June 23, 2007
Growing Up With the News: Most Parents Encourage their Kids to Follow the News
"In an era where the news is often dominated by war, tragedy and scandal, America’s parents are more likely to encourage their children to follow the news than they are to shield them from it. Among parents with school-aged children (kindergarten through 12th grade), six-in-ten (61%) say they often or sometimes encourage their children to follow the news. Fewer parents (47%) often or sometimes try to shield their kids from the news, while nearly four-in-ten (38%) say they never do so.
Even so, most school-aged children are not regular news consumers. According to their parents, only 6% of today’s kids follow news about national and international issues very closely and 23% follow the news fairly closely. The vast majority don’t follow the news too closely or at all."
How to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Now
"This policy brief proposes that Congress legislate product-by-product and factory-by-factory disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions to create immediate incentives for companies to cut those emissions. Labeling products and disclosing factory emissions would provide market benefits now by exposing inefficiencies and informing the choices of investors, business partners, employees and consumers and would give companies the information base they need to prepare for cap-and-trade regulation. " [RJ]
June 22, 2007
Senate Passes Energy Bill with Increase in the CAFE Standard
The Associated Press is reporting that in Senate deliberations on H.R. 6, an eleventh-hour compromise was reached to increase average fuel economy by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon for cars, SUVs and pickup trucks by 2020. Check out H.R. 6 Congressional resources on Thomas. [JH]
Friday Fun: Ray of Light at St. Joseph County Public Library
This video was created for library staff in service day at the St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana by Dale Kerkman, Bob lewandowski, Michael Stephens and Adam Tarwacki. The video details a day in the life of a thriving public library system, highlighting the faces and places that make the library the library.
An Online Symposium on Televising the Supreme Court
"Senator Arlen Specter introduced S. 344, A bill to permit the televising of Supreme Court proceedings, on January 22, 2007. If enacted, the legislation will require the Supreme Court to televise its proceedings unless a majority of the Justices decide, on a case-by-case basis, that televising would violate the parties’ due process rights. An identical bill is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. A diverse panel of authors explores the implications of the prospective legislation and considers potential costs and benefits of televising the Court’s proceedings." [RJ]
Putting Search into Context
"The breathtaking ascendance of Internet search over the past decade has tended to obscure the limitations of the underlying technology. So quickly has search been embraced by hundreds of millions worldwide that it is entirely natural for people to spend more time marveling over what they’ve gained rather than focusing on the potential for improvement.
Luckily, though, while users revel in their unprecedented access to information, Silviu-Petru Cucerzan has his sights trained on the horizons of search.
Cucerzan, a researcher for the Text Mining, Search and Navigation group within Microsoft Research Redmond, is working on an approach he calls Information-Centric Browsing and Search, and his work promises to make the search experience much more robust, productive, and user-friendly.
His project explores the space of contextual search and instant access to information, in which the content of a document is analyzed to provide hyperlinks to key concepts. In the process of doing so, it identifies the most appropriate matches for ambiguous terms by considering them in the context in which they are used." [RJ]
“I believe this could change a lot of what we’re doing,” Cucerzan says, “a lot of how search is done in general.”
Let’s say you’re reading a Web story on college football that mentions a running back named Bush winning the Heisman Trophy. You want to know a bit more, so you begin a Web search for “Bush.” What happens? You get a multitude of search results, few of which have anything to do with the football player.
But what if you had a tool that could analyze the story you’re reading, understand that you’re seeking information about the Bush—Reggie Bush—who played football for the University of Southern California, and delivered only links about that player—and other pertinent information, such as the USC team itself, the conference it which it plays, or his 2005 Heisman award?
With such a tool at hand, the search process moves from looking for a needle in a haystack to looking for a needle in a pincushion. You get what you need.
20 "Power Elite" Law Firms Named
The BTI Consulting Group has released its “Client Relationship Scorecard” for 2007 and named 20 firms in its "Power Elite." The firms in the "Power Elite" pass four tests with their clients, the report said. The firms have an established, primary relationship with the firms; enjoy go-to status; receive “enthusiastic” recommendations to peers; and have “superior” levels of client satisfaction.
BTI based the list on interviews with 427 corporate counsel, according to a BTI press release.
1. Jones Day
2. Sidley Austin
3. Kirkland & Ellis
4. Latham & Watkins
5. Davis Polk
8. Morgan Lewis
9. Baker Botts
10. Gibson Dunn
11. Foley & Lardner
12. Wilmer Hale
13. Baker & McKenzie
14. Alston & Bird
15. Fulbright & Jaworski
16. Hunton & Williams
17. Shearman & Sterling
18. Chadbourne & Parke
20. Jenner & Block
Hat tip to The Legal Intelligencer Blog. [JH]
Escaping from the Meeting from Hell
How many times have you sat in one of those meetings from hell wishing you would get a mobile phone call from a colleague that would get you out of the meeting because, oh I don't know, maybe because there's a fire in the library? Been there, wished for something like that?
