August 16, 2006
Professional Reading: Can Our Culture Be Saved? The Future of Digital Archiving
NYU Law Prof Diane Leenheer Zimmerman has posted Can Our Culture Be Saved? The Future of Digital Archiving (July 25, 2006) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
The enormous interest and controversy generated by the Google Library project demonstrates three important points. First, the potential of digitization as a way to preserve works to prevent their loss and destruction is tremendous. Second, the potential of digitization as a way to given access to what is preserved without regard to a user's physical location is also both tremendously exciting and, from the copyright owner's perspective, horrifically threatening. Third, copyright as it is currently designed is likely to be a serious barrier to meaningful experimentation with new methods of preservation and access.
This article steps behind the Google Library controversy to examine in depth what the enormous public benefits that would flow from allowing a broad right of digitization for preservation purposes, and why such a right by necessity would require changes in existing copyright law. It also then asks whether we can realistically hope to "save" the fragile embodiments of our cultural life this way without making some provision for public access to the databases in which works are preserved. Finally, the article attempts to identify what the public-regarding goals of digital archiving for purposes of preservation should be, the responsibilities that would attach to the right to archive, and the kinds of compromises between the interests of the copyright owning community and the public that might be feasible to enable citizens of the world to create and protect their modern version of the Library of Alexandria.
Hat tip to Media Law Prof Blog. [JH]
New Study on Asylum Requests
A new study on the adjudication of US asylum request applications is available from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse:
"An extensive analysis of how hundreds of thousands of requests for asylum in the United States have been handled has documented a great disparity in the rate at which individual immigration judges declined the applications."
Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms
“Despite the efforts of law firms to expand diversity efforts, Hispanic, African-American, Native American and Asian-American women lawyers in law firms nationwide report a lack of networking and access to significant billable hours, being skipped over for client development opportunities and desirable assignments, and being subjected to demeaning comments or harassment and unfair performance evaluations.”
States Still Playing "Catch-up" in New Budgets
A new survey by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities of recently adopted state budgets provides the first 50-state data on spending for fiscal year (FY) 2007, which began July 1 in most states. The survey shows:
- For the second year in a row, state spending will grow at above-average rates.
- The states with the fastest spending growth between FY 2005 and FY 2007 are primarily those that were trying to catch up from the deep cuts of the recession.
- A number of states have significant budget growth for FY 2007
- As a result of better-than-projected revenue collections, most states ended FY 2006 in the black.
War College Study on the US Patriot Act and Civil Liberties
From the U.S. Army War College:
The Patriot Act and Civil Liberties: A Closer Look "examines the provisions of the Patriot Act which were designed to increase information sharing between intelligence and law enforcement agencies underscores the implications of their broader investigative scope with respect to our nation’s civil liberties and provides recommendations to improve future versions of this legislation."
Check it out. [RJ]
Opening: Head of Faculty and Public Services Law Librarian, University of New Mexico Law
About the University of New Mexico School of Law Library: The Law Library serves the University of New Mexico School of Law students and its research-oriented law faculty, as well as other legal researchers from the university, practitioner and citizen communities. The Law Library currently employs six librarians, four of whom have J.D. degrees; ten full-time support staff members; and several part-time student employees. The library space consists of 32,443 square feet, encompassing two floors with beautiful views of the Sandia Mountains. The Library houses the largest academic legal research collection in the State of New Mexico with more than 417,000 volumes in print and microform format, placing it in the “large” library category under ABA accreditation standards. During the academic year, the Library gate count exceeds 10,000 visits per month, with the Library open to the public an average of 90 hours per week. Each year the Library checks out or renews more than 20,000 items and loans more than 400 items to other libraries around the country. The Library licenses dozens of databases for online legal research, nearly all of which are available to the public from within the Law Library building. In a typical year, the Librarians answer nearly 6,000 questions at the Reference Desk, with 20% of the questions coming from practitioners and alumni, and another 45% from public citizens who come to the Library to do legal research. The Librarians teach Advanced Legal Research and Specialized Legal Research within the law school curriculum and offer an average of 75 presentations, tours, and research lectures to more than 1,000 attendees every year. They also support a popular and busy Faculty Research Service that offers document delivery and research services for the Law School faculty, including a librarian-supervised pool of four part-time Law student research assistants. The Librarians also participate in collection development.
