May 12, 2007
Changing Tires Can Be Dangerous
A video from the good folks at Goodyear or a spoof? [JH]
NGOs Alarmed at Some UN Human Rights Council Candidates
"The non-governmental organizations UN Watch and Freedom House issued a joint evaluation of the candidates for the United Nations Human Rights Council, in advance of the election on May 17. Of the 15 candidates, the human rights groups rated four as well qualified (Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, and Slovenia), four as not qualified (Angola, Belarus, Egypt and Qatar) and seven as having questionable qualifications (Bolivia, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Philippines, and South Africa). The evaluation was based on the candidates' records of protecting human rights at home and of promoting human rights at the UN." [RJ]
Journalists Intend to Sue Hewlett-Packard Over Surveillance
"In an unusual step for the news media, three journalists whose private phone records were scrutinized by investigators working for Hewlett-Packard intend to sue the company for invasion of privacy.
The dispute stems from an investigation of Hewlett-Packard’s directors initiated under the company’s former chairwoman, Patricia C. Dunn. To try to uncover leaks from board members, private investigators examined the phone records of nine journalists who covered the company, as well as the records of some of their relatives.
While the dispute revolves around the issue of how the journalists’ careers may have been damaged by having their phone records examined, the threat to sue also raises the question whether it is proper for a news organization or its reporters to sue a company they cover. It is certainly not common."
Padilla case is light on details
"A dozen Miami-Dade County jurors to be selected Tuesday for the Jose Padilla terrorism trial will soon hear about a U.S.-based mission to carry out ''violent jihad'' overseas, including evidence of his al Qaeda application. What jurors won't hear are the damning details of Padilla's suspected plots with al Qaeda operatives to plant radiological ''dirty bombs'' and to blow up apartment buildings in major U.S. cities. That evidence -- along with incriminating testimony from al Qaeda members detained at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba -- won't be introduced at the federal trial that gets under way with opening statements on May 14." [RJ]
May 11, 2007
On Decrepitude or the New 60 is the Old 60
"The hardest substance in the human body is the white enamel of the teeth. With age, it wears away nonetheless, allowing the softer, darker layers underneath to show through. Meanwhile, the blood supply to the pulp and the roots of the teeth atrophies, and the flow of saliva diminishes; the gums tend to become inflamed and pull away from the teeth ..."
With an opening like the above, I wonder how many people turn suicidal by the conclusion of Atul Gawande's The Way We Age Now, The New Yorker, April 30, 2007. [JH]
Friday Fun: IT Technican Hard at Work
Professional Reading: Rationalizing Internet Safe Harbors
Stanford Law Prof Mark Lemley has deposited Rationalizing Internet Safe Harbors in SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Internet intermediaries - service providers, Web hosting companies, Internet backbone providers, online marketplaces, and search engines - process hundreds of millions of data transfers every day, and host or link to literally tens of billions of items of third party content.
Some of this content is illegal. In the last 12 years, both Congress and the courts have concluded that Internet intermediaries should not be liable for a wide range of content posted or sent through their systems by another. The reasoning behind these immunities is impeccable: if Internet intermediaries were liable every time someone posted problematic content on the Internet, the resulting threat of liability and effort at rights clearance would debilitate the Internet.
While the logic of some sort of safe harbor for Internet intermediaries is clear, the actual content of those safe harbors is not. Rather, the safe harbors actually in place are a confusing and illogical patchwork. For some claims, the safe harbors are absolute. For others, they preclude damages liability but not injunctive relief. For still others they are dependent on the implementation of a “notice and takedown” system. And for at least a few types of claims, there is no safe harbor at all. This patchwork makes no sense. In this article, I suggest that it be replaced with a uniform safe harbor rule. A single, rationally designed safe harbor based on the trademark model would not only permit plaintiffs the relief they need while protecting Internet intermediaries from unreasonable liability, but would also serve as a much needed model for the rest of the world, which has yet to understand the importance of intermediaries to a vibrant Internet.
The Open House Project Recommendations Report
"In a presentation to congressional staff and Representatives, members of the Open House Project delivered recommendations for a series of technological reforms that would increase transparency and public access to the work and members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
A project of the Sunlight Foundation - the Open House Project - is a collaborative effort by government and legislative information experts, congressional staff, non-profit organizers and bloggers to study how the House of Representatives currently integrates the Internet into its operations, and to suggest attainable reforms to promote public access to its work and members." [RJ]
U.S. Military Medicine in War on Terror Prisons
"The University of Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics and Human Rights Center have created a comprehensive archive of government documents describing medical operations in U.S. prisoner of war facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The archive, now launched, can be accessed from the home page of the Human Rights Library (www.umn.edu/humanrts) or directly at www1.umn.edu/humanrts/OathBetrayed/index.html.
