April 9, 2008
Just Released, New Book on Alternative Careers for Information Professionals
What's the Alternative? Career Options for Librarians and Info Pros
by Rachel Singer Gordon
List Price: $35.00
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Information Today, Inc. (April 8, 2008)
Book Description: As the global information economy grows, librarians who are able to retool and transfer their skills are finding themselves increasingly in demand. Here, Rachel Singer Gordon explains the dynamics of the shifting market for information-based work, reveals a range of nontraditional employment opportunities for librarians, and encourages info pros to utilize their skills in new and exciting ways. Mixing practical advice with real-life stories of librarians working in various fields, Gordon provides a wealth of useful ideas and resources for info pros rethinking their career paths. Whether you re a recent library school grad facing a tight job market, a working librarian seeking improved work/life balance, or an info pro with an entrepreneurial streak, What s the Alternative? will help you explore your options and maximize your career potential.
Bryan Garner's Video Interviews of SCOTUS Justices on Brief Writing, Oral Advocacy and More
"They are raw and unvarnished, like what might happen if you turned a videocam on yourself in your garage and started talking.
But the collection of videos on LawProse.org were shot at the Supreme Court and they star eight of the nine justices speaking passionately, sarcastically, angrily, into the camera as they answer questions about brief writing, oral advocacy and their own love-hate relationships with the written word.
Their interviewer, legal writing guru Bryan Garner, quietly posted the eight videos on the Web site in January. Garner has interviewed dozens of judges, lawyers and writers over the years, seeking video clips for use in his profitable legal writing seminars. But he realized the interviews with the justices, conducted a year ago or more, were a unique treasure that he should not profit from, so he put them up without restriction, editing, fee or fanfare." [RJ]
Ohio Law School Rankings, 2000-2009
Law school competition in the Buckeye State is pretty fierce. Nine schools in Ohio are competing for law students, law faculty, and law librarians: Akron, Capital, Case Western, Cincinnati, Cleveland-Marshall, Dayton, Ohio Northern, OSU-Moritz and Toledo. Competition is regional and national although some public law schools cannot afford to pay law faculty and law librarians salaries that are nationally competitive.
US News Rankings. Reputation rules the day. The quality of law faculties, student bodies and, as we law librarians like to think, law libraries matters. OK, two out of the three really matter; online access to information resources is becoming the great law library leveler for all but major research law libraries (read OSU in Ohio).
Of the nine Ohio law schools, only Case Western, Cincinnati and OSU are ranked in the US News Top 100. OSU is king of the Buckeye State hill. Case Western and Cincinnati have been competing for "second best" Ohio law school for years. Case Western's 10 place decline in 2009 (from 53 to 63) is more a quirk of the US News ranking system than a reflection of the school. US News doesn't use tie-breakers in its rankings which is based on an overall score. The problem, the lower a school's overall score, the more likely it will be tied with other schools. The difference in overall scores for 52nd place and 63 place is three points this year; three schools are tied in 52nd place, 4 in 55th, 4 in 59th and 3 in 63rd place.
Nothing has "happened" at Case Western to merit such a dramatic decline. Case Western and Cincinnati will continue to compete for second place honors for years to come. But watch out Case Western! If Cincinnati can overcome alumni alienation to fund the construction of a much needed new $100 million facility from its mainstream Republican base, the "buzz" will substantially increase Cincinnati's profile. Target date, 10 years from now.
Cincinnati's student quality scores give the school its competitive edge in the rankings game and that's because US News doesn't weigh student metrics by the size of entering classes. Cincinnati's entering class is 100 less students than either OSU or Case Western. Still Cincinnati, indeed all Ohio public law schools have been operating under financial duress for years. The former (Taft) state administration's reallocation of limited financial resources to elementary and secondary education has crippled state universities. Change is in the wind but kudos to all public law schools in Ohio for surviving. Cincinnati for example, suffered through something like 14 annual permanent and/or one-time budget cuts in the last 15 years.
