January 5, 2008
Top Military Blogger Killed in Iraq; Read Major Olmsted's Last Posts
Fort Carson-based Army Major Andrew Olmsted was considered by many to be one of the top military bloggers in Iraq. He was killed in an ambush there on January 3rd, the first casualty for 2008 in Iraq. Rocky Mountain News has the story. The Rocky Mountain News has also published a slideshow tribute to this brave soldier.
Major Olmsted's mission was to teach members of the Iraqi Army how to defend their country and provide security for their people. Read his last post which was published on December 26, 2007 in Rocky Mountain News and the post he left in the event of his death. See also his Why Go to Iraq? post. [JH]
Chinese Communist Party Keeping Mao Zedong's Book Royalties
The Literary World of Party History estimated in 2001 that Mao Zedong's estate was worth about $17.6M from his Little Red Book and other publication royalties. According to the BBC, the Chinese Communist Party is refusing to give the money to Mao's relatives because his writings were not his own, but the "crystallisation of the party's collective wisdom."
Hat tip to Chinese Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Comparing Presidential Candidates
Nice resource from One Vote 08 comparing statements from the Presidential Candidates: "Tens of thousands of ONE members asked the candidates to go "On The Record" with their plans to combat extreme poverty and global disease. "On the Record" is a project of ONE Action and provides information to help evaluate the candidates on ONE's issues."
CRS Report: Botnets, Cybercrime, and Cyberterrorism
Botnets, Cybercrime, and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress, Updated November 15, 2007: "Cybercrime is becoming more organized and established as a transnational business. High technology online skills are now available for rent to a variety of customers, possibly including nation states, or individuals and groups that could secretly represent terrorist groups. The increased use of automated attack tools by cybercriminals has overwhelmed some current methodologies used for tracking Internet cyberattacks, and vulnerabilities of the U.S. critical infrastructure, which are acknowledged openly in publications, could possibly attract cyberattacks to extort money, or damage the U.S. economy to affect national security...This report discusses options now open to nation states, extremists, or terrorist groups for obtaining malicious technical services from cybercriminals to meet political or military objectives, and describes the possible effects of a coordinated cyberattack against the U.S. critical infrastructure."
Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]
The Best Top 10 Lists of the Year, 2007
From Time Magazine. Check it out! [RJ]
January 4, 2008
Friday Fun: Play Library Science Jeopardy
Just like the popular television version, the primary rule is to provide your answer in the form of a question. There are six categories to select from, each containing five answers in ascending order of difficulty. Click on any of these from the game board and you will encounter your first answer. Below the answer will appear four possibly correct questions, from which you must select the correct question.
If you are of the competitive sort, call a colleague or two to your office, grab a pencil and piece of paper to keep score. Are you ready to play Library Science Jeopardy? [JH]
Revised and Expanded Edition Now Online: Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know
The full text of the revised and updated edition of Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know is now available on the website of the Crimes of War Project. The book is an A-Z guide to the laws of war and their application in today’s world, written by some of the world’s leading journalists and scholars, in clear and compelling language. The revised edition includes detailed coverage of all recent developments and controversies, including the “war on terror,” Iraq, Darfur and the rise of international courts and tribunals. [JH]
President Bush Signs FOIA Reform Bill (S. 2488)
The Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National (OPEN) Government Act, S. 2488, was signed into law on Monday, December 31, 2007. See our earlier post, Thomas Resources and White House Press Release. [JH]
Google Toolbar for IE Adds Accessible Features
Google Toolbar for IE recently launched version 5 which adds support for Windows Accessibility APIs (used by screen readers, etc.) and enables keyboard navigation and access. According to the Official Google Blog, "From inside a browser with Toolbar installed, the global shortcut Alt+G places your cursor in the Google Toolbar search box. If you're using a screen reader, you'll hear "Google Toolbar Search". Pressing the Tab key brings keyboard focus to the button placed immediately after the search box, and right and left arrow keys move focus between buttons. More information on keyboard access is documented in the Toolbar Help Center (query accessibility)." [JH]
Ringing in the New Year with New Laws
"A host of new laws on topics ranging from allowing civil unions in New Hampshire to prohibiting text messaging while driving in Washington state become effective Jan. 1, 2008. The National Conference of State Legislatures found a host of state laws in 31 states ranging from controversial to clever that will become law on New Year's Day." Check it out! [RJ]
The Mitchell Report in a Free Searchable Database
"A free, searchable database of The Mitchell Report has been released by askSam Systems. The askSam database contains a full-text searchable archive of George J. Mitchell's report to the commissioner of baseball on the investigation into steroid and other performance enhancing substance use by players in Major League Baseball."
