June 20, 2009
Working the Saturday Shift at the Old Law Library?
Having trouble staying awake at the Reference Desk? Then you need to go to Kuku Kloc, the online alarm clock webpage. Set the time of your alarm clock and select the alarm sound. Your choices: cockerel, classic clock, electronic, Slayer guitar, and my personal favorite, military trumpet. [JH]
June 19, 2009
Blind Taste Testing Search Engines
No patrons with quizzical looks on their faces approaching the reference desk? Nothing else to do? Then take a break and perform some "blind taste testing" search engine exercises using a couple of new resources Phil Bradley recently spotted: Blind Search, Bingandgoogle and Bingle. For more, see Bradley's Search engine comparisons post. [JH]
CS-SIS Web 2.0 Challenge 2009
The CS-SIS is rolling out their Web 2.0 Challenge again this summer, a fantastic opportunity to learn about and play with new technologies that can be implemented in any kind of law library. The official announcement is below:
Announcing the Web 2.0 Challenge 2009: A Free, Online Course to Introduce Law Librarians to Web 2.0 Technologies
Last year the AALL Computing Services Special Interest Section sponsored the first Web 2.0 Challenge, an online course to introduce law librarians to social software and how to use it in their libraries. The course was so popular CS-SIS is sponsoring it again in 2009.
The Web 2.0 Challenge will provide a free, comprehensive, and social online learning opportunity designed for law librarians that incorporates hands-on use of these technologies. The course is intended for law librarians who have little experience with these technologies but are interested in learning more.
The online course will take place between August 3 and September 6. The five week course will cover these areas:
Week 1: Blogs & RSS
Week 2: Flickr & Social Bookmarking Software
Week 3: Social Networking Software and Twitter
Week 4: Wikis and LibGuides
Week 5: Web 2.0 @ Your Library
Participants will be required to complete a series of weekly activities, including viewing an instructional screencast; completing hands-on exercises based on the lesson; weekly blogging about their experience; and participating in a weekly small group chat session. The course will culminate with each participant developing a proposal for implementing a specific social software tool in their library.
Full enrollment will be limited to approximately one hundred participants. However, course content will be freely viewable to anyone who wishes to follow along. Enrolled participants who complete all activities are eligible for final prize drawings (prizes provided by CS-SIS). Certificates will also be awarded to all participants who complete the course.
We anticipate opening enrollment June 22nd. There is no charge for this course and enrollment will be offered on a first come first served basis.
For more information, visit the CS-SIS website. If you have any questions, you can contact Meg Kribble (mkribble AT law.harvard,edu) or Sally Irvin (irvinsa AT wfu.edu).
LOC Investigators Want Their Guns Back
Investigators at the Library of Congress want their guns back. The Office of Inspector General has complained in his semi-annual report to Congress that not having guns impedes investigations. The office had the power to carry guns for at least 15 years until a passage inserted in an omnibus spending bill passed this march removed that power. There are questions as to why this happened. It does appear that the friction between Librarian of Congress James Billington and the OIG's aggressive investigations may have caused it. Fox News has a report here which suggests that the OIG will have their guns returned. [MG]
Using Social Media to Track Events in Iran
Yesterday, I was watching CNN report on the events surrounding the elections in Iran. They were relying on social media sites, especially Twitter, to get real time information due to the limited coverage permitted by the Iranian government. As you probably know, Iran practices and extreme form of Internet Filtering (see OpenNet Initiative's Filtering Map organized by country).
CNN did not want to reveal their Twitter sources for fear of the authors' safety. That could be legitimate, but I'm not sure. The importance of social media in this particular crisis was underscored when President Obama asked Twitter to delay an upgrade in services scheduled for this week in case it disrupted citizen reports from Iran (see, for example, the Reuters article).
In any case, I did find a posting at Mashable on the subject that was short and to the point. In How To: Track Iran Elections with Twitter and Social Media, Ben Parr gives you tips on how to find those tweets, and has recommended hashtags being used by people tweeting about the Iranian elections. If you don't know how to use hashtags you can look at the Twitter Fan Wiki on using hashtags. Parr also recommends using Monitter which allows you to track tweets using a web based search engine. Good for people not tweeting!
Barr recommends supplementing Twitter with blogs, video (You Tube), and photographs (Flickr). He gives you his recommendations for his favorites and also tells you how to expand your coverage. By the way, I have seen this blog posting repeated almost verbatim at other blogs. I think Parr's is the original. If you have others to add, we would like to know! Or let Mashable know! (VS)
LOC to Archive All Sotomayor Confirmation Tweets
The "official" Library of Congress announcement was a tweet: "LOC will capture tweets on #sotomayor for its web archives on the Sotomayor nomination." [JH]
Are America's Manslaughter Laws Too Vague?
