November 21, 2009
The History of the Internet in a NutshellCameron Chapman's Six Revisions blog post offers a brief history of the Internet. It identifies key milestones and events related to the growth and evolution of the Internet between 1969 to 2009 with some great screen captures. See also Jacob Gube's The History of Web Browsers. [JH]
Round-Up of Practitioner Blogs
Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog
Reports on injury law news, cases and opinions in Florida. Published by the Law Offices of Jason M. Melton, PA.
San Francisco Business Blog
Reviews restaurants, businesses & political topics pertaining to the San Francisco Bay Area. Published by Daniel E. Lopez.
Fort Worth Injury Attorney Blog
Analyzes injury law reports, matters and cases in Texas. Published by William K. Berenson.
Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Blog
Provides insight on nursing home abuse cases, matters and opinions in Illinois. Published by The Kosner Firm.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Blog
Covers injury law news, reports and cases in Pennsylvania. Published by Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, PC.
New Jersey Criminal Attorney Blog
Provides opinion on criminal law news, cases and reports in New Jersey. Published by Robert W. Ratish, LLC
November 20, 2009
Friday Fun: Jon Stewart Explains Net NeutralityHat tip to Public Knowledge. [JH]
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|From Here to Neutrality|
Is West Contributing Pricing Information for the Next Edition of the AALL Price Index?
According to the November issue of the AALL E-Newsletter, the answer is "yes."
I'm happy to report that all four major legal publishers will contribute pricing information for the 7th edition of the AALL Price Index for Legal Publications. The Price Index for Legal Publications Committee is responsible for producing the index and has begun to compile 2009 pricing data for the next edition, which will be released in the spring. This publication is available only to AALL members and provides comparative information about legal publishers' pricing in order to help libraries with budgeting and collection management decisions.
In gathering information for the index, the committee asks publishers to provide their pricing. Major publishers participating in this edition include: BNA, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
-- AALL President Catherine Lemann
This should be interesting. Of course, I'll be waiting for Ken Svengalis' next edition of Legal Information Buyer's Guide & Reference Manual for a reality check. Hopefully the folks in the land of 10,000 invoices play it straight because there are plenty of invoice-paying law librarians who will take West to task if the Company doesn't.
About the email-distributed version of the November issue of the AALL E-Newsletter, a colleague emailed me a question I could not answer because I've been taking AALL's Latest News RSS feed to catch the e-newsletter. She asked:
I'm wondering if this email always had advertising on it? Or I am just noticing it for the first time???
In a later email, she added:
The price index item next to the ad is a definite WTF ?? (as the kids would say!)
She's referring to this Thomson Reuters banner ad above AALL's e-newsletter header image:
Priceless indeed. Hopefully the AALL Price Index for Legal Publications will be worth the time it takes to download in the spring. Until then, one question: is West's $75,000.01 or more gold sponsorship check for next year's annual meeting in the mail? From LLB's Aug. 9, 2009 post Message from West on AALL Sponsorship Policy:
It’s true that AALL is not accepting sponsorship dollars from West for 2008-2009 because West does not participate in the Price Index for Legal Publications. It has been West’s position for many years that the retail pricing model laid out by the Price Index for Legal Publications does not accurately reflect the prices our customers typically pay. Our retail prices are easily and clearly available on the West Web site. However, we work closely with our customers to give them the information and flexibility they require to best plan their budgets and collections, and so we approach pricing on an account-by-account basis – which, by the way, is not uncommon in the industry. Our view is that whether an index is produced by a private publisher or trade association, more often it serves to confuse than clarify.
-- Anne Ellis, Senior Director, Librarian Relations, West
Perhaps AALL should spend some of its West advertising dinero on hiring Ken Svengalis as a consultant for the forthcoming Price Index.
