April 21, 2010
Gadgets and Gizmos: Personal Electronics and the Library, Library Technology Report and April 22 Webinar
TechSource blogger and library technology expert Jason Griffey has assembled a guide to the present and future of gadgets, and the potential they have for your library in the April 2010 issue of Library Technology Reports, Gadgets and Gizmos: Personal Electronics and the Library. The Report is now available for purchase at the ALA Store and covers the following topics:
• Electronic Book Readers
• Sony eReaders
• The Kindle
• The Nook
• eReaders slated for future release
• Personal Multimedia Devices for Capturing and Consuming
• Video Capture Devices
• Audio Capture Devices
• Personal Scanners/ Text Capture Devices
• Personal Multimedia Devices
• The iPad
• Odd or Unusual Gadgets
• The Sony Dash
• Maker culture and "open source" hardware
Webinar Tomorrow. Jason Griffey's "Gadgets: Personal Electronics for Your Library" one-hour webinar will take place on Thursday, April 22, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Registration, which is free, is required for this event. Attend the Webinar and receive a $10 discount on a purchase of his "Gadget and Gizmos" report in print format through the ALA Store.
Hat tip to ALA TechSource. [JH]
FDsys Status Report: Over Budget, Behind Schedule, Scope of Migration Reduced and GPO Focused on Fixing Deployed System
By the end of FY 2010 the first phase of the FDsys program will be substantially over budget, from an original cost of $16 million to an estimated cost of $42 million for contractor support. The project is well behind schedule. Only the first of three phases of "Release 1" scheduled for completion by the Fall of 2009 has been deployed and that phase is incomplete. Instead of the planned 55 collections, the GPO is now migrated only 42 collections from GPO Access to FDsys. There is an on-going problem with the FAST search product that will require changes to accommodate the growth in the system. The GPO is focusing more on fixing and upgrading a deployed system than on building the final system.
These are some of the findings of the Federal Digital System (FDsys) Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) – Tenth Quarter Report on Risk Management, Issues, and Traceability Report Number 10-05, "IV&V Risk Management, Issues, And Traceability Report. Free Government Information reports:
There are some positive things. Much has been accomplished. Twenty-five of the most complex collections have been transferred from GPO Access to FDsys. The project managed to incorporate a significant design change during implementation to accommodate "Collections with numerous granules." The project also was able to create a new capability to support public access to FDsys information via the Data.gov website.
But these accomplishments are overshadowed by the numerous problems that the report documents. Even the already-deployed system is apparently overwhelmed with problems. The report documents 232 problems that adversely affect the accomplishment of an operational or mission-essential capability and notes that the many unresolved problems with the system create "a serious risk that the overall goals for FDsys ... will take much longer and require significantly more funding to achieve."
For additional details and analysis, see Free Government Information's The State of FDsys and the Future of the FDLP post. [JH]
New and Updated GlobaLex Research Guides
Published this month by GlobaLex.
New Research Guide:
- The Constitutional Law and the Legal System of the Kingdom of Bahrain by Khalil Mechantaf
- Basic Information and Online Sources for NAFTA and CAFTA Research (North American Free Trade Agreement and United States-Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement) by Francisco Avalos and Maureen Garmon; update by Maureen Garmon
- A Guide to Legal Research in Costa Rica by Roger A. Petersen
- Researching Namibian Law and the Namibian Legal System by Geraldine Mwanza Geraldo and Isabella Skeffers; Update by Hilya Nandago
- A Guide to the Tunisian Legal System by Dahmène Touchent; Update by Khalil Mechantaf
- Scottish Legal History: A Research Guide by Yasmin Morais
April 20, 2010
More problems for Kindle: At least one college gives it a failing grade
Reed College in Oregon was one of seven undergraduate schools to partner with Amazon in a beta test of classroom use of the e-reader according to the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Reed has now released a formal study and the result is that, on balance, students found several shortcomings including inadequate graphics reproduction, the inability to display multiple texts at once, the slow page-turning function, the difficulty of highlighting and annotating, and pagination issues. Then there was this:
Content comprehension –– By far the most troublesome feedback we received during the study was from a faculty member who felt that his students' comprehension of the reading materials suffered from use of the Kindle DX. He speculated that the difficulty students encountered with highlighting and taking notes on the device eventually caused them to read passively, thereby reducing their ability to reflect on and retain complex information. He saw evidence of this in assignments as well as in class discussion. He further noted that after a few weeks of trying to take notes by hand (or on their laptops), a number of students abandoned the Kindle DX (for coursework) altogether.
