March 10, 2009
The Future of the Book Business According to Thomson Reuters Chief Scientist
What is the future of the book business? Sounds like it is e-books in Peter Jackson's (Chief Scientist and Vice President, Thomson Reuters) WestBlog post, And maybe e-books locked into proprietary software at that because Jackson references his personal use of Kindle several times in the Thomson West blog.
Is this a hint of things to come? Will West opt for Kindle-ing its law book catalog exclusively with LexisNexis Matthew Bender choosing the Sony Reader platform? Doesn't make economic sense to go with just one reader but you can bet they won't go open source.
Jackson closes his post with "In the future, the book is no longer a product; it’s a service." Now, he means something like Amazon's e-book store and Kindle user services but someday it may mean maintaining servers for proprietary software-based e-books like libraries did with CDs in the 1990s or depending on commercial vendors to provide Internet access to law library e-book collections for titles that may not available on Westlaw or Lexis, or loaning readers to patrons who cannot afford or do not what to own Kindles or Sony Readers. I guess the use of PDFs isn't realistic but maybe reader apps, Adobe's PDF reader, will be offered so the titles are not device-dependent. [JH]
The Judge as an Author/The Author as a Judge
Ryan Witte's The Judge as an Author/The Author as a Judge [SSRN} starts with the premise that an appointment to the federal bench is a life-long publishing deal. Recognizing that some judges stay faithful to the rigidous framework of judicial opinion writing, some don't -- some judges summon their inner novelist or poet to add life to the pages of the print and online reporting system. From the abstract:
The use of humor, poetry, and popular culture in judicial opinions is not without its criticism. This paper is divided into two main topics; the first discusses the judge as an author. The section will begin with an examination of the audience of judicial opinions and an outline of the different styles of judicial opinion writing. The section will also examine the advantages and disadvantages of using literary tools to advance the law.
The second section addresses the role of the artist as a judge. This section will study a small segment of judges who, in addition to the law, maintain an outside career as an author or artist. Judges who fit into this group include authors of books, operas, and magazine articles, and their opinions are often written in a manner which reflects their experience. This section will also discuss the advantages (and potential drawbacks) of having these unique judges deciding cases dealing with a wide range of author's issues, including copyright and free speech, both substantively and stylistically.
Webinar on AALL Membership Set for March 17
AALL is conducting a one-hour webinar on membership benefits, services, and opportunities for members on March 17, 2009 starting at Noon (Eastern). Registration must be completed by March 13. The webinar will be conducted by
- Julia O'Donnell
AALL Membership Marketing and Communications Director
- Hannah Phelps
Membership Services Coordinator
- Chris Siwa
AALL Web Administrator
- Mary Alice Baish
Government Relations Director
Opening: Library Manager, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, a Detroit firm with 240 attorneys in five offices, seeks a library manager.
Responsibilities include collection development; provision of research services, encompassing legal, non-legal, and business development topics; attorney and staff orientation and training; budget preparation and financial control of library expenditures; evaluation of information resources and vendor negotiations; assistance in long range planning efforts with firm management involving library space, collections, and staffing; supervision of two other librarians and three assistants.
- Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science, with minimum five years experience in a law library.
- Supervisory experience and advanced knowledge of library systems, management and administration, procedures, and resources.
- Progressively responsible work experience with legal or other professional service organization.
- Proficiency with Westlaw, Lexis, and other electronic resources, as well as with Microsoft Office applications.
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills in order to communicate with a diverse group of attorneys and staff.
Competitive salary and benefits offered.
To apply, send cover letter, resume, and salary expectations to Dista Russell via mail to 2290 First National Building, Detroit, MI 48226; via FAX to 313.465.7043; or via e-mail to email@example.com.
March 9, 2009
Refreshed Ohio Supreme Court Web Site - New URL, Downloadable Audio
According to this press release the Ohio Supreme Court refreshed its website to make it cleaner looking and more user friendly. The old url (www.sconet.state.oh.us) will work indefinitely, but there is a new url - www.supremecourt.ohio.gov.
