February 23, 2008
Moral Principle vs. Military Necessity
Interesting piece by David Bosco from the American Scholar: "The first code of conduct for warfare, and American creation, reflected ambiguities we struggle with to this day." [RJ]
Transforming the National Guard and Reserves into a 21st-Century Operational Force
See also: Guard, reserves called inadequate for domestic disasters, L.A. Times & Commission Urges Upgrade of National Guard, CQ Politics
February 22, 2008
Friday Fun: Spongebob Classics
The cast of "Spongebob Squarepants" lend their voices to Hollywood classics including Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, and The Godfather! Hat tip to Mark Giangrande, DePaul Law Library for sharing. [JH].
A Little More Friday Fun Before Oscar Night
Oscar(R) night, February 24th, is coming fast. For a little workplace Friday Fun today, you can print out and circulate the Oscars ballot (pdf) from the official Oscar site [nominations page for details], play Predict the Winners on the offical site for a chance to "win an absolutely dazzling set of Kwiat diamond jewelry for yourself and a loved one" and take the below polls for your favorite films in the Best Picture and Documentary Feature categories. Sorry no prizes for taking our polls. [JH]
Free Legal Classes at People's Law School Set Example for Law Schools, Law Libraries and Local Bar Associations to Follow
The University of Texas School of Law is hosting and co-sponsoring free legal classes at People’s Law School on Saturday, February 23, 2008. Participants can choose to attend up to three classes, each featuring one topic. The classes, taught by local attorney volunteers, last seventy-five minutes and include a question and answer session at the end. UT Law Library tours are included in the program
Read more about this interesting event. Other law schools and law school libraries can easily pattern similar programs after this one. If you know of some, please publish details as comments to this post. [JH]
Legal Research and Legal Education in Africa
Vicki Lawal, University of Cape Town, Dept. of Library and Information Studies, has deposited Legal Research and Legal Education in Africa: the Challenge for Information Literacy in NELLCO. Presented at the Starr Foundation Workshop, which took place at Cornell Law School, October 7-11, 2007, this paper "analyses legal research within the context of legal education in Africa, it examines some of the challenges of electronic legal research in view of the influences of online legal electronic resources and Computer Assisted legal Research (CALR) and the importance of information literacy in addressing some of the issues raised especially with regards to undergraduate legal education." [JH]
CrimeReports Maps Arrests and Other Police Reports
CrimeReports.com overlays police reports on maps so users can view where arrests and other police calls have been made. Users can also configure e-mail alerts to notify them of crimes in their neighborhood. The site relies on law enforcement agencies that pay $100 or $200 a month for the company to extract data, add map links, and display the information online. At the moment about 40 agencies including one university police department, subscribe to the service. This could be a very useful service if more law enforcement agencies contribute their data.
Meanwhile, the tax assessor of Kanawha County in West Virginia has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to block Seneca Technologies from publishing tax maps for the entire state of West Virginia on the Internet. The suit cites a state law which prohibits individuals from copying and redistributing tax maps without the county tax assessor's permission. Hat tip to Tech Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Opening: Associate Law Librarian, George Mason University Law Library
The George Mason University Law Library in Arlington, Virginia is seeking an experienced librarian who will report directly to the Associate Dean for Library & Technology, in overseeing administrative functions and coordinating the library's collection development activities. This position will also participate in the faculty liaison program, teach online legal research classes, and provide other bibliographic instruction.
- Supervise and evaluate the library administrative assistant who also does all looseleaf filing for the library.
- Coordinate the library's collection development efforts, including identifying titles for selection and cancellation, negotiating contracts with vendors, and working closely with the acquisitions manager in the book order fulfillment process.
- Provide instruction in computer assisted legal research to first year students as part of the Legal Research, Writing and Analysis program. Participate in other bibliographic instruction classes including orientation and library tours.
- Providing liaison services to designated faculty.
- Oversee administrative functions which include serving as the library's HR liaison, monitoring the wages and work study budget, managing the hiring and recruitment process for wages, work study and permanent staff, managing the library's security access control system, and overseeing all facilities and housekeeping issues.
Qualifications: M.L.S. from an ALA accredited library school and J.D. from an ABA accredited law school. Minimum of five years professional law library experience. Solid knowledge of legal resources and teaching experience required. Ability to communicate and work effectively with faculty and students and strong customer service skills are essential. Supervisory or management experience desirable.