Endnote. On West "work[ing] closely with [their] customers to give them the information and flexibility they require to best plan their budgets and collections," see LLB's survey results and survey takers' comments:
- Findings on Reasonableness of Annual Price Increases for Products and Services Offered by BNA, LexisNexis, West and Wolters Kluwer, and
- Customer Services Findings for BNA, LexisNexis, West and Wolters Kluwer
ABA Launches Pilot Program: Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals Covers Third, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits
The ABA has launched Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals, a pilot program designed to provide reporters, lawyers, educators, and the public with prompt, accurate, unbiased information about newsworthy and legally significant cases pending in and decided by the Federal Courts of Appeals. "The project grew out of a shared concern between journalists and the judiciary that reporting about federal courts has been declining. The concern is due in part to new trends in media coverage, including the steadily shrinking pool of news staff in traditional media and the rise of Internet-based news sites, blogs, and other media outlets," according to the ABA press release. From the Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals website:
Our goal is to assist the media’s efforts to provide timely and extensive reporting about federal court decisions. Use this website to find short summaries of recent opinions of public interest and noteworthy cases pending oral argument.
The ABA is working with academic teams of law profs and students to filter case filings in the three courts of appeals to a managable number of cases so the site will be of practical use to reporters.
Third Circuit: Temple University Beasley School of Law (Craig Green and David Sonenshein)
Fifth Circuit: The University of Texas School of Law (Stephanie Lindquist and Dean Leslie Oster)
Ninth Circuit: University of San Diego School of Law (Shaun Martin) and University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law (David Marcus)
The site will be updated daily with postings of key decisions and alerts on upcoming cases. If successful, the ABA plans to expand coverage to include the other circuits. [JH]
On the Demise of Legislative Instructions from the States to Their Federal Representatives
The practice of state legislatures instructing their federal representatives in Congress, notably state-appointed U.S. Senators, was part of the constitutional culture of the early history of the United States. According to Christopher Terranova in his note, The Constitutional Life of Legislative Instructions in America, 84 New York University Law Review 1331, the practice flourished for about a century. Many scholars attribute the practice's demise to the Seventeenth Amendment. Terranova argues that previous scholars have ignored other, more important, reasons for the demise of legislative instructions. From the abstract for anyone interested in reading a little constitutional history this weekend:
The six-year term length for U.S. senators, combined with the increasingly rapid turnover in state legislatures, prevented binding instructions from becoming permanently entrenched. Instructions were held in place after the Founding only by constitutional culture, but even this did not last. After Southern Democrats vigorously used instructions to purge Whigs from the Senate in the 1840s and 1850s, the use of instructions was indelibly linked to the South. Not surprisingly, the doctrine of instructions was one of the casualties of the Civil War. Following the War, the roles were reversed: The states—especially the Southern states—were taking instructions from the federal government. Today, instructions still exist but as nonbinding “requests” for action. This new conception of instructions returns us full circle to James Madison’s conception of the proper role of instructions: a right of “the people . . . to express and communicate their wishes” to their representatives.
Opening: Serials & Acquisitions Librarian, Drexel Univ. Legal Research Center
The Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University invites applications for the position of Serials & Acquisitions Librarian. As part of the Collection Services department, this position reports to the Head of Collection Services, and works closely with the Acquisitions & Serials Assistant. This position oversees all serial-related functions, including orders, renewals, binding, statistical reporting, invoicing, claiming activities, etc. for serials in all formats.
- Oversees serials-related functions for the handling of Library materials. This function includes the ordering,checking-in, routing and processing of newly-received materials, claiming missing and/or damaged materials, renewal, binding, and withdrawal of out-of-date or discarded materials using the Innovative Interfaces Millennium integrated library system. Materials will be in a variety of issuance formats such as continuations, pocket-parts, supplements, updates, and periodicals, as well as in a variety of physical formats: print, CD-ROM, videocassette, audiocassette, DVD, microfiche
- Checks in and processes newly-received materials
- Coordinates filing activity across all LRC departments (50% of filing is assigned to Access Services, 25% each to Collection Services and Reference & Instructional Services), files looseleaf services and pocket parts.
