November 14, 2007
Thomson West Video on Revised Federal Civil Rules of Procedure
From Thomson West:
In response to the discussion about the far-reaching changes to the Federal Civil Rules of Procedure, Thomson West has posted a 5 minute video featuring the authors of the Federal Civil Rules Handbook. The authors, Steven Baicker-McKee and Professor William Janssen, discuss the dramatic amendments to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, and why every major rule and form is changing on December 1, 2007. The video can be found under the "What's New for Law Librarians" section at: www.west.thomson.com/librarian.
The changes have mostly come about as a result of a comprehensive overhaul by a federal style committee. There are stylistic and substantive changes, and all the forms have changed as well.
Thomson West has published the Federal Civil Rules Handbook just in time for the coming rule changes. All rule changes will be in this volume, along with all the new forms, and a great deal of annotated commentary. There will also be a "roadmap" at the end of each rule indicating the Style Project changes and the non-stylistic (substantive) changes to the rules.
Guantanamo Bay Manual leaked to Wiki
Wired has an article on a sensitive Guantanamo Bay manual leaked to a wiki designed specifically for whistle-blowers, mostly political but also corporate. Wikileaks is of no relation to wikipedia, but runs on the same platform. Anyone can post materials and the founders trust in the masses to vet any document's authenticity and comment upon its veracity. More about wikileaks goals and policies here, and here is a description of the Advisory Board. An interesting if controversial use of 2.0 technology that was launched in January.
Restyling the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
As noted by Baylor law prof Rory Ryan, the restyling of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure takes effect December 1 but should it? Check out Jeremy Counseller and Rory Ryan's The Restyling of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: A Solution in Search of a Problem on Washington University's Slip Opinions, and Jeffrey Parker's Postponing the 2007 'Restyling' Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on SSRN. [JH]
ABA's Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project
- Listen to the press conference and panel discussion
- View the key findings of the Assessment Project final report
- View the national compliance charts
- View MSNBC coverage of Project findings
Publishers See a Way to Track Their Content Across the Net
"Copyrighted work like a news article or a picture can hop between Web sites as easily as a cut-and-paste command. But more than ever, as that material finds new audiences, the original sources might not get the direct financial benefit — in fact, they might have little idea where their work has spread.
A young company called Attributor says it has an answer, and a number of big publishers of copyrighted material say Attributor just might be right.
The company has developed software that identifies an electronic “fingerprint” for a particular piece of material — an article, a picture, a video. Then it hunts down any place across the Web where a significant chunk of that work has been copied, with or without permission.
When the use is unauthorized, Attributor’s software can automatically send a message to the site’s operators, demanding a link back to the original publisher’s site, a share of revenue from any ads on the page, or a halt to the copying."
Cornell Law Library's InSITE Website Reviews
Reviews published in the October 30, 2007 issue of InSITE:
- Guantánamo Testimonials Project
- IRIS Center at the University of Maryland, Department of Economics
- Rethinking Schools Online
- Workplace Fairness
Guantánamo Testimonials Project
The Guantánamo Testimonials Project strives to collect and make accessible in a single location all the available testimonies of prisoner experience and abuse at Guantánamo. The project is a product of the University of California, Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas (CSHRA). Testimonies are organized by witness type and include statements of prisoners, FBI Agents, interrogators, prosecution and defense lawyers, military physicians, a chaplain, a marine, a CIA asset, and others. Most statements are republished on this website in HTML, with links to the original source online where available. CSHRA takes no stance on whether the prisoners are guilty or innocent, but seeks to assess how the war on terror has and does affect human rights in the Americas. All testimonials are keyword searchable using the search box at the top of the screen. The Guantánamo Testimonials Project is a useful, if harrowing, source of primary materials of the conditions at Guantánamo. [JJ]
IRIS Center at the University of Maryland, Department of Economics