You can search, browse, and analyze the Mitchell Report online at:
The askSam Version of this report contains:
- A full-text searchable version of the entire report
- A more detailed Table of Contents
- A summary list of players mentioned with links to the page where they are mentioned in the report
January 3, 2008
Results from The ABA Journal Blawg 100 Poll
Voting ended yesterday. Here's the unofficial results:
|Category||Most Popular Blog|
|All Business||What About Clients?|
|Politics for Sport||InstaPundit|
|Ivory Tower||The Volokh Conspiracy|
|Black Letter Law||China Law Blog|
|Lawyer's Toolkit||Legal Process Outsourcing|
|Your So-Called Life||Ms.JD|
|Crime Time||Crime Scene KC|
|JDs In Training||There’s No Competition in Law School|
|Lawyers Behaving Badly||Durham-in-Wonderland|
|Gossip||Above the Law|
Congratulations to all! [JH]
Law Librarians Love Anonymity?
G. Edward White recently published "Law Librarians" in the Green Bag (11 Green Bag 2d 81 (2007)). An interesting historical perspective on changes in the academic side of the profession, also comparing changes in the profession of law professorship. Recommended read. Bonnie Shucha posted some of her thoughts on the piece here. I, too, found the article thought provoking and was struck by some of the same passages that Bonnie highlights.
...Notwithstanding the scholarly arrogance that can sometimes accompany a preoccupation with "doing one's own research," everybody on a law faculty who does regular scholarship knows that in the age of digital information there are all kinds of stuff out there that one needs help in finding and assessing.
Interestingly, the law librarians who provide that help tend to labor under, and perhaps even relish, a posture of anonymity. It may be that gatherings of law librarians resemble gatherings of former Supreme Court law clerks, where some participants occasionally suggest that Justice X's celebrated opinion was really theirs. I would suspect otherwise. The position of research librarian seems to attract people who enjoy its anonymity. Marian the Librarian's selflessness has not wholly been lost in an era of relentless self-promotion.
While White is clearly supportive of the work and value of law librarians, I wasn't aware that we relished anonymity. In fact, I thought the profession has been trying for many years to raise our visibility and perceived value. I'm curious what others think of this characterization.
White also writes that the era of "great librarians" is coming to a close, as the administrative duties required in successfully managing a modern academic law library leave insufficient time and energy for teaching and/or writing on the substance of law.
[T]oday's librarian is not expected to be, as Thorne and Stolz were, the equivalent of a full-time tenured member of a law faculty who happens to primarily engage in administration and scholarship as opposed to teaching and scholarship.
True (with or without caveats) or false?
I hope to read responsive Letters to the Editor in the next Bag.
First Legal Research Book Recommendation for 2008: International and Foreign Legal Research
Marci Hoffman (Associate Director, International & Foreign Law Librarian, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law Library) and Mary Rumsey (Foreign, Comparative & International Law Librarian, University of Minnesota Law School Library) support their new work, International and Foreign Legal Research: A Coursebook, with a companion website that will provide updated links and additional information. The book can also be used for quick reference. [JH]
International and Foreign Legal Research: A Coursebook
Marci Hoffman and Mary Rumsey
Description: This book is designed for use as a coursebook for classes in foreign and international legal research. However, librarians, students, law professors and other researchers can also use it as a research guide outside of formal classes. The order of chapters is one possible way to structure a class in international and foreign legal research, but it is by no means the only one or the best one. This book can also be used as a tool for quick look-ups when a researcher needs some direction on a topic or information on a source.
Topics covered in the book range from a general chapter on basic concepts to five chapters on particular subjects of international law. Each major aspect of research, such as using periodical indexes, is treated once in depth. Elsewhere in the book, other sections refer readers to that in-depth treatment, while adding information specific to the topic being discussed. We hope that this compromise avoids extensive repetition.
Should Precedential Rulings Be Designated Per Curiam?
Online Video at Risk of Private Censorship
In Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video, American University Professors Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi finds that many online videos creatively use copyrighted materials in ways that are eligible for fair use consideration under copyright law; In short, they potentially are using copyrighted material legally.
