June 6, 2009
Tetris is 25 Years Old
And Time Magazine has the details. Google celebrated with a custom Tetris-like logo. Expect cards and letters protesting that Google didn't acknowledge the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Silly me, "cards and letters." I meant email and instant messages. [MG]
Controversial Airport Security Scanners Get House Attention
One of the more controversial programs run by the Transportation Security Administration is the use of backscatter x-ray technology that sees under clothing. In fact, it sees very well under clothing, enough that critics call it a virtual strip search. While Congress can get pretty gung-ho about security, this is one area that makes a lot of people queasy. Proponents say the passenger exposure (no pun intended, really) to x-rays is not dangerous. But that's not the real issue. As Rep. Jason Chaffetz says, "Nobody needs to see my wife and kids naked to secure an airplane." A lot of people feel the same way. Chaffetz offered an amendment to a larger TSA bill that offered passengers an alternative pat-down to the x-rays. The amendment also requires the images to be deleted after they are no longer necessary for security purposes, and prohibits TSA employees from sharing them. Imagine if these things started showing up online. That's not happened so far as I'm aware, but the potential exists. The House vote was 310-118. The legislation now goes to the Senate. More details are at CNET here.
Speaking of changes to TSA procedure, there is a new requirement that the name on the ticket match that of the passenger exactly. The San Jose Mercury News has a summary of the new rule and its requirements here. Take note, AALL bound travelers. [MG]
More Lawyer and Staff Reductions at a Major Chicago Firm
McDermott Will & Emery issued a second memo announcing layoffs, this time affecting 25 lawyers and 47 administrative staff. This is the second set of layoffs from the firm. 60 attorneys and 89 staff got similar treatment last February. Details are in the Chicago Tribune. [MG]
Bing vs. Google vs. Yahoo
PC World compares features of Bing, Google, and Yahoo, mostly via sceenshots of each. [JH]
June 5, 2009
Friday Fun: Sotomayor From the Fake News Angle
John Stewart covers the announcement of her nomination. [MG]
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
SC Supreme Court Orders Governor to Apply for Stimulus Funds
Here's a strange case coming out of the stimulus package passed by Congress. The South Carolina Supreme Court has issued an opinion and a writ of mandamus ordering Governor Mark Sanford to apply for stimulus money. This comes on the heels of the South Carolina legislature passing an act mandating that the Governor apply. The legislature has the sole authority to appropriate funds, including federal funds under the South Carolina Constitution. The case is Edwards and Williams v. State and SCASA v. Sanford (26662). The opinion is here and a news analysis is here. Thanks to Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post for the lead. [MG]
Editor's Note. The South Carolina Supreme Court's highly unusual action reminds me of Patti Smith's classic Punk Rock anthem "Free Money" You'll find better audio in YouTube clips of The Patti Smith Group performing the song but I selected this one because it features Patti Smith playing "Free Money" at CBGB's last show on October 15, 2006. [JH]
New Twists to Law School Outsourcing
Law school deans are meeting secretly this summer to consider outsourcing their faculty relations and administrative duties following examples set by American workers and parents who are outsourcing their work. From the Onion. [JH]
As we get closer to the Sotomayor confirmation hearings, many of us are being asked for more information about the first Hispanic nominee to the United States Supreme Court. We should give a shout out to Georgetown University Law School Library’s Libguide on Supreme Court nominations. Not only do they provides background links for Judge Sotomayor, they also give us information about past nomination procedures. It is a very thorough guide that organizes a lot of detail in an easy to use format.
You should also consult the Library of Congress web site on Judge Sotomayor. At the LOC site, there is an expanded list of free web sites that will be tracking her progress to Souther’s seat. They also have some brief Lexis statistics on her past caseload and instructions on how to access this information for free at the Second Circuit web site by using “sotomayor” as your keyword.
As a librarian, I am quite grateful that our nominee as a fairly unique name to search! However, not everyone knows how to spell it properly. A review of law journals shows that both her first and last name cause problems for writers. Sonia is sometimes misspelled as Sonya, and Sotomayor is sometimes misspelled as Sotomayer. If you are searching the journal databases for articles that mention her, you are advised to use universal characters to replace the ‘I’ in Sonia, and the last ‘O’ in Sotomayor.