The IRIS (Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector) Center, created in 1990 within the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland, focuses on the role of institutions and rules by which individuals organize economic, political, and social activity. By this study, IRIS gains insight into the sources of underdevelopment and advises client countries on remedies. IRIS is premised on the understanding that economic development of poorer countries depends on strengthening property and contract rights and protecting these rights via stable institutions of democratic governments. According its home page, IRIS has completed 190 advisory projects in more than 70 countries, and organized or participated in more than 300 conferences and workshops on topics such as anti-corruption reform, poverty assessment, judicial reform, aid effectiveness, small and micro enterprise development, and capital markets development. The IRIS site gives current news, highlights a featured expert, lists all the impressively credentialed IRIS experts, and provides geographical links to projects. The main substantive areas of the site are entered by tabs leading to IRIS’ four major areas of expertise: Economic and Institutional Analysis; Enterprise Development; Governance and Civil Society; and Legal and Regulatory Reform. Each tab provides an explanation of the scope of the area of study, lists experts, and links to topical articles. Legal and Regulatory Reform projects include drafting laws (especially dealing with secured transactions), fostering private sector development, privatizing state businesses, training the judiciary, improving existing legal frameworks and access to justice, and establishing government accountability and transparency. In addition to the main center in the US, IRIS has offices in Armenia, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Peru. IRIS is an excellent resource for economic, legal, and interdisciplinary analyses by experts on underdevelopment in poorer countries and on possible approaches to engendering global growth and stability. [JC]
Privacy.org is a joint project of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Privacy International. EPIC is a public interest research center dedicated to promoting awareness of civil liberties and privacy concerns. Privacy International is a watchdog human rights group focusing on surveillance by governments and corporations. Privacy.org offers visitors a daily news blog, a directory of news organizations and publications, and a listing of activities for political activists. The site maintains links to other sites offering information and resources on issues which intersect with privacy concerns, such as children and privacy, consumer issues, and privacy initiatives undertaken by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Union (EU). This site is syndicatable via XML, and is archived for one year. Privacy.org is also searchable. [BWK]
Rethinking Schools Online
Published since 1986, the activist magazine Rethinking Schools has been addressing progressive policy issues such as vouchers and marketplace-oriented reforms, funding equity, and school-to-work, with articles written by and for teachers, parents, and students. Rethinking Schools Online (RSO) provides the full text of selected articles from the publication’s current and archived issues, going back to Volume 11, No. 1 - Fall 1996/97. The tables of contents for Volume 10 are also online. RSO also provides an alphabetical index of all issues of Rethinking Schools from volume 1, no. 1 (Fall 1986), through volume 18, no. 2 (Winter 2003/04). The index is by subject, author and headline. RSO offers special article collections of in-depth analysis and commentary covering issues like the “No Child Left Behind” education policy, school vouchers, and teaching students about Iraq. Rethinking Schools Online is also full-text searchable. [BWK]
Workplace Fairness (WF), a California non-profit founded in 1994 as the National Employee Rights Institute, “provides information, education, and assistance to individual workers and their advocates nationwide.” Toward these goals, the website offers workers and others information about employment rights and issues. The site is organized into several main areas, as well as a set of pages designed for specific audiences. Under the Your Rights and Job Survival sections, users will find straightforward explanation of various topics, including harassment, discrimination, whistle-blowing, and retaliation. Within the Issues section, WF provides in-depth discussion of topics ranging from wages and healthcare to unions and undocumented workers. Within each topic are sets of links to other sites that provide related material. Pages for specific audiences offer an FAQ style explanation of various legal questions, as well as links to helpful agencies and organizations. Users will want to consult the Courts and Legislative sections within the Features area. The Courts section provides listings, by state, of employment cases making news, as well as a digest of cases organized by federal circuit. The Legislative section offers a state-by-state news roundup of legislation affecting workers. [MM]
InSITE contributors: J. Callihan, J. Jones, B. Kreisler, M. Morrison, J. Pajerek (editor)
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: email@example.com:
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.
4. Print format for the Cornell Law School community.
University Business Webinar Today: Is classroom technology working?
Enhanced Classroom Teaching & Learning: How do we know it’s working?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 2pm, EST
This University Business web seminar is free to attend but pre-registration required. For more information and to register, please visit www.universitybusiness.com/webseminars [JH]
National Strategy for Information Sharing
President Bush issued the first National Strategy for Information Sharing to prioritize and unify our Nation's efforts to advance the sharing of terrorism-related information. The Strategy sets forth our plan to build upon the progress we have made in improving information sharing since the September 11 attacks and establish an integrated National information sharing capability. It was developed using a collaborative process and based on significant input provided by members of the Federal Information Sharing Council, as well as State, local, tribal, and private sector officials from across the Nation.