General Purpose: Under the direction of the Associate Director, the Head of Faculty and Public Services supervises both the access services and reference departments. The access services department includes two full time staff members and numerous student assistants who perform interlibrary loan and document delivery services, stack maintenance, course reserves, and all other circulation-related services. The Reference department includes three full time librarians who, along with the Head of Faculty and Public Services, provide reference, faculty research support, outreach, and instructional services. This is a full-time, 12-month, tenure or tenure-track position.
Responsibilities: The Head of Faculty and Public Services Law Librarian’s responsibilities include reference duty with evening and weekend rotations as needed; online searching; providing legal bibliographic and computer-assisted legal research instruction to students; The Head of Public and Faculty Services teaches the two-credit Advanced Legal Research and one-credit Specialized Legal Research on a rotating basis and participates in collection development and the faculty research support program.
Minimum Requirements: MLS from an ALA accredited institution; J.D. from an ABA accredited institution; ability to locate and disseminate legal information in both print and electronic format; a minimum of four years of prior legal reference experience in an academic law library; supervisory experience; prior access services department experience; experience teaching legal research at the law school level; mastery of New Mexico legal materials and collection development experience.
Desirable Qualifications: Demonstrated potential for excellent teaching, librarianship, service and scholarship in the future; and strong communication, customer service and interpersonal skills.
For more information about the Law Library, please visit: http://lawschool.unm.edu/lawlib.
Salary: Commensurate with education and experience. Full benefits package.
For best consideration please submit signed cover letter and resume, including the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references by Thursday, August 31, 2006 to:
JoAnn Lucero, Office Manager
University of New Mexico School of Law Library
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
All candidates should be prepared to show proof of academic credentials. The University of New Mexico is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and Educator.
August 15, 2006
"One small step for man" tape missing; NASA calling in the A-Team
CNN is reporting that it can not find the original recording of the first moon landing, including astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Hello NASA, time for the A-Team, the Archivists! [JH]
New Orleans College Presidents Decline to Meet With AAUP Investigators Over Layoffs
The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that the presidents of Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans have declined to meet with a special AAUP committee investigating layoffs, program cuts, and other moves by universities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The article also reports that committee members have been interviewing faculty members and administrators who were lost their positions.
Our concern with layoffs at Tulane Law Library and its administration began in January 2006:
- On the Current (and Future) State of the Tulane Law Library (January 12, 2006)
- Damage Control at Tulane Law Library (January 23, 2006)
- AAUP Investigating Tulane Layoffs (February 2, 2006)
- One Law Prof's Perspective on Post-Katrina Tulane Law School (February 10, 2006)
- Nine Tulane law profs leaving, 3 permanently, 6 visiting other schools, X-number returning after their visit (March 28, 2006)
On the (Mis)use of Research Assistants
Over at one of my favorite blogs, Concurring Opinions, Dave Hoffman has posted The (Mis)use of Research Assistants. What was the misuse? Giving the RA off the wall research advice when he should have directed the RA to the law librarians on staff. [JH]
Global Legal Monitor
The Law Library of Congress has published a new issue of Global Legal Monitor (pdf). [JH]
New Report Asserts 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Fails International Human Rights Standards
From the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles:
"This report identifies four ways in which the United States is noncompliant with antidiscrimination standards defined by the United Nations Human Rights Committee. Based on the Williams Institute’s empirical research, the report concludes that noncompliance harms a substantial number of gay and lesbian Americans and their families."
Updated CRS Report: The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11
From the summary:
With passage of the FY2006 supplemental by both houses (H.R. 4939, P.L.109-234), Congress has appropriated a total of about $437 billion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) covering Afghanistan and other Global War on Terror (GWOT) operations, Operation Noble Eagle (ONE) providing enhanced security at military bases, and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Iraq.