Both faculty and students agreed that this problem, though critical to the academic use of eReaders, could be easily addressed by technology that would allow quick and easy text highlighting and annotation. Indeed, they pointed out that effective digital highlighting and annotation would have the benefit of being easily searchable, shareable, and usable for doing research and writing papers. While the Kindle DX had a negative impact on content comprehension, there was considerable optimism that future eReaders would be able to overcome this problem and might actually help to increase comprehension.
. . . .
In closing, we may note that while students and faculty in Reed's Kindle study were unanimous in reporting that the Kindle DX –– in its current incarnation –– was unable to meet their academic needs, many felt that once technical and other issues have been addressed, eReaders will play a significant, possibly a transformative, role in higher education.
Reed next plans to test the iPad to see if students and faculty react more positively to that device.
As an aside, the study also notes that the authors don't think the e-reader revolution will go the same route as laptops meaning this time it will be students, not school administrators, who determine to what extent the new devices are integrated into the classroom.
Bloggers beware: Viacom doesn't want you using Comedy Central clips without permission.
Viacom, which owns Comedy Central and is currently embroiled in a well publicized lawsuit with YouTube's parent company Google over copyright infringement claims, recently announced that it's going to target bloggers who post unauthorized clips of two of CC's most popular shows - The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.
Although the fair use doctrine ensures the public's right to make use of copyrighted work for purposes of criticism, commentary, parody and the like, that may not stop Viacom from taking an aggressive stance when it comes to sending out those cease and desist letters. Responding to one media outlet's report of Viacom's new, aggressive position, Viacom sought to allay bloggers' fears:
Viacom takes issue with [The Hollywood Reporter's] headline, saying it's not going to sue, just enforce its legal rights. We're not sure what the legal difference is but here's Viacom's statement: "We have always tried to be as permissive as possible when looking at what might be fair use, and we haven't changed our approach at all. Frankly, fair use works for us. I can't recall a time we've ever sued a blogger for the use of a Comedy Central clip, and there's no reason to believe that would be more likely today."
Toddler Encounters the iPad: How the Next Generation of Readers Will Read
Touch-based interactivity may be taken for granted. Hat tip to LISNews for this delightful video of a two and a half year old's first encounter with an iPad. [JH]
The Long, Hard, Nearly Impossible Climb to Reach Elite Status: Top 30 Law Schools, 2002-2011
According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations only 37 law schools have reached the Top 30 as ranked by US News during the last 10 years. 13 law schools have been ranked in the Top 10 and 24 schools in the Top 20 at least once since 2002. There is a long, hard, nearly impossible climb for lower ranked law schools to reach this elite status. Based on the data, one might say only Indiana-Bloomington appears to be achieving this ascent up the mountain.
The below table (click to enlarge) reports US News Law School rankings for the Top 30 by year, color-coded to show movement between ranks 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, and below 30. The schools are sorted by this year's ranking. The table also provides the 10-year average rank for each of the 37 schools that have been ranked in the Top 30 at least once between 2002 and 2011. Feel free to report any errors or omissions in comments to this post. [JH]
Is it time to eliminate the self-reported employment data from the US News Law School Rankings?See Chicago law prof Brian Leiter's Move over Ripley! Bob Morse's "Believe It or Not?" ("Perhaps an enterprising journalist will investigate [the unaudited employment data], since U.S. News obviously doesn't care.") [JH]
Opening: Research & Instructional Technology Librarian, Univ. of Maryland Law Library
The Thurgood Marshall Law Library at the University of Maryland School of Law seeks a Research & Instructional Technology Librarian with responsibility for advancing the use of technology in the classroom setting and in faculty scholarship. Demonstrated enthusiasm for promoting the information resources and emerging technologies of the twenty-first century to both faculty and students is essential. Candidates should be willing to develop professionally by participating in activities of organizations such as CALI, ILTA, and Educause. The position is within the library’s Research Services department and reports to the Associate Director for Research Services.