The Strategy will help ensure those responsible for combating terrorism and protecting our local communities have access to the timely and accurate information they need by:
- Providing a framework for enhanced information sharing among Federal, State, local, and tribal officials, the private sector, and foreign partners to aid their individual missions and to help secure the homeland.
- Describing the Federal Government's approach to support State and major urban area fusion centers, as well as National efforts to fight crime and make our local communities safer.
- Recognizing that as information sharing capabilities are enhanced, it is imperative that the legal rights of Americans continue to be protected, especially in the area of privacy and civil liberties.
Northwestern University School of Law Appoints New Associate Dean for Information Services
Lois Remeikis has joined Northwestern University School of Law as Associate Dean for Information Services. Prior to her appointment, she was a Principal in the Relationship Marketing and Web Media areas at Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. According to the press release:
She will lead all efforts to assist faculty, staff and students in locating and evaluating relevant information, including delivering information in a way that aligns with, promotes and supports the research, instructional and administrative goals of the School. In these functional areas, she will work with the community to build upon the Law School's position as a leader in faculty research and teaching, as well as student preparation for challenging careers.
That's a mouthful! Good luck Lois.[JH]
Opening: Technical Services Librarian, Tulsa
The Mabee Legal Information Center at the University of Tulsa College of Law is seeking an experienced cataloger for its Technical Services Librarian vacancy.
Please find the posting and learn how to apply by going to the campus Office of Personnel web site: http://www.utulsa.edu/personnel/jobs/
November 13, 2007
Time to Nominate 10 Must Read LIS Blogs for 2008
Mine? Well, I don't have time to read 10 blogs regularly but Information Wants to Be Free by Meredith Farkas is a must read for me. It's always thought provoking. [JH]
CNN Opens I-Report Hub in Second Life
CNN's in-world I-Report hub includes a news desk where CNN producers will hold weekly editorial discussions, and an amphitheater for larger in-world events, such as training sessions and appearances by CNN anchors and correspondents. Details. [JH]
Professional Reading: Advocacy Matters Before and Within the Supreme Court
|Scholarship in the Press|
From Legal Times: "Dramatic new research by Georgetown University Law Center professor Richard Lazarus shows that more and more Supreme Court cases are brought and argued by the seasoned veterans who have honed Supreme Court practice into a fine, and exclusive, art form. Lazarus claims that the increasing dominance of the Supreme Court Bar is beginning to have an impact on the Court's doctrine. Increasingly, Lazarus says, the modern-day Court is ruling in favor of "monied interests more able to pay for such expertise." [RJ]
Georgetown University law professor Richard James Lazarus' Advocacy Matters Before and Within the Supreme Court: Transforming the Court By Transforming the Bar is now available from SSRN. Here's the abstract:
During the past two decades, the Supreme Court has witnessed the emergence of an elite private sector group of attorneys who are dominating advocacy before the Court to an extent not witnessed since the early nineteenth century. This development is significant for the simple reason that advocacy matters, including before the Supreme Court. Better, more effective advocates influence the development of the law and there is generally no court where such advocacy can wield more far-reaching influence than the Supreme Court. And that is precisely what the modern Supreme Court Bar has quietly and increasingly been accomplishing in recent years. The Court grants the petitions filed by the expert members of the Bar at a significantly higher rate and they also prevail on the merits more frequently. This article documents the extent of the modern Bar's domination of the Court's docket, arguments, and rulings, considers the extent to which business interests who serve as the Bar's primary clients are enjoying heightened success before the Court as a result, and suggests ways of promoting a fairer allocation of Supreme Court advocacy expertise in the future.