The $437 billion total does not include the $50 billion “placeholder” figure for FY2007 war costs that is listed in the FY2007 budget. Although the Administration has not formally submitted a request, both the House and Senate authorization (H.R. 5122/S. 2766) and appropriation bills (H.R. 5631) provide $50 billion for war costs in specific accounts. If that $50 billion is enacted, war appropriations would total about $487 billion, presumably covering part of FY2007's costs.
DOD has not provided Congress with the costs of these three operations. Of the $437 billion appropriated through FY2006, CRS estimates that Iraq will receive about $319 billion (73%), OEF $88 billion (20%), and enhanced base security about $26 billion (6%), with about $4 billion that cannot be allocated based on available information (1%). About 91% of these funds are for DOD, about 8% are for foreign aid programs and embassy operations, about 1% is unallocated and less than 1% are for medical care for U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
On a monthly basis, DOD spent an average of about $6.4 billion for OIF, $1.3 billion for OEF, and $180 million for enhanced base security in FY2005. Compared to FY2004, these averages are 28% higher for Iraq, 18% higher for OEF, and 33% lower for base security. During FY2006, these monthly spending levels may increase to about $8.0 billion for OIF and $1.5 billion for OEF.
Potential oversight issues for Congress include getting estimates of the cost to repair and replace war-worn equipment and of possible offsetting cuts to DOD’s regular budget because equipment is being fixed or bought earlier than planned. Congress may also want to look at ways to improve war reporting and to evaluate DOD policy and contracting decisions that affect certain types of war support costs.
Based on an alternate path that assumes a drawdown from about 258,000 troops currently engaged in these operations to 74,000 in FY2010, CBO estimates that war costs could total $371 billion between FY2007 and FY2016. Adding that amount to the $437 billion with the FY2006 supplemental, total funding for Iraq and the GWOT could reach $808 billion by 2016.
DOD’s annual war funding rose from about $73 billion in FY2004 to $102 billion in FY2005, and may reach $118 billion in FY2006 based on funds appropriated for this year.
Blogging Opens New Avenues for Profs
Two Law Professor Blogs Network bloggers, Stetson Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Distance Learning Ellen Podgor (White Collar Crime Prof Blog) and Cincinnati Law Prof Paul Canon (TaxProf Blog) have published an op-ed in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (formerly called Black Issues in Higher Education): Blogging Opens Up New Avenues for Professors. The authors observe that "academic blogging can increase your visibility, not premised on who you know or the pedigree of your school, but rather on the quality and timeliness of your entries" [JH]
From Oxford UP: Lawyers' Poker: 52 Lessons that Lawyers Can Learn from Card Players
Lawyers' Poker: 52 Lessons that Lawyers Can Learn from Card Players
by Steven Lubet (Northwestern University Law)
List Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (2006)
Book Description: Great poker players are master tacticians. Not only do they calculate odds with lightning speed and astonishing precision, but they also cunningly anticipate and manipulate the actions of their adversaries. In short, they boast skills that every lawyer can envy. This highly entertaining work might best be summed up as "better lawyering through poker." Steven Lubet shows exactly how the tactics of the poker table can be adapted to litigation, negotiation, and virtually every aspect of law practice. In a series of engaging and informative lessons, Lubet describes concepts like "betting for value," "slow playing," and "reverse bluffing," and explains how they can be used by lawyers to win their cases. The best card players, like the best lawyers, have a knack for getting their adversaries to react exactly as they want, and that talent separates the winners from the losers. Lawyers' Poker is an irresistible guide to successful lawyering and an enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in law. No poker knowledge required.
TIF and TIAS and Digital Only
I can’t figure out why I am worried about the State Department’s decision not to publish Treaties in Force (TIF) or Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) in print this year. If the DoS provides the same information on their web site as the print publications have provided in the past and in a timely manner, this could be good news. But coupled with what we know of the Bush administration's penchant for secretiveness and the fact that they seem not to have consulted with the GPO Depository Library Council, I am suspicious of this move. The fact that both treaties and executive agreements are included in both these publications and that the DoS is required by law to publish them (1 USC 112(a)) makes it difficult to hide them. Indeed, it isn’t any more difficult to exclude items from a book than from a pdf online. (Both publications are provided in pdf.)