- Supervise student assistants. This includes interviewing, hiring, supervising, training, evaluating and terminating students as necessary. Train student assistants and assign them tasks (processing materials, loose leaf filing, etc.) on a daily basis.
- Cross-train other personnel in the department on Millennium’s serials module procedures and processes.
- In consultation with Head of Collection Services, develop and implement new and/or revised serials processing procedures.
- Perform all functions related to the Library’s binding process, including preparing and sending materials to the bindery,reviewing the accuracy and quality of the bindery’s work, and then processing volumes returned from the bindery.
- Keep informed regarding developments in the areas of serials publishing, and processing, as well as library automation, through attendance at appropriate conferences, reading related journals, and subscription to related e-mail lists
- Route newly-acquired materials to faculty
- Supervises department in absence of Head of Collection Services
- Perform other duties as assigned, including substituting for other Collection Services staff during absences.
- Master’s degree in Library or Information Science from an ALA-accredited library school
- Prior experience with serials in a law library.
- Prior academic law library experience
- Prior experience with legal serials
- Prior experience with Millennium serials module
- Ability to work well independently and with others
- Ability to solve problems
- Ability to carry out tasks with minimal supervision and follow through in a timely manner
- Ability to be flexible and adjust to change.
Salary: Commensurate with experience
Application Procedure: Apply at www.drexeljobs.com and search for Serials & Acquisitions Librarian.
November 19, 2009
More Friday fun - "You kids today have it so easy. Back in my day . . . . "
Here's the Gen X version of a generational cliche that's been making the internet rounds. But first, a couple of observations: 1. This will indeed make you feel very old; and 2. it's hard to imagine that some day this is going to be considered the time when people had it rough, "not like you spoiled brats today."
When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning . . . . Uphill... barefoot... BOTH ways Yadda, yadda, yadda
And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!
But now that... I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.
You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!
And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!
I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!
There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen!
Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take, like, a week to get there!
Stamps were 10 cents!
Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our a**! Nowhere was safe!
There were no MP3' s or Napsters! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself!
Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished and the tape would come undone. Cause - that's how we rolled, dig?
We didn't have fancy crap like "call waiting!" If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it!
And we didn't have fancy "caller ID" either!
When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!
We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... forever!
And you could never win.
The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!
You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your a** and walk over to the TV to change the channel!
There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!
And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove! Imagine that!
That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or before!
The Over 30 Crowd
Google Announces Chrome OS Details
Lost in the immediate announcement of the Google legal materials added to Scholar is today's announcement of the Google Chrome Operating System details. Different reports about the unveiling, if you can call it that, tell us a few things. One is that it won't be available for at least another year. So why the announcement now? One is probably to keep people interested in the idea. Maybe another is to steal a little attention from the Microsoft shareholder meeting where Steve Ballmer is waxing about the positive adoption of Windows 7. Apple is another company that is very good at making announcements during key Microsoft events. Google CEO Eric Schmidt learned something from his tenure on the Apple board.
What do we know about the Google Chrome OS beyond the fact that it won't be available until late 2010? It will only work on netbooks designed to Google's specifications; it won't use a traditional hard drive, but rather a solid state drive; and the only applications that can run on it will be web centric. Data will be stored in the cloud, and likely Google's cloud at that. No word on whether local jump drives will run as local storage, The idea behind Chrome OS is that the web will essentially be the desktop and everything runs there in an interface that looks almost exactly like the current Chrome browser, and whatever it turns into over time. Get people used to that now and the concept of a Chrome based netbook will have practically no learning curve to anyone using it. As data is stored on the web, the OS will be automatically self-repairing. The system will automatically download a clean copy of itself and install what it needs. No word on whether any other web based applications will run in Chrome browser/OS. After all, certain sites require Internet Explorer for some transactions.