Here's how Case Western, Cincinnati and OSU were ranked by US News from 2000 to 2009, overall and by reputation. For student quality, ranking is based on the average of the 75th and 25th percentile LSAT scores for entering classes. Alternative metrics are provided.
Color-coding. For all ranking tables, relative places are color-coded: maroon for first, teal for second and gray for third place.
Faculty Quality. Faculty quality assessment contributes 40 percent to the US News ranking. US News survey respondents are asked to rate law schools on a scale from "marginal" (1) to "outstanding" (5). For peer assessment, surveys are sent to aw school deans, deans of academic affairs, the chair of faculty appointments, and the most recently tenured faculty members. For bench and bar assessment, legal professionals, including the hiring partners of law firms, state attorneys general, and selected federal and state judges, are surveyed. See US News Law School Ranking Methodology for more.
For the below table, I added the two scores to produce annual overall law faculty reputation scores for 2000-2009. The scale would be from 2 ("marginal") to 10 for "outstanding." Immediately following are tables for peer, and bench and bar assessments. Since the the US News survey response rate by lawyers and judges is substantially lower than the peer response rate (e.g., 26% compared to 70% this year), I believe the peer scores are more significant.
There are substantially better metrics for law faculty quality. Brian Leiter (Texas) has been providing them for about ten years now at Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings [Links to Faculty Quality Studies]. OSU appears in some of his faculty quality ranking studies. Case Western or Cincinnati do not because they fall below Leiter's Top 30-40-50 cutoffs. The above information (plus whatever puffery law school PR machines churn out) is the best that's available.
Alternative Metrics. Some argue that schools with smaller law faculties are at a disadvantage in the faculty reputation game. See the quick facts displayed in the last table for faculty size. Perhaps you agree. Not me. Leiter adjusts for faculty size by using per capita metrics. More generally, some schools are stepping-stones used by some law profs to advance their academic careers after establishing their professional reputations "in the trenches." (More likely at Case Western and Cincinnati than OSU.) Others leave for better compensation. (More likely at Cincinnati than Case Western and OSU.)
Student Quality. For Case Western, Cincinnati and OSU, the below table provides historical student quality data as measured by the average of the 75th and 25th percentile LSAT scores for entering classes reported by US News. The metric is Leiter's. See Ranking of Top 40 Law Schools by Student (Numerical) Quality 2008 (April 6, 2008)("No feasible measure of student quality is particularly ideal, but LSAT scores are the best, crude proxy we have available.") In the event of ties, the school with the larger estimated entering class, if larger by 50 or more students, is ranked higher.
Alternative Metrics. Placement of law graduates in Supreme Court and appellate clerkships, and law teaching jobs is a good proxy for how strong the high end of a law school's class is. Leiter has been measuring this for years at Top Producers of New Law Teachers, 2003-2007 (Case Western, Cincinnati and OSU do not appear) and Supreme Court Clerkship Placement, 2000 Through 2007 Terms. (Only OSU listed).
Some Quick Stats. For context, the below table displays current data reported in the 2009 US News Law School Rankings for faculty and students at Case Western, Cincinnati and OSU. Law library data is also displayed because LLB is a blog by law librarians for law librarians.
Click on any of the tables for a larger display. Please report any data errors by commenting to this post.
Endnote. I think I've beaten the 2009 US News Law School Rankings to death. No more LLB posts by me, I promise (I think). Wait, what about ranking by NCAA conferences? (Have you noticed the declining fortunes of Big Ten schools in the rankings?) [JH]
Earlier LLB posts:
- Where Are the US News Top 30 Law Schools of 1996 Now?
- US News 2009 Law School Rankings Now Online
- US News Law School Rankings: Why March Madness Started Early This Year in the Legal Academy
- Law Schools Flipping Out Over Falling US News Rankings
April 8, 2008
DOJ's Immigration Court Practice Manual
The DOJ Office of the Chief Immigration Judge has released of the Immigration Court Practice Manual (pdf), which sets forth uniform procedures, recommendations, and requirements for practice before the Immigration Courts. The Practice Manual's requirements are binding on the parties who appear before the Immigration Courts, unless the Immigration Judge directs otherwise in a particular case. The Practice Manual does not limit the discretion of Immigration Judges to act in accordance with law and regulation.
