October 15, 2007
Cornell Law Library's InSITE Website Reviews
Reviews published in the October 1, 2007 issue of InSITE:
- ACS ResearchLink
- FEC Watch
- Fragile States: the LICUS Initiative
- National Workrights Institute
ACS ResearchLink is an innovative project, created by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), designed to bridge the gap between the research papers law students must write and the needs of public interest lawyers. According to the ACS website, public interest lawyers need legal scholarship to assist them in assessing the strength of specific novel theories, but have limited time and resources. Law students must write substantial research papers that satisfy their schools’ writing requirements, but frequently struggle for appropriate and interesting topics. ACS ResearchLink answers the question: Why not give students the option of creating relevant and timely scholarship that will simultaneously serve the public interest? The interactive database allows lawyers to submit paper topics that students can search for ideas. After papers are written and graded under faculty supervision, they will be posted in the online library (the library should have its first papers in 2008). There are many paper ideas currently posted in the database from a range of organizations that include the ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, various legal aid societies, and more. [JJ]
In August 2007 Columbia Law School’s Program on Law and Technology, and the Silicon Flatirons Program at the University of Colorado Law School introduced a beta version of AltLaw, “the first free, full-text searchable database of Supreme Court and Federal Appellate case reports.” AltLaw’s mission is to make the law easily accessible to the public and is a resource for attorneys and legal scholars. Over 180,000 U.S. Supreme Court decisions and federal Courts of Appeal decisions dating back 10 to 15 years are now in the database. A chart lets the researcher know the scope of coverage for each court. The advanced search feature (the only search feature) is elegantly simple and includes Boolean and proximity searching as well as date and court parameters. The opinions appear as published by the courts, so the format and type are not standardized across circuits. Westlaw citations are not yet available but will be included. The creators hope to expand coverage to include federal district and state courts as well. The “About This Site” page reminds users that AltLaw is a work in progress and encourages researchers to double check results with another legal source. Researchers are also encouraged to check back frequently as new case law is added. [JC]
FEC Watch, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, seeks “to increase enforcement of the nation’s campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics laws” by monitoring the Federal Election Commission (FEC), as well as other government entities. In addition to educating the public, FEC Watch files complaints, petitions for rulemaking and comments on rulemaking, and submits amicus briefs in relevant cases. The website is organized into two main tabs: "The FEC" and "The Law." Under "The FEC" tab, users can learn about the agency, including its history, role, divisions, and its commissioners. As well, the site explains the enforcement, rulemaking, and litigation functions of the FEC. Under "The Law" tab, users will find explanation of and access to the various federal election laws. In addition to PDF versions of the McCain-Feingold Act and various court opinions, the site offers details of regulations and advisory opinions. Rulemakings are organized into tables that are categorized as active, inactive, or completed. Also, the site provides an archive of FEC advisory opinions for the years 2002-2004. Be sure to read the thorough discussion of the FEC advisory opinion process. [MM]
Fragile States: the LICUS Initiative
This site announces the World Bank's creation of a new unit which funds countries in need of assistance because of fragile governments or infrastructures, or because they are involved in conflict. Often these situations are related and occur in the same country. This new unit of the World Bank will serve as the corporate focal point for external partners, including the United Nations and the European Commission, that are working to provide assistance to states in need. The website presents the research of the World Bank's Task Force on the Work of the World Bank Group in Low-Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS), mostly in PDF. Portions of site are available in French, Spanish, English, and Arabic. The site is searchable. [JG]
National Workrights Institute
Based in Princeton, NJ, the National Workrights Institute (NWI) was founded in January 2000 by the former staff of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Taskforce on Civil Liberties in the Workplace. The Institute was created to be the premier organization championing human rights in the workplace, focusing not on enforcement of current laws but on recommending the promulgation of new ones. The NWI focuses on issues such as alternative dispute resolution, drug testing, genetic and lifestyle discrimination, medical privacy, and other concerns. These issue sections on the Institute’s website provides news items, statements, studies, speeches, articles, Congressional testimony, model policies, legislative briefs, and more. The “NWI in the News” section provides links to relevant external news items, but is not available as an RSS feed. The NWI site is searchable. [BWK]
InSITE contributors: J. Callihan, J. Gillespie, J. Jones, B. Kreisler, M. Morrison, J. Pajerek (editor)
About InSITE: InSITE highlights selected law-related Web sites in two ways: as an annotated publication issued electronically and in print; and, as a keyword-searchable database. The law librarians at Cornell evaluate potentially useful Web sites, select the most valuable ones, and provide commentary and subject access to them. This information can be accessed via:
1. Searchable database or by browsing current and archived issues on the web: Click InSITE at http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library
3. Via e-mail subscription: send the following request to: firstname.lastname@example.org: join INSITE-L "your name"
where your name (include the quotation marks) is the name you want to be available to the list's administrator. You must send this message from the e-mail address where you want to receive the e-list's messages.
The contents of InSITE and any recommendations therein are the opinions of the authors and do not reflect the views of Cornell University. InSITE is copyright protected by Cornell Law Library, © 2007 Cornell Law Library. Permission to republish InSITE issues on Law Librarian Blog has been granted. For permissions, contact Jean M. Pajerek [email@example.com].
Cornell Law Library URL: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library
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