Researchers in AU’s Washington College of Law and School of Communication followed thousands of links for videos on 75 online video platforms and discovered nine popular kinds of use (extensive database of examples at centerforsocialmedia.org/recutvideos).
- Parody and satire: Copyrighted material used in spoofing of popular mass media, celebrities or politicians (Baby Got Book)
- Negative or critical commentary: Copyrighted material used to communicate a negative message (Metallica Sucks)
- Positive commentary: Copyrighted material used to communicate a positive message (Steve Irwin Fan Tribute)
- Quoting to trigger discussion: Copyrighted material used to highlight an issue and prompt public awareness, discourse (Abstinence PSA on Feministing.com)
- Illustration or example: Copyrighted material used to support a new idea with pictures and sound (Evolution of Dance)
- Incidental use: Copyrighted material captured as part of capturing something else (Prisoners Dance to Thriller)
- Personal reportage/diaries: Copyrighted material incorporated into the chronicling of a personal experience (Me on stage with U2 … AGAIN!!!)
- Archiving of vulnerable or revealing materials: Copyrighted material that might have a short life on mainstream media due to controversy (Stephen Colbert’s Speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner)
- Pastiche or collage: Several copyrighted materials incorporated together into a new creation, or in other cases, an imitation of sorts of copyrighted work (Apple Commercial)
PRO IP Bill, H.R. 4279, Boosts Penalties, Creates New Agency
"In the aftermath of the $222,000 jury verdict that the Recording Industry Association of America recently won against a Minnesota woman who shared 24 songs on Kazaa, the U.S. Congress is preparing to amend copyright law.
Politicians want to increase penalties for copyright infringement.
It's no joke. Top Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a sweeping 69-page bill that ratchets up civil penalties for copyright infringement, boosts criminal enforcement, and even creates a new federal agency charged with bringing about a national and international copyright crackdown.
"By providing additional resources for enforcement of intellectual property, we ensure that innovation and creativity will continue to prosper in our society," Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich) said in a statement.
The legislation, called the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act, or PRO IP Act, is throughly bipartisan. The top Republican, Lamar Smith of Texas, on the Judiciary committee is a sponsor. So is Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chair of the subcommittee that writes copyright law, and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)." [RJ]
The Complete Lawyer on Law School Reform
"In the history of legal education in the United States, there is no record of any concerted effort to consider what new lawyers should know or be able to do on their first day in practice or to design a program of instruction to achieve those goals." -- Roy Stuckey and Others, Best Practices For Legal Education, CLEA, 2007, at 3.
So what can law schools do better? From the pages of The Complete Lawyer:
- Practicing Lawyers Can Change Legal Education
Hundreds of law teachers understand the need for reform. Unfortunately, they are still in the minority: They welcome your help. By Roy Stuckey
- We Need To Produce Lawyers, Not Technicians
The profession is increasingly seeking more skills training from law schools. By Lisa A. Kloppenberg
- Law School Innovations Result In Broader Students
The changes in legal education we’re putting into effect will train students to be much broader, both professionally and intellectually, than traditional legal education now does. A TCL Interview: Larry Kramer
- Educating Law Students For Leadership
Leadership skills are increasingly an integral part of a modern professional education. By Donald J. Polden
- Developing A Personal And Professional Identity In Law School
Neglecting the development of identity in law school is one key reason so many lawyers are dissatisfied with their lives. By Daisy Hurst Floyd
- Turning Law Students Into Lawyers
A blend of experiential and doctrinal learning helps law students not only think like lawyers but act like them. By Kenneth R. Margolis
Hat tip to Law School Academic Support Blog. [JH]
Two Academic Website Studies by Primary Research Group
The Primary Research Group has published Academic Library Website Benchmarks and The Survey of College Website Management Practices. Details excerpted from the press release. [JH]
Academic Library Website Benchmarks
85.00; a PDF version, for $92.50
The report presents data from 82 North American college libraries about their library website policies and development plans. Some of the report's findings are that:
- More than three quarters of all respondents plan a major redesign of the library website within the next two years. Nearly 85% of research universities (84.6%) planned a website redesign in this period. A high percentage of colleges with FTE enrollments below 2,000 (82%) planned to redesign their website within the next two years, compared to 72.7 to 78.3% of colleges with higher enrollments.
- The library information technology or web staff accounted for over 76% of the total man-hours spent running the college library websites for the colleges in the sample. College-wide IT or web staff performed an average of just 15.76% of the labor necessary to run the college library websites in the sample.
