August 30, 2008
Buckets of Obama- or McCain-Interested Voters
Peter Whoriskey's Candidates' Web Sites Get to Know the Voters (Washington Post) is reporting that both presidential campaigns are using "retargeting" to send ads to people who visited their websites but who didn't leave their name or e-mail address by leaving a tracking cookie in the visitor's web browser. Such online behavioral targeting ad technologies have raised alarms from some privacy advocates. While Congress has begun looking into the use of such techniques for commercial advertisers, no similar investigation into political advertisers appears to be on the horizon. [JH]
The Looming Crisis: Displacement and Security in Iraq
The vast majority of debate on the Iraq war tends to center around U.S. troop reduction and withdraw. Lost in the discussion “are millions of displaced Iraqi women, children, and men” according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. The Bush administration has acknowledged it as an serious issue but has resisted proposing a long term solution to the problem. In The Looming Crisis: Displacement and Security in Iraq, the massive Iraqi displacement is like “the proverbial elephant in the room.” The report analyzes the current situation as well as the far reaching implications on the security of Iraq if the problem is not addressed. [RJ]
2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic
From the press release: "According to new data in the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic there have been significant gains in preventing new HIV infections in a number of heavily affected countries. In Rwanda and Zimbabwe, changes in sexual behavior have been followed by declines in the number of new HIV infections." 2008 Global Report | Executive summary | Multimedia [RJ]
August 29, 2008
The Colbert Bump in Campaign Donations
For some time now, Stephen Colbert, host of the Colbert Report, has touted the fact that candidates who appear on his show receive a significant bump in campaign donations afterwards. James H. Fowler (University of California) examines this recent phenomenon in his paper The Colbert Bump in Campaign Donations: More Truthful than Truthy. Democrats who appear on The Colbert Report enjoy “a significant increase in the number and total amount of donations they receive in the next 30–40 days, compared to similar candidates who do not appear on the show. “ Surprisingly, Republicans get a pre-Colbert bump. Fowler advises “not to read too much into these results,” yielding that The Colbert bump may be one of many factors involved. [RJ]
What Happened to Our County Law Library?
Neither Snyder County (Penn.) Commissioner Joe Kantz nor fellow Commissioner Malcolm Derk know who decided to toss the Synder County's law library collection into a dumpster last October but they're upset with the cost of going digital. How much? $10,000 per year for the County's online only law library. Sounds cheap but this is one of those one-room county law libraries housed in a local courthouse so it may not be as inexpensive as it sounds. This incident also poses an interesting question: should county law libraries that are required to be open to the public be digital-only? [JH]
Friday Fun: Welcome Back 3Ls, Time to Start Your Job Search
Worried about applying for your first job out of law school? This 1996 Columbia Law Revue video clip shows you what to do to ace your interviews and get the job you want. On a serious note, check out the ABA Journal's Attention Gen Y's: Understand Generational Differences in the Workplace and Kimm Alayne Walton's Guerrilla Tactics For Getting The Legal Job Of Your Dreams, 2d ed (Gilbert Law Publishing, 2008) [JH & RJ]
Justia's Lawyer Directory
It's "pre-beta" which means, I guess, post-alpha. Listings by state, metro area, and practice area. Check out Justia's Law Directory. A Martindale-buster? Probably not but it's good to have choices. [JH]
LC, Partners Will Preserve Bush Administration Web Sites
In an effort to preserve Executive materials on the Web, the Library of Congress along with the California Digital Library, the University of North Texas Libraries, the Internet Archive and the U.S. Government Printing Office announced a collaborative project to preserve public United States Government websites at the end of the current presidential administration ending January 19, 2009. According to the Library of Congress “the Internet Archive will undertake a comprehensive crawl of the .gov domain, the University of North Texas and the California Digital Library will focus on in-depth crawls of specific government agencies and the Government Printing Office will lend expertise to the curation process along with libraries in its Federal Depository Library Program.” [RJ]
Google: An Intersection of Business and Technology
Google: An Intersection of Business and Technology is the symposium issue published in the Maryland Journal of Business & Technology Law (2008). For some Labor Day holiday weekend reading, check out:
- Google and Fair Use, Jonathan Band
- Information Policy for the Library of Babel, James Grimmelmann
- The Google IPO, Matthias Hild
- Asterisk Revisited: Debating a Right of Reply on Search Results, Frank Pasquale
- From Making Money without Doing Evil to Doing Good without Handouts: The Google.org Experiment in Philanthropy, Shruti Rana
- Google Benefits or Google’s Benefit?, Susan J. Stabile
- Privacy on Planet Google: Using the Theory of “Contextual Integrity” to Clarify the Privacy Threats of Google’s Quest for the Perfect Search Engine, Michael Zimmer
LC Summaries of Democratic and Republican Nominating Conventions
The Humanities and Social Sciences division at the Library of Congress is providing brief summaries of the Democratic and Republican national conventions dating back to 1832 and 1856, respectively. [JH]
August 28, 2008
Traci Bryant, a.k.a. Anita Cannibal, Isn’t Exactly Your Typical Law Student
Thought it might be an aging punk rocker going to law school story? Sorry, it's just another porn star turned 1L story. This one's on Bitter Lawyer. The student is already licensed in Nevada ... for you know what.