Effective Date. In order to provide the public an opportunity to become familiar with the Immigration Court Practice Manual, it will not go into effect until July 1, 2008. Beginning on that date, Local Operating Procedures will no longer be used, and parties will be expected to follow the Practice Manual. [RJ]
New Life for Good Old LC Subject Headings
Roy Tennant reports that LC's Ed Summers has launched http://lcsh.info/ to demonstrate what can be done with Library of Congress Subject Headings. Summers has taken the LCSH dataset harvested by Simon Spero (instead of official LC data) and parsed it into SKOS, an effort led by the W3C as part of its Semantic Web effort. More information on the project can be found on Summer's website, including some web slides of the project.
Tennant believes this is a lead-up to doing something on the web that will use official LC data, live and updated. Now, if you think I understand all this next generation catalog stuff, you are dead wrong -- things have come a long way since my LIS days where we were programming truncated keyword searching of LC subject headings in MARC records back in the late 1970s -- so read more about it at Tennant's Digital Libraries blog post.
Browsing LCSH. Check out Bernhard Eversberg's LCSH Browser. You can browse an alphabetical list of the headings and cross-references, a list of all words occurring in the headings, personal and corporate names, and LC classification numbers. When you pull up the full record for a term there are links that will send you off to WorldCat, Google, LibrayThing and OpenLibrary with that term. Any "see also" references are also clickable. Hat tip to Roy Tennant. [JH]
Thaler & Sunstein's Manifesto for Something Called Libertarian Paternalism
In this utterly brilliant book, Thaler and Sunstein teach us how to steer people toward better health, sounder investments, and cleaner environments without depriving them of their inalienable right to make a mess of things if they want to. -- Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein
List Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (April 8, 2008)
Book Description: Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.
Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful “choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take—from neither the left nor the right—on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative books to come along in many years.
International Law Video Library Relaunched
The International Law Video Library has moved to a permanent location, been revamped and includes some new material. Bookmark the new URL! A Queen's University of Belfast project, ILVL was developed so as to be accessible to all and find its way into lecture halls throughout the world, especially in those places where resources may be limited. The resources are free, internet-based teaching tool, allowing viewers to see interviews with leading international law scholars and practitioners as well as "visit" locations relevant to international law.
The website includes a stand-alone video library focusing on issues of human rights law -- The International Human Rights Law Video Library. [JH]
OMB Progress Report on E-Government Act Implementation
From the White House: "This is OMB’s fifth annual progress report on implementation of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-347; Dec. 17, 2002) (the “E-Government Act”) as required by 44 USC 3606. This report describes activities completed in fiscal year (FY) 2007, and is among a series of reports produced by OMB to describe the Administration’s use of E-Government principles to improve government performance and the delivery of information and services to the public." [RJ]
April 7, 2008
The Google Quality Rater's Handbook
The Google Quality Rater's Handbook (version 2.1 dated April 6, 2007)(pdf) was leaked recently. Download it while you can! Essentially, the Rater's Handbook tells you what Google deems important when judging the quality and relevance of a webpage.
As Pandia Search Engine News reports "in spite of what many say, Google does not entirely rely on automatic computer-based algorithms in its search engine rankings. They do employ human editors that control the quality of selected sites and they may give a boost to sites these reviewers deem especially useful." See also Spying on Google: What is Spam? What is Relevant? Read This to Find Out and SearchEngineLand's synopsis of the handbook.
Hat tip to Ron Jones. [JH]
CAGW's 2008 Pig Book Digs Up $17.2 Billion in Pork
When Congress adopted earmark reforms last year, there was hope that the number and cost of earmarks would be cut in half. By any measure, that has not occurred,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.
