March 3, 2009
Google Map of ABA Approved Law Schools
Clearly I need to get a life, but in the meantime, I've created this Google map of all U.S. ABA approved law schools, with links to the law school web site. You'll notice it's a bit lopsided, so I'm putting my vote in now for some eastern law schools to relocate to more scenic areas in the west. Questions, comments and suggestions are welcome. [JJ]
Can Brand X's Server Really Store the Equivalent of the Library of Congress?
You've seen the claims, "our servers can store the equivalent of the Library of Congress,” or “our network is fast enough to download the entire Library of Congress in a millisecond.” LC's Matt Raymond offers a reality check to these hyperbolic claims by providing some stats on the Library's digital collections. Check out How ‘Big’ Is the Library of Congress? [JH]
DRM Plus Proprietary Reader Software: Are Amazon and Sony Hindering e-Book Growth?
As as Amazon's Kindle or Sony Corp.'s Reader sales increase, critics claim the two companies are potentially hindering the growth of the e-book industry by continuing to support DRM technology as well as choosing proprietary reader software over an open source open e-book publishing standard. "I don't have to put on special glasses when I read a book published by Random House, so why should I need a special software reader from Adobe or someone else?" asked David Rothman, co-editor of the TeleRead e-book blog. Unfortunately, there's no consensus on the solution. Some support a "social DRM shareware approach",in which e-books are digitally watermarked with the buyer's name, but not physically prevented from redistribution. While others argue that a total shareware approach is the only way to go. [RJ]
New Rockefeller Institute Report Examines State Budgets and the Federal Stimulus Package
While states will benefit greatly from the federal stimulus program state budget gaps still loom at the end of that period, according to a new report issued today by the Rockefeller Institute of Government.
The report, What Will Happen to State Budgets When the Money Runs Out?, says that even under the most optimistic of scenarios, state tax collections will not return to pre-recession levels until well after the 2011-2012 fiscal year, when the bulk of new assistance for states will end. At that time, states will once again face severe budget gaps, the study finds.
“The economic and revenue picture for states is uncertain,” the report says. It adds, “Under any likely scenario, states will face significant budget problems when the new federal aid runs out.” [RJ]
A Must Have Book for Clicker Users
I think clickers in the classroom is a silly but harmless form of "educational technology" because, apparently, asking students to raise their hands in class is now to difficult. Clicker use does help keep law students awake during class and provides some feedback for profs if you assume that students are actually thinking before they are clicking. Best of all, clickers are cheap. Clicker profs and the tech staff that support them might be interested in Derek Bruff's Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments (JosseyBass, Feb. 2009) Believe it or not, there's also a clicker blog. [JH]
Law School Applications Down Slightly
Typically, Law School applications rise during tumultuous times. However, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, flat applications are a concern to many law school administrators. "Ordinarily, in an economic downturn, you would expect applications to go up, but we are not seeing that this time around," said Marylouise Esten, associate dean for students at Temple Law School. "There is a lot of uncertainty." The Law School Admissions Council said that more than a year into the current recession, applications across the nation were off about 1 percent, at 56,481. For more good news, see LLB's earlier post Tough Times Ahead for Law Library Budgets. [RJ]
March 2, 2009
The March Issue of AALL Spectrum Online
The March issue of AALL Spectrum is now available online. This month’s articles feature:
- a look at the agreements you make when you participate in Web 2.0
- the future of shrinking print reference collections
- a review of a guide to the lawyer-client relationship
- how the Americans with Disabilities Act addresses animals in your library
- a display case for the 21st century
- one member’s experience at the AALL Leadership Academy
Sign of the Times: WSJ Law Blog Down to Part-Time Blogger
Dan Slater, veteran full-time WSJ Law Blog writer, was one of 14 newsroom positions hit by cuts by the Wall Street Journal. Slater's replacement is Mark Obbie whose regular gig is editor of the WSJ's law page. Bob Ambrogi predicts that "without a full-time writer, the Law Blog is likely to scale back its coverage of the legal industry." Well, we still have Above the Law. [JH]
Bloomberg Takes on the Major Providers of Fee-based Online Legal Information
Bloomberg Law (BLAW) aims to give Westlaw and LexisNews some competition. BLAW is a legal, regulatory, and compliance platform that offers a suite of news, data, analytics, and research tools to the legal and compliance community. The resources include primary legal materials and secondary materials produced by Bloomberg and BNA.
I haven't seen it in action but Mary Ann Neary (Boston College Law Library) and George D. Wilson (Stanford) have. Check out their March 2009 article in AALL Spectrum, Hello BLAW: Bloomberg Law, the newcomer in legal research, meets academic users. It's a great overview of the service and its resources but note the odd hardware requirements. To access BLAW, users must have either a dedicated, dual-screen Bloomberg terminal or a dedicated biometric fingerprint scan device. The fingerprint scanner will allow users to access BLAW anywhere they go as long as they take the device with them. I don't know if BLAW users lease, purchase or receive these gizmos for "free," but it reminds me of the bad old days of early-mid 1980s vendor equipment requirements. I thought we had progressed beyond that...
Of course, if BLAW is a good fit for one's information requirements and it undercuts the competition's pricing, few will care about the equipment requirements. Academic law libraries may pick up this service if Bloomberg offers steep discounts for law schools. Some firm libraries may want to review the service for possible cost-savings. [JH]
New Article on Legal Scholarship in the Digital Age
Stephanie L. Plotin, Reference & Williams Institute Librarian, UCLA School of Law, Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library, has just published Legal Scholarship, Electronic Publishing, and Open Access: Transformation or Steadfast Stagnation?, 101 Law Libr. J. 31 (2009). Here's the abstract:
This article uses a social shaping of technology perspective, which studies the complex interactions between technology and the culture of a discipline, to investigate the evolution of legal scholarship in the digital age, and to determine how the open access movement has influenced various forms of legal scholarship, particularly law reviews, their online companions, and legal blogs.
Blind Law Student Sues LCSAC in California
The National Law Journal is reporting that National Federation of the Blind and a blind law school applicant filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Law School Admissions Council, in a California Superior Court. The plaintiffs claim violates California laws requiring equal access to disabled persons because its Web site and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) preparation materials are inaccessible to the blind. Isn't it about time that AALS and ABA pull their heads out of the sand and join these lawsuits? [JH]
Attention Given to the Potential Amazon/Google e-Book Duopoly Increases
Richard Sarnoff, chairman of the Association of American Publishers, discussed the landmark settlement in the Google Book Search case, speculating that the agreement could effectively give Google and Amazon a duopoly in the online book market. Details. And recently NPR followed up on Darnton's Google & the Future of Books (New York Review of Books, Feb. 12, 2009) [LLB post] here. [JH]
March 1, 2009
Hello Americans, Radio Legend Paul Harvey Signs Off for the Last Time
Chicago-based radio broadcaster Paul Harvey died yesterday in Phoenix. He was 90. Here's the Washington Post obit. [JH]
How the Gaussian Copula Function Took Out Wall Street
Wired has an interesting story on how the Gaussian Copula Function, a statistical formula used to asses financial risk, devastated the global economy. In Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street, Felix Salmon describes how math wizard David Li's method, which was adopted by "everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators", eventually brought down the markets when the "financial markets began behaving in ways that users of Li's formula hadn't expected". [RJ]