August 15, 2007
Pre-Order Now: The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet
The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet
by Daniel J. Solove
List Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (October 15, 2007)
Book Description: Teeming with chatrooms, online discussion groups, and blogs, the Internet offers previously unimagined opportunities for personal expression and communication. But there’s a dark side to the story. A trail of information fragments about us is forever preserved on the Internet, instantly available in a Google search. A permanent chronicle of our private lives—often of dubious reliability and sometimes totally false—will follow us wherever we go, accessible to friends, strangers, dates, employers, neighbors, relatives, and anyone else who cares to look. This engrossing book, brimming with amazing examples of gossip, slander, and rumor on the Internet, explores the profound implications of the online collision between free speech and privacy.
Firedoodle - Turn the web into a whiteboard!
"When you install Firedoodle, you add a whiteboard to every web page you visit using the Firefox Browser. This is great for reviews, jotting ideas, or just goofing off. You can also mark your place on looooong pages so if you need to leave and come back, you can easily pick up where you left off. It's easy to use and you can even save your highlights or placemarks if you register so they don't disappear when you close Firefox." Very cool! [RJ]
Opening: Assistant Law Library Director, Penn State's Dickinson School of Law
Penn State's Dickinson School of Law invites applications and nominations for the position of Assistant Director of its Law Library at University Park (Penn State's main campus). The Assistant Director assists the Associate Dean/Director of the Law Library and the Associate Director in all aspects of library administration and is responsible for day-to-day management of the Law Library's University Park operation.
This position will oversee all functions of the Technical Services and Public Services departments and coordinate their activities; assist the Director and Associate Director with long-range planning and with project identification and implementation; and provide research/reference support to the law faculty, students, and other library users. The Library is expanding its faculty services, liaison, and instructional services. The successful candidate must be able to coordinate complex activities, develop new services, relate well to faculty, and should expect to participate in and promote teaching and instructional support. The Assistant Director will be called upon to participate in planning for new library facilities scheduled to open in 2009 at University Park and 2010 in Carlisle.
Accredited MLS/JD degrees and a minimum of four years experience in academic law libraries required. This is a tenure track position within the Penn State University Libraries faculty. Salary and rank commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Salary and Benefits:
This is a tenure track position within the Penn State University Libraries faculty. Salary and rank commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Applications will be considered immediately.
August 14, 2007
Legal Conference Watch
The Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington School of Law, has launched Legal Conference Watch, a current awareness blog covering conferences of interest to law school faculty. Snips from the About page:
If [your institution is] hosting or [if you} know about an upcoming conference that would interest law school faculty, please send us a link or some basic information. We’d like to help you get the word out. Write to whisner [at] u [dot] washington [dot] edu.
We do not plan to include continuing legal education programs or local bar association meetings
Listings will be limited to programs that are at least a day long. Many afternoon lectures or lunchtime meetings are undoubtedly very interesting, but not worth traveling far to attend.
We will list more conferences in the U.S. and Canada than elsewhere, although we will add foreign conferences selectively. (A German conference about German law will probably not make the cut; a conference in Germany that is about international or comparative law and is advertised for speakers and participants around the world will.)
Hat tip to Mary Whisner, Reference Librarian, Gallagher Law Library. [JH]
What Impact Does Judicial Pay Have on Federal Circuit Court Performance?
North Carolina law prof Scott Baker has deposited Should We Pay Federal Circuit Judges More? in SSRN. Here's the abstract:
According to Chief Justice Roberts, the most difficult issue facing the federal judiciary is low judicial salaries. His view, shared by other justices and many federal judges, is that low salaries deter many of the most qualified candidates from considering the bench. This article considers the impact of judicial pay on the performance of the federal circuit courts. I exploit variation in the next best financial opportunity for most circuit judges - partnership in a regional law firm - to determine the impact of low judicial salaries. With high judicial salaries, judges give up little money as against their next best opportunity to take the bench. With low judicial salaries, judges give up a lot of money to take the bench. Comparison of the performance of judges with varying “spreads” allows for a prediction about the likely impact of higher judicial salaries. The article finds that low judicial salaries do not impact votes in controversial cases, the speed of case disposition, or citation practices to outside circuit authority. The article does find that low salaries leads to slightly fewer dissents and slightly stronger opinions, as measured by the average number of outside circuit citations. These two effects, while statistically significant, are nonetheless practically trivial. In short, the article finds that judicial pay is largely irrelevant to the functioning of the circuit courts.