And the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Treaty Affairs (www.state.gov/s/l/treaty) has done a good job. The site is aesthetically pleasing, well organized, and easy to navigate. The column on the left hand side lists the other options that the user can select. The first one is TIF. It takes the user to a short description of TIF’s organization. When you click on the words, “Treaties in Force,” in the left column, it takes you to a page that presents you with links to the whole publication and every part of it separately in pdf. I found that the sections load very quickly and the whole document doesn’t take longer than you’d expect such a large document to load. And it looks exactly as it does in print. So what’s not to like? Frequent users and luddites can print it out; others can get it online.
TIAS is equally well organized and each entry ends with the TIAS number that is linked to the pdf for that item. Bilateral agreements are listed before multilateral ones and within each of those categories entries are listed by subject, country, and date. The bound volumes (Treaties and Other International Agreements) are organized by TIAS number. So the online organization makes it difficult to find treaties by TIAS number, but easy to do so by subject.
Unfortunately there are only a few agreements from the years 1996 and 1997 available. So the online version hasn’t gone very far toward reducing “the delay between entry into force of an agreement and its official publication.” (www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/tias/) The gap between the two is bridged by “Treaty Actions,” which used to be a regular section of “The Department of State Dispatch.” “Dispatch” ceased publication in 1999 and was not carried over to the DoS web site as a separate publication. Indeed, it was replaced by the web site. “Treaty Actions” is merely a list organized in the same way TIF is, but lacks full text.
So there is as much information online as there used to be in print. And it’s attractive and well organized. The problem is the delay of publication in any form. I think my problem is the ownership/access dilemma. Or maybe I’m just getting too old...
Jim Hart, Senior Reference Librarian, University of Cincinnati Law Library
August 14, 2006
A View from the Stacks: Can I Speak to a Reference Librarian?
I will never forget the first Saturday that I worked here at King County Law Library. First off, the day was cold and snowing. Now, in Seattle, any amount of snow equals an automatic “don’t come to work today” card. The fact that the courthouse stayed open was pretty amazing to me (and, frankly, disappointing. What about our institutional snow days?). This, however, was not what stands out as the most memorable thing on that Saturday. The reason I will never forget my first Saturday in a law library is because I have never felt like more of an idiot in my life on this day.
Maybe I am not giving myself enough credit. Idiot is a bit harsh of a word. Maybe what I should say is that I was wholly unprepared for the questions that I was going to have to answer. That Saturday, I was here with one other person and we were both assigned to the desk. And here at King County, all of us are expected to answer reference questions. In fact, it was not until later on in my career here that I was told that our approach to non-librarians working the reference desk was a bit unusual. Needless to say, that Saturday, I learned many valuable lessons. For example, who knew that lawyers (and the law) embraced the acronym with such affection?
I mention all this because I am here, four years later, working on a Saturday and I am having a hard time remembering why I was so scared of being on the reference desk. In fact, one of the things I enjoy most about my job is the variety of questions that I receive throughout the day. Unlike filing, working reference is never the same from day-to-day. That the librarians allow us technicians to answer in-person questions, as well as email and online chat questions, provides a unique, and often welcome, alternative to our traditional duties.
In addition to all the knowledge I have gained by working reference, I have also witnessed how the business of reference is changing. It used to be that our questions came in the form of in-person inquiries, or over the phone. More and more, people are logging on to our online chat and using our email services as a mode of asking questions. This has forced us to look to the Internet as a tool of providing service, since these questions sometimes come from folks who live nowhere near a law library (or did not know that law libraries exist).