Note the handy new links to Ohio Court Opinions and Oral Argument Calendars on the right hand side. The new site also offers:
- Downloadable audio of Supreme Court oral arguments through iTunes. See http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/videostream/default.asp
- Downloadable video in the future.
- New searchable video archive: http://www.ohiochannel.org/media_archives/supreme_court/media_archive.cfm
One item I had difficulty finding on the new page was the diagram of the Ohio Judicial Structure. This diagram can be found in the Ohio Courts Summary Reports, the most recent diagram is at page 2 of this pdf document. (SA)
Crossposted on the CM-Law Library Blog.
Time to Start Planning for the DC Meeting: Check Out the AALL Local Arrangements Committee's Website
OK, DC isn't my favorite site for a convention. Las Vegas is. Just ask LLB co-editor Ron Jones who I had to put to bed early every night because he didn't have the poker playing stamina to keep up with someone 20+ years older (ah, me) when we were in LV for CALI a couple of years ago.
And DC isn't my second favorite convention site. New Orleans is but my wife won't let me go back there for some strange reason. So, wait, that does make DC my second favorite site and its time for attendees to start planning for AALL's meeting there.
I've also been informed by my wife that DC is a great place to bring your spouse (read chaperon). While I wiggle out of this conundrum, check out the Local Arrangements Committee great website for D.C. guides (restaurants, music venues, government buildings, museums, and more), dine-around and volunteer sign up, forums for finding a roommate or trading an event ticket, and more.
The Local Arrangements Committee [roster] really makes our annual meeting possible and their site is very useful for making the meeting enjoyable. All committee members deserve our thanks for the long hours they put it. [JH]
PS: It's a little early for content but not too early to grab the RSS feed for the convention blog, Capital Crier, edited by Todd Venie (Georgetown).
AALL Calls for No-fee Public Access to PACER
Reprinted from AALL's Washington Blawg (with permission):
On January 27, 2009, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Judge Lee H. Rosenthal, Chair of the Judicial Conference of the United States Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. The letter raises important questions about how the Federal courts have complied with the transparency and privacy requirements of the E-Government Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-347).
Before beginning to even draft his 2002 bill, Sen. Lieberman and his Committee held a yearlong ! online survey asking the American people what they wanted to see in e-government. Improved access to information from the courts, including no-fee access to the PACER system, was a frequent response.
I was privileged to work with Sen. Lieberman’s staff at the time and AALL was a strong supporter of the 2002 Act. We were especially pleased with the following important provision on public access to PACER.
Section 205(e) of the Act changed a provision of the Judicial Appropriation Act of 2002 (28 U.S.C. 1913 note) so that courts “may, to the extent necessary” instead of “shall” charge fees “for access to information available through automatic data processing equipment.”
This important change made it possible for the Government Printing Office and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to initiate a pilot project (now on temporary hold) allowing no-fee public access to PACER at 17 federal depository libraries. AALL⡍ s Executive Board requested that the two organizations work together by endorsing the 2006 “AALL Resolution on No-Fee FDLP Access to PACER” and we applauded the beta-test.
Regarding PACER fees, Chairman Lieberman notes in his recent letter that,
“Seven years after the passage of the E-Government Act, it appears that little has been done to make these records freely available – with PACER charging a higher rate than 2002. Furthermore, the funds generated by these fees are still well higher than the cost of dissemination, as the Judiciary Information Technology Fund had a surplus of approximately $150 million in FY2006. Please explain whether the Judicial Conference is complying with Section 205(e) of the E-Government Act, how PACER fees are determined, and whether the Judicial Conference is only charging “to the extent necessary” for records! using the PACER system.”
Privacy issues are also of concern to Chairman Lieberman, particularly regarding identity theft and the lack of redaction of personal data in some court records. His letter requests that the Court review its procedures to protect personal information in publicly available court records, covered by another provision of the 2002 Act. We are very pleased that Chairman Lieberman has requested a report to the Committee on both important issues.
AALL strongly supports no-fee public access to PACER as one of our top policy goals for the coming year. For more information on our position, please see page 3 of our “Statement to The Obama-Biden Transition Team: Public Policy Positions of The American Association of Law Libraries.”