HeinOnline's U.S. Congressional Documents Collection
"For the first time in an online environment, HeinOnline is providing complete online access to the bound and daily Congressional Record, its three predecessor titles, and other important Congressional material. The entire U.S. Congressional Documents Collection is the most convenient and user-friendly online portal to access these important records." [RJ]
Say "Hello" to HTML 5 aka Web Applications 1.0
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) 5 introduces new elements to HTML for the first time since the last millennium. New structural elements include aside, figure, and section. New inline elements include time, meter, and progress. New embedding elements include video and audio. New interactive elements include details, datagrid, and command. Read more about it in IBM's developerWorks. [JH]
Google University Research Programs Offers Two New Services
Google has announced it would make two new services available to the higher education research community--access to Web search and machine translations--as part of a new University Research Programs effort.
- The University Research Program for Google Search is designed to promote a greater common understanding of the web by giving university faculty and their research teams programmatic access to Google Search. It is designed to give university researchers "high-volume programmatic access to Google Search, whose huge repository of data constitutes a valuable resource for understanding the structure and contents of the Web," Google said.
- The University Research Program for Google Translate offers tools to help researchers in the field of automatic machine translation compare and contrast with, and build on top of, Google's statistical machine translation system. It would allow researchers "programmatic access to Google's translation service," including "detailed word alignment information" and "a list of the n-best translations with detailed scoring information."
New Legal Titles from Ashgate
International Law and Society
Empirical Approaches to Human Rights
Laura A. Dickinson
July 2007 | 588 pages
Hardback: ISBN: 0 7546 2611 3 | $275.00
Description: Scholars of international human rights law are largely unfamiliar with law and society scholarship, while the study of international human rights has remained at the margins of the law and society movement. International Law and Society: Empirical Approaches to Human Rights seeks to bridge this gap by presenting the work of a growing number of academics who are adopting a range of empirical approaches to international human rights. Drawn from the fields of anthropology, sociology, political science and law, the studies featured in this volume use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze core issues of international law and human rights, such as compliance, the development of norms and the role of social movements.
Family Life and the Law
Under One Roof
Edited by Rebecca Probert
July 2007 | 296 pages
Hardback: 0 7546 4760 9 | 978-0-7546-4760-7 | $114.95
Description: This book brings a modern critical approach to bear on the broad range of subjects that used to constitute 'family law.' A key consideration in this collection is the way in which law itself is premised upon, constructing a particular image of the family. By bringing different areas of law together, Probert et al suggest it is possible to explore how differing ideas about 'the family' inform different areas of law. This approach allows Family Life and the Law to analyze the extent to which the law is consistent and/or inconsistent in its concept and treatment of the family across and within disciplines. The book is particularly timely in view of the passage of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, the implications of which reverberate throughout family law and allied disciplines, and the current reconsideration of the position of cohabiting couples.
Perspectives about the news from people in the news
"We wanted to give you a heads-up on a new, experimental feature we'll be trying out on the Google News home page. Starting this week, we'll be displaying reader comments on stories in Google News, but with a bit of a twist...
We'll be trying out a mechanism for publishing comments from a special subset of readers: those people or organizations who were actual participants in the story in question. Our long-term vision is that any participant will be able to send in their comments, and we'll show them next to the articles about the story. Comments will be published in full, without any edits, but marked as "comments" so readers know it's the individual's perspective, rather than part of a journalist's report." [RJ]
As always, Google News will direct readers to the professionally-written articles and news sources our algorithms have determined are relevant for a topic. From bloggers to mainstream journalists, the journalists who help create the news we read every day occupy a critical place in the information age. But we're hoping that by adding this feature, we can help enhance the news experience for readers, testing the hypothesis that -- whether they're penguin researchers or presidential candidates-- a personal view can sometimes add a whole new dimension to the story.
We're beginning this only in the US and then, based on how things go, we'll work to expand it to other languages and editions. We're excited about the possibilities of this new feature and we hope you are too, so if you've been covered in a news article please send us your comments and we'll work with you to post it on Google News.
