September 15, 2007
Religion and the Presidential Vote: A Tale of Two Gaps
"For the presidential candidates and the pundits who write about them, one concern in the 2008 campaign is the “religion gap” — shorthand for the religious differences between Republican and Democratic voters. An analysis of national exit polls from 2004 shows there is not one but two religion gaps — one based on religious affiliation and the other based on frequency of attendance at worship services. Recent surveys by the Pew Research Center provide evidence that both of these religion gaps are at work as the public evaluates the candidates for the 2008 presidential race. The surveys also indicate that the Democrats may be doing better than they did in 2004 among some religious groups." [RJ]
Conservative Group Targets Hillary Clinton's Papers in Presidential Library
"Judicial Watch, a Washington, DC-based conservative public interest group, is suing the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), frustrated that more than a year has passed since it first filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) office diary, day planner, telephone log book, and other documents from her eight-year tenure as First Lady. It is unlikely, however, that archivists at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, AR, where the records are stored, will be forced to release the documents before the 2008 election. Judicial Watch's FOIA request is one of hundreds filed with the library since the Clinton papers were released in January 2006."
September 14, 2007
Friday Fun: The Adventures of Super Librarian
I hope there really is a McCracken County Public Library!
Size Still Matters in Latest Per Capita Faculty Productivity Study
Professor Michael Yelnosky, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Roger Williams has released this draft "productivity" study of Tier 3 and Tier 4 law schools (Criteria used in study). The Yelnosky study applies features of the method used by Texas law prof Brian Leiter in an earlier 2000-2002 study (Criteria used in study) with some modifications. For example, unlike the Leiter study, the Yelnosky study examines the Top 50 journals, defined as the general law reviews published by the 54 schools receiving the highest peer assessment scores in the U.S. News Rankings (2.8 or higher).
Readers of this blog will note that I respect Leiter's law school rankings studies for their careful employment of objective metrics and equally careful identification and examination of the shortcomings of ranking studies, including his own. See, for example, Top 35 Law Faculties Based on Scholarly Impact for 2007 (one of "those rare citation studies coming out of the legal academy that exemplifies the precision of infometrics, not the carelessness of 'info antics.'").
One metric in Leiter's 200-2002 study that is used in Yelnosky's study, however, is not one of Leiter's best efforts. He applied a points system to the length of articles (0 points for articles under 6 pages; 1 point for articles 6-20 pages; 2 points for articles 21-50 pages; 3 points for articles exceeding 50 pages) and addressed the self-publishing aspect of articles published in-house by halving their point values. Objective? Yes, but the "so what" factor looms large because of the arbitrary nature of the page cutoffs for earning points. For an earlier study using the same methodology for per capita faculty productivity, see Brian Leiter, Measuring the Academic Distinction of Law Faculties, 29 Journal of Legal Studies 451 (2000) [Westlaw].
I agree with Leiter on two issues. Short law review articles and in-house publications should be addressed in per capita faculty productivity studies. But I would not use a points system. Instead I would simply identity both facets in a table and use cumulative stats for data analysis: (1) all articles; (2) all articles longer than X pages; (3) all non-in-house articles, etc.