In fiscal year 2008, Congress stuffed 11,610 projects (the second highest total ever) worth $17.2 billion into the 12 appropriations bills. That is a 337 percent increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007. Alaska led the nation with $556 in pork per capita ($380 million total), followed by Hawaii with $221 ($283 million) and North Dakota with $208 ($133 million). CAGW has identified $271 billion in total pork since 1991.
EMMA - Electronic Municipal Market Access System
"EMMA is a centralized on-line site to find key information about municipal securities, free of charge. The information on EMMA is presented in a manner specifically tailored for retail, non-professional investors who may not be experts in financial or investing matters. EMMA makes available official statements for most new offerings of municipal bonds, notes, 529 college savings plans and other municipal securities since 1990. EMMA also provides real-time access to prices at which bonds and notes are sold to or bought from customers, as well as prices paid in inter-dealer transactions, for most trades occurring on or after January 31, 2005. In addition, issuers sometimes issue new bonds to establish escrows to pay-off existing bonds (usually to refinance their debt at a lower interest rate), and EMMA provides access to advance refunding documents that set out the details of these escrow arrangements." [RJ]
ARL Study Reveals Many Research Libraries Are Also Publishers
ARL has published the results of a study of publishing services by ARL member libraries. Karla Hahn's report, Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing (pdf), is based on a survey of ARL member libraries with follow-up interviews. It finds that research libraries are rapidly developing publishing services. By late 2007, 44% of the 80 responding ARL member libraries reported they were delivering publishing services and another 21% were in the process of planning publishing service development. Only 36% of responding institutions were not active in this arena.
Among the 44 percent of respondents that reported publishing activities:
- 88 percent report publishing e-journals.
- 79 percent publish conference papers and proceedings.
- 71 percent publish monographs.
Although the aggregate number of journal titles reported to be published by research represents "a very thin slice of the scholarly publishing pie," Hahn wrote, publishing activities, enabled by "emerging capabilities of digital information and networks," is clearly increasing. Respondents reported working on 265 titles, 131 of which were "established"; 81 were new titles; and 53 were "under development."
Key findings include:
- Service development is being driven by campus demand, largely from authors and editors.
- Substantial investment in open source applications such as Open Journal Systems, Open Conference Systems, D-Pubs, and DSpace is facilitating service development.
- Library publishing services are part of a range of new kinds of services libraries have developed or are developing, such as repository and digitization services.
- The use of various forms of revenue generation is common for publishing services, but core support comes from library resources and in some cases new campus funding.
Academic Law Libraries as ePublishers. Cincinnati's Marx Law Library publishes the Securities Lawyer's Deskbook, a project I inherited in 2001. At the time, I didn't think our little library should be in the publishing business. There was (and still is) no funding or staff support from the College of Law. Twice the project was almost axed because of library budget cuts but we were lucky to negotiate a licensing agreement with a SOX compliance vendor to offset some costs while keeping access to the Deskbook available free of charge.
Initially, I was amazed by the number of large SEC law firms that could bill out Lexis-Westlaw search charges easily but used the Deskbook instead. Now, I take that for granted. The Deskbook is the highest visited destination in the College of Law domain -- no other College of Law subdomain covers close -- and it generates tons of Law Library goodwill from our alumni.
I wonder what other academic law libraries are doing these days. Elmer, time for a new CALI-sponsored survey? [JH]
Brian Leiter's 2008 Top 40 Law Schools by Student Quality Now Available
Brian Leiter (Texas) has published his Ranking of Top 40 Law Schools by Student (Numerical) Quality 2008 on Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings website. Noting that LSAT scores are "the best, crude proxy available for measuring student quality," he ranks the top 40 schools as measured by the average of the 75th and 25th percentile LSAT scores for the class that entered in fall 2007. Class size is the first tie breaker: the larger school with the same LSAT credentials was ranked higher. The second tie breaker is the average of the 75th and 25th percentile GPA scores.