Out of the many free web sites covering this nomination, I found SCOUTUSBLOG to be most helpful. They are providing an analysis of her decisions and dissents on a variety of topics. For example, the first posting was on May 15 thand includes a review of her decisions on abortion, civil rights, environmental law, first amendment, second amendment, and international law. Also on this posting, under the heading Privacy and Information, librarians might be interested in reading about her decisions on access to information and FOIA. The analysis continues with supplements on May 18th, May 19th, May 20th, May 21st (dissents), and May 28th(circuit court splits). In addition to the case analysis, SCOUTUSBLOG gives us information about this woman’s legal victories and personal achievements. By following the tag “nominations” you will pull up all the postings so far. An added bonus on SCOUTUSBLOG is the updated Press roll on the judge and the nomination process. This is helpful to follow the controversy that naysayers are causing in this process which include matters of race, judicial activism, and the Judge’s rate of reversal.
While there are many articles and broadcasts criticizing and praising Judge Sotomayor, I found her own words posted on YouTubeto be particularly compelling. It does not reveal a lot about her legal rulings, but tells you about the person. This seems to be a growing concern among anti-Sotomayor interests. Many of the objections raised by the anti-Sotomayor camp can be summarized by reading the blog posts from conservative groups like The Judicial Confirmation Network.
President Obama wants the confirmation process completed before the August 7 th Senate recess. The Legal Affairs page at National Public Radio has an interesting post on how the Senate GOP might successfully stall the hearings, among other articles and podcasts about the Judge. C-Span will undoubtedly broadcast the hearings when they do take place along with many other media outlets. It will be interesting to see how much analysis takes place during those hearings and the sort of indexing librarians undertake with respect to her testimony. [VS]
For related Sotomayor coverage on LLB, see,e.g., Sotomayor: The News Coverage Angle and Sotomayor: "Court of Appeals Is Where Policy Is Made" In Context (and More Important Resources Like SCOTUSblog's Summary of Sotomayor's Opinions).
Editor's Note: Please welcome Vicki Szymczak as an LLB Contributing Editor. Vicki is the Library Director and Assistant Professor of Law at the Brooklyn Law School where she teaches courses in Advanced Legal Research and International and Foreign Law Research. Vicki's professional interests encompass the role technology plays in information literacy, library services, and legal education. Her research interests include defining output measurements for law libraries and the impact of open source initiatives on law library operations. Vicki is an active AALL member and currently serves as chair of the Association's Computing Services Special Interest Section. Today's post is the first of many I believe LLB readers will find informative and stimulating. Welcome aboard Vicki! -- Joe Hodnicki
New Edition of Fundamentals of Legal Research Now Available
A new edition of a classic, Barkan, Mersky and Dunn's Fundamentals of Legal Research, 9th ed. (West 2009) $75.00 is now available from Thomson West. [JH]
The American Lawyer's First Women in Law Firms Study
Emily Barker reports on the findings of American Lawyer's first Women in Law study in Stuck in the Middle: Women now make up a healthy proportion of lawyers at large firms. "The mean proportion of women at large firms [remains] close to about one-third," writes Barker. "And while the ranks of female partners have grown steadily, women still account, on average, for fewer than one in five big-firm partners. The greatest numbers of female lawyers remain concentrated at the associate level." [JH]
Reminder: Managing Electronic Titles and Materials This Afternoon
Richard Leiter and Brian Striman discuss the challenges of electronic titles in law libraries on their BlogTalkRadio program, The Law Librarian, today at 3:00 pm (Eastern). The call-in phone number for Managing Electronic Titles and Materials is 347-945-7183. Topics will include:
How should electronic titles be cataloged?
How should local cataloging records reflect remote subscription holdings?
How should "holding" be defined with respect to electronic titles? Is the ABA definition adequate?
If your library subscribes to all or a portion of HeinOnline, do you "hold" all those titles?