Documentary: A Lawyer Walks into a Bar
Description: With his writing partner Mike Thompson, Brandon Camp has made a tidy living writing Hollywood screenplays, including the Kevin Costner thriller Dragonfly and the Fox pilot John Doe. Now, Brandon, Mike and Dallasite Jonathan Osborne are turning to the documentary genre. The trio is executive-producing the feature-length doc A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar. "The film takes a lighthearted look at the legal system in America, as seen through the eyes of six characters who are preparing for the California bar exam, which statistically is the most difficult to pass in the country," Brandon says. "The LA mayor, two governors and the dean of the Stanford law school all failed it at least once." Apparently, failing the California exam only once is no biggie. One of the characters in A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar is an ex-Marine who has failed the test 41 times. Sprinkled throughout the film are interviews with lawyer Robert Shapiro, CNN's Nancy Grace , Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Texas trial lawyer Joe Jamail and Monica Lewinsky's former reference, Vernon Jordan.
Federal Enforcement Data Show Major Changes in How The Bush Administration Has Enforced the Law
"The mix of criminal prosecutions now being brought by the Justice Department that Judge Michael B. Mukasey will lead if confirmed as attorney general is very different from what it was when President Bush came to the White House almost seven years ago.
Evidence of the profound and often unannounced changes in the basic thrust of federal enforcement under the Bush Administration has emerged from the records of hundreds of thousands of individual criminal cases that are routinely collected by the government and then analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC)." [RJ]
Opening: Programming and Database Analyst, Duke Law
Educational Technologies at Duke Law School seeks a database administrator and web programmer.
The position requires experience with SQL, especially MySQL; programming languages, especially PHP; and xhtml and CSS. Under the direction of the Web Services Manager, this individual will work with clients from around the law school to identify data needs and solutions.
Primary responsibilities are: design, test and maintain databases; scope, plan and develop script-based applications for batch and web interaction with the databases; create documentation and other materials; and train users on the resulting applications.
The individual will in addition work on enhancing existing services and assist in other Educational Technologies projects. Our team is looking for someone who is self-motivated and goal-oriented, with good communication and teamwork skills, and with a commitment to customer service. See the full job description and apply for the position under requisition number 400152517 at www.hr.duke.edu/jobs.
November 12, 2007
Spotlight on Law Librarians: Mindy K. Maddrey
Like so many of our law librarian colleagues, I started my grown-up life as a lawyer. I attended law school straight from college, and from the very first day, I wondered if it was the right career path for me. I should have been more suspicious when I found myself sitting in Evidence, half-listening to a Socratic deconstruction of the hearsay rule and half-drafting a rhymed iambic pentameter prophecy for a novel that I was writing.
I graduated from law school and took a job with a large Washington law firm, working as an associate in the intellectual property group. After seven years of litigating cases, I decided that I’d had enough of the law. I wanted more control over my schedule. I wanted less stress in my life. I wanted more time to write my as-yet-unpublished novels. And yet, I could not imagine walking away from the profession that I’d lived, breathed, and dreamed for so long.
One night, eating fajitas and drinking margaritas with a long-suffering friend, I repeated my catalog of job wants and not-wants. I concluded by saying, “I want to use my law degree, but I want to do something different. Something like … be a law librarian!” Cloudbanks opened. Angelic choirs sang. My friend ordered another round of margaritas.
After dinner, I walked to the nearest bookstore (libraries were already closed for the night) and looked up graduate programs in library science. I applied to Catholic University one week later, and I was accepted a month after that. I power-loaded classes, taking five in each semester, and in a year, I was a law librarian.
In the twelve years since my career transition, I have never regretted the change. I always loved the “people” side of lawyering, client counseling in particular. I thrived on the research and writing. I embraced building teams of paralegals and associates to tackle large cases. In short, I have been able to apply all my favorite lawyer skills to managing the library for a 14-office national law firm.
And as a pleasant side-effect, I had more time for my writing. I sold my first novel, The Glasswrights’ Apprentice, two years into my first library job. Five more traditional fantasy novels followed, and then I sold five contemporary urban fantasies (i.e., comic romance novels about ordinary women in real-life situations who find their lives turned upside down by the supernatural.)
My most recent novel is Sorcery and the Single Girl. Sorcery is my second book about Jane Madison, a special librarian - in two senses of the word. First, she works in a collection that specializes in colonial America (and she even "gets" to wear an eighteenth-century costume to work!) Second, she's a witch.