The Yelnosky study continues the early Leiter "tradition." I'm happy to note that Leiter has not. [JH]
Law Clerk Cost-Cutting Has Judges Up At Arms
"A confidential salary cost-containment report currently making the rounds among federal judges would limit judges to a single career law clerk, curtail clerk vacation pay and cap career clerk salaries. Plenty of judges are hopping mad. "This would interfere with judges' ability to produce the best opinions," said 9th Circuit Judge Consuelo Callahan. "There is a big difference between hiring people just out of law school and those with a lot of experience." [RJ]
2007 WTO Annual Report
Via UN Pulse: "The Annual Report of the World Trade Organization focuses on the main activities of the organization and details of its current structure, staff and budget. This is a companion report to the World Trade Report, the World Tariff Profiles and the International Trade Statistics." [RJ]
New Court Decisions in Two Archive Cases
- Court Permits CIA to Withhold Historic President’s Daily Briefs, But Denies Categorical Exemption for PDBs
- Court Rejects Wiretapping Secrecy Claims, Orders New Index of Documents and More Detailed Reasons for Withholding
Presidential Libraries: History Uncovered
"A first-person view of the modern presidency from the men who held the office and those who served around them. Join us as C-SPAN presents Presidential Libraries: History Uncovered — the product of an unprecedented, yearlong search in cooperation with the National Archives for rare and unseen recordings from all 12 of the nation's presidential libraries." (LIVE: On C-SPAN, Fridays at 8pm ET | On C-SPAN Radio, Saturdays at 3pm ET)
September 13, 2007
Professional Reading: Dredging-up the Past: Lifelogging, Memory and Surveillance
Penn law prof Anita L. Allen has deposited Dredging-up the Past: Lifelogging, Memory and Surveillance in the bepress Legal Repository. Here's the abstract of this very interesting paper:
The term “lifelog” refers to a comprehensive archive of an individual's quotidian existence, created with the help of pervasive computing technologies. Lifelog technologies would record and store everyday conversations, actions, and experiences of their users, enabling future replay and aiding remembrance. Products to assist lifelogging are already on the market; but the technology that will enable people fully and continuously to document their entire lives is still in the research and development phase. For generals, edgy artists and sentimental grandmothers alike, lifelogging could someday replace or complement, existing memory preservation practices. Like a traditional diary, journal or day-book, the lifelog could preserve subjectively noteworthy facts and impressions. Like an old-fashioned photo album, scrapbook or home video, it could retain images of childhood, loved-ones and travels. Like a cardboard box time capsule or filing cabinet it could store correspondence and documents. Like personal computing software, it could record communications data, keystrokes and internet trails. The lifelog could easily store data pertaining to purely biological states derived from continuous self-monitoring of, for example, heart rate, respiration, blood sugar, blood pressure and arousal. To the extent that it preserves personal experience for voluntary private consumption, electronic lifelogging looks innocent enough, as innocent as Blackberries, home movies, and snapshots in silver picture frames. But lifelogging could fuel excessive self-absorption, since users would be engaged in making multimedia presentations about themselves all the time. The availability of lifelogging technology might lead individuals to overvalue the otherwise transient details of their lives. Furthermore, the potential would be great for incivility, emotional blackmail, exploitation, prosecution and social control by government surrounding lifelog creation, content and accessibility. Existing privacy law and policy do not suggest meaningful limits on unwanted uses of lifelogging data. This parry of the costs and benefits commences a fuller discussion of lifelogging's ethical and legal implications.
CRS Report on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
New CRS report via the Federation of American Scientists:
"On August 5, 2007, P.L. 110-55, the Protect America Act of 2007, was signed into law by President Bush, after having been passed by the Senate on August 3 and the House of Representatives on August 4. The measure, introduced by Senator McConnell as S. 1927 on August 1, makes a number of additions and modifications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), as amended, 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801 et seq., adds additional reporting requirements, and sunsets in 180 days. This report describes the provisions of P.L. 110-55, discusses its possible impact on and parallels to existing law, and summarizes the legislative activity with respect to S. 1927, H.R. 3356, and S. 2011." [RJ]
Strategic Legal Technology
Prism Legal Consulting's Strategic Legal Technology is a great blog covering KM developments. Check it out! [JH]
A Quick Guide to Gaming in Libraries
From the web page: "Gaming in libraries is a very hot topic this year. We are seeing gaming presentations at library conferences such as ALA Annual and Computers in Libraries, as well as entire symposiums dedicated to the theme, articles are appearing in major papers such as the Chicago Tribune, and libraries are starting to report on their successes. Here’s a quick guide to some of the resources available related to the gaming in libraries meme."
LittleBigPlanet. My observations indicate that the only gaming going on in law schools is students playing Texas Hold'em online in the computer lab or the lecture hall. However, some bright LIS student is going to use PlayStation 3's killer application, LittleBigPlanet, to take library gaming into a whole new direction. See Hands-on: LittleBigPlanet and this cute little video: LittleBigPlanet cardboard robot boxing match. [JH]
U.S. Government Manual, 2007-2008
"The 2007-2008 edition of the United States Government Manual is now available on GPO Access at <http://www.gpoaccess.gov/gmanual/index.html>. As the official handbook of the Federal Government, the United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees. The Manual begins with reprints of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S.Constitution. The Manual is published as a special edition of the Federal Register (see 1 CFR 9.1)."
A typical agency description includes:
- A list of officials heading major operating units.
- A summary statement of the agency's purpose and role in the Federal Government.
- A brief history of the agency, including its legislative or executive authority.
- A description of its programs and activities.