Different people and companies have championed the thin client, a machine connected to a server that housed all applications and data. The thin client never caught on. Google Chrome OS is essentially a thin client OS with the web as a server. The web, however, is more interesting than what may exist on a Citrix server. The concept (not necessarily the execution) is cooler than Microsoft and (horrors) may be cooler than Apple. Look for I'm a Mac, I'm a PC, and I'm Google ads just before next year's Christmas shopping. Look for lawsuits as well when Google gets hit with complaints for aiding and abetting music piracy and porn. Those Chrome OS users have to put that stuff somewhere (the Google cloud?), if not on their non-existent hard drives. And imagine a situation where the government has an easier time investigating terrorism when it subpoenas the contents of an account. Much easier for federal agents than having to seize a local computer. I imagine an ad where Jeff Foxworthy says "you may be a terrorist if you use Windows." Then again, it may all be fine. All hail the Google.
This article in PC Magazine has the essential facts as to what is and is not Chrome OS. [MG]
At Syracuse, library books aren't ready for the glue factory just yet
Facing a shortage of shelf space, administrators at Syracuse University planned to ship 100,000 books per year, for the next 10 years, to an off-site location about 250 miles away from campus. That's until the students and faculty got wind of it. At a public meeting last week called to discuss the proposal, more than 200 members of the school community showed up to protest the move.
Savanna Kemp, a junior English and textual studies and women's studies major, has become the de facto leader of the student initiative to keep the library books on campus.
The student body was not consulted or informed about these decisions, Kemp said. Students understand the need for an external facility, Kemp said, but they have concerns about its location. The off-site library at Brown University is four miles from campus, and Yale University has 27 libraries, only one of which is not in New Haven, Conn.
. . . .
Kemp said the library needs to be allocated more money, and that the chancellor should support remodeling a local warehouse into an off-site storage facility.
"If the slogan 'Scholarship in Action' is to be anything more than an empty phrase that we hang on banners around our university, we believe the school needs to consider a community-responsible alternative to the library situation," Kemp finished to the longest applause of the meeting.
Although a final decision has yet to be made about what to do with the books, some faculty members at the meeting expressed hope that the administration had taken their concerns seriously and find a workable solution that would keep the materials closer to home.
You can read the rest of the story here.
Hat tip to Inside Higher Ed.
Google's To-Do List To Compete With WEXIS in the Online Legal Research Search Market
If Google really wants to compete with Westlaw and LexisNexis, the Company's next steps should be (1) to fill the holes in the primary legal resource collections that it indexes; (2) to build an effective, automated legal citator; and (3) to develop a good quality, automated knowledge representation system to provide subject access to individual primary legal documents according to Robert Richards in his very thorough Thoughts on Google & Legal Research blog post. Richards writes "If Google takes those further steps, then I think it could take a big share of the high-end CALR market. At the very least, its efforts, coupled with Bloomberg’s, should result in increased competition, lower prices, and more innovation yielding better retrieval tools for users in the U.S. CALR sector."
AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers
2009 Competition Winners
The AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers Committee promotes the scholarship of AALL members and of students through its annual "Call for Papers" competition. Papers, which may be submitted by active or retired AALL members, or by students in library, information management or law school, may address any subject relevant to law librarianship. Through the competition, the Committee seeks (1) to promote scholarship of interest to the profession of law librarianship; (2) to provide a creative outlet for law librarians and a forum for their scholarly activities; and (3) to recognize the scholarly efforts of established members, of new members, and of students who are considering a career as law librarians.
The AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers Committee is soliciting articles in three categories:
- Open Division: for active and retired AALL members and law librarians with five or more years of professional experience;
- New Members Division: for recent graduates and AALL members who have become law librarians since July 1, 2005.
- Student Division: Participants in this division need not be members of AALL. To be eligible in this category, you must have been enrolled in law school, or in a library school, information management, or an equivalent program, either in the Fall 2009 or Spring 2010 semester.