Now you can take matters into your own hands, not by planting some sort of small incendiary device with a timer in a waste paper basket in a little used section of the library (like the stacks), but by using a free web-based service called "The Popularity Dialer." With this wonderful website service you can choose to have your mobile phone called at a particular time. At the elected time, your phone will be dialed and you will hear a prerecorded message that's one half of a conversation. Thus, you will be prompted to have a fake conversation that ends with you have to leave the meeting immediately.
There is a god!
If the Popularity Dialer doesn't work for you, I've got a 14 year-old step-son who can give you some tips on small incendiary devices, eg lighting firecrackers in a brand new $100 LL Bean book bag works! [JH]
June 21, 2007
James G. Milles to receive CS-SIS Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award
The CS-SIS Awards Committee (Susan Boland, James E. Duggan, Chair, and Eric Young) has announced that James G. Milles has been selected as the 2007 recipient of the CS-SIS Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award. Jim, Vice Dean for Legal Information Services, Director of the Charles B. Sears Law Library and Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo Law School, State University of New York, was nominated by a group of CS-SIS current and past chairs, including Liz Glankler, Dominick J. Grillo, Kenneth J. Hirsh, Sheri H. Lewis, June Hsiao Liebert, and Kristina L. Niedringhaus.
This award honors a CS-SIS member who has made outstanding contributions to the SIS, to AALL, and who is well regarded for their service to the profession. The inaugural award recipient was Ken Hirsh, for whom the award was subsequently re-named. Jim is well known for his contributions to both CS-SIS and AALL. Jim served as chair of CS-SIS in 1996-1997 and was also AALL SIS Council Chair the following year. According to his nominators, "one of Jim's most important contributions to law librarianship has been the role of mentor he has played for many colleagues and newcomers to the field. Jim regularly introduces new librarians to AALL, CS-SIS, and CALI gatherings and mentors students in his library school classes. He makes it a point at every annual meeting to set aside time to meet with new librarians and introduce them to the section."
The 2007 CS-SIS Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award will be presented at the CS-SIS Business Meeting on Sunday, July 15, 2007, during the AALL Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
Editor's Note: Congratulations Jim! [JH]
Professional Reading: The Wiki and the Blog: Toward a Complex Adaptive Intelligence Community
The CIA's D. Calvin Andrus has deposited The Wiki and the Blog: Toward a Complex Adaptive Intelligence Community in SSRN. This is a very interesting early theoretical analysis of the benefits of harnessing two Web 2.0 technologies for collaborative information development. Here's the abstract:
US policy-makers, war-fighters, and law-enforcers now operate in a real-time worldwide decision and implementation environment. The rapidly changing circumstances in which they operate take on lives of their own, which are difficult or impossible to anticipate or predict. The only way to meet the continuously unpredictable challenges ahead of us is to match them with continuously unpredictable changes of our own. We must transform the Intelligence Community into a community that dynamically reinvents itself by continuously learning and adapting as the national security environment changes.
Recent theoretical developments in the philosophy of science that matured in the 1990's, collectively known as Complexity Theory, suggest changes the community should make to meet this challenge. These changes include allowing our officers more autonomy in the context of improved tradecraft and information sharing. In addition, several new technologies will facilitate this transformation. Two examples are self-organizing knowledge websites, known as Wikis, and information sharing websites known as Blogs. Allowing Intelligence Officers and our non-intelligence National Security colleagues access to these technologies on SIPRNet, will provide a critical mass to begin the transformation.
An earlier unpublished version of this paper received the Intelligence Community’s Galileo Award for 2004. [JH]
The Best and Worst Internet Laws
Law professor Eric Goldman evaluates a look at the best and worst U.S. Internet laws. Goldman offers an analysis of the major laws such as the DMCA, but also shines a light on lesser known laws like the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002. Check it out. [JH]
Amnesty International Report 2007: The State of the World's Human Rights
"Powerful governments and armed groups are deliberately fomenting fear to erode human rights and to create an increasingly polarized and dangerous world, said Amnesty International today as it launched Amnesty International Report 2007, its annual assessment of human rights worldwide.
"Through short sighted, fear-mongering and divisive policies, governments are undermining the rule of law and human rights, feeding racism and xenophobia, dividing communities, intensifying inequalities and sowing the seeds for more violence and conflict," said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
"The politics of fear is fuelling a downward spiral of human rights abuse in which no right is sacrosanct and no person safe."