Salary: Competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
For a detailed position description, please see http://www.law.gmu.edu/libtech/associatelaw.html Applications must be made online at http://jobs.gmu.edu for position FA-329Z. Review of applications will begin immediately and close on March 14, 2008.
February 21, 2008
Professional Reading: MBCAP's Methodology for Evaulating State Public Access Laws
A must read! -- [JH]
Bill Chamberlin, et al. Searching for Patterns in the Laws Governing Access to Records and Meetings in the Fifty States by Using Multiple Research Tools, 18 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 415-445 (2007) [Westlaw]
From the Introduction:
Freedom of Information (FOI) advocates, mass communication scholars, journalists, and public policymakers often have asked which public access laws are the “best” in the country. The answer is elusive, even using a variety of research methodologies. Prior research has focused on studying only one aspect of these laws in the fifty states or by ranking every state on a limited number of criteria considered by a scholar to be necessary for an “ideal” law. No study thus far has effectively and systematically attempted to rank all state public records and open meeting laws in their entirety.
Assuming that the “best” public access law means the law that at least facially creates the highest level of government transparency, scholars can use a variety of research approaches to better understand which laws are perceived as “more open” than others. Indeed, by using a combination of social science and legal research approaches, scholars can achieve not only an improved understanding of how state laws compare, but also what the concept of “openness” means in state public record and open meetings laws. To this end, the Marion Brechner Citizen Access Project (MBCAP) has implemented a long-term research project analyzing the access laws of all states by carefully combining social science methodology and traditional legal research techniques.
Although in its early stages, the MBCAP has already produced a unique methodological approach and significant data. In this Essay, the authors explain how the combination of social science and legal methodologies can effectively answer complex questions involving public access laws. Discussing the project's methodology could also be useful to legal and communication scholars wishing to develop and improve state law compilations in order to identify in greater detail public policy established by state legislatures and the courts. Furthermore, although the MBCAP so far has focused on aspects of state public records laws, the methodology presented here may be replicated or modified for other areas of law where ranking and comparison of multiple jurisdictions would be useful.
[T]he Essay provides background by reviewing the relevant literature in Part II. Part III outlines the objectives of the project and the methodology used to meet those objectives. It will also provide solutions to complex problems that arise in a study of the laws of the fifty states and the District of Columbia. Part IV presents project results to demonstrate how state public records laws are being analyzed through use of the project. Part V concludes by discussing the practical and academic applications of the project as well as its limitations.
Are You an IT Omnivore?
What kind of information technology user are you? Take the PEW/INTERNET Internet Typology Test to see where you fit. [JH]
Open Access Publishing in the Legal Academy
The openness of law schools'journals is largely due to history rather than deliberate planning. It gives law schools a huge potential leg up in entering the digital knowledge network, but because it's arisen by happenstance, it's also vulnerable to being undermined. It would be ironic indeed if, as the rest of academia moves towards openness that law schools could be at risk of being hemmed in.
Gene proceeds to outline some fundamental steps for an action plan for open access publishing in the legal academy. Check out his post, Harvard's open publishing policy and the outlook for law schools. I encourage you to submit your thoughts to Gene in the form of comments to his post. [JH]
Cornell Law Library's InSITE Website Reviews
Reviews published in the February 11, 2008 issue of InSITE:
- Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler
- Compassion Index
- Real Lawyers Have Blogs
- State Cancer Legislative Database Program
- Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice
Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler
"The Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler" is a fascinating report that is part of Cornell Law Library’s Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection. The collection consists of nearly 150 bound volumes of Nuremberg trial transcripts and documents from the personal archives of General William J. Donovan (1883-1959). General Donovan worked on the staff of Chief Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson (later U.S. Supreme Court Justice Jackson) which gave Donovan a unique perspective on the war crime trials. "Wild Bill" Donovan is better known for his work as head of the Office of Special Services (OSS) during World War II, which led to his recognition as the father of the CIA, which morphed from the OSS after the war. The report was commissioned by the OSS in preparation for dealing with Hitler and Germany after the war. The analysis of Hitler was compiled by Dr. Henry A. Murray, a pioneering psychologist of the time and Director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic. Only 30 copies of the report were created so the analysis has not been widely available. Cornell Law Library’s copy is the only copy easily accessible to the public online. The site includes a PDF version of the 227 page report. The entire book or parts thereof can be downloaded from the Table of Contents page. A “More Info” option gives links to related articles about the Nuremberg collection, Dr. Murray, and the OSS. The site provides an interesting look at Hitler and the emerging field of psychology. [JC]