The archive’s purpose is to enable scholars, journalists, policymakers and interested citizens to study and understand the medical operations in these prisons. It contains more than 60,000 pages of indexed White House and Defense Department policies, prison medical records, autopsy reports, criminal investigations, sworn witness statements and e-mails involving the Armed Forces and the FBI." [RJ]
New Title from Hein: Beyond the Books: People, Politics, and Librarianship
Beyond the Books: People, Politics, and Librarianship
By Leslie A. Lee & Michelle M. Wu
ISBN: 0-8377-3413-4 | 401 pp. | $65.00
William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2007
Book Description: To accomplish the goals set out within these pages Lee and Wu gathered an all-star team of approximately two dozen librarians from across the nation to share their collective wisdom and provide meaningful guidance and insight into the art and science of librarianship. The end result is a "must-have" resource that belongs within short reach of librarians everywhere.
While library courses may provide students with the basic "nuts and bolts" of librarianship, experience alone is the only effective manner by which many of the more challenging aspects of the profession can be learned. This important contribution by Lee and Wu charts a course to aid librarians in their efforts to shorten the length of time between class work and real-life events by bringing the experiences of seasoned librarians that have walked the path into the pages of this work. With this work in-hand you will no longer feel alone in your career!
Those fresh out of school will find value in the chapter "Interviewing 101: Tips and Strategies for Successful Interviewing", while others will appreciate the chapter, "Managing Office Politics". Seasoned librarians feeling somewhat "stuck" will benefit from "Jump-Starting Your Career: Change Is Good", or perhaps "So You Think You Want to Be an Academic Library Supervisor?". Those in a new supervisory role can lean on this resource for answers to matters such as, "Advice to the New Middle Manager", "Supervision 101", and "Customer Service: A Step-by-Step Guide to Assisting Your Patrons". Finally, for librarians considering the ultimate leap to becoming a Director, this work is well-stocked with advice on leadership, management, budgeting, construction, disaster planning, public relations/marketing, and more!
A Quick Look at The Spy Who Billed Me
The Spy Who Billed Me is a blog by R J. Hillhouse. She reports on how the U.S. government hires private companies and contractors to do intelligence and military work. This blog is filled with compelling posts on private intel corporations, mercenaries, and the War on Terror.
A former professor and Fulbright fellow, Hillhouse earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan. Her next novel, Outsourced (Forge Books, June 12), is about the turf wars between the Pentagon and the CIA and the privatization of national security. So is her blog truth or fiction? I believe the former but... . [JH]
May 10, 2007
Blair to step down on June 27
Professional Reading: Toward an Effective Understanding of Website Users
Toward an Effective Understanding of Website Users
Advantages and Pitfalls of Linking Transaction Log Analyses and Online Surveys
Diane Harley and Jonathan Henke
D-Lib, March/April 2007
From the Introduction: Almost every American research university and library has made significant investments in digitizing its intellectual and cultural resources and making them publicly available. There is, however, little empirical data about how these resources are actually used or who is using them. Those who fund and develop digital resources have identified the general lack of knowledge about the level and quality of their use in educational settings as pressing concerns. As part of a larger investigation into use and users of digital resources, we conducted an experimental analysis of two commonly-used methods for exploring the use of university-based Web-based resources: transaction log analysis (TLA) and online site surveys. In this article, we first provide an overview of these two methods, including their key challenges and limitations. We then describe an implementation of TLA and online surveys in combination on two local sites and the results of that test, including an exploration of the surveys' response rates and bias. From that test, we draw conclusions about the utility of these two methods and the particular analytic methods that may provide the most valuable and efficient results.
New Research Guides and Features on LLRX.com
New LLRX.com research guides and features:
- Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets! by Barbara Fullerton, Sabrina I. Pacifici and Aaron Schmidt
- The Government Domain: Tracking Federal Dollars, by Peggy Garvin
- Legal Protection of Cultural Property: A Selective Resource Guide, by Louise Tsang
- Reference from Coast to Coast: Stalking and Finding the Full-Text Article, by Jan Bissett and Margi Heinen
- CongressLine by GalleryWatch.com - Reporting on Congress, by Paul Jenks
- E-Discovery Update: Recognizing Hidden Logistical Bottlenecks in E-Discovery, by Conrad J. Jacoby
- FOIA Facts: Are Ombudsman The Answer?, by Scott A. Hodes
- Burney's Legal Tech Reviews - A Terrific Digital Rolodex and Verizon Broadband Wireless Modem, by Brett Burney
- FOIA - Social Security Administration presentations
- After Hours: Move Over, Spinach: Chocolate to the Rescue!, by Kathy Biehl
- A Cup of Creativi-tea: Resources, by Terri Wilson
- Commentary on Presidential Recess Appointments, by Beth Wellington
Law Librarian Rubens Medina Receives 2007 Federal 100 Award
"Law Librarian of Congress Rubens Medina has received a Federal 100 Award for shepherding the 2006 upgrade of the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), which gave legal researchers access to nearly 130,000 laws and related legal materials from nations across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas – searchable in 13 languages.
