April 4, 2009
New Report Card: Nation’s Mental Health Care System
The National Alliances on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released a new report, Grading the States, assessing the nation’s public mental health care system for adults and finding that the national average grade is a D.
Fourteen states improved their grades since NAMI’s last report card three years ago. Twelve states fell backwards.
“Mental health care in America is in crisis,” said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. “Even states that have worked hard to build life-saving, recovery-oriented systems of care stand to see their progress wiped out.”
April 3, 2009
OT But Cool: The Worldwide Telescope
Called the WorldWide Telescope, Microsoft and NASA are making planetary images and data available via a downloadable app ported through the Web. More at Cnet's Look through Microsoft's Telescope on the Web. Perfect for (extended) coffee breaks. [JH]
Is the Labor Market for Lawyers This Bad?
Bleak news for law school students. Firms are delaying hiring dates, rescinding employment offers and cutting back on their summer programs. So if you know someone who wants to be a lawyer, perhaps it's time to sue someone to get a job. [Video link if the below embedded code crashes] [RJ &JH]
NALP Conference. Meanwhile NALP conference attendees danced and drank the pain away. As reported in Above the Law, one spectator was unamused: "Fiddling while Rome burns." [video of attendees doing the Twist] But what the hell, as stess mounts, relief is the order of the day. [JH]
Guide to Social Media Use for Law Schools and Their Students
Apparently many law school career services departments are telling students not to blog about their law school experiences. Why? Information about their online identity could be used against them in job interviews (or the schools find the content to be an institutional embarrassment, or both). One Iowa student, Laura Bergus, is blogging about her "adventures in pushing my law school to get real about social media" here and here. Laura is currently surveying students to gather background information on how students already use social networking with the goal of developing a best practices guide. Hopefully she will publish her results on Social Media Law Student where you will also find a two-part series on what Career Services should be telling students about social media. [Part 1 and Part 2]
Hat tip to CALI's Gene Koo, Law School Innovation, for the Bergus story. Is it too late to invite Laura to report on her survey at CALI this year? Subscribing to Rex Gradeless' Social Media Law Student blog feed is highly recommended. [JH]
What are Librarians Worried About? Jobs and Training
The Chronicle ran an interesting story entitled, Librarians Confront New Uncertainties Over Training and Jobs. The article discuses how the recent economic crisis might affect future job prospects and what skills are essential for tomorrow's librarians. [RJ]
Inside Facebook reports that the number of US users over 35 have nearly doubled in the last 60 days. With this rapid growth amongst older users, the majority of US Facebook users are now over 25. [JH]
April Issue of AALL Spectrum Online
The April issue of AALL Spectrum is available online in PDF format. This month’s articles feature:
- tips for researching international human rights law
- a first-hand look at legal research and library science in China
- using the wiki concept to solve copyright questions
- ideas to jumpstart your National Library Week celebration
- outcomes of the Computing Services Special Interest Section’s Web 2.0 Challenge
- your guide to the many attractions in Washington, D.C., site of this year’s Annual Meeting
April 2, 2009
Wiki Search and Encarta Are History
Althouse Engaged to Blog Commenter
A long-time law prof blogger has decided to marry one of the long-time commenters to her blog. Who? Well-known blog pundit Ann Althouse (Wisconsin)! She tells her story on bloogerheads.tv (video interview below) Bob Ambrogi covers the storyand observes, "if you are a lonely legal blogger having trouble finding romance in your own life, perhaps you should check to make sure you have not disabled comments" on your blog. [JH]
Beyond LexisNexis & Westlaw: UCLA's New Guide to Online Legal Research
UCLA has just released a new Beyond LexisNexis & Westlaw guide. It describes a wide range of online legal research resources and covers primary law, government resources, research guides, reference sources, forms, and legal news. Using the LibGuides platform, Beyond LexisNexis and Westlaw is well organized, very helpful and an excellent implementation of LibGuides by an academic law library. Bookmark it! [JH]
Cornell Law Library's InSITE Website Reviews
Reviews published in the March 23, 2009 issue of InSITE:
The International Law Institute (ILI) is a private, non-profit organization that assists developing countries in creating practical solutions to legal, economic and financial problems by providing education and training to government officials, legal and business professionals, and scholars. Located in Washington D.C., ILI describes its global mission as one designed to “raise levels of professional competency and capacity in all nations so that professionals everywhere may achieve practical solutions to common problems in ways that suit their nations’ own needs.” Originally founded as a part of Georgetown University in 1955, ILI established its independence in 1983 and now has regional centers in Kampala, Uganda, Abuja, Nigeria, Cairo, Egypt, Santiago, Chile, and Hong Kong, SAR. Since 1971, ILI’s staff of professionals has trained over 14,000 individuals from more than 185 countries. ILI provides education and training in procurement, privatization, arbitration and