But, working in a library that allows non-librarians to work on the reference desk can often be a double edged sword. As a non-librarian, some people do not believe that I am able to answer their questions (even if the question is “Do you have Scott on Trusts?”). This, on some days, can bother the best of us. I cannot count the number of times I have felt the need to explain that I will try my best to answer the questions presented to me, even if I am not a librarian. I completely understand why people would want to speak to a reference librarian about their issue (especially since having a master’s degree trumps my beer certification any day). And sometimes I am grateful to pass on questions to the librarians so I can continue checking in the mail.
But, when I think back to my first Saturday here at the library, I am proud of how much I have learned. I believe that schooling can teach you so much, but working reference is one of those “baptism by fire” things that you can only get better at by doing on a daily basis. And luckily for me, I work in a place that allows me, even without the paper-work, to get my fill of experience.
Stina McClintock, Library Technician, King County Law Library (Seattle)
Editor's Note: I can remember being the only person working on Saturdays at the University of Chicago Law Library when I was attending library school. I don't recall anyone asking if we had Scott on Trusts but I do remember feeling like the village idiot every time I have to answer one prof's question "do you have my mail sorted?" in the negative. Of course, he would just stand there while I dove into the mailing frantically looking for his. That prof now sits on the US Supreme Court. Reflecting on my life, I've been thinking I might have "Here lies the village idiot who sorted Justice Scalia's mail" etched on my tombstone. [JH]
New Title: Legal Ethics: A Legal Research Guide
Law Librarian Blog contributing editor and Associate Director for Faculty, Research & Instructional Services, Oklahoma City University Law Library, Lee Peoples has just published Legal Ethics: A Legal Research Guide (2006). It is available from W.S. Hein.
ISBN: 0-8377-3606-4 | $53
Publisher's Description: This book is divided into three main parts. The first part focuses on legal ethics research in the United States. Resources for research into ethical rules, aspirational standards, standards for specific specializations including government attorneys, case law, ethics opinions and secondary sources are covered. Free internet resources, subscription databases, legal ethics blogs, and other current events sources are discussed. The second part of this book explores the multijurisdictional practice of law and its implications for legal ethics research. The final section discusses legal ethics research in light of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Editor's Note: This work fills in a serious gap in the legal ethics literature because research guides in this area are out of date. See, e.g., Todd W. Grant, Resources for Research in Legal Ethics (W.S. Hein, c1992.); Diana Botluk & James P. Botluk, A Web of Legal Ethics: Rules of Professional Conduct (1999). I strongly recommend Lee's work for all reference collections. [JH]
Helping a Visually Impaired Law School Student
At the University of Cincinnati College of Law, we have a visually impaired 1L this year. Along the way to planning ways to help our student, I'm learning how unaccommodating some facets of the legal education process are. I'll reserve my comments to legal publications, online legal research tools, and course management.
Digital Versions of Print Materials
It appears that major legal publishers view the distribution of PDFs of their casebooks as an accommodation for the visually impaired because so far that format is the only one we are receiving from them. PDFs that are images of images (eg HeinOnline law review articles) can not be read by the software applications used by our visually impaired student. I had hopes that PDFs that are images of text files, like the ones legal publishers have supplied us, would be less problematic, but they are not. So our university's disabilities staff has to convert by hand PDFs into usable Word files. Doable? Of course? Reasonable accommodation on the part of the University? Absolutely.
However, it is not like our legal publishers only have digital copies of their publications in PDF. Somewhere there exists a digital copy of the source material in some other format; even an SGML or XML document would be easier to manipulate than a PDF file. In anticipation of such requests, our legal publishers also could require Word files from their authors. One would expect better from legal publishers. This is shameful. Are we not asking the right folks at Thomson-West, LexisNexis et al.?
As stated above, our university's disabilities staff has to capture text from the casebook PDFs. In doing so, text formatting is lost so the staff must reformat the text while being mindful of such errors as dropped text. In the conversion process the staff faces a number of commonplace documentation issues such as making sure that some sort of page notation is included in the converted file (not unlike star pagination); pushing footnotes to endnotes, etc. So where's the problem? Turnaround time. It is highly unlikely that all textbooks can be converted before the semester starts. Our workaround will be to make sure the text conversion stay one-two-three steps ahead of each course's reading assignments. Apparently this is not new to our student but is it really acceptable? This approach will not let our blind student jump ahead very far like our sighted students can.