The Compassion Index is an offering of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). AWI is devoted to maintaining the well-being of animals by ensuring decent treatment by humans. AWI has worked for the adoption of many federal animal protection laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Humane Slaughter Act. The Compassion Index rates members of Congress on their compassion toward animals by tallying key votes and positions taken on pending legislation. AWI offers the index as a tool for both promoting legislative accountability and "to facilitate the advancement of federal bills benefiting animals and to defeat measures detrimental to their welfare." The index may be searched by state, Congressional member's name, or by Zip code. Each member of Congress is assigned a percentage rating based on his or her degree of agreement with AWI on various pieces of legislation. There is an entry for each senator and representative detailing his or her votes and positions on legislation. Currently, the index covers the 109th and 110th congresses. The site also lists key legislation that AWI is tracking. There are several bills before Congress of interest to the group, including the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and the Pet Safety and Protection Act. [MM]
Real Lawyers Have Blogs
Kevin O'Keefe is one of the top industry-acknowledged experts in legal blogdom. His company, LexBlog, offers lawyers a "turn-key, professional blog service" in the form of blog hosting and promoting. "Real Lawyers Have Blogs" is Mr. O’Keefe’s own blog, which promotes this service but also acts as one of the best portals and tutorials for the world of legal blogging. This blog, directed at practicing attorneys, covers law firm marketing, emerging Internet technology, blog basics, search engine optimization, and many other topics. Substantive legal issues are not covered. Unlike some blogs which offer a chronologically-arranged archive, this site arranges all content exclusively by topic. User comments are welcome, and "Real Lawyers Have Blogs" is searchable. [BWK]
State Cancer Legislative Database Program
The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) State Cancer Legislative Database (SCLD) is a database of state cancer-related legislation covering topics and issues such as tobacco, genetics, access to state-of-the-art treatment, and cancers of the breast, prostate, ovary, and other organs. This database is a resource for research and analysis of cancer-related health policy, providing summaries of legislation affecting cancer prevention and control since 1989. Designed as a resource for Federal and state agencies, Congress, health departments, universities and research centers, professional organizations, and the general public, SCLD data is not generally available for free on the NCI’s website. Freely available are fact sheets, the SCLD Update (the organization’s newsletter) going back to 1997, staff presentations, and the SCLD Tobacco Ratings. The Tobacco Ratings are two indices that measure the extensiveness of state tobacco control laws related to youth access to tobacco and clean indoor air. Researchers can also find summary information in the SCLD Legislative Snapshots, which contain graphic illustrations summarizing specific issues reported in the SCLD Updates. Custom research queries may be requested, but it is unclear from the website whether this is a fee-based service or not. [BWK]
Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice
The Sugar Law Center is a national, non-profit organization providing legal support and advocacy for working people and their communities by "binding corporations and government to their legal and moral responsibilities." The Center pursues aggressive enforcement of Federal, state and local laws governing corporate behavior. The website is a neatly organized presentation of the Center’s projects and concerns. Highlighted on the home page (as well as listed in the navigation bar) is a link to information about current efforts to revise the Federal Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act, legislation that the Center supports. The WARN blog page provides links to proposed legislation, existing primary law, how to express support, and more resources. Also given prominence on the home page (as well as by a navigation link) is a link to “Workplace Concerns” including discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, layoffs, and pay. The site gives workers a place to submit an online form about their problem for evaluation by the Center’s legal staff. The “Projects” page lists the Economic Bill of Rights, Fair Employment Practices, Workers’ Rights as Human Rights, Community Reinvestment (by corporations receiving tax breaks for creating jobs), and Environmental Justice as additional ongoing activities. The Center is a transparent organization that posts information about its staff, interns and Board members. It also posts its recent court filings and offers a free newsletter. Finally, a list of related websites organized by topic such as Living Wage Organizations, and The Effort to Change Wal-Mart are offered as resources for interested readers. Sprinkled throughout the site are links for those interested in working for the Center or funding it through donations or by purchases of its monographs. The vibrant, colorful website shows an organization actively pursuing its mission. [JC]
InSITE contributors: J. Callihan, 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 the channels below, in addition to this mailing list:
1. Searchable database or by browsing current and archived
issues on the web:
InSITE home page ( http://library2.lawschool.cornell.edu/insiteasp/)