mediation, negotiating and implementing trade agreements, legislative drafting, judicial administration, corporate governance, and bank restructuring, among many other topics. In addition to training, ILI provides advice and consultation services for governments and multilateral organizations, while also publishing books on international and transnational commercial law, trade, litigation, commercial dispute resolution, foreign legal systems, U.S. law and many other areas. ILI’s books are written by both U.S. and non-U.S. authors, and ILI “welcomes publishing proposals from authors who have written, or might be planning to write, monographs, reference works, or practice guides.” ILI’s website primarily serves as a forum within which to market their various services. A link to the Publishing Catalogue provides the reader with a topical list of publications available. For those seeking a specific title, the list may also be viewed alphabetically. Clicking on the title of a book will provide an abstract of the book, a photo of the book’s cover, and pricing and ordering information. The books are very current, and there are notices about new items and updated editions that will soon be arriving. Although little of what ILI has to offer on its website is without cost, it does provide free access to its newsletter, where readers can gain a full appreciation of the depth of their expertise and experience. [AE]
LitiLaw: Legal Article Research Portal
With the advent of new and expanded Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements for practicing attorneys, there has been a surge in materials generated for CLE conferences and seminars. Until recently there was no central location in which to collect the tremendous volume of resources created in response to the demand for CLE credit. Today, LitiLaw provides a free compilation of over 1,000 full-text legal articles that were written by lawyers and published for CLE purposes. Serving as both a portal and a database, LitiLaw links to copies of materials available on the Internet while also soliciting materials from individual authors to be hosted on LitiLaw’s site. Articles are available in PDF and PowerPoint format, and are organized by topic into more than 50 substantive and procedural areas of the law for browsing. Some procedural areas include alternative dispute resolution, appellate practice, ethics, civil trial practice, and evidence; a few substantive areas include antitrust, bankruptcy law, banking and finance, environmental law, trusts and estates, and tax law. The site provides a rudimentary search engine that performs best for broad search parameters. Users may need to conduct more than one variation on their search, then sift through the results. Although this serves as a manageable navigation method for now, LitiLaw would do well to consider upgrading its search engine to a more sophisticated model as the site continues to grow. Perhaps one that supports basic Boolean searching would be helpful. Currently, a search for “computer forensics” produces excellent results, but a search for “computer & forensics” produces no results. In light of these limitations, it is important to note that search results may be sorted by date written, date added, category, or article title. An online form is available for authors who are interested in providing links to their articles, or who are interested in uploading copies of their articles to be hosted by LitiLaw. LitiLaw provides clear credit for the articles, including title, author, publication, year published, and number of pages, as well as a description of the material written by the author itself. Authors are also responsible for including principal keywords for the search engine to retrieve, for selecting the category in which the article will be placed, and for obtaining appropriate permissions. Visitors to the site may sign up to receive RSS feed, and a periodic newsletter is available via email with features on best practices, tips, selective current articles, and independent software and technology reviews. Ultimately, the site serves to benefit all users by providing exposure for authors while at the same time providing a significant amount of high quality, topically specific material for readers. LitiLaw likely has the potential to become a notable resource in the realm of online legal research. [AE]
Historians Luke Nichter and Richard Moss have created the nixontapes website to make available, for free, the audio recordings and transcriptions of the many hours of President Nixon’s phone calls and meetings. Researchers would otherwise have to access this material at the Nixon Library or at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. Thus far, the nixontapes collection consists of 2150 hours in more than 6000 audio files. The site’s creators strive for a very high level of accuracy. Thus, they listen to the highest possible quality of digital audio and then review each transcript multiple times before posting. If there is disagreement about what was said on a particular segment of a tape, that segment is marked as “unclear” in the transcript. The site creators admit that it can be “very difficult to render the natural speech found on the tapes;” they welcome visitors who listen to the audio to provide feedback. While there are many transcriptions that still need to be posted, the material currently on the site is organized into three groups: conversations based on participant, thematic material, and chronological releases. When accessing any of these file groups, users will find a chart that specifies the date, time, and participants of the conversation. The audio for each is an MP3 file, while the transcript for each is in PDF. [MM]
InSITE contributors: 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.