The winner in each division receives $750 generously donated by LexisNexis plus the opportunity to present the winning paper at a program during the AALL Annual Meeting in Denver. Winning papers are also considered for publication in AALL's Law Library Journal. Selected winning papers from earlier competitions can be found on the Committee's bepress site. This list can give you an idea of the range of topics that law librarians have chosen. Last year's winning papers are identified in the sidebar, above right. See also the Call for Paper's website.
How to Apply: Application form and details, including a list of past winners, can be found at the Call for Papers website.
- Articles in the Open and New Members Division must be submitted by March 2, 2010.
- Articles in the Student Division must be submitted by April 15, 2010.
If you have any questions, please contact a member of the AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers Committee:
Snitching: First Comprehensive Analysis of Criminial Informants Published
Loyola Law prof Alexandra Natapoff's Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice (NYU Press, November 16, 2009) is the first comprehensive analysis of the use of informants in the criminal justice system, something TV viewers see every night in crime shows. As a law enforcement tool, Natapoff argues that snitching generates unreliable evidence, endangers the innocent, allows criminals to escape punishment, compromises the integrity of police work, and exacerbates tension between police and poor urban residents. "This brilliantly original book is . . . wise and ruthlessly honest in its understanding of the street level practices of informant reliance," writes Robert Weisberg, Stanford law prof.
Natapoff has been blogging about the topic too. Her Snitching Blog discusses how snitching works, provides resources, and news about current events and legal developments. Hat tip to OSU crimprof, Douglas Berman, Sentencing Law and Policy. [JH]
AAUP Lifts Censure of TulaneInside Higher Ed is reporting that the AAUP "has lifted its censure of Tulane University, following an agreement that Tulane would not cite the move in defending itself in lawsuits from former faculty members. Tulane was censured in 2007 for the way it eliminated departments and made decisions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The university maintained at the time -- and has maintained since -- that it had no choice but to act quickly to shift priorities in light of the severe situation presented by Katrina. But the AAUP investigation into the situation questioned the extent to which the university needed to take those specific steps." [JH]
Opening: Head of Information Services, IUPUI Law Library
The Head of Information Services, under the supervision of the Associate Director, plans, implements and coordinates circulation and reference services including, document delivery, reserves, collection management, delivery of traditional and electronic reference, a faculty liaison program and training for faculty and students; provides leadership, creativity and vision to promote and support the use of technology to enhance teaching, research and library operations; organizes and participates in the evening and weekend reference duty rotation; develops research instruction publications; heads the legal instruction programs and participates in collection development.
The Head of Information Services also teaches legal research in the first and second year LARC program and may teach the Advanced Legal Research course as well as LLM Legal Research.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Coordinates Library’s information service departments of circulation and reference. Supervises Reference and Circulation librarians. Oversees budgeting and planning for circulation functions, document delivery, interlibrary loan, reserves. Directs collection and facility management, coordinates the library hours planning, staffing of Circulation operations.
- Plans, implements and participates in all reference programs, including the Faculty Liaison program and continuously develops training and outreach programs for faculty and students, schedules Reference Desk, generates appropriate statistical reports, coordinates Library tours and training.
- Participates in the legal instruction program including LLM, and LARC, instructs students in the use of computers for computer-assisted legal research, and creates legal research training opportunities for upper-class students, law review members, and other student groups. Implements current instructional methodologies and technologies.
- Assists in developing and coordinating library public relations, generating the Library’s newsletter and blog, creating exhibits, developing tools for user education such as web resources, research guides, and bibliographies.
- Participates in collection development by evaluating and selecting information resources in all formats (print, A-V, electronic).
- Provides evening and weekend reference assistance by participating in evening and weekend reference duty rotation.
- Other duties as assigned by the Law Library Director or Associate Director.
- J.D. from ABA approved law school; M.L.S. from ALA accredited library school
- Teaching experience and supervisory experience.
- Significant reference skills utilizing print and electronic sources.
- Five years of experience in research oriented law library, teaching experience and supervisory experience strongly preferred.
