May 2, 2009
Is Outsourcing University E-mail Services a Good Thing?
With decreased funding and major budget cuts, colleges and universities are looking to get out of the e-mail business by outsourcing their services to Google or Microsoft. With a modest price tag (read free), many colleges have already made the switch. In Colleges Get Out of E-Mail Business, Dan Carnevale of the Chronicle takes a look at a few colleges who have pulled the plug on their in-house e-mail in favor of a professional service.
Is this a good thing? Can corporations be trusted to do the right thing? Since many Law School IT departments are intertwined with the Law Library, LLB would like to hear from you regarding this issue. You can publish them as comments to this post. [RJ]
May 1, 2009
Twittering Swine Flu: Filtering Out the Noise
Want useful Swine Flu information? Twitter nay not the best web resource. In Collaboration can’t cure #swineflu, but it can fight filter failure, Publishing 2.0's Ryan Sholin writes, "the #swineflu hashtag on Twitter serves as a good point of reference for what Clay Shirky called 'filter failure.' The problem is not that there’s a wild abundance of useful information, overloading us with detail, facts, and commentary; the problem is that we don’t have the proper filtering system set up to separate trusted sources and reliable resources from rumors, jokes, misinformation, and ephemera."
Some old school advice: rely on trusted resources like those listed here. [JH]
Law Day USA: A Reminiscence by the Author of the First Presidential Proclamation
In 1958, President Eisenhower proclaimed the first Law Day a "day of national dedication to the principle of government under law" [text] following up on a suggestion by ABA President Charles S. Rhyne. See The Original Creation and Future Impact of Law Day: Law Empowering People to Be Free from 1958 to the New Millennium, Address by Charles S. Rhyne at Law Library of Congress Law Day Celebration, May 1, 2000.
From the Address:
... I drafted a U.S. Presidential Proclamation, which made its way from John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, to Sherman Adams, Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower, and stopped there.
It had seemed such a sure thing that Dulles had affixed his signature, authenticating the President's signature, before the Proclamation was presented to Eisenhower. Dulles then left on a trip. Because Dulles was so respected, not only by Eisenhower but by the world, I wanted his signature on the Proclamation rather than some assistant's.
Time passed. May 1 was fast approaching and I had heard nothing, so I went to see Governor Adams. He pulled the Proclamation out of his desk and gave it back to me saying "the President will not sign a proclamation praising lawyers."
I strode down to the Oval Office and handed it to President Eisenhower himself. As he stood there reading it, Adams burst in yelling "Do not sign that paper praising lawyers!"
The President held his hand up for silence until he had read the entire document. Then he said "Sherm, this Proclamation does not contain one word praising lawyers. It praises our constitutional system of government, our great heritage under the rule of law, and asks our people to stand up and praise what they have created. I like it and I am going to sign it." And he did.
Souter To Retire from SCOTUS
NPR, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that one of the most reliable members of the Court's liberal wing, Justice Souter, 69, plans to retire at the end of the term in June. The Washington Post reports that he may stay on until a nominee is confirmed and also is reporting that Souter's colleagues on the bench have been trying to talk him out of retiring. But since Souter has not hire law clerks for the coming term, his retirement appears likely.
Who will be will be President Obama's First SCOTUS Nominee? Vice President Biden has been charged with drawing up a list of possible nominees. The current short list includes Solicitor General and former Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan, and two federal appeals court judges, Sonia Sotomayor and Diana Pamela Wood. [JH]
When Finals Are Over
Mikey Mel & the JD's perform the band's "classic hit." [JH]
Google's Role in the Web's Content Economy
"There is so much misunderstanding flying around about the economics of content on the web and the role of Google in the web’s content economy that it’s making my head hurt," writes Scott Karp on Publishing 2.0. Quoting from his How Google Stole Control Over Content Distribution By Stealing Links post:
Google isn’t stealing content from newspapers and other media companies. It’s stealing their control over distribution, which has always been the engine of profits in media. Google makes more money than any other media company on the web because it has near monopoly control over content distribution (i.e. like a metro newspaper in the pre web era).