Are OPACS the proper place to record access to electronic titles, or do we rely on vendor websites?
How do you provide access to electronic holdings to non-institutional patrons? (Ie., members of the public)
How do you keep track of electronic serials?
How does access to electronic titles affect existing or future binding policies?
Should be very informative. If you can't listen to the live program, you will be able to download the podcast. [JH]
June 4, 2009
Senator Complains LOC Hinders Inpector General
In one of those "what the..." moments, news comes out of the Washington Post about a letter written by Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to, James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, complaining that Billington's office interferes with Inspector General investigations. The IG issued reports in FY2008 with titles such as Opportunities Exist to Improve Space Management, so it was a bit of a shock to read that the IG issued 13 federal search warrants and 16 IG subpoenas for various investigations covering child pornography possession, identity theft, and embezzlement. Money quote from LOC IG Karl Schornagel: "The average person would have no idea that these things happen at the Library of Congress." Indeed. The letter isn't immediately available, but LOC spokesperson Matt Raymond says there are factual errors in Grassley's points to which Billington will respond. Read the whole story here. [MG]
Findings from Law Librarian Employment Status Survey
Over 180 law librarians responded to Christine Sellers' recent survey of employment status and concerns. 30% of the respondents reported being laid off and three-quarters of those had worked in law firms. Of the 129 law librarians who are currently employed, 60 are worried about losing their jobs! For additional stats and Christine's very informative narrative, check out her Law Librarians of Leisure post. [JH]
Stepping into the Future: Digital Versions of Arkansas Appellate Decisions Declared Official
"[The Arkansas Supreme Court] and the Court of Appeals will soon step into the future: effective July 1, 2009 the electronic version of appellate decisions posted on the Arkansas Judiciary website [link] will be the official reports of those decisions. Arkansas will be the first state in the nation to publish and distribute the official report of its appellate decisions electronically." In re: Arkansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Rule 5-2 (May 28, 2009).
Publication of the Arkansas Reports and Arkansas Appellate Reportswill end with volume 375 Ark./104 Ark. App. Hat tip to Coleen Barger (UALR Bowen School of Law), Legal Writing Prof Blog.
ICC Legal Tools on International Criminal Law and Justice
Deegan & Sutherland's Transferred Illusions: Digital Technology and the Forms of Print
Mats Dahlström (University of Gothenburg) writes "using case studies such as hypertexts, newspapers, critical editions and libraries, Deegan & Sutherland [in Transferred Illusions: Digital Technology and the Forms of Print (Ashgate, April 2009)] elegantly and pedagogically make us aware of recurrent patterns between historical media as well as between theories about those media." Now, I wish I could say that I'm going to read this book because it sounds like something I should but the reality is I'm old, tired and can barely keep my eyes open when I get home from work. (And the book is only 218 pages!). For librarians who have more conscious and productive hours in the day and, yes, more motivation, here's the book description:
This is a study of the forms and institutions of print – newspapers, books, scholarly editions, publishing, libraries – as they relate to and are changed by emergent digital forms and institutions. In the early 1990s hypertext was briefly hailed as a liberating writing tool for non-linear creation. Fast forward no more than a decade, and we are reading old books from screens. It is, however, the newspaper, for around two hundred years print's most powerful mass vehicle, whose economy persuasively shapes its electronic remediation through huge digitization initiatives, dominated by a handful of centralizing service providers, funded and wrapped round by online advertising. The error is to assume a culture of total replacement. The Internet is just another information space, sharing characteristics that have always defined such spaces – wonderfully effective and unstable, loaded with valuable resources and misinformation; that is, both good and bad. This is why it is important that writers, critics, publishers and librarians – in modern parlance, the knowledge providers – be critically engaged in shaping and regulating cyberspace, and not merely the passive instruments or unreflecting users of the digital tools in our hands.
Opening: Assistant Director of Technology Services, Jenkins Law Library
Axelroth & Associates is working with the Jenkins Law Library to identify candidates for the new position of Assistant Director of Technology Services.