"The 'war on terror' and the war in Iraq, with their catalogue of human rights abuses, have created deep divisions that cast a shadow on international relations , making it more difficult to resolve conflicts and protect civilians." [RJ]
Economic survey of the United States 2007
"The US economy continues to grow solidly, though at a slower pace than before. Long term challenges include labour force growth, fiscal sustainability, distortions in the housing market, performance of secondary schools and access to college." [RJ]
Opening: Reference/Electronic Services Librarian, Texas State Law Library
The Texas State Law Library has a position available for a Reference/Electronic Services Librarian. The posting and contact information is available online at http://www.sll.state.tx.us/jobs/jobs.html.
June 20, 2007
Professional Reading: International Copyright Law & Domestic Constitutional Doctrines
Arizona Law Prof Graeme W. Austin, University of Arizona College of Law, has published International Copyright Law & Domestic Constitutional Doctrines in the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts for 2007. Here is the abstract:
This paper examines emerging constitutional doctrines that emphasize the relevance of international copyright relations to the constitutionality of domestic copyright law. One line of judicial reasoning suggests that legislation that protects the interests of foreign authors is consistent with copyright's quid pro quo bargain. Another suggests that rational basis scrutiny can be satisfied by a sufficient showing that the challenged legislation advances the bargaining position of the United States in negotiations over the content of foreign copyright laws. To put these developments in context, this paper briefly summarizes the doctrine that has been distilled by recent challenges to the constitutionality of various aspects of U.S. copyright law. It then explores the contours of this new "internationalized" approach to constitutional analysis of copyright law in the domestic context.
Hat tip to Media Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Environmental Research Guide from the UN
"To enable researchers to identify key UN bodies working in the area of the environment as well as related documentation, a special chapter has been added to the Research Guide which also includes: a listing of important meetings which have taken place over the years; full text links to multilateral treaties; a listing of key reference tools issued by the Organization; and tips for identifying environment documentation using UNBISnet and the Official Documents System of the United Nations (ODS)." [RJ]
LLSDC's Law Library Lights' Summer Issue Now Online
I'll probably get in trouble for saying this but the DC Chapter produces the best AALL chapter newsletter. In the Summer issue of Law Library Lights find out what DC law librarians do when they're not researching legislative history, trying to figure out the latest Thomson West bill, or hunting down that elusive 20-year old 2nd edition of XYZ treatise. [JH]
Will Combining EAD Capabilities with Web 2.0 Produce the Next Generation of Finding Aids?
Elizabeth Yakel, Seth Shaw & Polly Reynold's Creating the Next Generation of Archival Finding Aids addresses the question in the May/June 2007 issue of D-Lib Magazine. Here's the Introduction:
Since the advent of the Internet, access to information about primary sources has improved. Archivists have been early adopters of Internet technologies, first mounting archival inventories on gophers, later employing HTML and most recently using XML, specifically Encoded Archival Description (EAD), to display finding aids online. Despite the transition from paper to electronic form, online finding aids retain much of the look and functionality of their paper counterparts and make only minimal use of available technologies, usually for browsing and searching. Document genres need to evolve in response to changing technological environments and social cultures.
New online collaborative technologies, such as filtering and recommender systems, allow for new methods of interacting with and experiencing primary sources. Using diverse metadata sources and drawing inspiration from social technologies used in websites such as Amazon and Wikipedia, the Next Generation Finding Aids research group at the University of Michigan has developed an archival access system that combines existing archival practice (EAD) with "Web 2.0" features, namely involving user input through social software and collaborative filtering. This article describes a pilot project to reenvision the display and functionality of archival inventories using the "Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections" as a test collection.
In the same issue of D-Lib, see also, Ann M. Lally & Carolyn E. Dunford's Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections. [JH]
Crusading Against the Courts
"The First Amendment to the Constitution begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But a 2007 Justice at Stake report [PDF] shows how a recent wave of religious-based attacks on the judiciary is spilling over into legislatures, judicial elections and a rising culture of vitriol designed to weaken the legitimacy of the courts that protect our rights. These attacks often seek to undermine the courts by injecting religious politics into the selection of judges, how cases are decided, and whether to deny certain Americans their day in court." [RJ]
June 19, 2007
Professional Reading: New Skills, New Learning: Legal Education and the Promise of New Technology
Gene Koo, Fellow, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, Director of Online Training, Legal Aid University and Contributing Editor for Law School Innovation has deposited in SSRN a white paper titled New Skills, New Learning: Legal Education and the Promise of New Technology. Here's the abstract:
Today's legal workplace demands technology-related skills that the traditional law school curriculum does not cover. The original research conducted for this white paper finds that these skills include organizing complex distributed teams, exploiting data and information on the Web, and "meta-lawyering" (establishing systems of practice). The study also finds that traditional methods of training such as apprenticeship have eroded in recent years and that law schools often overlook skills education, leaving a large gap in training of all skills and not just technology-related ones. The paper discusses how thoughtful use of pedagogical technology can address these needs, arguing for integrated and authentic learning experiences rather than "teaching technology" in the abstract.