3. Print format for the Cornell Law School community.
Top Ten Myths of Social Security
Check out Richard Kaplan's (Illinois) Top Ten Myths of Social Security. Here's the abstract:
Few federal programs are as well known and as widely misunderstood as Social Security, despite its national prominence in matters both political and economic. As efforts to reform this creation of the Great Depression era are likely in the coming years, this article examines the principal myths surrounding this program to set the stage for evaluating possible revisions. The myths considered in this article include the following: (1) there is a trust fund, (2) Social Security does not increase the federal budget deficit; (3) retirees are only recovering their own money, (4) Social Security will not be there when one retires, (5) retirement benefits are proportional to one's lifetime earnings, (6) Social Security favors two-income married couples, (7) Social Security favors long-lived marriages, (8) one could do better investing directly, (9) working after retirement makes financial sense, and (10) retirement benefits are taxed more heavily than other pension payments.
Opening: Fellowship in Law Librarianship, Univ. of Arizona
Law grads (or soon to be ones) who are interested in pursuing law librarianship by earning a LIS degree should look into the law librarianship fellowship offered by the University of Arizona's College of Law Library. The fellowship, which includes free tuition, benefits and a stipend, is contingent upon acceptance to Arizona's School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS). The deadline for fall admission to SIRLS is February 29, 2008; for Spring admission, September 1, 2008. Here's the SIRLS link.
About the Fellowship. The University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS) and the Law Library of the James E. Rogers College of Law offer a two-year fellowship in law librarianship for lawyers seeking to become law librarians. The successful applicant will work 20 hours per week in the law library while pursuing an M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science. The salary is $11,000 per fiscal (twelve-month) year (based on an annual salary of $22,000 prorated at .50 FTE/20 hours per week). Benefits and tuition reduction are included. (In the current fiscal year the fellowship recipient would pay a program fee of $140 per semester and have the remaining tuition and other fees waived.)
Fellowship recipients will assist law librarians in providing reference and research services to library patrons. The first year will focus on technical and access services; the second on public services. Fall applicants must start employment on or before July 1, 2008. Spring applicants must start on or before Dec. 1, 2008.
To apply for the fellowship, follow this link. It's a great opportunity! [JH]
February 20, 2008
Top 30 Law Prof Blogs: Harmless if not Very Meaningful Competition
Paul Caron (Cincinnati) charts traffic statistics of the "leading blogs" edited by law professors who use SiteMeter to record blog traffic. The selection of blogs is drawn from Dan Solove's "comprehensive" Law Professor Blogger Census, which of course isn't comprehensive (nor claimed by Solove to be) and wouldn't stand up to the population identification rigors needed for a real infometric analysis. But Caron's ranking, harmless if not very meaningful, is good enough for a blog post and a round of back slapping in law school faculty lounges across the country.
Or to put it another way:
Who cares [about law prof blog traffic rankings], you say? Blog Emperor Caron, of course! Curious that four of the top five have almost nothing to do with law; four of the top five are right-wing blogs; and three of the top five have almost no intellectual content. Welcome to the blogosphere! -- Posted by Brian Leiter (Texas)
Indeed, welcome to the academic legal blogosphere law prof style, complete with pathological myopia. Caron's ranking is, shall we say, a tad elitist. It intentionally excludes academic law library/law librarian blogs. He notes, for example, that Law Librarian Blog is not edited by law profs. Apparently my co-editor's credentials as an AAUP-represented tenured faculty member aren't good enough; neither are yours if similarly situated. The academic legal blogosphere must be a very exclusive club; membership, alas, does not require publishing intellectual content.
Of course the information for an inclusive traffic-based "ranking" is readily available thanks to Bonnie Shucha's excellent directory which was updated earlier this month and now lists 140 law library/law librarian blogs, many of which do reside in the academic legal blogosphere.
The giggle factor for info antics about the legal blogosphere is pretty high among law librarians and some, hopefully most, law profs. I wonder if LIS profs use these all too common posts as examples of what infometrics is not. Bottom line: take them for what they are worth -- law blog trivial pursuit.
Kudos to Dennis Kennedy for recognizing the contributions law library/law librarian bloggers make to the legal blogosphere by repeatedly awarding them his annual Blawggie Award for "Best Legal Blog Category".
"I have to be one of the biggest fans of law librarian blogs there is. I learn so much from these blogs and they get named for this award [Best Legal Blog Category] every year. As I said before, 'across the board, these blogs have developed into strong information resources, often with links to primary source information that I'm not sure how I would find otherwise.'" -- Dennis Kennedy
[quoted in our coverage of Kennedy's 2007 Blawggies]
Footnote: Law Librarian Blog would have come in 19th place by visitors and page views for the period covered in Caron's blog ranking. Other academic law library/law librarian blogs may have placed higher if they had been included but I'm sure Caron has other ways to show his appreciation for the contributions academic law librarians make. [JH]
Should Professional Librarian Journals Evolve into Blogs?