Responsibilities: The Research and Instructional Technology Librarian will play a leading role in assisting faculty and students in using cutting edge research and educational instruction tools in their classes and in their scholarly activities. The librarian will be responsible for working with faculty, clinics, and students to develop and promote the use of educational technology including training on the use of courseware, social networking applications and other instructional and research tools, including those supporting distance education, as well as teaching in the library’s first year and advanced legal research programs. Ideal candidates should be service-oriented and able to provide research and instructional support to faculty and students in cooperation with the other librarians and instructional technology staff.
Required: M.L.S. or equivalent, and J.D. from accredited schools. Working knowledge of legal materials and strategies needed by law faculty and students; ability to teach basic and advanced legal research. Demonstrated expertise and aptitude for learning technology tools relating to job duties. Ability to work independently and collegially in a rapidly changing environment; excellent interpersonal and organizational skills; ability to multitask, take responsibility, and set priorities; excellent oral and written communication skills.
Preferred: Instructional design skills and experience with software applications in support of multiple education platforms, including course management systems and multi-media; experience with law office technology; teaching or training experience.
Salary and Benefits: Competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Excellent benefits.
Equal Opportunity: In employment, the University of Maryland, Baltimore does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, ancestry or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, marital status, or veteran status. Exceptions are as allowed by law, for example, due to bona fide occupational qualifications or lack of reasonable accommodations for disabilities.
To Apply: Send letter of interest, resume and contact information for three references to Barbara Gontrum, Assistant Dean for Library and Technology, University of Maryland School of Law, 501 W. Fayette St., Baltimore, MD 21201; or email email@example.com.
Position available immediately. Preference will be given to resumes received by June 11, 2010.
April 19, 2010
Some University Networks Cool to iPad
Apple's iPad customers have had generally a good ride with the first batch of product reaching their hands. There have been a few hiccups. Individuals reported that that their immediate experience was that some units had problems with wi-fi connectivity. The cause came down to how the wireless connection was externally configured. Those who travel overseas with an iPad best not take theirs to Israel, lest it be confiscated. The iPad broadcasts it's Wi-fi signal with a higher power than that of Israeli networks. There is concern that the iPad could disrupt communications, though there is criticism of that rationale. Nonetheless, customs has seized 20 or so units at airports.
Now there are reports that a few universities are blocking iPad access to their campus networks. IT departments cite disruption to the networks or other incompatibilities as the reason. The Washington Postmentions three, George Washington, Cornell, and Princeton where users are blocked or the device is not supported. The education market has traditionally been a staple for Apple. Get them on Apple products when they're young and have a reason to use them productively and they will be disposed to keep buying Apple. The iPad is another product where marketing can take advantage of student preferences.
The added attraction of an iPad to a student is its potential as an electronic textbook/library. It remains to be seen whether publishers will prepare texts for the device. What will drive that is how many devices are in use and what rights management Apple can offer for copies. The campus connectivity problem is a glitch to Apple in that context even though three is a tiny number compared to the number of educational institutions out there. I wrote about Seton Hill previously offering iPads and MacBooks to students. The Post mentions the price for all of this is a $500 raise in the technology fee and the need for the school to quadruple its bandwidth and extend its network campus wide. Larger institutions may already be prepared for the iPad. We'll have to see as more people carry the iPad as their portable Internet. Campus IT departments are advised to prepare for the wi-fi onslaught of Windows, Chrome, Android, Linux, etc. based tablets if the Apple product takes off. They are coming, like it or not. [MG]
Thomson Reuters Closes Banks-Baldwin Cleveland Suburb Office
The Banks-Baldwin Law Publishing Co. was the oldest law publishing house in the U.S. It was established as Gould & Banks in New York in 1804 to publish law books that would be less expensive that those imported from England. William E. Baldwin, who founded the Cleveland-based Baldwin Law Publishing Co. in 1919, acquired the Banks Company in 1926. In 1933 he merged both companies to form Banks-Baldwin Law Publishing Co., with corporate offices in Cleveland. In 1993, Banks-Baldwin was acquired by West Publishing and became part of the West Group when acquired by Thomson.