The Federal 100 Awards recognize individuals from government, industry and academia who significantly influence how the federal government buys, uses or manages information technology."
This year’s event can be accessed at www.fcw.com/events/fed100/2007/index.asp. [RJ]
A Liberal Case for Gun Rights Sways Judiciary
"In March, for the first time in the nation’s history, a federal appeals court struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds. Only a few decades ago, the decision would have been unimaginable.
There used to be an almost complete scholarly and judicial consensus that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right of the states to maintain militias. That consensus no longer exists — thanks largely to the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors, who have come to embrace the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns." [RJ]
CRS Report On Information Security
SECURITY CLASSIFIED AND CONTROLLED INFORMATION: HISTORY, STATUS, AND EMERGING MANAGEMENT ISSUES
CRS Publication Date: 04/10/2007
Document No.: RL33494
Author(s): Harold C. Relyea, Government and Finance Division
Abstract: The security classification regime in use within the federal executive branch traces its origins to armed forces information protection practices of the World War I era. The classification system - designating information, according to prescribed criteria and procedures, protected in accordance with one of three levels of sensitivity, based on the amount of harm to the national security that would result from its disclosure - attained a presidential character in 1940 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the initial executive order prescribing these information security arrangements. Refinements in the creation, management, and declassification of national security information followed over the succeeding decades, and continue today. In many regards, these developments represent attempts to narrow the bases and discretion for assigning official secrecy to executive branch documents and materials. Limiting the quantity of security classified information has been thought to be desirable for a variety of important reasons: (1) promoting an informed citizenry, (2) effectuating accountability for government policies and practices, (3) realizing oversight of government operations, and (4) achieving efficiency and economy in government management.
Opening: Thomson West Librarian Relations Manager
Librarian Relations Manager – MAR00000177
Position is based in New York City
West has a long history of supporting law librarians with training and constructive interchanges. In this role, you will manage a Librarian Relations program in a designated territory for law firm librarians. Main duties will include building excellent relationships, training on West products and services, and supporting law firm library, management needs. You will also be responsible for driving librarian usage and preference for Westlaw and West print products in large law firm accounts through in-firm consultations, education and customer service activities.
Primary responsibilities include:
Teaching and Training
- Participate in the development and teaching of Westlaw and West print curriculum especially designed for legal professionals at large law firms within assigned territory.
- Participate in the development and teaching of continuing education seminars for law librarians within assigned territory.
- Support non-law firm organizations such as law schools, library schools and government entities, through teaching and training of Westlaw and West print products.
- Foster and maintain strong customer relationships within assigned territory.
- Respond to customer inquires in a timely manner.
- Support law librarians through direct interaction with West customer service, , product developers and reference attorneys.
- Attend local and regional librarian association meetings and annual national AALL conference.
- Respond to sponsorship requests from local and regional associations.
- Speak at association events on behalf of West and the Librarian Relations program when appropriate.
Sales and Account Management Relations
- Support West Sales and Account Management activities within assigned division by supporting divisional goals.
- Masters in Library Science (M.L.S.) and/or J.D.
- 5+ years of law library experience
- Self directed and capable of driving multiple initiatives simultaneously
- Strong leadership and management skills
- Teaching experience and presentation skills
- Broad based knowledge and experience with legal information resources and legal technology applications.
- Effective verbal and written communication skills
- Strong organizational and prioritization skills
- Law library association leadership experience
- Ability to maintain confidentiality
- Strong customer service attitude
- Displayed project management skills
- High energy and an ability to interact positively and effectively with librarians and West teams
May 9, 2007
Happy 50th Birthday Helvetica!
The BBC is celebrating Helvetica's 50th birthday. Here's two great comments to the story:
Two fonts walk into the bar, and the barman says, "sorry lads, we don't serve your type".
JB, Gerrards Cross
How dare Paris Hilton call our lives mundane when we can talk so passionately about fonts!
And if you just can't get enough of the font, you can read Lars Müller's Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface. [JH]
The Hollywood Librarian: Librarians in Cinema and Society Movie Trailer
"The Hollywood Librarian: Librarians in Cinema and Society" will premiere at ALA's Annual Conference on Friday, June 22, 2007. According to the promotional material:
[This is] the first full-length film to focus on the work and lives of librarians in the entertaining and appealing context of American movies. American film contains hundreds of examples of librarians and libraries on screen -- some positive, some negative, some laughable and some dead wrong. Dozens of interviews of real librarians will be interwoven with movie clips of cinematic librarians and serve as transitions between the themes of censorship, intellectual freedom, children and librarians, pay equity and funding issues, and the value of reading.
I hope the full length film features some interviews of 20-30-something librarians. Here's the trailer which (unintentionally) portrays the graying of the profession. [JH]