August 13, 2007
Bepress to Acquire Digital Commons
From the press release:
Berkeley, CA - August 10, 2007 - ProQuest and The Berkeley Electronic Press ("bepress") today announced that they have reached an agreement for bepress to purchase ownership of Digital Commons, the world's leading hosted institutional repository solution. Bepress will be adding sales and marketing staff and augmenting its existing customer support and services in addition to the hosting and technology services that it has always provided Digital Commons customers.
Bepress Chairman, Aaron Edlin, said "Institutional Repositories are core to the bepress mission of furthering scholarly communication and thus bepress is excited at the opportunity to build a close relationship with Digital Commons customers. Developing successful and vibrant Institutional Repositories will be bepress's central focus."
ProQuest continues to believe that institutional repositories play an important role in the mission of academic libraries. In the future, it plans to offer tools that enhance or are complementary with institutional repositories. ProQuest is confident that bepress will offer a high standard of customer service for Digital Commons subscribers.
Karl Rove Resigning
CNN is reporting that Karl Rove, President Bush's senior political adviser, will leave his White House post at the end of the month. [JH]
Early Registration for Teaching the Teachers: Effective Instruction in Legal Education Conference Due Before September 1
Teaching the Teachers: Effective Instruction in Legal Education
October 18-20, 2007
Tarlton Law Library
The Univeristy of Texas at Austin School of Law
Professional Reading: Federal Search Commission? Access, Fairness and Accountability in the Law of Search
Frank A. Pasquale (Seton Hall) and Oren Bracha (Texas) have posted Federal Search Commission? Access, Fairness and Accountability in the Law of Search on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Should search engines be subject to the types of regulation now applied to personal data collectors, cable networks, or phone books? In this article, we make the case for some regulation of the ability of search engines to manipulate and structure their results. We demonstrate that the First Amendment, properly understood, does not prohibit such regulation. Nor will such interventions inevitably lead to the disclosure of important trade secrets.
After setting forth normative foundations for evaluating search engine manipulation, we explain how neither market discipline nor technological advance is likely to stop it. Though savvy users and personalized search may constrain abusive companies to some extent, they have little chance of checking untoward behavior by the oligopolists who now dominate the search market. Against the trend of courts that would declare search results unregulable speech, this article makes a case for an ongoing conversation on search engine regulation. [RJ]
The Power Broker: In an exclusive interview, Justice Kennedy discusses life, center stage.
"In 19 cases during the past year, the Supreme Court split down the middle along ideological lines. The court's four conservatives—Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito—lined up on one side, and the four liberals—Justices Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter—lined up on the other. Each time, the tie was broken by a fifth vote belonging to Justice Anthony Kennedy. On 13 occasions, Kennedy aligned himself with the conservatives. While the court is clearly moving to the right, it's obvious that Kennedy holds the balance of power." [RJ]
States Pick Up Congress' Slack on Immigration
"As the prospects for federal immigration reform dwindled, state legislators took matters into their own hands and enacted 170 immigration-related bills in 41 states, more than double the number of enacted legislation in 2006 according to a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"Congress' failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform has really forced the states' hands," said Texas Senator and NCSL President Leticia Van de Putte. "Since the federal ship has sunk, there have been 50 lifeboats in the water seeking a solution. Once again, states have taken the lead on one of the most critical public policy challenges facing our country."
Immigration-related introductions in 2007 have jumped more than 240 percent over last year's introductions. 1,404 bills in all 50 states have been considered thus far this year. The legislation encompasses a wide range of policy areas including employment issues, education, human trafficking, law enforcement and public benefits among others." [RJ]
New Program Color-codes Text in Wikipedia Entries for Trustworthiness
"The online reference site Wikipedia enjoys immense popularity despite nagging doubts about the reliability of entries written by its all-volunteer team. A new program developed at the University of California, Santa Cruz, aims to help with the problem by color-coding an entry's individual phrases based on contributors' past performance.
The program analyzes Wikipedia's entire editing history--nearly two million pages and some 40 million edits for the English-language site alone--to estimate the trustworthiness of each page. It then shades the text in deepening hues of orange to signal dubious content. A 1,000-page demonstration version is already available on a web page operated by the program's creator, Luca de Alfaro, associate professor of computer engineering at UCSC." [RJ]
"Other sites already employ user ratings as a measure of reliability, but they typically depend on users' feedback about each other. This method makes the ratings vulnerable to grudges and subjectivity. The new program takes a radically different approach, using the longevity of the content itself to learn what information is useful and which contributors are the most reliable.