Traci Bryant, a.k.a. Anita Cannibal, 38, is a 1L attending West Los Angeles School of Law. In the first post of Bitter Lawyer’s "exclusive" multi-part series we learn that the rate of Chlamydia infections among adult film actors is about 57 times higher than what California state officials consider epidemic proportions. Can't wait for part two which will cover:
How Traci got into porn….what brought her to law school….what her brothel clients and porn colleagues think of her being in law school….her favorite and least favorite parts of porn, stripping, and working in the brothels….what she wants to do with her law degree.
Did I mention that Bryant-Cannibal is producing a documentary? The working title is Porn Star Goes to Law School. No word on whether filming has, is or ever will take place at West Los Angeles School of Law.
You know how to perform a Google Image Search for NSFW (Now Show Friends and Workmates) pics of Anita Cannibal right? [JH]
Spectrum to AALL Members: "What Blogs Do You Read and Why?"
AALL Spectrum Editorial Director Mark Estes wants to know what blogs you read and why for the "Member to Member" section of Spectrum. Mark is looking for short (one paragraph) responses. Selection of responses will be made by Mark Estes and AALL Director of Publications Julia O’Donnell. It's unclear to me if this will be a regular feature in the "Member to Member" section but for Spectrum's November issue, please send your responses to Mark and Julia by Wednesday, September 3.
Not limited to law blogs, this call for Spectrum contributions still gives us another opportunity to highlight Bonnie Shucha's (Wisconsin) great directory of law library-law librarian blogs. Updated July 23, 2008, it now lists 143 blogs. [JH]
Best Practices for Online Learning
As Library 2.0 becomes part of the fabric of our lives and we develop ever more sophisticated collections video tutorials, the Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA) offers some some best practices in developing online content for students.
- Orient students to the new online venue
- Reach out & mentor your students
- Help students overcome obstacles
- Respond to calls for help
- Model civility for your students
IDEA warns that technology may discourage learning in some settings.
"For instance, very often the value proposition of small colleges revolves around building education on strong personal relationships and personalized stewardship of the student’s educational experience. Nothing threatens this deliverable like moving classes online. Technology can start off as a supplement for enriching face-to-face quality, and wind up replacing it..."
I embrace new technologies because I enjoy exploring and learning them and it's easy to lose track of how the technology actually improves student appreciation of the content. Educational technologist Martin Weller notes that:
[M]ost students want the structure, the support and the filter that higher education provides. Technology isn’t the solution, or the problem [but] the medium through which the cultural differences between traditional higher education and web 2.0 will be realised. We can think of the learning systems we use as the metaphor for the way we approach pedagogy, the learner experience and the role of the educator.
Therefore, Library 2.0 is arguably a metaphor for learning in the Internet age. [NA]
Is It Time for a Uniform Law on Digital Identity?
Recently TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld published his wish list for a digital bill of rights consisting of
- The Right to Use and Reuse Content
- The Right To Control Digital Property On Your Own Device
- The Right To The Free Flow Of Information
- The Right To (Some) Privacy
- The Right to Control Your Digital Identity
About digital identity, Schonfeld writes "politicians may want to take a closer look at the EU’s privacy directive." The EU directive allows individuals to certify that the digital identity associated with their name in a given database is in fact theirs and to revoke access to that identity information on a case-by-case basis. Josh Blackman (George Mason) looks at a different facet of digital identity.
Protecting Your Digital Identity from "Omnivellance." Nothing is stopping virtually anyone from broadcasting live video feeds of street corners and other public places on the Internet. Josh Blackman (George Mason) calls the prospect of such pervasive human monitoring, "omniveillance" and, in Omniveillance, Google, Privacy in Public, and the Right to Your Digital Identity [SSRN], proposes a tort to balance privacy rights with free speech, and provides a remedy for victims of omniveillance. The tort emerged from existing privacy torts, borrowing from criminal law, criminal procedure, and paparazzi and voyeurism statutes. He develops a framework to remedy victims of omniveillance. While Blackman suggests that this be enforced as a common law tort so that each state can define the contours of the tort to meet their citizen's specific needs, drafting a uniform digital identity law could be a good way to get the task started. [JH]
SEC Unveils IDEA, Successor to the Commission’s 1980s-era EDGAR Database
Remember when Charles E. Simon & Company was the go-to information broker for SEC filings? Then came EDGAR. Now IDEA (Interactive Data Electronic Applications).
