June 24, 2008
Can Google Trends Help Define Community Obscenity Standards?
Considering the accessibility of online pornography, how should communities shape local obscenity standards in the digital age? The New York Times is reporting that in the trial of a pornographic Web site operator, the defense plans to show that residents of Pensacola are more likely to use Google to search for terms like “orgy” than for “apple pie” using Google Trends. [JH]
CDT Soliciting Comments on Its Draft Internet and Technology Policy Proposals
The Center for Democracy & Technology is working on a set of proposals for Internet and technology policy, including preserving free speech while protecting children online, protecting consumer privacy, keeping a balance between security and liberty, promoting global Internet freedom, keeping the Internet open to innovation, and promoting an open and transparent government. The document is a work in progress and CDT is now asking for public comments before finalizing it in January. Check out the CDT's The Internet in Transition website. You can also download the draft report (pdf). [JH]
New Features on OpenCongress
In addition to a site redesign, OpenCongress has added 13 new features, including several community-related ones like viewing articles and comments OpenCongress users have rated as useful. Read more about it: Donny Shaw's Thirteen Awesome New Feature on OpenCongress. [JH]
Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals
New CRS Report via the Federation of American Scientists: "The protection of classified national security and other controlled information is of concern not only to the executive branch — which determines what information is to be safeguarded, for the most part 1 — but also to Congress, which uses the information to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. It has established mechanisms to safeguard controlled information in its custody, although these arrangements have varied over time between the two chambers and among panels in each. Both chambers, for instance, have created offices of security to consolidate relevant responsibilities, although these were established two decades apart. Other differences exist at the committee level. Proposals for change, some of which are controversial, usually seek to set uniform standards or heighten requirements for access." [RJ]
AALL Executive Board Candidates Named
The 2008 AALL Nominations Committee has submitted the following slate of AALL Executive Board candidates. The election will be held November 3 - December 1, 2008, and successful candidates will begin their terms of office in July 2009.
- Joyce Janto, Deputy Director of the Law Library, University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
- Nancy Johnson, Law Librarian and Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law Library, Atlanta, GA
Executive Board Member
- Beth DiFelice, Assistant Director and Head of Public Services, Arizona State University, Ross-Blakley Law Library, Tempe, AZ
- John Edwards, Associate Dean for Information Resources and Technology and Professor of Law, Drake University Law Library, Des Moines, IA
- Marcus Hochstetler, Law Librarian and Director, King County Law Library, Seattle, WA
- Janet McKinney, Computer Services Librarian, Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, Kansas City, MO
Meet the Candidates in Portland! You can meet the candidates at the 2008 Annual Meeting in Portland on Tuesday, July 15, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall at the AALL Member Services Booth.
Congratulations to all! [JH]
A Very Short Reading List for Incoming 1Ls
There are two classics every incoming 1L should read before starting law school but my sense is that many turn them away because they are not written in a style that resonates with our younger students. I'm referring, of course, to Karl N Llewellyn's The Bramble Bush, recently republished by Oxford UP, and Edward H. Levi's An Introduction to Legal Reasoning.
In addition to those two works, I always recommend Helene Shapo and Marshall Shapo's Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success (Foundation Press, 2002). Helene Shapo and Marshall Shapo are law professors who compiled this book of practical advice for their son, a law student. The book discusses in simple terms what law students need to know about law school and how to get the most out the law school experience. The text also discusses the problems law students encounter most frequently and solutions to those problems. Topics covered include briefing a case, precedent and how to use it, balancing competing interests and factors, legal writing, and psychological tips for the study of law.
For the "what should I read" question asked by incoming 1Ls (or admissions directors wanting to send students a reading list during the summer), we librarians can easily compile an extensive bibliography but I lean toward providing a very short guided reading list instead. The above three titles plus Carolyn J. Nygren's Starting Off Right in Law School (Carolina Academic Press, 1997) which melds information about the legal system usually found in legal methods books with information about study skills usually found in books with a "how to succeed in law school" focus is in my opinion sufficient.
Opening: Reference Librarian, Univ. of Pennsylvania Law Library
Biddle Law Library is searching for a talented Reference Librarian to join its Public Services team in providing outstanding reference, research, and teaching support at a law school that prides itself on cross-disciplinary studies. This is a new position reflecting the growth in the Library’s services to faculty and the school.
- ABA-accredited JD and ALA-accredited MLS degrees.
- A thorough knowledge of basic legal sources and skill in using print and electronic materials.
- A strong service orientation toward all library patrons with special attention to law faculty and students.
- Excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.
- Ability to work with initiative and flexibility in order to respond effectively to changing information needs.
- Ability to work with grace under pressure while performing several tasks and helping demanding patrons.
- Collegiality which fosters team building among librarians and staff so as to constantly improve service.
- Active participation in the intellectual and administrative life of the Law School.
