIA and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It has been unabashed about nepotism and cronyism. In the legal arena, the banishment of the ABA from the judicial selection process represents only the most obvious way that this White House has placed partisan loyalty over disinterested professional authority.
Cumulatively, all of this may well herald cronyism's return to the Supreme Court appointment process. Especially if Harriet Miers is confirmed.
Thanks to Mark Giangrande, DePaul Law Library, for the tip
An "A" for Effort: Miers's 1968 Casenote
The Dallas Morning News has published comments made by two law profs about SCOTUS nominee Miers's 1968 casenote. One commentator gave Miers an "A" for effort.
The casenote covered Texas state law on the issue of damages for intentionally inflicted mental distress. Nominee Miers's 1968 Casenote (pdf)
Free registration required to read the paper's article.
Texas Wesleyan Dedicates Renovated Law Library in Honor of Prominent Local Attorney
Texas Wesleyan Law School dedicated its newly renovated library last Friday, naming it for prominent Fort Worth attorney Dee Kelly. Frank Snyder, editor of ContractsProf Blog, notes that "Kelly, founder of the 90-lawyer Kelly, Hart & Hallman, P.C., has been one of the school’s guiding spirits."
CBO Report on Economic & Budgetary Effects of Katrina and Rita
October 9, 2005
On Google Bombing
Deconstructing Google bombs: A breach of symbolic power or just a goofy prank? by Clifford Tatum, First Monday (October 2005)
The practice of Google bombing is a collective hyperlinking strategy intended to change the search results of a specific term or phrase. In this study I compare two Google bombs; the "miserable failure" and the "Jew." The "miserable failure" Google bomb promoted George W. Bush’s home page to the number one Page Ranking resulting from a search of the phrase "miserable failure." The "Jew" Google bomb was a successful effort to demote an anti–Semitic Web site from the number one Page Rank resulting from a search of the term "Jew." This effort resulted in the promotion of the wikipedia.org definition of "Jew" (Wikipedia, 2005) to the number one position.
Adam Mathes first coined the term "Google bombing" in an April 2001 online article, entitled "Filler Friday: Google Bombing" (Mathes, 2001). In this article Mathes describes how he discovered part of the technique Google uses to calculate Page Rankings. Mathes’ discovery was based on the perpetuation of linking the words "internet rockstar" to the Web site of his friend, Ben Brown. There were earlier reports of influencing Google’s ranking order when it was noted in 1999 that the search query for "more evil than Satan" would return Microsoft’s home page (Spring, 1999).