The Open Cloud Manifesto
The text of the Open Cloud Manifesto is now officially available. As noted by Mark Giangrande (DePaul) on Tech Law Prof Blog, "it's easy to see why Microsoft and Amazon have refused to sign the document which was essentially authored by IBM. One of the principles applied to cloud customers is not to lock them into a particular platform." [JH]
Free Video CLE Featuring Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner
West LegalEdcenter is providing free access and free continuing legal education (CLE) credit for a one hour excerpt of an on-demand video replay of a recent program with United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and Black’s Law Dictionary editor Bryan Garner. Hat tip to Slaw. [RJ]
April 1, 2009
Here's a sample of the daily legal cartoons Cleveland-based appellate practice attorney David Mills posts on his Courtoons blog. And if you go to this page you can obtain Courtoon's widget! Hat tip to Rory Ryan (Baylor), Civil Procedure Prof Blog. Love it. [JH]
Gmail's Autopilot Will Answer Your Email For You
Keep in touch: Brand-new CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity) technology enables Autopilot to scan every one of your incoming messages and automatically send the perfect reply.
Manage relationships: Impress everyone with your prompt and insightful responses to everything from urgent notes from your boss to cute messages from your significant other.
- Match your style: Autopilot calibrates for tone, typos and preferred punctuation. It's just like you, but automated.
Details with sample automated email responses here. Note what happens if a sender and recipient both have Autopilot on. Weird -- how targeted spam-like. My first thought was that this is an April Fool's prank but apparently not.
Note: Happy 5th anniversary Gmail. Dan Giancaterino (Jenkins) observes that Gmail was launched on April 1, 2004. [JH]
Shattering the Librarian Stereotype
In You Don’t Look Like a Librarian: Shattering Stereotypes and Creating Positive New Images in the Internet Age (March 2009) [book | companion site] Ruth Kneale debunks outdated preconceptions about librarians and their profession that still exist in the digital era. From Rob Colding's LISWire review:
In You Don’t Look Like a Librarian, Kneale offers a fascinating look at the evolution and current state of the librarian stereotype and, more importantly, provides her fellow librarians with information and inspiration they can use to create positive new images that promote the future of the profession. In addition to presenting the results of a 1,000+-respondent survey and Kneale’s interviews with opinionated librarians across the spectrum, the book draws on pop culture, published literature, and lively discussions on the author’s website.
The Madness of Legal Scholasticism
"American legal scholarship today is dead—totally dead, deader than at any time in the past thirty years. It is more dead, vastly and exponentially more dead, than critical legal studies was ever dead during its most dead period.
Now it’s true that we’re producing at a vastly faster rate than ever before. More papers. More conferences. More panels. More symposia. More blogs. And faster and faster too. More and faster. Over seven thousand American legal academics—and all of them cranking out those talks and papers as fast as possible. The speed of legal scholarship is just off the charts right now.
And yet, nothing’s happening.
