March 21, 2009
How to Know When to Fire Your Financial Adviser!
- Won't return your calls!
- Hides behind jargon!
- Tries to bully you!
March 20, 2009
Library Journal Announces Class of 2009 Movers and Shakers
LJ has published its latest list of "movers and shakers" at Library Leaders Creating the 2.0 Library of the Future. LJ writes "they represent a Who's Who of creativity and library trends in the field." "These individuals comprise the coming generation of library leadership. They've embraced library technology, particularly library 2.0."
Also check out "Movers 2.0 and Beyond," Movers on the Map, and Previous Movers 2002-2008. [RJ]
Friday Fun: Joe in a Book
3Ls teach 1Ls how to sneak coffee into the Cardozo Law Library. Is coffee really not allowed? Isn't denial of coffee in the law library a human rights violation? [JH]
Articles & Conference Papers on Legal Information Systems Research: Indexed in ACM Portal
New conference papers and articles on legal information systems research are indexed and abstracted in ACM Portal’s Guide to Computing Literature. Preprints are also available. One may search using the subject term “Law”, or search by keyword in the box at the top of the page. [Robert Richards]
Task Force on Discovery Releases Final Report
ACTL’s Task Force on Discovery and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System released their final report on proposed principles designed to treat the nation’s ailing system of civil justice. The report includes a set of 29 proposed Principles that may one day underpin reform of the civil rules of procedure in both federal and state systems.
Among the findings:
- The traditional “one size fits all” application of uniform rules to all cases, irrespective of nature and scope, no longer works; flexibility in applying specialized procedures to some cases should be permitted to promote more efficient and affordable outcomes
- The current system of pleading fails to provide an efficient mechanism for establishing claims or setting limits on the scope of discovery or trial; notice pleading should be replaced by fact-based pleading;
- Discovery costs far too much and has become and end in itself; discovery should be limited by proportionality, taking into account the nature and scope of the case, relevance, importance to the court’s adjudication, expense and burdens;
- The number of experts and the process for deposing them often significantly drives up costs; except in extraordinary cases, only one expert witness per party should be permitted for any given issue;
- Rotating judges managing a single case can undermine clarity and consistency; a single judicial officer should remain with a case throughout its life cycle. [RJ]
2009 Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements
Published each each in conjunction with the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements sets out the rules and practices of all U.S. jurisdiction for admission to the bar by examination and on motion. Copies can be purchased for $15 or downloaded for free. [RJ]
March 19, 2009
Papers from TREC 2008 Conference Available
Law librarians may be interested in the papers and presentations from the 2008 Text Retrieval Conference (TREC), now available here, particularly the "Legal Track" papers, and the many papers on retrieval of blogs. [Robert Richards].
Where Current Law Faculty Went to Law School
Using underlying data from Reproduction of Hierarchy? A Social Network Analysis of the American Law Professoriate, Brian Leiter (Chicago) has ranked the top law schools whose graduates are law professors, See Where Current Law Faculty Went to Law School on Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings.
There are two rankings. One attempt to take account of the fact that law .schools differ quite a bit in the number of students they graduate. The second ranking is based on the total number of graduates of each school in law teaching. [JH]
Court Information Standards: Request for Comment
The Joint Technology Committee (JTC) of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and the National Association for Court Management (NACM) solicits comments, to be submitted no later than May 15, 2009 to Paul Embley of the National Center for State Courts at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the following proposed standards and reference models for information sharing. For more details please see the Request for Review and Comment page.
- LegalXML Electronic Court Filing 3.1 (ECF 3.1) – This version is conformant with the GJXDM
- LegalXML Electronic Court Filing 4.0 (ECF 4.0) – This version is conformant with the NIEM
- Drug Court Test Request (GJXDM)
- Drug Court Case Folder (NIEM)
- Drug Court Test Request and Results (NIEM)
- Child Support Request for Remedy (GJXDM)
- Child Support Court Order (GJXDM)
- Child Welfare Dependency Petition (NIEM)
- Child Welfare Adjudication Order (NIEM)
- NCSC State Court Statistical Guide Submissions (NIEM)
Hat tip to Court Technology Bulletin Website. [Robert Richards]
Berkman Launches Media Cloud
Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, teamed help from Thomson Reuters, has launched Media Cloud to track news content comprehensively with free, open and flexible research tools. The objective is to provide a means to map the interaction between mainstream media, citizen media and blogs to give a more accurate and comprehensive view of how people influence, shape and interact with the news. Great idea.
Using the Consumer Transaction Model for Legal Research Instruction
In Step Right Up: Using Consumer Decision Making Theory to Teach Research Process in the Electronic Age, 60 S.C.L.Rev. 123 (2008) Amy Sloan (Baltimore) advocates for conceptualizing legal research as a consumer transaction rather than a professional skill. Here's the abstract:
"The legal academy has framed legal research as a professional skill, and much research pedagogy centers around replicating a controlled professional environment to allow students to learn how to do research by simulating legal practice. Although this is a valid way to conceptualize research, it is not the only way. Another way to conceptualize research is as a consumer transaction. Legal information is, in many ways, a product that information providers market to lawyers and students, as the promotions and contests that LexisNexis and Westlaw sponsor demonstrate. Once legal information is understood as a product, the process of research can be seen as a purchase transaction, and research instruction can be seen as a form of consumer education.