Sorcery and the Single Girl traces Jane's adventures when the exclusive Washington Coven asks her to join their secret society. The invitation might be her dream come true, or it could be the most humiliating experience of her life. Either way, Jane must juggle her insane work schedule, best-friend drama, and a new romance - all while keeping her witchy familiar and astral protector satisfied. Readers can learn more about Sorcery, including reading a free sample chapter, at my website - www.mindyklasky.com. (I publish under my maiden name.)
I had no idea that one dinner of fajitas (and the ear of a sympathetic friend) would lead me to where I am today – but I can honestly say that I would not trade anything to go back to my lawyer life!
Editor's Note: About Sorcery and the Single Girl, Publishers Weekly wrote:
Klasky emphasizes the importance of being true to yourself and having faith in friends and family in her bewitching second romance featuring fledgling witch Jane Madison (after Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft). Young librarian Jane believes getting into the elite Washington Coven, ruled by the prodigious Teresa Alison Sidney, is of major importance. If Jane wants to hold on to her familiar, her valuable book and gemstone collection and David Montrose, her hunky protector and instructor, she has to meet the coven’s standards for knowledge and skill. When slickly seductive Graeme Henderson starts laying it on suspiciously thick, and David insists that friendly coven witch Haylee can’t be trusted, Jane must decide what’s most important: trying to impress the popular coven snobs, or taking control of her power and doing what she knows is best for herself. Klasky’s moral lesson is obvious, but readers who identify with Jane’s remembered high school social angst will cheer her all the way.
Organizing Information: From the Shelf to the Web
I must be showing my age...isn't $95 a bit steep for a 230 page paperback? [JH]
Organizing Information: From the Shelf to the Web
by G. G. Chowdhury and Sudatta Chowdhury
List Price: $95.00
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Facet Publishing (July 1, 2007)
Book Description: Today’s library and information professionals must be conversant with organizing all forms of information—from books on the shelf to objects in digital libraries to Web sites. This innovative new text guides readers through the organization of the broad spectrum of information. Coverage includes cataloguing and classification; metadata; information architecture; bibliographic formats; subject indexing and vocabulary control; organization of digital information; markup languages; and more.
This new text is ideally suited for library and information science courses or as a resource for professionals who need to understand the various tools and techniques necessary to master information organization.
CRS Report: State Statutes That Proscribe the Use of Symbols of Fear and Violence with the Intent to Threaten
New CRS Report (via the Federation of American Scientists):
"Almost half of the states outlaw cross burning with the intent to threaten as such. A few of these statutes cover the display of hangman’s nooses and other symbols of intimidation as well. Moreover, the same misconduct also frequently falls under more general state prohibitions on coercion, terroristic threats, harassment, or hate crimes. Some of these laws feature a hate crime element without which conviction is not possible; others do not. In either case, there are obvious first amendment implications."
The Supreme Court has explained that not all speech, particular expressive conduct, is protected by the First Amendment. However, in R.A.V. v. St. Paul, it held cross burning with the intent to annoy was protected and did not come within the “fighting words” category of unprotected speech. Shortly thereafter, in Black v. Virginia, the Court held that cross burning with the intent to convey a true threat was not protected. Some of the Justices noted another difference between the two cases: the ordinance in R.A.V. had a hate crime element — the offense had to be motivated by racial or some other discriminatory animus; the statute in Black had no such element.
In years since Black was announced, the lower courts have continued to recognize true threats as unprotected, but have also continued to analyze challenges to threat statutes under the First Amendment’s overbreadth doctrine and the vagueness doctrine of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments’ due process clauses. These laws have generally survived such challenges, although an imprecisely worded statute has fallen victim to a vagueness attack upon occasion.
Federal Contractor Misconduct Database
"The government awards contracts to companies with histories of misconduct such as contract fraud and environmental, ethics, and labor violations. In the absence of a centralized federal database listing instances of misconduct, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is providing such data. We believe that it will lead to improved contracting decisions and public access to information about how the government spends hundreds of billions of taxpayer money each year on goods and services." [RJ]