"The idea is very simple," de Alfaro said. "If your contribution lasts, you gain reputation. If your contribution is reverted [to the previous version], your reputation falls." De Alfaro will speak about his new program this Saturday, August 4, at the Wikimania conference in Taipei, Taiwan.
The program works from a user's history of edits to calculate his or her reputation score. The trustworthiness of newly inserted text is computed as a function of the reputation of its author. As subsequent contributors vet the text, their own reputations contribute to the text's trustworthiness score. So an entry created by an unknown author can quickly gain (or lose) trust after a few known users have reviewed the pages.
A benefit of calculating author reputation in this way is that de Alfaro can test how well his reliability scores work. He does so by comparing users' reliability scores with how long their subsequent edits last on the site. So far, the program flags as suspect more than 80 percent of edits that turn out to be poor. It's not overly accusatory, either: 60 to 70 percent of the edits it flags do end up being quickly corrected by the Wikipedia community.
The exhaustive analysis of Wikipedia's seven-year edit history takes de Alfaro's desktop PC about a week to complete. At present he is working from copies of the site that Wikipedia periodically distributes. Once the initial backlog of edits is calculated, however, de Alfaro said that updating reliability scores in real time should be fairly simple.
While the program prominently displays text trustworthiness, de Alfaro favors keeping hidden the reputation ratings of individual users. Displaying reputations could lead to competitiveness that would detract from Wikipedia's collaborative culture, he said, and could demoralize knowledgeable contributors whose scores remain low simply because they post infrequently and on few topics.
"We didn't want to modify the experience of a user going in to Wikipedia," de Alfaro said. "It is very relaxing right now and we didn't want to modify what has worked so well and is so welcoming to the new user."
De Alfaro's color-coded Wikipedia pages can be found on his demonstration site."
IISS Applauds EU Proposals for Institutional Reforms
The International Institute for Strategic Studies believes the European Union has taken important steps towards institutional reforms in a new paper. The paper cites two in particular – one streamlining decision-making and another consolidating in one position responsibility for security policy and overseas development aid. [JH]
What is a Search Engine?
"The Internet - and especially the Web - has revolutionized the world we live in. Leading this charge are the Search engines: first, Excite, Lycos and Hotbot, in the early days; then later, Alta Vista; and now Google and Yahoo!. These services are ubiquitous, free and easy to use, and they help us make sense of the huge, amorphous cloud of global information that’s available at our fingertips. They help us with the findability of meaningful information, which in the current state of the art means locating relevant documents, images, and media of interest.
There is a lot of interest in these Web search engines, with numerous observers globally watching and writing about their every move, every new feature, every mis-step. But what exactly is a Web Search Engine? In this post, we try to define the term in more detail." [RJ]
Opening: Electronic Resources/Reference Librarian, FAMU College of Law Library
FAMU College of Law is searching for an Electronic Services/Reference Librarian to add to our staff. The ideal candidate must possess an earned Master’s degree in Library and/or Information Science from an ALA accredited institution. A J.D. from an ABA accredited law school is strongly preferred.. The candidate must demonstrate knowledge of technology as it applies in a library setting. Excellent oral and written communication skills and good interpersonal skills are needed, as well as substantial knowledge of Lexis, Westlaw, CD-ROM, Internet and online research tools and techniques. The successful candidate must also have a high level of motivation and initiative. Duties include working with the library’s web site, handling electronic subscriptions and Lexis/Westlaw passwords, participating in Reference Desk hours, and liaising with faculty. Evening and some weekend hours are required.
FAMU College of Law is Florida’s only historically black law school, and possesses one of the largest collections of civil rights documents in the country. The library is 42,000 square feet, with over 330,000 volumes, and space to grow in our beautiful new building. We are located in the heart of downtown Orlando, Florida, one of the top vacation destinations in the United States. Our staff is friendly and dedicated to the mission of FAMU College of Law: to provide a law program with high academic standards and to increase representation of minorities within the legal profession.
For more information, please contact Grace Mills, Law Library Director, at (407) 254-3231 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To apply, visit http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?a=employment, Position #19303. Diverse applicants are encouraged to apply.
Assistant Director for Public Services
FAMU College of Law Library
201 Beggs Ave.
Orlando, FL 32801