Preferred: Additional degrees or training in non-legal fields; instructional experience; facility with webpage development software (Dreamweaver, for example) and web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, social tagging).
Responsibilities: Under the general direction of the Head of Reference Services, the Reference Librarian will be expected to do the following:
- Participate in Reference Desk rotation, helping patrons in a wide variety of ways such as: identifying possible research sources in all formats, suggesting research strategies, giving “over the shoulder” guidance in the use of online databases, assisting in the use of library equipment, exercising discretion and tact in representing the library in the best possible light to the walk-in or call-in patron.
- Participate in Biddle’s Faculty Liaison Program by meeting regularly with assigned faculty about their research interests, attending their “working paper” presentations, developing faculty course portal materials, making recommendations on their behalf to the Collection Development Committee, bringing new acquisitions to their attention with their research interests in mind, doing everything possible to make faculty feel that librarians support them proactively.
- Teach legal research in formal and informal settings, including but not limited to, first year legal research instruction, upper-level law students in classes and tutorials, LLM classes in an intensive August program, "one-on-one" consultations with students writing research papers and with non-law university patrons.
- Enhance the library’s contribution to the mission of the Law School by producing bibliographies for the Faculty Appointments Committee, supplying specialized information for administrators, giving webpage assistance to units such as Career Planning and Placement.
- Write library guides, handouts, bibliographies, etc., and contribute to webpage projects.
- Participate in library collection development in light of faculty research interests, changing technology, space considerations and preservation.
- Be the library’s contact person with Lexis and Westlaw, making sure that commercial representatives provide the highest level of service to the Law School.
- Contribute to the Library’s teams and strategic initiatives, including identifying innovative outreach efforts and applying new technologies to Reference and the Library’s work.
- Serve on various university teams dedicated to improving information technology and library service.
- Foster contacts with other professionals and libraries by participating in the activities of professional organizations.
Salary and Benefits: Highly competitive and dependant upon qualifications and experience. Benefits include TIAA/CREF retirement program, medical insurance, disability benefits, life insurance, tuition remission, among others.
To Apply: Please send by email or regular mail an introductory letter, resume, and names with contact information of three references to:
Paul M. George
Biddle Law Library
University of Pennsylvania Law School
3460 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3406
The University values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer. It is committed to non-discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, marital status, status as a Vietnam Era Veteran, or any other trait or status protected by applicable law.
June 23, 2008
Play Budget Hero!
"Bore You To Death" Year Eliminated by Northwestern Law's New 2-Year JD Program
First year, they scare you to death; second year, work you to death; third year, bore you to death.
Northwestern has joined Dayton and Southwestern Law School in offering an accelerated JD program that eliminates the third calendar year of law school. Students will be required to complete the same number of credit hours as traditional three-year JD students but in five semesters over the course of two calendar years. They will start classes in May and then join traditional JD students during the fall and spring semesters. The accelerated program leaves the second summer open for working in summer programs. Students then return to law school for their last two semesters. According to the School's press release, applicants for the two-year JD program must have at least two years of substantive post-undergraduate work experience and "ideally have demonstrated managerial and leadership experience to qualify for the program." Tuition for Northwestern's accelerated program has not be set yet but the real economic incentive is being able to start paying off student loans by practicing law a year sooner. See the WSJ's Law Blog post, Law School in 2 Years (Same $$?) — Assessing Northwestern’s Program. Northwestern estimates that 25 to 40 students are expected to enroll. 40 First-Years running around the law library! There goes quiet summers for the School's law library staff.
University of Chicago professor and former dean Geoffrey Stone called the two-year program "irresponsible." "My sense is that compressing the educational process is likely to seriously derogate from the quality. What is lost is likely to be much more than anything that is gained by hustling the students through more quickly." But Daniel Polsby, the George Mason University law school dean and a former Northwestern faculty member for 23 years, is predicting that other law schools are likely to follow up with their own accelerated programs. Quoted in NU law school to offer 2-year program: Other schools predict lower-quality lawyers (Chicago Tribune).
Northwestern is also adding three new required courses covering quantitative analysis (accounting, finance and statistics), dynamics of legal behavior, and strategic decision making starting with the new two-year program and eventually being required of everyone. Is this an innovative approach to curricular reform in legal education? Take Above the Law's poll: Is Northwestern's Two-Year Program a Good Idea.
Instead of eliminating the third year and adding new three required courses to the otherwise traditional law school curriculum, Washington & Lee's new third year program offers fundamental curricular reform in legal education. See LLB's earlier post: Washington and Lee Reinvents 3L Curriculum. [JH]
Are You Driven to Distraction by the Same Communication Tools Intended to Make Us More Productive?
Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
by Maggie Jackson
List Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 327 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books (June 4, 2008)
Book Description: Despite our wondrous technologies and scientific advances, we are nurturing a culture of diffusion, fragmentation, and detachment. In this new world, something crucial is missing--attention. Attention is the key to recapturing our ability to reconnect, reflect, and relax; the secret to coping with a mobile, multitasking, virtual world that isn't going to slow down or get simpler. Attention can keep us grounded and focused--not diffused and fragmented.