From the Onion. [JH]
New Articles and Updated Research Guides on GlobaLex
Luxembourg: Description of the Legal System and Legal Research by Nicolas Henckes
REGARD SUR LE SYSTEME JURIDIQUE ET JUDICIAIRE DU NIGER par Bello Mahamadou Boubacar
Updated Research Guides
More articles on international, comparative, and foreign law research on GlobaLex. [JH]
From Institutional Repositories to Electronic Libraries
In The End of Institutional Repositories & the Beginning of Social Academic Research Service: An Enhanced Role For Libraries (LLRX), Stuart Basefsky advocates broadening the concept of institutional repositories (IRs) to serve as full-fledged electronic libraries and documents how they can then serve the greater purpose of collecting, disseminating, analyzing and exchanging useful digital information for academic purposes. [JH]
CRS Report - The 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) Outbreak: Selected Legal Issues
From the summary of The 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) Outbreak: Selected Legal Issues (May 6, 2009) available on OpenCRS:
Recent human cases of infection with a novel influenza A(H1N1) virus have been identified both internationally and in the United States. Since there has been human to human transmission and the new virus has the potential to become pandemic, it is timely to examine the legal issues surrounding this emerging public health threat. This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues. There are a number of emergency measures which may help to contain or ameliorate an infectious disease outbreak. The Public Health Service Act and the Stafford Act contain authorities that allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the President, respectively, to take certain actions during emergencies or disasters. While the primary authority for quarantine and isolation in the United States resides at the state level, the federal government has jurisdiction over interstate and border quarantine. Border entry and border closing issues may arise in the context of measures designed to keep individuals who have, or may have, influenza A(H1N1) from crossing U.S. borders. Aliens with the H1N1 virus can be denied entry, but American citizens cannot be excluded from the United States solely because of a communicable disease, although they may be quarantined or isolated at the border for health reasons. Airlines have considerable discretion to implement travel restrictions relating to the safety and/or security of flights and other passengers and crew. In addition, the federal government has broad legal authority to regulate and control the navigable airspace of the United States in dealing with incidents involving communicable diseases. States have authority to initiate other emergency measures such as mandatory vaccination orders and certain nonpharmaceutical interventions such as school closures, which may lessen the spread of an infectious disease. The International Health Regulations adopted by the World Health Organization in 2005 provide a framework for international cooperation against infectious disease threats. The use of these emergency measures to contain the influenza A(H1N1) virus outbreak may raise a classic civil rights issue: to what extent can an individuals liberty be curtailed to advance the common good? The U.S. Constitution and federal civil rights laws provide for individual due process and equal protection rights as well as a right to privacy, but these rights are balanced against the needs of the community. Liability issues may become particularly important during the influenza A(H1N1) virus outbreak. The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act limits liability with respect to the use of countermeasures for pandemic flu or other public health threats. A patchwork of federal and state laws exists which generally operates to protect volunteers, which may include volunteer health professionals (VHPs) under certain circumstances, and there are also laws that trigger liability protection specifically for VHPs. Questions relating to employment are among the most significant issues presented by an influenza pandemic, since, if individuals fear losing their employment or their wages, compliance with public health measures such as social distancing and isolation or quarantine may suffer. It would seem possible for a court to conclude that the isolation or quarantine of individuals during a pandemic serves the public good and that the termination of individuals who are isolated or quarantined violates public policy. Employees may also have some job protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Openings: 4 Professional Librarian Positions at UC-Irvine Law Library
The University of California, Irvine School of Law – which will open its doors on August 24, 2009 to an inaugural class of 65 students – has three new positions available in the Law Library: a Faculty Services Librarian, a Web Services Librarian, and an entry-level Research Librarian. The Associate Director for Technical Services position has also been re-posted. The full position descriptions are available at http://www.law.uci.edu/library/jobs/
June 18, 2009
Law Prof Tries Selling IRC at Yard Sale
Librarians know that trying to give away, let alone sell, deaccessioned volumes of legal materials is pretty hard to do these days. On Concurring Opinions, Sarah Waldeck (Seton Hall) posted a photo essay about her attempt to sell a copy of the 2008 Income Tax Code and Regulations during her yard sale. Great fun. [JH]
Heads Up Job Seekers
If you are interested in the Southeastern-ish part of the country the AALL Job Hotline in the past 2 days pumped out five jobs in the SEAALL territory. They are:
- Associate Dean - Chase College of Law / Northern Kentucky University
- Reference Librarian - Charleston School of Law / Sol Blatt, Jr. Library
- Emerging Technology Librarian - Charleston School of Law / Sol Blatt, Jr. Library
- Web Services Developer - George Mason University Law Library
- Reference/Research Services Librarian - University of Richmond School of Law Library
Supreme Court Action Today
Online Petition Drive Launched to Improve PACER
Erika Wayne (Stanford Law School Library) and others have launched an online petition drive directed at the Administrative Office of the US Courts to improve PACER. The petition reads:
We ask the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to improve PACER by enhancing the authenticity, usability and availability of the system.
We the undersigned, urge the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) to make the following changes to the PACER system:
For verification and reliability, the AO should digitally sign every document put into PACER using readily available technology.
PACER needs to be much more readily accessible if it is to be usable for research, education, and the practice of law. Improved accessibility includes both lowering the costs for using PACER and enhancing the web interfaces.