- Nearly 42% of survey participants used a content editing system provided by the central college web staff.
- Of the libraries that do use a content management system, just over a quarter expressed satisfaction for the most part and had no plans for changing software or management methods in the future. Another 31.4% reported that they were not completely satisfied and might change content management systems or their policies.
- The mean number of library staff or personnel who entered content into the college library website in the last full semester was 13.24. Community colleges had just 2.5 library employees entering content, compared to 5.2 employees at 4-year/MA granting institutions and 11.1 at PhD-level granting institutions. Research universities reported the highest number of library staff entering data, at 51.8, and a maximum of 200.
- For a shade less than two thirds of the libraries (64.9%) the library website budget was part of the library IT budget, and not separately broken out; 35.1% considered it part of the college IT budget.
- More than 8 out of 10 college libraries use cascading style sheets at least to some degree.
- Approximately one in ten college libraries have a presence on the social networking site MySpace.
- The mean number of interactive tutorials on how to use the library or its services made available on the library website was 3.84, with a maximum of 50. Community colleges reported the fewest available interactive tutorials with a sample mean of just 0.82, while other institution types reported an average of between four and five. The mean number of end users who have visited or used these interactive tutorials in the past year was 3,757 with a maximum of 33,657.
- Over three quarters of the libraries in the sample (76.8%) do not have a "My Library" type of service for users to log in to, save research or favorite places, and bookmark other commonly used library resources.
- The mean number of files on the library website was just over 5,400.
- Just over a third of the sample responded that they were currently offering federated search capabilities from the website, so that a broad range of library databases could be searched at once. Three out of four research universities had federated search capabilities, compared to just 53.33% of PhD-level granting institutions, 29.27% of 4-year/MA granting institutions, and just 8.33% of community colleges. The mean number of subject-specific search windows offered through federated searches was 19.72.
The Survey of College Website Management Practices
North American colleges spent a mean of nearly $28,000 on website development consulting fees in the 2006-07 academic year, according to The Survey of College Website Management Practices, just published by Primary Research Group. The 171-page study presents more than 500 tables of data about college websites, and is based on data from 68 North American colleges. Just a few of the study's hundreds of findings are that:
- 29.41% of the colleges in the sample had a policy in place to communicate in a crisis with students, faculty and staff through text messaging to cell phones.
- About 22% of the webmasters in the survey use Apple/Mac as a main supplier of personal computers or workstations.
- Lumnis was the most commonly used type of portal software, used by 47.83% of those that reported use of a portal software.
- 45.6% of the colleges in the sample allow postings for faculty and staff blogs.
- The webmaster was the main training provider for 48.39% of web staffs reporting, while others on the web staff were the main trainers for 32.56% of survey participants. For 19.35% of those surveyed, another unit of the college handled training.
- Thirty seven percent of public college webmasters review departmental or division sites every 1-2 years.
- Significantly less than half of the colleges in the sample, 43.75%, required all college websites to conform to a single graphic style
- 68.52% of the colleges in the sample used a content management system for departmental web pages.
- The mean number of students employed by the college web staff was only 0.99 and the mean was only 0.50, and no college employed more than six students on the web staff.
- Most college had at least one website editor, and the mean number per college was 1.05.
- Close to 45% of respondents said that the most important person for initiating major website changes was a college official in the public affairs/university marketing department (or similar such department such as External Relations).
- Only about 16% of colleges allowed deans to change the website without prior clearance.
- PHD-level/research universities vastly outspent others, averaging almost $263,000 in salary spending for the web staff. More than 13% of the web staffs in the sample receive primary or ancillary finding from specific campus services or functional units, such as The Department of Public Relations, in addition to or rather than directly from the college administration.
- More than 58% of the colleges in the sample had a centralized web governance structure. Private colleges were much more likely than public colleges to have a centralized structure, by which we mean a structure that concentrates decision-making power in a centralized locus rather than dispersing it among several webmasters or authority centers.
- The 68-college sample has nine community colleges, 41 BA/MA level colleges, and eighteen PHD-level or research universities. Mean enrollment FTE for the public colleges in the sample was 13,419; for the private colleges, 4,103.
January 2, 2008
The Best of CourtTV
CourtTV, launched in 1991, has been re-branded as TruTV. TruTV programing will still include live trial coverage and law enforcement/investigation-related shows, however, the network is branching out into non law enforcement related "real life reality television. CNN reviews highlights of CourtTV. [JH]