The key to Google’s monopoly control over content distribution on the web is its ability to judge what’s most relevant in an increasingly large sea of content.
If media companies want to compete with Google, they need to look at the source of its power — judging good content, which enables Google to be the most efficient and effective distributor of content. They also need to look at Google’s fundamental limitation — its judgment is dependent on OTHER people expressing their judgment of content in the form of links. Above all, they need to look at sources of content judgment that Google currently can’t access, because they are not yet expressed as links on the web.
Twitter Do's and Don'ts: Sensible Tips for Lawyer Twitter Practices
- Do be thought-provoking
- Do recommend books and articles that you’ve read.
- Do use Twitter to publicize your upcoming speaking engagements.
- Don’t follow more than 100 people than are following you.
- Don’t tweet more than 10 times a day or more than five times an hour.
- Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want to be quoted on in the news.
For more on Twitter for the Law Librarian, see LLB's earlier post: Do Law Librarians Twitter? Results of the LLB Poll. [RJ]
Designing Powerpoint Presentations to Accomodate Colorblindness
Check out the very useful post by Kathleen Waits (Tulsa) on Law School Academic Support Blog about selecting colors for Powerpoint presentations to accomodate viewers who are colorblind.
More generally, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell examine Powerpoint abuse and how it degrades the whole presentation experience. They offer their best ideas and tips for using PowerPoint in their Has PowerPoint Killed the Presentation? podcast. [JH]
Above the Law Launches Career Center
Above the Law has put together a nice resource for career planing. Their Career Center offers two sections. In Firm Snapshots, you can view profiles of individual firms. In Firm Comparisons, you can compare different firms on various metrics. [RJ]
April 30, 2009
Chrysler Bankruptcy Information
Key documents related to the bankruptcy of U.S. automaker Chrysler LLC will be available free of charge here, a website operated by Epiq Systems, Inc., apparently the claims agent in the case, according to Chrysler's April 30 press release. According to PACER, the case, no. 09-50002-ajg, has been filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York, and has been assigned to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez. According to PACER, debtors' counsel is Corinne Ball of Jones Day. Documents respecting the case are also available from PACER. Key telephone numbers respecting the case are listed on the bankruptcy court's "Chrysler" page.
Google Launches Public Data Tool
Google has launched Public Data Tool, a search feature that makes it easier to find and compare visually public data often buried deep in government websites. The Public Data Tool builds on Trendalyzer code that generates moving graphics and other effects in the display of facts, figures, and statistics in presentations. Additional information on the Official Google Blog post. [JH]
Video demo of Google's Public Data Tool
Google Books Deadlines Extended; DOJ Antitrust Investigation Begins
In the Google Books settlement, the authors' opt-out deadline and the deadline for objectors and amici to submit their views to the district court have been extended to September 4, 2009, according to an April 28 order issued by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin. The order also postpones the final fairness hearing respecting the proposed settlement agreement to October 7, 2009. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division has begun an investigation respecting the settlement terms, according to Miguel Helft's April 28 article in the New York Times. If the DOJ needs more time to conduct its investigation, further postponement of the final fairness hearing would not be a surprise. [Robert Richards]
An Endangered Species: The Sacred Cows of Academic Law Library Collections
In The Effect of Economics and Electronic Resources on the Traditional Law Library Print Collection, 101 LLJ 117 (2009), Amanda M. Runyon (Tarlton Law Library) surveyed academic law libraries directors to determine how expenditures on acquisitions and electronic resources changed between the 2002–03 and 2006–07 academic years and how academic law libraries are managing their print collections given the increasing electronic availability of the same legal resources. Note well the shift to canceling print titles duplicated online. Runyon concludes:
One can see from the results of this study that academic law library collections are on the brink of a major change, and indeed have begun to take a new shape over the past five years. Although further research using a larger sample is needed to confirm these results, what is clear is that right now academic law libraries of all sizes are feeling the squeeze in acquisitions funds. Despite the range of acquisitions expenditures reported by the responding libraries, a good number of libraries had already taken action by ceasing to update or canceling some of their print materials, and even more have considered cancellations. While microtrends in the data show that libraries that have had smaller increases in their acquisitions budgets may be the leaders in this paradigm shift, it is clear that even libraries that have received larger increases are not far behind. It is probable that what we consider the “sacred cows” of the law library collection will change drastically in the near future.