Marcus Banks argues that the traditional (hardcopy-based) journal model is too antiquated for sharing research and knowledge among librarians. I disagree. There's still a place in the structure of LIS literature for hardcopy serials but they can and are being supplemented by e-journals, blogs, digital repositories, and online companions to LIS hardcopy journals.
Hat tip to LISNews. [JH]
Professional Reading: The Bar's Good Moral Character Requirement
Keith Swisher's very interesting article about the history and application of the Bar's "good moral character" requirement is available from SSRN. Here's the abstract for The Troubling Rise of the Legal Profession's Good Moral Character:
This Article exposes several rather startling characteristics of the "good moral character" requirement for bar applicants. The requirement arose in part from the bar's desire to exclude competition, particularly competition from certain nationalities and racial groups. It later was expanded to exclude the morally unorthodox (e.g., communists, cohabiters, or felons). Presently, and importantly, despite rhetoric about flexibility and forgiveness, the requirement is applied rigidly and even disingenuously to many applicants with criminal records. I find a marked increase in the exclusion of applicants with criminal records, despite also finding that their criminal conduct occurred (on average) nearly a decade before their bar applications. The Article then illustrates that the bar's application of its "flexible" standard for admittance is both perverse and unrealistic; it is not only unfair to applicants, but it is unprecedented in psychology and moral philosophy. The Article concludes that these exclusionary practices result almost solely from the bar's concerns with its reputation and (misconceived) self-image. Finding that justification shallow, the Article offers some compromise positions for bar committees, courts, and law schools to employ in their screening processes.
Webcast: Justice Ginsburg and Baroness Hale on the British and US Legal Systems
Associate Justice Ginsburg and Baroness Hale, the first woman to join the British House of Lords as a "Lord of Appeal in Ordinary," discuss the British and U.S. legal systems in this archived webcast of an event sponsored by the Supreme Court Fellows Program Alumni Association and the Georgetown Law Supreme Court Institute. [RJ]
Race and Law Research Wiki Lanuched by Syracuse's Barcley Law Library
Check out Barclay Law Library's new Race & Law Research Wiki. Good luck with the project! [JH]
Assistant Dean for Library and Research Services, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
Position Description: University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (“Pacific McGeorge”) is seeking a dynamic and innovative leader for the position of Assistant Dean of its Gordon D. Schaber Law Library. The Assistant Dean for Library and Research Services is responsible for all aspects of the operation of the law library including budgeting, hiring and supervision of librarians and staff, strategic planning for future growth and development of the library, and initiating and monitoring all library programs and services. It is the Assistant Dean’s responsibility to ensure that the collection and resources are sufficient to meet the primary goal of supporting the teaching and research needs of the school’s faculty, staff and students and to ensure that the library is in compliance with the accreditation standards and membership requirements of the American bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools. The Assistant Dean reports directly to the Dean, and is a member of the School’s senior administrative team and a voting member of the law faculty. Pacific McGeorge has initiated a renovation of the law library, a portion of which has been completed to date.
Minimum Qualifications: Applicants for the Assistant Dean’s position must have a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school (or foreign equivalent), a master’s degree from an ALA-accredited library school, and significant experience in library administration. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Campus and Community: Pacific McGeorge School of Law occupies 13 beautiful acres in Sacramento, California's capital city. The law school has both day and evening divisions and a number of foreign programs. A dynamic city, Sacramento offers many cultural offerings and superb recreational activities. San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley wine country are within easy driving distance. The climate is Mediterranean. An affordable community with excellent housing values and good schools, Sacramento is California at its best.
The Pacific McGeorge law library is a service-oriented library that offers faculty and students access to over 500,000 volumes and volume-equivalents and many legal and interdisciplinary electronic resources. The Library serves a law school with 56 faculty and more than 1000 J.D. and LL.M. students. The library is currently staffed with 9 librarian positions and 12 staff plus work-study students, and has an annual budget of over two million dollars.
Applications: Review of applications will begin March 3, 2008, and will continue until the position is filled. Applicants should electronically forward a letter of interest, a resume and contact information on three references to the chair of the search committee, Professor Philip H. Wile at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We value candidates who can bring our community a variety of backgrounds and experiences.