How could this possibly be? The short answer is that, all around us, there is more, vastly more, of nothing happening than ever before. Now, this might seem odd, but upon reflection, it’s not. In fact, not at all. Indeed, if anything, the accelerated culture of legal scholarship has positive feedback effects on nothing happening: Who, after all, would have the time to notice the vacancy of the enterprise? More to the point perhaps, who would be foolish enough to point it out?
This would be me."
And that would be Pierre Schlag (Colorado) writing in his recently published Georgetown Law Journal article, Spam Jurisprudence, Air Law, and the Rank Anxiety of Nothing Happening (A Report on the State of the Art). Mimicking the style of a raving lunatic sometimes, Schlag proceeds with a critique of mainstream legal scholarship in its traditional forms.
Reading the article (highly recommended) I wondered if anyone would take Schlag seriously. I guess I was not alone. In the first of two comments on the article, Judge Richard Posner wrote "When I first read Professor Schlag’s essay ... I thought it was crazy." Posner continues in The State of Legal Scholarship Today: A Comment on Schlag
while preparing my Comment, I decided that the essay wasn’t crazy, but rather, as Claudius said of Hamlet’s ravings, “what he spake, though it lacked form a little, / Was not like madness.” It now seems to me a good essay (though there is much in it to disagree with), full of ingenious points often in the form of amusing riffs, though one must have patience in reading it.
See also Robin West's Comment (Mainstream legal scholarship does have an impact on both judicial decisions and substantive law. It doesn’t do so routinely. But it does enough of the time to justify the effort, if that is the scholar’s goal.)(Emphasis added).[JH]
Harvard Law Library Research Tutorials on YouTube
Terri Gallego-O’Rourke, Reference Librarian and Instructional Services Coordinator, has put together a great series of short video tutorials providing expert guidance on both general research topics and statutory and legislative documents. The videos are available on the Law Library's YouTube Channel or on the library website.
Great work! [RJ]
AALS Request for Open Source Proposals
AALS is requesting proposals for Open Source programs for the 2009 AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. Open Source sessions at the Annual Meeting are innovative programs proposed by groups of faculty members and selected by a committee in a competitive search. The goal is to encourage a "bottom up" process in which scholars collaborate to develop fresh and exciting ideas for a program at the Annual Meeting. It is not a Section, law school, organization or institution-sponsored program. It is a program developed by a group of faculty members in various subject matters, who have an innovative topic that they would like to present at the Annual Meeting.
When developing the proposal you should consider the following: · Is the format innovative? · Is there a diversity of presenters and multiplicity of planners? · Is there junior and senior teacher involvement? · Does the topic cross over common issues and transcend a particular subject area? · Would there be a publication coming out of the submission? · Will the program format require expensive audio-visual equipment? Proposals should not feature a program or subject that could be offered by an AALS Section or conflict with other programs being presented at the 2009 AALS Annual Meeting.
Submissions of novel ideas for programs should be e-mailed to: email@example.com by April 10, 2008. Please include information identifying the planners of the program; the process of how the program idea was generated; the topic with a description and explanation of what the program is trying to accomplish; the list of proposed speakers; if there will be a publication of the program; and any other pertinent information that you believe would be helpful to the reviewing committee.
Hat tip to Donna Byrne (William Mitchell), Food Law Prof Blog, who is soliciting interest is crafting a proposal focusing on food law. [JH]
March 31, 2009
Nielson Wire is reporting that unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to a whopping 7 million in February 2009, making it the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for the month. Of course, most of the other destinations in the category have been online longer so they have a larger user base but still...
The largest age group on Twitter was 35-49; with nearly 3 million unique visitors, comprising almost 42 percent of the site’s audience. Nielson also found that the majority of people visit Twitter while at work and the ability to twitter via a mobile phone is a driving factor in the social network’s success.
Didn't I characterize Twitter as a web communications sideshow yesterday? Well, yes I did for library work-related activities. As a member of the Over-49 age group, I want to know whether the 35-49 age group Twitterati were writing/reading tweets for work-related reasons. [JH]