Depository libraries should also have free access to PACER.
You can sign the petition here. [JH]
Guide to Legal, Factual and Other Internet Sites
Legal, Factual and Other Internet Sites for Attorneys and Legal Professionals, 15 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 13 (2009), by Timothy Coggins, Associate Dean for Library & Information Services and Professor of Law, Univ. of Richmond School of Law, lists Internet sites for legal, factual, and general research for attorneys, law students, and law librarians. The list includes sites for primary authorities, both federal and state, as well as links to other types of information such as names of possible expert witnesses and biographical and background information about individuals. [JH]
RaceTracker Wiki Now Tracking Every Election for Congress and State Governor
The RaceTracker project on OpenCongress — a non-partisan, fully-referenced, open-source and crowd-sourced wiki project — now lists every candidate running in every U.S. Senate, House and governor’s race. Details on OpenCongress. [JH]
June 17, 2009
Who are we anyway?
I wanted to give this a catchy title that wouldn’t make me sound like I am repeating the age old question of “what is the future of librarianship” or “what skills should a librarian have” or “what is the role of the librarian.” It is a difficult question that probably turns as much on the personality of the organization where you work, as well as yourself. There are two things that seem clear to me. First, service is paramount to maintain positive visibility wherever we work. Second, librarians need to stay current with technology in order to deliver that service. What is unclear, especially at an academic institution, is what level of support do we offer patrons, specifically faculty, who do not keep up to date with computer literacy but need to do so in order to access the information we are trying to deliver to them? Who fills the gap?
Case in point: At my institution, there used to be a routing list for the paper BNA Labor Relations Reporter updates. To take advantage of a good deal, we discontinued our paper subscriptions in favor of the BNA All database. Now, the updates to the BNA Reporter are delivered through an RSS feed that can land in three places: the patron’s Outlook RSS folder, the patron’s institutional portal page, or the patron’s personal RSS reader (Google reader, Feed Deamon, etc.). We used to show our patron’s how to use catalogs and indexes to access these services. Do we now show them how to use RSS, or tags, or any other aspect of Web 2.0 technology that they might be unfamiliar with? How do we make sure they can access library materials if we do not? What if they are at home and cannot access library materials because the proxy server will not pass them through to the item? Is this the librarian’s responsibility to fix this? The IT department? How about the Educational Technologist, if you have one, whatever it is. (TIP: To learn more about what an Educational Technologist might or might not be, tune into the 9 am CALICon09 program Educational Technologist – What is it? on Saturday, June 20th. Live web cast available, http://www.cali.org). What does IT support have to do with being a librarian?
The literature is somewhat sketchy about the role of librarians and support of faculty technology education.
In Faculty Development for the 21st Century, 44 Educause Review 46 (May/June 2009) http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume44/FacultyDevelopmentforthe21stCe/171776 the authors discuss the need to support faculty in keeping up with an increasingly technological workplace and developing ways to further integrate technology into their scholarship and teaching. The article goes on to describe the ways various sized schools provide this type of support, vaguely indicating that it is often the Library, or IT, who is in charge of faculty development. When did our role as librarians morph into IT support? Or, when did IT support morph into librarianship?
In Chapter 1 of the 2009 LITA Guide, Core Technology Competencies for Librarians and Library Staff, , author Susan M. Thompson reviews the history of library technology beginning with the application of IBM technology to circulation systems in the 1950s. Thompson suggests that we started taking on the role of IT support in the 1980s. During this time, libraries moved into second generation ILS systems giving our patrons the power to search library catalogs electronically and on their own – but first, someone had to show them how to do that. In this book, technology competencies are broadly defined to include everything from how to search a catalog to how to fix a printer. Other chapters in this monograph seem to indicate technology literacy is part of library outreach, but the actual support is provided by technicians in the library rather than a librarian.
The AALL Core Competencies on information technology currently include:
1. Assists and educates clients and colleagues in the use of the library's information systems
2. Resolves library hardware, software, local area network, website and Internet connectivity problems
These two items touch upon educating patrons about technology, but seem to focus on the library ILS, and not the obligation of keeping our clientele up to date with their computer literacy skills. There was a great discussion on the Core Competencies on the ALLSIS list serv this spring, but teaching faculty or other patrons how to be computer literate was not part of the discussion from what I recall. (VS)
Do we do it because we can? Or do we do it because we think this is part of the new librarian? I welcome comments.
Twitter Search in Plain English
From the great folks at Common Craft. [JH]
CRS Analyzes Tobacco Legislation
Congress is poised to pass legislation regulating the tobacco industry through the FDA. One of the elements of the legislation yet to be reconciled between the House and Senate is the reimplementation of the 1996 rule that limited tobacco advertising in locations near schools, among other restrictions. The New York Times cites potential challenges to advertising rules on free speech grounds. The Congressional Research Service has analyzed the pending legislation and suggests that the advertising rules within the legislation may not be constitutional under current Supreme Court precedent. The New York Times story is here, and it contains links to the CRS report from NYT servers. [MG]