This article approaches research from a consumer perspective. It sets the stage by explaining why legal information is a consumer product and analyzing changes in the information marketplace that have affected research process. The article then explains consumer decision making theory. It demonstrates why this is an appropriate vehicle for describing the research process and explains the marketing, cultural, psychological, situational, personal, and social influences that affect consumer choice in the research context. The advantages of approaching research from a consumer perspective are addressed next, followed by an exploration of ways to incorporate consumer decision making theory into research pedagogy. The article concludes that making students better consumers of legal information will help them become better professionals."
March 18, 2009
Judicial Conference Adopts Revised Code of Conduct for Judges
The Judicial Conference adopted a new revised Code of Conduct for U.S. judges at its biannual meeting yesterday. This is the first substantial revision of the Code of Conduct since 1992. The Code of Conduct which addresses judicial impropriety, disqualification, and extra-judicial activities, has also been reworded into plainer, clearer English. The Conference also asked Congress to create 63 new federal judgeships (permanent and temporary). The announcement from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts here.
Times Tidies Up Tuesday's Mistrial Tweet
(Yes, I'm really going overboard with the T's.)
Ron's and Gretchen's posts indirectly alerted me that sometime after my post at 5:47 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, the NYT changed the headline on this article from "Mistrial by iPhone: Juries' Web Research Upends Trials" to "As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials Are Popping Up." Other than the headline, and nine or perhaps 10 minor editorial changes in the middle of the article, it appears to be the exact same story as yesterday. I wouldn't believe my eyes, had I not printed a copy of yesterday's version before I posted, and therefore had it available to compare.
I wonder how often the Times does this, and how many of the edits might be substantive rather than stylistic.
I think the second version of the headline is much more accurate. And much less likely to draw fire from Apple's legal team. [RG]
The Twittering Press in Federal Courts
Jurors do it. Reporters do it. The National Law Journal has an interesting article entitled "What's that you're hearing in federal court? It's 'Twittering", discussing how some Federal Judges are allowing members of the press to "Twitter" directly from their courtrooms in the interest of bringing more transparency to the judicial process. [RJ]
Is the Jury Googling?
Today's New York Times has a very interesting story, "As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials are Popping Up." The use of the web, iPhones, Blackberrys, by jurors is causing some serious problems with trials all over the country. And in a federal corruption trial of a former Pennsylvania state senator,defense lawyers plan to base their appeal on the fact that during the trial one of the jurors posted updates on the case on Twitter and Facebook and the judge did not declare a mistrial.
Do You Twitter?
Yesterday LLB reported on the use of Twitter by law schools and law libraries to communicate with their communities. I thought it might be interesting to follow up on the story with a brief poll covering all law libraries. I hope you can take a minute or two to participate. Thanks. [JH]
Electronic Case Filing 4.0 Guide Available
A guide to the new Electronic Case Filing 4.0 specification is now publicly available from the OASIS LegalXML Electronic Court Filing Technical Committee. This and related specifications are available here. [Robert Richards].
Cornell Law Library's InSITE Website Reviews
Reviews published in the March 9, 2009 issue of InSITE:
- ARDA: Association of Religion Data Archives
- Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security (PHP)
- Studies in Scarlet: Marriage & Sexuality in the U.S. and U.K., 1815-1914
ARDA: Association of Religion Data Archives
The Association of Religious Data Archives (ARDA) is based in the Department of Sociology at The Pennsylvania State University. Its goal is to preserve and provide access to high-quality data on religion in the United States and abroad. ARDA is not an arm of any religion, but is a resource for those interested in religion. ARDA itself does not conduct research; it collects data submitted by the foremost religion scholars and research centers in the world and makes them available to the public. The site can be navigated across the page via topical links for Data Archives, National Profiles, US Congregational Membership, Denominations, Quick Stats, Quick Lists (essentially a site map), Maps, and Learning Center (modules for learning to use the site). Content is also organized for four groups: Researchers, Congregations, Educators, and the Press. The page for each group has prominent links to the most relevant resource areas and links to less pertinent resources in a side bar. For example, the Congregations page summarizes its contents: “The ARDA provides a religious profile for every county, state, and urban area in the nation, charts the heritage of each denomination, and provides easy access to over 450 surveys. A "Community Profile Builder" is available to assist congregation leaders in gaining a more complete overview of their community. All information is free of charge.” The main section of the Congregations page showcases US data while the side bar links to country comparisons. A helpful resource is Related Sites which organizes links by type of researcher. The Related Sites Research Links, for example, include other data sets, research journals, and scholarly associations. The ARDA site features interactive maps, a Question Bank (where you store questions from the data that you may put in a survey), colorful and easy to decipher graphs and charts with footnotes to the supporting reports and surveys, and feature that can compares data for up to 8 countries. It is a very searchable site; the only drawback is that coverage varies since the contents are dependent on date submissions. [JC]
Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security (PHP)
The Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security (PHP), sited at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, "provides new scholarly perspectives on contemporary international history by collecting, publishing, and interpreting formerly secret governmental documents," specifically with regard to the history of the Cold War and the parallel security organizations of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. As military, governmental and intelligence documents have been gradually declassified in both the east and west, the PHP has become a clearinghouse for these documents. The PHP also hosts conferences, produces a newsletter, and provides links to publications on Cold War history that derived research from the PHP's online collections. The website is well-designed and provides an expandable menu with such straightforward headings as "News," "Services," "Publications," and "Conferences." The raison d'etre of the site-- the primary documents in the "Collections" section -- are thematically arranged into categories such as "Warsaw Pact Records," "Crises," "NATO Records", and "Intelligence." The documents are available as images in their original languages and as modern translations into English. Many of the larger document sets have "Introductions" by affiliated scholars to give a narrative background. A search engine is available and the extensive tagging of the PDF documents makes it an effective search tool. [JPC]
An important website that deserves every taxpayer’s attention over the next several months is Recovery.org. Established by the Obama administration to provide education, transparency, and accountability regarding American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the site provides explanations of the legislation, shows how, when and where the funds are to be spent, and provides a forum in which taxpayers may evaluate the Act’s progress and provide feedback. In his YouTube video address featured on the homepage, President Obama describes the site as an “online portal” for “publishing information about how the funding secured by the legislation will be spent in a timely, targeted and transparent manner.” Still in its development stages, the site currently serves to provide projections for the expenditure of the funds and their targeted impact through the use of compendiums, charts, maps, and graphics. As the legislation progresses into full motion, the site will regularly be updated to reflect how funds are actually being allocated and distributed. For the immediate future, the site is run by a team of individuals chosen by President Obama from various Federal agencies. The team will track spending and make reports to the site until the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (created by the Reinvestment Act) becomes operational, at which point the Board will take over those responsibilities. In the meantime, there is a fairly extensive list of answers to what are anticipated to be frequently asked questions, such as how the legislation will work, how to make the best use of the site, and how to track the effect of the legislation on one’s own community. A link to a PDF copy of the full text of the final legislation is available, and there is an announcements tab which will feature, among other things, a weekly address from the White House. A search engine of moderate quality is available; there are some indications that this will improve as the site is developed. Visitors to the site may sign up to receive email updates and, in classic Obama Administration fashion, are invited to share their recovery stories. [AE]
Studies in Scarlet: Marriage & Sexuality in the U.S. and U.K., 1815-1914
Studies in Scarlet, a Harvard University Library Virtual Collection, is a rich resource for legal historians, social historians, and the generally curious. Drawn from Harvard Law Library’s trials collection, Studies in Scarlet offers images of 420 nineteenth and early twentieth-century trials. The focus of the collection is the stories of love affairs gone wrong or relationships that “did not conform to social standards.” In addition to the stories of everyday people, famous tales in the collection include the adultery trial of Caroline, Queen Consort of George IV, and the sodomy trial of Oscar Wilde. Users may search by, or browse the indexes by, title, name, subject, or genre. Genres include electronic, microform, and print, as well as bibliography, biography, or bookseller’s advertisements. The subject index is detailed and extensive. The subject term “transvestites” was an intriguing one that led to the 1871 trial of Boulton and Park in Manchester, England. The male defendants, who were actors in the theater, were accused of dressing as females and that such dress “was not an occasional frolic or masquerade, but that course of conduct was pursued persistently, and for a widely different purpose.” Other transcripts are similarly entertaining and informative and make for a fun-to-use collection. [MM]
InSITE contributors: J. Callihan, J.P. Cusker, A. Emerson, 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:
- Searchable database or by browsing current and archived issues on the web: InSITE home page (http://library2.lawschool.cornell.edu/insiteasp/)
- RSS feed (http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/lawlibrary/insiteasp/public/rss.asp)
- Print format for the Cornell Law School community.
Violence Against Women Database
From the U.N. Pulse: General Assembly Resolution 61/143 called for the Secretary-General to establish a database "on the extent, nature and consequences of all forms of violence against women, and on the impact and effectiveness of policies and programs for, including best practices in, combating such violence." In connection with International Women's Day, 8 March 2009, the database has been launched. The information received from governments in response to a questionnaire forms the core of the database. [RJ]
Analysis of Legislative Proposals Addressing Guantanamo Detainees
"Several bills introduced during the 111th Congress address the detention of suspected enemy belligerents held at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On January 22, 2009, President Obama issued three executive orders affecting Guantanamo detainees. Some legislative proposals would effectuate or make permanent the policies contained in the executive orders. Other bills offer alternative approaches to the disposition of the detainees.
This report surveys these proposals and flags pertinent legal implications." [RJ]