Built from the ground up to make reported data interactive, the SEC's IDEA will at first supplement and then eventually replace EDGAR. With IDEA, investors will be able to instantly collate information from companies and forms, and create reports and analysis on the fly.
SEC data users who currently use EDGAR will be able to continue doing so for the indefinite future. During the transition to IDEA, investors will be able to take advantage of new interactive, IDEA-like features that will be grafted onto EDGAR in the short run. This will make it possible for investors to tap IDEA’s advanced search capabilities, and to use the information from EDGAR within spreadsheets and analytical software. The EDGAR database also will continue to be available as an archive of company filings for past years.
Additional information in the SEC press release which includes a link to a video demonstration of IDEA. [JH]
Gaming Law School Rankings
Law schools gaming the US News ranking system made the front page of the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. At issue, the fairly common practice of schools herding lower-scoring LSAT applicants into their part-time programs so that their LSAT scores don't count in the rankings. Oftentimes, part-time students transfer to full-time programs in the second year. US News ranking czar Bob Morse has indicated that he is considering revising the ranking formula to crack down on the practice. Chapman law prof Tom W. Bell and the Journal have reworked the rankings formula to illustrate the rankings decline some schools can expect if part-timer LSAT scores are included by US News. [Click on image above right for a sample; more in the article]
Phillip Closius, former dean at Toledo, current dean at Baltimore, played this game at both schools. Results: Toledo rose from the fourth tier to the second tier and Baltimore climbed the rankings to 125 this year from 170 last year. The WSJ article quotes Dean Closius who explained his behavior in these words, "U.S. News is not a moral code, it's a set of seriously flawed rules of a magazine, and I follow the rules...without hiding anything," That's right, let's just jerk law students around for the sake of a "seriously flawed" ranking score.
If only this was the most serious gaming and rankings formula issue. It isn't. See LLB's post, Fiddling with the US News Law School Ranking Formula, citing Brian Leiter's (Chicago) critique and suggestions for improving the ranking methodology in An Open Letter to Bob Morse of U.S. News. Leiter is still waiting for Morse's promised response. [JH]
August 27, 2008
Good Times at the Library or Why Libraries Are the New Amusement Parks This Summer
As gas and food prices continue to climb, many families are turning to the library this summer for a fun and free alternative to heavy spending. Bill Whitaker (CBS News) reports on this phenomenon in his Good Times at the Library video clip. [RJ]
Yale, the Best Law School for Hands-On Training
You got to be kidding! But that's what happens when you just rank law schools by clinical opportunities like the National Jurist did in its September 2008 (at page 26). [JH]
29 Percent of Librarians Dissatisfied with Non-Librarian Decisions, Very Dissatisfied
29% of the respondents to LLB's recent poll "strongly disagree" with the statement "I am satisfied with management's recent decisions regarding my library" (where management decisions means decisions that impact library operations and budgets made by executives and administrators who are not librarians). That's more than the combined total who "agree" or "strongly agree" with the statement (25%). If we add responses for "disagree," 60% of librarians are dissatisfied with recent decisions made by non-librarians. 15% are ambivalent, not exactly a vote of confidence.
The poll will remain open until September 4th so there is still time to register your opinion here. The results so far (150-plus responses) sends a pretty clear message: rely on the professional judgment of librarians. It's possible that executives just need to communicate their library-related decisions better, but in my opinion, that's not the likely reason for librarian dissatification. [JH]
Getting From Point A to Point B: Success in Law School and Legal Practice
Regular readers of this blog will know that I share Leah Christensen's desire to see the end of the legal academy's institutional arrogance towards skills instruction come sooner rather than later but I don't think her recent article, The Power of Skills Training: A Study of Lawyering Skills Grades as the Strongest Predictor of Law School Success [SSRN] does much to bring this about. The article finds a strong correction between class rank and legal skills course grades, stronger than either LSAT or university GPA scores. So what? We already know that law students who learn to write like their law profs will get good grades. If the legal academy cares about skills training, lawyering skills need to be grounded in the real world and the metrics used need to find relationships between what is learned in law school and on-the-job performance.
This article is a companion piece to a different one that explores achievement goal theory and discusses the results of the study in detail as it relates to law students achievement goals. See Enhancing Law School Success: A Study of Goal Orientations, Academic Achievement and the Declining Self-Efficacy of Our Law Students [SSRN]. In it Christensen finds that the most successful students were mastery oriented learners, not performance (read grade) oriented. However, despite high achievement and mastery-oriented learning styles, the more successful law students were also more likely to doubt their individual abilities to understand and apply the law.
Enhancing Law School Success is the better of the two new articles. Christensen (Thomas Jefferson School of Law) has been producing some interesting articles in this area. [SSRN Author Page] I'm looking forward to the day she teams up with educational psychologists and HR experts to produce a more comprehensive empirical analysis that extends from success in law school to success in practicing law to explain how the legal academy can get from Point A to Point B. Wouldn't we all like to know how to do that? [JH]