Distracted offers the cutting-edge solutions we need to cure--not just live with--an epidemic of inattention. How did we get to the point where we keep one eye on our Blackberry and one eye on our spouse--in bed? At a time when we can contact millions of people worldwide, why is it hard to schedule a simple family supper? Most importantly, what can we do about it?
Journey with Maggie Jackson as she explores the many ways in which we are eroding our capacity for deep, sustained attention-the building block of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress. In her sweeping quest to unravel the nature of attention and detail its erosion, she introduces us to scientists, cartographers, marketers, educators, wired teens, virtual lovers from the telegraph age, and roboticists building smart machines to comfort and care for us. She takes us from the nineteenth-century roots of our mobile, virtual multitasking ways into a darkening future of snippets, glimpses, skimming, McThinking, and mistrust.
Jackson makes it clear that if we continue down this road of scattered attention spans and widespread societal ADD, we will be in danger of squandering and devaluing the essence of humanity, and our technological age could ultimately slip into cultural decline. But we are just as capable of igniting a renaissance of attention by strengthening our varied powers of focus and perception, the keys to judgment, memory, morality, and happiness. She investigates the science of attention--describing some of the exciting new scientific research that shows how attention skills can be nurtured.
Taking us beyond Blink, Faster, and CrazyBusy, Distraction is unique. It's simultaneously an original exposé of the multifaceted nature of attention, an engaging and often surprising portrait of postmodern life, and a compelling roadmap for cultivating sustained focus and nurturing a more enriched and literate society.
New on LLRX.com for June 2008
- The Art of Written Persuasion: The Rise of Written Persuasion, by Troy Simpson
- The Government Domain: Plain Language in Government Communications, by Peggy Garvin
- Keeping Up with Class Actions: Reports, Legal Sites and Blogs of Note, by Scott Russell
- A Little Grafting of Second Life into a Legal Research Class, by Rob Hudson
- CongressLine: Running for Congress, by Paul Jenks
- LLRX Book Review by Heather A. Phillips - A Guide to HIPAA Security and the Law, by Heather A. Phillips
- Conrad Jacoby's E-Discovery Update: Attorneys, Experts, and E-Discovery Competence, by Conrad J. Jacoby
- FOIA Facts - My Proposal: FOIA Litigation Reporting Requirements, by Scott A. Hodes
- Burney's Legal Tech Reviews - Gadgets for Legal Pros: Ergotech "Convertible" Monitor Arm and Canary Wireless Digital Hotspotter, by Brett Burney
- Commentary: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007
Liveblogging the 2008 CALI Conference
The 2008 CALI Conference may be over but there's plenty of great liveblogging posts in the blogosphere to read. Check out Professor Paul Maharg's (Glasgow Graduate School of Law) posts and CALI Fellow Gene Koo's posts. See also posts by Denise Grey and Jim Milles. [JH]
Opening: Assistant Director for Faculty Services, Univ. of South Carolina Law Library
The University of South Carolina's Coleman Karesh Law Library is seeking an Assistant Director for Faculty Services.
The Assistant Director for Faculty Services coordinates library services for full-time and visiting faculty of the School of Law. The person in this position will be responsible for planning, developing, implementing, and administering library services to the faculty to support the law school curriculum and the individual scholarly pursuits of law faculty members. The Assistant Director for Faculty Services will supervise a staff of student research assistants.
The required qualifications are JD and MLS (or equivalent) degrees from ABA and ALA accredited institutions and at least one year of law library experience. Candidates with relevant experience in comparable position, proven supervisory skills, strong commitment to excellent public service, and strong understanding of emerging technologies are preferred.
This new tenure-track position is available on or after January 1, 2009. Initial interviews will begin at the AALL annual meeting.
For complete posting and information on application procedures: https://uscjobs.sc.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1213641435816
The University of South Carolina is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
June 22, 2008
Politics and the Olympics
The modern Olympic Games began in 1896 in the hope that sporting events between nations could bring about a more peaceful world. But since then, the Olympics have often served as political showcases for nations, individuals, and ideologies. This interactive slideshow, hosted by the Council on Foreign Affairs, explores this history through photographs and expert commentary by Frank Deford. [JH]
Foreign Policy for the Next President
Next January, the new U.S. President will be confronted with the longest list of severe challenges any president has faced in decades. Prioritizing among them will be even more important than usual. In its new series, "Foreign Policy for the Next President", the Carnegie Endowment’s experts endeavor to do just that. They separate good ideas from dead ends and go beyond widely agreed goals to how to achieve them.
- Is a League of Democracies a Good Idea?
- Sunset for the Two-State Solution?
- Breaking the Suicide Pact: U.S.–China Cooperation on Climate Change