And what about recommended or suggested titles listed in course syllabi? And what about hornbooks the library staff routinely directs students to when they are reviewing for exams? We have made recommendations but the university's disabilities staff is working as hard as it can just to format the required texts.
Online Legal Resources
West provides text-only access to Westlaw. LexisNexis has no such service. I am utterly dismayed by this and I wonder whether Lexis can legally omit a text-only service because it is a government contractor. See, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794d; Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards, 36 C.F.R. § 1194. See also, W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0).
At least there is a text-version of Westlaw. Our legal writing profs have agreed to let our student use Westlaw for research when other students are restricted to print-only research tools. To another day, I will leave my criticism of teaching format-specific legal research skills.
Right now I am very worried about how our law profs will adjust to the needs of our student during the semester. The common practice of last-minute document distribution will not be very helpful if course handouts are distributed in PDF, WordPerfect, or in certain other hard-copy displays. Photocopies in scanner-unfriendly formats (eg two column displays, images of text stored in a word processing file of PowerPoint presentation) will be a nightmare if sufficient lead time isn't allowed for their conversion. Hard-copy reserve materials present a similar problem. I will say that our profs are being very helpful and cooperative but classes haven't started yet.
Our law library hopes to wedge itself into the faculty-student distribution chain so that, with sufficient advance notice, we can promptly provide our student digital versions of course handouts and other reading materials, when they are available. That will reduce the amount of conversion work the University's disabilities staff will have.
At the moment, we do not know if TWEN will be usable because we haven't been able to tested it out. Westlaw says it should be except for the Live Discussion module. However, how are student accesses TWEN is a matter we have not addressed yet. This problem exists because there is no link to TWEN from the text-based version of Westlaw. A seamless link from one to the other would be very helpful. We also do not know what version of Westlaw, our student will find himself in should he click on a Westlaw link in TWEN.
As for Lexis's Web Courses, the apparent answer is that the course management software will not be accommodating. Stay turned.
As we all know, in terms of course materials (quantity, variety of sources, etc), the first year is much easier than the second and third years. I hope we get it right this year.
This experience is making me notice little things. For example, administrative and faculty offices plus library staff offices and other library spaces are not identified in braille. We need a braille version of our internal telephone directory so our student can call members of the UC Law community. I'm sure this list will grow.
At least in one respect our law library is fortunate. Our mission, like every academic law library, is to provide a place conducive to study. We are providing our student with a room where he can go to study and to scan materials for reading on site. We are equipping this room with a workstation, installed with the software he uses at home, plus a scanner and printer. We had used the room -- way too small for group study -- as a place where students could view AV materials without disturbing anyone. We'll use our Rare Book room for that purpose for the next three years.
As the year progresses, I'll try to journalize our efforts to help our 1L. I hope the situation is better that what it appears to be; I hope my ignorance is contributing to our current situation. If you have any suggestions or if I have been misinformed about any of the above, please use the comment function for this post or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One final question: Is there any AALS oversight of legal publishers in this matter? [JH]
Shepard’s BriefCheck for the Web
New from Lexis:
"Shepard’s BriefCheck for the Web identifies legal citations within your document, validates citations through Shepard’s Citations Service and generates a concise summary report tagging problem cites for immediate attention."
Read more about it. [RJ]
Open Government Laws Guide
“The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is pleased to announce the release of a new edition of our comprehensive guide to open government laws in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The guide is available for free on the Reporters Committee’s Web site, and is also available for purchase. The Fifth Edition of the guide is the first under the new name — the Open Government Guide. The guide was formerly titled Tapping Officials’ Secrets. The updated compendium — a collection of easy-to-maneuver outlines addressing key components of open records and open meetings laws — builds upon the previous editions and adds an emphasis on the difficulties accessing certain information due to privacy and national security concerns arising in the post-9/11 era.”