Federal Reserve Transparency Act: Ron Paul's Latest Federal Reserve Bill Garners Bipartisan Support
Remember Rep. Ron Paul's ritual of introducing go-nowhere bills to abolish the Federal Reserve? Now he has introduced a bill that may have legs. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, H.R. 1207 [Thomas | Open Congress] is gaining bipartisan support quickly with over 70 co-sponsors so far and according to Open Congress Blog could be voted on this session.
Removing the barriers to Fed audits under 31 USC 714, H.R. 1207 mandates that a full GAO audit of the the Federal Reserve Bank be completed by the end of 2010 and submitted to Congress. Sounds like a good way to gain some transparency for the Fed's bailout activities. So far, it has issued more than $2 trillion in loan guarantees. [JH]
Arrivals and Departures: Law School Hiring Reports Updated
Like major airports the legal academy is busy with takeoffs and landings. Larry Solum has updated his list of 2009 entry-level hires by law school and Dan Filler has updated his list of law faculty lateral moves. [JH]
April 29, 2009
Law Review Trivia Question
The only state without an ABA-accredited law school is Alaska but there is an Alaska Law Review. Who publishes it? Did you know the answer without checking the bib record?
It's for a Good Cause
Help bail me out of MDA Jail by making a donation to MDA. The Muscular Dystrophy Association must think I'm a danger to society because my bail was set at $1,300. I'm being arrested next Wednesday, May 6th, so time is of the essence. It's for a good cause; even a small pledge will help Jerry's Kids. Donations can be made on my MDA web page or by using this Pledge Slip with Mailing Info.
Note to my legal publishing reps -- your donations matter. I'm keeping score.
Thanks in advance, Joe Hodnicki.
Swine Flu Information Resources
The current WHO pandemic alert level for the Swine Flu is 4, meaning the risk for a pandemic is greatly increased but not certain. Click on the image (left) for details. Hat tip to Daily Kos.
For resources, start with the CDC's resource pages covering influenza A (H1N1), a/k/a Swine Flu and move on to your state's department of health. See also the World Health Organization's alerts and WebMD's Swine Flu Guide. [JH]
Internet Archive's Motion to Intervene in Google Book Settlement Rejected
A federal judge overseeing the Google Book litigation rejected Internet Archive's request to file a motion that would ask the court to alter the proposed settlement to give other companies that have scanned printed books the same copyright protection granted to Google for orphan works. “The proposed interveners are, however, free to file objections to the proposed settlement” according to the ruling. The deadline for filing objections and comments is May 5. Hat tip to Publishers Weekly. [JH]
Tim Berners-Lee: Web Still Static and Social Networking Sites Suffer from the "Social Silo Problem"
In his opening talk the 18th WWW conference, Tim Berners-Lee outlined the status quo of the current Web and focused on areas for ongoing research. The Semantic Puzzle reports:
According to Tim Berners-Lee the Web is still static and consists mostly of archived HTML and PDF documents. There is still a need for a read/write Web and the standards are still not used to a sufficient extend.
Open Social Networking has become a great application in the Web. Currently it suffers from the ‘Social Silo Problem’. Users have often accounts in several platforms like Facebook or MySpace. The platforms, however, are separated from each other like in a field of silos. The challenge of the Semantic Web Community is now to interconnect the silos via RDF, OWL, HTTP, and SPARQL. A further requirement of Tim Berners-Lee are to focus on a Secure Web id.
Hat tip to the ResourceShelf. [JH]