The Government Relations Office has already begun to secure allies to assist our efforts toward maki! ng PACER available to the public at no cost. We are very grateful to Chairman Lieberman for his letter and request for information. We look forward to working with the Chairman and his staff on the E-Government Reauthorization Act of 2009.
We encourage our Blawg readers to forward this posting to other interested stakeholders.
[Posted by Mary Alice Baish]
Required Reading on Academic Freedom
For the Common Good: Principles of American Academic Freedom by Matthew Finkin (Illinois) and Robert Post (Yale) (Yale UP, April 21, 2009) is "certainly the best and clearest analysis ... on the theory and practice of academic freedom. It should be required reading for anyone interested in this important subject," according to Derek Bok. High praise from Harvard University's President Emeritus. [JH]
Tools for Change: CALI's Annual Conference
19th Annual Conference for Law School Computing
Thursday to Saturday, June 18 - 20 2009
University of Colorado Law School, Boulder CO.
Registration and hotel information here. A preliminary agenda will be available around May 15th. Sessions that have been accepted so far include
- Firefox Add-ons for Legal Research
- Rich Internet Applications with the Adobe Flash Platform
- Crowdsourcing and Open Access v2.0: Harnessing the Power of Peer Production to Disseminate Historical Records and Legal Scholarship
- Why is there Hot Pizza in my classroom? Room and Course Scheduling
- Multimedia Tools for Law School
- Cloud Computing, Web Services, and the New Web Stack
- Coursecrafting: (def.) Mashing up legal research, moot court, skills training and instructional technology into something new and innovative!
- Using LibGuides to build Legal Research Guides
Details on the above sessions here. Look's to be another excellent CALI conference. [JH]
Are Antiquated State Laws Fueling the Foreclosure Crisis?
A new report from the National Consumer Law Center entitled ""Foreclosing A Dream: State Laws Deprive Homeowners of Basic Protections," identifies some of the most antiquated state law provisions, which are "tilted against homeowners" and acting as a little-understood factor that is helping to accelerate the U.S. home foreclosure crisis.
According to the NCLC report, examples of state laws tilted against homeowners include the following:
- "Fast track" foreclosure.
- No direct notification of foreclosure proceedings.
- No effort required to find solutions short of foreclosure.
- Eleventh-hour payments can be ignored.
- Heaping on of penalties that can send homeowners over the edge.
- More penalties even after home is lost and sold at auction.
NCLC also provides a comprehensive summary of state foreclosure laws. [RJ]
March 8, 2009
Teach Legal Research in China!
Since 2000, the Overseas Young Chinese Forum (OYCF) has awarded fellowships to overseas scholars, professionals, and doctoral students to teach short courses in various fields---including law---at mainland Chinese universities. [Note: you need not be Chinese or fluent in Chinese to apply.] The award amounts range from $2,000 to $2,250 each and are meant to help pay travel, housing, and food costs. Fourteen awards were announced last September for the 2008-09 academic year. And I was lucky enough to be one of the winners! From May 11 to June 3, I will teach foreign and international legal research at Wuhan University (aka Wuda). Wuda is one of China's oldest and best schools. Its library school's history goes back to 1920, near the start of modern Chinese librarianship. Its law school, which just moved into a new state-of-the-art building a few years ago, is renowned for international law. I visited there last December for a couple of days right after my wedding in neighboring Jiangxi province. I met with professors, students, and the librarian as well as scouted the building and campus. I was quite impressed and look forward to returning soon. Great Firewall of China and time permitting, I will blog here while I am there teaching.
The application window for the next fellowship cycle (2009-10) will probably be open from June through July like it was last year. In the meantime, persons interested in applying should check OYCF's website regularly between now and then for the latest details. And they should start contacting prospective host schools in China as soon as possible. An invitation letter from a host school must be submitted with the fellowship application. It took me two months to secure mine last year. I first contacted a dozen schools throughout China via snail mail. One of them e-mailed me a few weeks later, giving me contact information for the new dean of the law school. I wrote to him, but never heard back. Another school, Wuda, snail mailed me an invitation letter (download here in pdf). I never heard back from the other schools. Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions about invitation letters or other aspects of applying for a fellowship. I would be happy to share more about my experience. Good luck! [RLS]