- Information, addresses, and phone numbers to help users locate detailed information on consumer activities, contracts and grants, employment, publications, and other matters of public interest. [RJ]
Where to Find Public Records Online
"You can use the web to find lots of things: information, videos, books, music, games, and yes, even public records. While our most private information can (usually) not be found online, you can track down items like birth certificates, marriage and divorce information, obituaries and licenses on the web. Keep reading to learn where to find public records online." [RJ]
Ave Maria Law School May Face Threat to Accreditation
"The Ave Maria School of Law, which has been embroiled in a bitter dispute over a planned move from Michigan to Florida, may face a challenge to its continued accreditation, according to a letter released last week by the law school's dean." (for subscribers) [RJ]
September 12, 2007
New UC Irvine Law School Hires Chemerinsky as Dean, Then Fires Him for Political Reasons
Professional Reading: Surveying the Digital Future
"The Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School is pleased to present the results of the sixth year of our project, "Surveying the Digital Future." The six years of longitudinal research comprise an absolutely unique data base that completely captures broadband at home, the wireless Internet, on-line media, user-generated content and, now, social networking.
This year's report contains a large module looking at on-line communities and social networking in great detail. Readers can compare the social networking data and correlate it to six years of attitudes and behaviors on-line. As usual, the report continues to track off-line media use, purchasing both off-line and through e-commerce, social and political activity and a wealth of other data.
The Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School has been tracking a representative sample of the American population for over six years, watching as people move on line and then move from modems to broadband. The project also carefully tracks those who drop off the net each year and whether they return and if so, when and what brings them back. At the end of six years, we also have an unparalleled view of the non users who do not go on line. We carefully examine why they are not users and whether they are likely to ever go on line.
The Center is committed to providing highlights of the Digital Future Report free of charge to anyone interested in tracking the ways in which technology is changing the social, political or economic fabric of our lives. The full report, 127 pages of charts, narrative and great detail is available for purchase." [RJ]
Critical Reading of Electronic Materials by Law Students
Check out Nova Southeastern law profs Debra Moss Curtis and Judith R. Karp's "In a Case, on the Screen, Do They Remember What They've Seen? Critical Electronic Reading in the Law Classroom," 30 Hamline L. Rev. 247 (2007) [Westlaw]. From the introduction:
In 2005, we produced a well-received article and presentation entitled, "In a Case, In a Book, They Will Not Take a Second Look!’ Critical Reading in the Legal Writing Classroom.” [41 Willamette L. Rev. 293 (2005) Westlaw] The article examined the educational foundations of critical reading, as well as, critical reading techniques. The purpose was to establish that law students need instruction in critical reading. In the article, we offered creative solutions that had been successfully used in our legal writing classes.
In the two years since, we have found it necessary to reconsider the problem of critical reading in the law school classroom, in light of the different formats in which students may be presented with material. Our first article centered on reading cases in a paper format. This article focuses on the different problems that arise when students read electronically - on a computer screen, rather than in a paper format.
Part II of this article discusses the biological and physiological differences readers experience when reading on a computer screen versus on paper. Part III discusses our uses of on-screen reading in the law classroom, and establishes why this is a very real situation law students encounter. In Part IV, we offer solutions for assisting students in their practical on-screen reading skills, as well as, thoughts on how to improve their critical reading in this format.
Open Access Repositories in China
Check out ShuYong Jiang's very interesting Open Mind, Open Access. Here's the abstract:
Open access is a modern notion of resource sharing in the technology era. It began as a bold reaction of the academic community to the rapidly increased cost of scholarly publishing, and it is now an important concept in digitization and digital libraries. It has hanged the way in which scholarly information is disseminated. While the development of electronic resources and digitization in China in recent years provides rich opportunities for scholarly information exchange, open access both as a concept and as a practice, is yet to be accepted. Open access repositories are very limited in number. Open access as a concept was not on the agenda for digital resource development until 2005 and the first open access library and information repository by National Library of China was launched in July 2006. Prior to this, there were very few open access resources available. Most of them were experimental in nature and inoperable with mainstream Internet tools. Not only do these open access resources not carry the same academic value as other scholarly publications, but also they lack support from both information providers and consumers. By looking at the current status of open access resources in China, this paper will examine some of the primary open access resources in China, such as Qiji Wenku ("Miracle Library"). It will raise issues related to open access in China such as scholarly resource sharing; the cooperation among information providers, creators and consumers; the implication of online copyright in a digital environment; and, the promotion of the idea of resource and technology sharing in the global information transition.
Florida A&M University College of Law's Virtual Tour
Here's a virtual tour of the new 160,000-square-foot Florida A&M University Law School located in downtown Orlando.