Before the 1993 acquisition, Banks-Baldwin was slated to move its operations to the Cleveland suburb of Independence, OH in 1995. Cleveland.com is reporting that this last brick-and-mortar remnant of what once was the oldest legal publishing house in the US is now being closed by Thomson Reuters. Work performed by its 132 full-time employees will be shifted to New York, Minnesota, the Philippines and India. The first round of layoffs occurred April 9. Six additional rounds of layoffs will occur between June 18 and December 31.
Let's Hope West Is Only Attempting to Play Its Old Trick of Sending Unsolicited Copies of the New KeyRules Series on Law Librarians
Last time I received a requested pricing list for print continuations from West for my little county law library, I spotted two new titles in a series named "KeyRules," both without prices listed. Something free from West? Was I suspicious? You bet. I didn't subscribe to them. I was also too busy canceling other West continuations to look into the matter at the time. Greg Lambert explains that any law library which currently subscribes to West's State Court Rules series will be receiving this companion KeyRules series . "Keep it and pay for it or send it back (postage pre-paid by TR Legal)." So that's how the KeyRules series magically popped up in my active print continuation list from West weeks ago.
I don't know if Greg has received his KeyRules titles but he certainly has received his unsolicited copy of WG&L's new "Transfer Pricing Strategies" deskbook. About the accompanying cover letter, "TR Legal makes it sound like they are doing me a favor by sending this $135.00 book (plus shipping and handling) to me without my being asked." Greg adds in Thomson Reuters (West Pub.) Pulls Out Old Tricks - Unsolicited Shipments:
This is an old trick of hoping that law librarians are either too busy to notice that they've just received unsolicited material, or that they simply give in and decide that it is too much of a hassle to open up all the boxes, reattach the return labels and have the items shipped back to West.
Unsolicited new titles from legal publishers is of course an unacceptable business practice unless the title is being provided as a free review copy with absolutely no strings attached. Law librarians waste time and effort to catch these "uninvited guests" to our print collection budgets. See, for example this March 2010 LLB post, How to Cancel the Unsolicited Copies of Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial, National Edition From West. Apparently TR Legal has no qualms about wasting our time. Perhaps law librarians should just treat them as review copies but we all know how TR Legal likes to apply payments received to any old outstanding invoiced titles, not to just the titles the buyer stipulates as being paid for.
Is this old trick on the rise in the Shed West era? Apparently a simple invitation by way of publication announcement isn't generating enough sales. What gets me in this instance is the potential scope of unsolicited KeyRules titles being sent out by West. West's State Court Rules series is one of the most widely accepted standing orders outside of law libraries. So is West sending KeyRules titles to courts, prosecutors, municipal law departments, small firms, solo practitioners, etc., many of whom may have no controls in place to evict this uninvited guest, too? Even if some do have controls in place, these folks, like law librarians, are going to waste valuable time to sort out the matter. Many may not think about this turning into a long-term commitment. Many may try to cancel the title later and deal with the consequences of the cancellation not being executed because of some unintentional error on their or West's part. Just how many do you think will not stop everything they are doing to return the unsolicited KeyRules titles? My hunch is TR Legal has done the math on shipping unsolicited titles with strings attached.