Established in 1802, Jenkins is the nation’s oldest law library. Jenkins is a membership library and also functions as the county law library for the city and county of Philadelphia, providing services to attorneys, the judiciary, government officials, students, scholars and other researchers as well as the general public. The Jenkins web site is a vital resource for the legal community. Library members have round the clock exclusive access to databases and other information that assist them in their law practices. We are searching for an individual who seeks a challenge and wants to be part of a team that is creative and constantly striving to ensure that Jenkins remains an essential and relevant resource to its members and the wider legal community it serves.
Under the direction of the Executive Director, the Assistant Director of Technology Services is responsible for implementing, managing and coordinating projects, policies and procedures, and programs related to the library’s various systems. The Assistant Director of Technology Services identifies shared functions and assets among the library’s departments (Business, Knowledge Management & Technology Services) to maximize value and coordinates, designs and implements new technology initiatives for the entire library. Future initiatives include a redesign of the library’s website as well as implementation of an e-commerce application for the same.
Responsibilities. Responsible for all IT and library systems activities at the library, including electronic applications, databases and tools in all departments.
- Works with the Director and two Assistant Directors to set library policies and procedures and participate in long and short range planning.
- Implements and documents library policies and procedures.
- Assists with library budget preparation and implementation.
- Actively promotes the law library and initiates working relationships with law and technology related organizations.
- Works with library committees to improve access to Jenkins' resources via technology.
- Coordinates technology projects with outside consultants and vendors.
- Responsible for the daily personnel operations within the Technology Services department.
- Works closely with the heads of the three Technology Services units – Network, Library Systems and Digital Development - to develop and prioritize technology initiatives.
- Oversees the traditional library and business related systems as well as network activities and works to expand them.
Qualifications. The minimum requirements for this position include an advanced degree in an information-related field and at least 5 years of management experience.
The successful candidate will also possess:
- A strong technical background and familiarity with Internet, network hardware and software protocols and database applications.
- Experience in performing and managing software development and programming, especially with MySQL, Oracle, Perl, and PHP.
- Familiarity with III Millennium, Microsoft Office, e-mail, web browsers, and Adobe Acrobat.
- A solid understanding of information technology and its applicability to the library’s internal operations and the provision of member services.
- Demonstrated skills and abilities in leadership, administration, and strategic planning.
- A thorough knowledge of libraries and their varied patrons.
- An understanding of database research and the technology associated with it.
- The ability to work effectively under pressure and to manage multiple priorities under deadlines.
- Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills, problem-solving, organizational and mediation skills.
- The ability to analyze needs and to determine priorities based on business objectives.
- A high degree of creativity and flexibility.
- The ability to manage professional, paraprofessional and technical staff.
- The ability to effectively direct and advise others.
- A demonstrated ability to work harmoniously in a team setting.
- Dependability and a sense of humor
EOE. Competitive salary and benefits package.
To learn more about Jenkins, please visit its website: http://www.jenkinslaw.org.
How To Apply. Please submit a resume and cover letter with your salary requirements* no later than June 19, 2009. We will review applications as they arrive and will conduct initial interviews immediately in order to fill this position quickly.
Please email your application to:
Senior Consultant, Axelroth & Associates
ecallinan at axelroth.com
* To be considered for this position, your application must include your salary requirements.
June 3, 2009
The 2009 Am Law 200
American Lawyer's ranking of the 101 to 200 highest-grossing law firms, with charts depicting gross revenues, revenue per lawyer, profit by partner, etc. now online. (registration required). [JH]
Sotomayor In Action: Audio Availble in the Ricci Case
The Wall Street Journal posted the audio of the Second Circuit hearing in Ricci v. DeStefano, the New Haven firefighter case in which Judge Sotomayor presided. There are links to download the MP3. The Christian Science Monitor has an analysis on what is on the tape. [MG]
Digital Audio Recordings of Chrysler and GM Bankruptcy Proceedings on PACER
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York is making digital audio recordings of court proceedings relating to Chrysler LLC, 09-50002, and General Motors Corporation, 09-50026, publicly available online on PACER. [JH]