- Proficient in traditional and computer-assisted legal research methods and solid knowledge of legal materials including experience with current information technologies.
- Excellent interpersonal and oral/written communication skills.
- Familiarity with computer applications and communications including Internet.
- Strong service orientation.
- Ability to work independently and as a team member.
- Willingness to participate in professional activities.
Complete job description also available at: http://indylaw.indiana.edu/library
Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience, Range starting at $50,000.
To Apply: Cover letter, resume and names of three references to the administrative assistant for the Search Committee:
Mrs. Marilyn J. Wright
Ruth Lilly Law Library
Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis
530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3225
IUPUI is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action educator, employer and contractor M/F/D
November 18, 2009
Super Lawyers Rates Law Schools
You may have seen the Super Lawyers Magazine at one time or another. Their web site maintains a database of the cream of the crop practicing attorneys. They have come up with an alternative ranking for law schools. They rank schools by the number of attorneys in their database. The usual suspects are in the top 20, but the order is surprising as it does not track US News rankings. More surprises follow for the schools just below 20.
It's not easy to become noted as a Super Lawyer. This isn't a directory where attorneys buy their way in and out of a listing. From the FAQ:
In selecting attorneys for Super Lawyers, Law & Politics employs a rigorous, multiphase process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.
The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in the selection of a lawyer, we limit the list to attorneys who can be hired and retained by the public, i.e., lawyers in private practice and Legal Aid attorneys.
The Super Lawyers selection process involves three basic steps: creation of the candidate pool; evaluation of candidates by the research department; and peer evaluation by practice area.
Testing Google Scholar for Legal Research
The most amazing thing happened yesterday. Google has added legal research to Google Scholar. The feature is accessible from the main Scholar page as a radio button that limits the search to legal materials. What is even more amazing is that it transcends what I would call the Internet experience, the scatter-shot search results that populate a result page. The initial iteration is something that even legal professionals might be able to use for some forms of research. The usual free sites are good for what they are, distinct collections of case law that are usable if one knows which documents one wants. Searching the law by topic and getting something useful has always been a problem. See my post , Some Thoughts on the Bob Berring Video Comments, for details.
My initial impression of Google's legal research is that it is way better than I could expect. I used a test search of "products liability torts Illinois" and found links to the full text of the significant cases in Illinois jurisprudence on the subject. The first case that came up was Suvada v. White Motor Co., 210 NE 2d 182 from the Illinois Supreme Court in 1965 with cites to the official Illinois case reporter and the Northeastern Reporter. Other searches indicate cases in full text as far back as 1961, earlier than most free case law collections. The text of the case had minimal star paging with pages listed in the margins on the left. Cases mentioned in the opinion were hyperlinked when available. I'm guessing 1960 is a cutoff date for case law as that date seemed consistent with a boundary for mentioned cases linked and not linked. The presentation of the case had two tabs at the top of the page, one for the text and one for how cited. The latter tab included texts to other cases with links to full text, links to articles which so far appear to be available on Heinonline as their source, links to books in Google Books (J.J. White's UCC Hornbook, for example), and related documents which included more cases and general scholarship in Google Scholar. Some of these linked materials may not be available to the general public. There is, however, enough information noted about these documents to find them in the average law library collection or through other sources.
The hyperlinking to related materials is something that is available in the free sites, but not to the extent given here. It is very Lexis and Westlaw-like. The related materials seemed keyed less on my initial search terms than the actual point of the case, which is strict liability under Restatement of Torts section 402A. If nothing else, this can lead a researcher to related materials in ways that other sites may not.
Joe excerpted a quote from the Google blog in his post, Researching Court Opinions Using Google Scholar: What Do You Think?, noting individuals who have helped create free legal resource collections on the web. I want to highlight one sentence from that excerpt: "It is an honor to follow in their footsteps." Google is not linking directly to these sites for their content. Google is hosting this content if the URLs on the opinions are any indication. There are links in the result listings that give access to places such as Justia and the Legal Informtion Institute as alternative locations for texts. If my reading is accurate, Google is a competitor more than a collaborator with these sites.