If West is sending out KeyRules to all recipients of West's State Court Rules standing orders, this is probably one of the largest unsolicited shipments in recent memory. I don't know if this is the case but I imagine I may find out if/when I start getting phone calls from our county agencies (and courts, too). If they do receive these unsolicited new titles and I don't get calls, we won't be paying for them because, by state law, new purchases must be reviewed by a county board by a specific request before acquiring a new title. Our county agencies (and courts) might eventually get around to shipping them back, if the free shipping labels can be found, but if they don't, good luck trying to collect payment that violates Ohio state law.
In other words, solicitor beware. Feel free to send us free review copies with information on how to order next year's edition if you want to kill some trees but it takes something more than merely not shipping unsolicited titles back to actively consent to enter into a new standing order or subscription. I would rather be receiving empty shipping boxes from West than this. Hopefully, this "old trick" is only being played on law libraries but I have my doubts. You? [JH]
Amazon: No Kindle eReader Required (Kindle Reading App Now Available for the iPad)
I haven't been keeping up with the whole Kindle craze because I think buying an eReader is pretty silly. So, I haven't been watching the migration of the Kindle platform to other hardware beyond the PC to, for example, the Mac, iPhone, Blackberry and ... wait for it ... now the iPad. That was quick! Free Kindle reading apps here.
"Download and read Kindle books - no Kindle required." I doubt this is the beginning of the end of the Kindle reader but clearly selling Kindle editions for reading on the device of the consumer's choice is a top priority for the Kindle book-selling business model. "More [Kindle] reading apps coming soon." [JH]
Opening: Head of Reference, William Mitchell College of Law
William Mitchell College of Law, founded in 1900, is an independent, private law school located in St. Paul, Minnesota. The largest law school in Minnesota, William Mitchell is known for its pioneering blend of practical education and critical scholarship.
We currently seek a Head of Reference to lead an active, accomplished group of librarians, and to join the Information Resources management team. Our group is a valued partner in the College’s curricular innovations, and a leader in numerous strategic projects. The Head of Reference will develop new initiatives and will have the support necessary to see them through. He or she will collaborate with talented professionals both within Information Resources, and throughout the college. The Head of Reference will report to the Associate Dean, Information Resources, and will work closely with other managers, including the heads of IT, educational technology, circulation, and collection resources.
The Head of Reference will lead a staff of five reference professionals (3.875 FTE), providing legal research instruction and reference services to students, faculty, alumni and public patrons. Specific duties of this position include developing, refining and promoting initiatives consistent with the library’s strategic goals; managing regular operations of the reference department; assisting with the evaluation of library services and priorities; coordinating legal research instruction (including teaching classes, supervising teaching by reference librarians, and promoting teaching expertise to faculty); and coordinating the library’s web presence as it relates reference, research and faculty services.
Qualifications: Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and J.D. required; 5+ years public service experience in a law library required (academic law library experience preferred); 3+ years managerial experience, or equivalent skills, required. The successful candidate will have strong customer service and interpersonal skills; facility with technology and a demonstrated interest in how technology affects legal education; creativity and enthusiasm, excellent communication and collaboration skills; and the ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently. The Head of Reference will participate in a rotation that includes nights and weekends at the reference desk.
To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to: Human Resources, William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105-3076; by fax to 651-290-8645; or by e-mail to hr(at)wmitchell.edu.
For best consideration, application should be received no later than April 30. Position to start July 1 or later.
April 18, 2010
Round-Up of Practitioner Blogs
West Virginia Injury Lawyer Blog
Discusses injury law cases, reports and opinions in West Virginia. Published by the Wolfe Law Firm.
Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyers Blog
Provides insight on bankruptcy cases, legislation and opinions in California. Published by Sagaria Law, PC.
San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney Blog
Covers bankruptcy law cases, news and reports in San Diego. Published by Sagaria Law, PC.
Austin Family Law Blog
Provides opinion on family law news, reports and matters in Texas. Published by the Law Office of Willie & Dasher.
Miami Criminal Attorney Blog
Discusses criminal law reports, cases and news in Florida. Published by Barakat, Jacobs & Associates, PL.
Miami Foreclosure Lawyer Blog
Provides insight on foreclosure news, legislation and opinions in Florida. Published by Barakat, Jacobs & Associates, PL.