Leiter's previous annual rankings of law schools by student quality can be accessed from this link. Note the change in method. How schools fare in placing their graduates in Supreme Court and appellate clerkships and law teaching jobs is also a good proxy for how strong the high end of the class is. See Leiter's Top Producers of New Law Teachers, 2003-2007 and Supreme Court Clerkship Placement, 2000 Through 2007 Terms. [JH]
Opening: Research Services Librarian, Rutgers University Law Library
The Rutgers University Library for the Center for Law and Justice, in Newark, N.J., is seeking a Research Services Librarian. The Library for the Center for Law and Justice is a research library with a collection of over 500,000 volumes and volume-equivalents, and a staff of nineteen, including eight librarians with faculty status.
The Research Services Librarian has primary responsibility for development and implementation of services that support teaching and research. Specific duties include: training faculty members and research assistants in database use and research methods; providing guest lectures on research methods for law school classes; managing faculty document delivery; developing services to student publications; developing marketing and outreach initiatives to educate faculty and students about library services; teaching advanced legal research course sessions; writing research guides; participating in reference duty and the faculty liaison program; and maintaining an archive and bibliography of faculty publications. Reference duty includes evening and weekend work by rotation. The Research Services Librarian coordinates activities with other reference librarians and the Digital Services Librarian. The Research Services Librarian reports to the Director of the Law Library.
Conditions of employment:
This is a full-time, calendar-year, tenure-track position available July 1, 2008. Initial appointment is
for one year at the rank of Librarian III (equivalent to Assistant Professor); reappointment and tenure decisions are based on librarianship, scholarship, and service. Rutgers is an EO/Affirmative Action employer.
Salary & benefits:
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Benefits include retirement plan, life/health insurance, prescription drug, dental and eyeglass plans, tuition remission, one month vacation.
Must have: M.L.S. or equivalent from an ALA accredited program; working knowledge of U.S. legal publications; excellent written and oral communication skills. The successful candidate must
be eligible to work in the U.S. Preferred will be candidates with J.D., experience in law libraries, demonstrated teaching ability, and a record of scholarly achievement and involvement in professional associations.
To apply: Please send resume, cover letter and contact information (including e-mail) for three professional references to: Carol A. Roehrenbeck, Director, Rutgers Univ. Library for Center for Law & Justice, 123 Washington St, Newark, NJ 07102, fax (973) 353-1356, firstname.lastname@example.org
April 6, 2008
The Volunteer Army: Who Fights and Why?
Michael Massing explores what motivates young Americans to join the army in this April 3, 2008 New York Review of Books think piece. He writes:
I learned that every year the military conducts an annual survey of new recruits which asks, among other things, their reasons for enlisting. Dr. Curtis Gilroy, the head of personnel policy at the Pentagon, said that in the last several years one particular reason has risen in prominence: service to country. The number citing this as their main motivation went from 27.5 percent of all responses in 2002 to 38.1 percent in 2006. (It was followed by skills acquisition, cited by 20.2 percent, then by adventure, mentioned by 16.4 percent, then by money for education, benefits, travel, and pay.) But Beth Asch of the RAND Corporation, who does research for the Pentagon, says that such figures should be handled with care, since new recruits, when asked, often like to give their decision an idealistic cast. Furthermore, while patriotism has surged as an announced motive, it is also the case that the Army fell 8 percent short of its recruiting target of 80,000 in 2005—its largest shortfall since 1979. Since then, the Army has managed to meet its targets, but only by adding more than a thousand new recruiters and increasing the size of enlistment bonuses. Clearly, the patriotic sheen of September 11 has been dimmed by the ongoing bloodshed in Iraq.
Massing also highlights three recent books written by soldiers about their experiences in Irag:
- My War: Killing Time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell (2005)
- Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the US Army by Kayla Williams (2005)
- The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq by Joshua Key (2007)
Full Text of Pentagon "Torture" Memo Released
Social Media Sites of Presidential Contenders