I can only wonder what improvements Google can make as the service continues. They could license content from Hein and others and present the commentary usually hidden behind paywalls. They may be able to create a citator as one exists here in its most rudimentary form. They could extend case law full text back further in time. However, the clear immediate advantage for this addition to Google is the relevant keyword search results and the hyperlinks to relevant materials. Amazing. More on this later as I test the limits of legal research on Google Scholar. [MG]
And the IALL 2009 Website Award Goes To . . .
the Audiovisual Library of International Law (ALIL)! The announcement came last month at IALL's annual course on international law librarianship held in Istanbul, Turkey. See my previous LLB posts for more details about the course and award. Congratulations to ALIL! [RLS]
Researching Court Opinions Using Google Scholar: What Do You Think?
If you take a test drive, I would recommend using the "Advanced Scholar Search" interface and taking a quick look at the Advanced Scholar Search Tips page. So what do you think?
Coverage Note: From Google Scholar's Help Page:
"Currently, Google Scholar allows you to search and read opinions for US state appellate and supreme court cases since 1950, US federal district, appellate, tax and bankruptcy courts since 1923 and US Supreme Court cases since 1791 (please check back periodically for updates to coverage information). In addition, it includes citations for cases cited by indexed opinions or journal articles which allows you to find influential cases (usually older or international) which are not yet online or publicly available. Legal opinions in Google Scholar are provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed lawyer. Google does not warrant that the information is complete or accurate."
From Google's blog post, Finding the laws that govern us:
We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of several pioneers, who have worked on making it possible for an average citizen to educate herself about the laws of the land: Tom Bruce (Cornell LII), Jerry Dupont (LLMC), Graham Greenleaf and Andrew Mowbray (AustLII), Carl Malamud (Public.Resource.Org), Daniel Poulin (LexUM), Tim Stanley (Justia), Joe Ury (BAILII), Tim Wu (AltLaw) and many others. It is an honor to follow in their footsteps. We would also like to acknowledge the judges who have built this cathedral of justice brick by brick and have tried to make it accessible to the rest of us. We hope Google Scholar will help all of us stand on the shoulders of these giants.
Discouraging News from ALA's Public Libraries and the Internet Survey
Public libraries and the Internet 2008-2009: Issues, Implications, and Challenges by John Carlo Bertot, Paul T. Jaeger, Charles R. McClure, Carla B. Wright and Elise Jensen (First Monday, Nov. 2, 2009) reviews the findings, issues and implications from ALA's 2008 Public Libraries and the Internet national survey. The findings from the 2008 survey "reveal impacts of the global recession on public libraries and their ability to meet the needs and expectations of patrons, communities, and all levels of government."
Discouraging news from the paper's issues and implication section:
Analysis of the data from the 2007 survey pointed to an emerging trend that raised serious concerns for public libraries — patron and community needs for Internet access, training, and services were quickly outpacing the ability of libraries to meet those needs.
The 2008 data indicate that this situation has, on the whole, grown more difficult for libraries as demand continues to rise — due to the issues noted above and to new pressures as a result of the ongoing worldwide economic crisis. Key pieces of data from the survey document the gravity of the problem:
- Library hours of operation have decreased on average, with especially large drops among libraries in high poverty and urban areas;
- The average number of computer terminals is roughly the same as it was in 2002, yet demand continues to increase;
- Only 18.9 percent of libraries report always having a sufficient number of workstations to meet demand;
- Only 39.9 percent of libraries indicate that their connection speed is sufficient to meet patron needs at all times, and just 28.6 percent of urban libraries and 25.1 percent of high poverty libraries report sufficient connection speeds; and,
- Almost all libraries (94.1 percent) have time limits on how long a patron can use a computer, and a majority of these time limits are under an hour, thus not providing users with adequate computer time.