September 11, 2010
Tips for Law School RAs and RA Wannabes
Mark Wojcik (John Marshall, Chicago) explains why law school students should work as research assistants, how to find RA jobs, and how to do well in them in Should You Be a Faulty Research Assistant? 36 Student Lawyer 35 (September 2007)[SSRN]. It's recommended for both law student RAs and RA wannabes because Wojcik's outlines 11 ways they can do a good job once they get a law school RA gig. [JH]
September 10, 2010
9th Circuit Says No First Sale on "Licensed" Software - Implications Abound
The First Sale Doctrine took a hit today in the Ninth Circuit with the release of the opinion in the case Vernor v. Autodesk (09-35969). The issue in the case was whether software Vernor acquired was licensed to his source with restrictions on transfer, and as such, whether Vernor's subsequent sale of that software on eBay was in violation of that license. The Court ruled that the first sale did not apply to an item the original copyright holder and seller explicitly indicated was a license.
From the opinion:
We hold today that a software user is a licensee rather than an owner of a copy where the copyright owner (1) specifies that the user is granted a license; (2) significantly restricts the user’s ability to transfer the software; and (3) imposes notable use restrictions.
The American Library Association weighed in on the case with an amicus brief, concerned, of course, how a ruling in favor of Autodesk could affect other materials licensed rather than sold. The Court basically said, gee that's too bad about that, but that's how it goes:
The ALA contends that the first sale doctrine facilitates the availability of copyrighted works after their commercial lifespan, by inter alia enabling the existence of libraries, used bookstores, and hand-to-hand exchanges of copyrighted materials. The ALA further contends that judicial enforcement of software license agreements, which are often contracts of adhesion, could eliminate the software resale market, require used computer sellers to delete legitimate software prior to sale, and increase prices for consumers by reducing price competition for software vendors. It contends that Autodesk’s position (1) undermines 17 U.S.C. § 109(b)(2), which permits non-profit libraries to lend software for non-commercial purposes, and (2) would hamper efforts by non-profits to collect and preserve out-of-print software. The ALA fears that the software industry’s licensing practices could be adopted by other copyright owners, including book publishers, record labels, and movie studios.
These are serious contentions on both sides, but they do not alter our conclusion that our precedent from Wise through the MAI trio requires the result we reach. Congress is free, of course, to modify the first sale doctrine and the essential step defense if it deems these or other policy considerations to require a different approach.
Just imagine library acquisition of books and other media as licenses rather than sales. All of a sudden, our friends at West and other publishers "could" define how a library uses those materials. Then there are the used book stores, used DVD and CD second hand markets at risk. As of now, I'm glad I don't live in the states contained in the 9th Circuit. [MG]
Another Chapter in the "Papist" Administration of DePaul Law
Hat tip to TaxProf Blog for reporting on the continuing, now 16 month long, fiasco in the administration of DePaul Law. In the latest revelation, DePaul Law Prof Margit Livingston has resigned as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee because Interim Dean Warren Wolfson bypassed the Committee and the faculty in submitting to the ABA a compliance report that the faculty had voted to hold in abeyance. You remember how Judge Wolfson got the dean gig, right? See also Honesty Not the Best Policy at DePaul: Law Dean Fired for Disclosing Required Information to ABA Accreditation Committee; Associate Dean Resigns in Protest
From Livingston's memo to the faculty:
Dean Wolfson has what he believes are compelling reasons for the actions taken. He may wish to explain them to you. But in light of all the circumstances, I do not feel that I can provide effective leadership of the Committee.
One section of the College of Law Interim Dean Wolfson's Strategic Plan – Compliance Response states
We will build on our Vincentian and Catholic tradition of public service and public interest and develop a student culture focused on mutual support, respect for differing views and perspectives, and engagement with the community.
To respect differing views and perspectives and particularly engagement with the law faculty, it looks like the administration of DePaul Law will need a Vatican II makeover.
For details, including the complete text of Livingston's memo to the faculty and accompanying documents (faculty meeting minutes, strategic planning process document, and dean's strategic planning compliance response), see TaxProf Blog's DePaul Administration Again Rides Roughshod Over Faculty in ABA Accreditation Process. [JH]
Friday Fun: Attack of the Reference Question: Kindle Junkies Take Note, Librarians Note the Hair Style
With a hat tip to LLB's co-editor, Mark Giangrande. [JH]
Three Cheers for the Canadian eLaw Experience
Patrick Cormier concluded his 5-part series of Slaw posts on court website design guidelines on Sept 1st. His last post links to all early ones in the series. A little background about Cormier, albeit some four years old can be found here. Now, one may say, OMG, not another statement of website design principles and certainly not one that focuses on court websites. But remember, our neighbors to the north having been working in an environment that provides eLegal primary resources we are only beginning to see in the US at the federal and state levels and will only become more widespread with the successful implementation of LAW.GOV.
In addition to curling, which has become my favorite Winter Olympic competition to watch, see Three Cheers for Curling!, we can learn more than a few things by monitoring the Canadian experience closely. Cormier's series on court website design is just one example.
Attending the Canadian Forum on Court Technology (Sept. 22 and 23, 2010) is another possible example. Anyone from Baja Canada (not the State also known as Washington but everyone residing south of the US-Canada border) planning to attend? US Vendors, law librarians, someone representing AALL? Program here.
Anyone? Even our red, white and blue National Center for State Courts is supporting the event. The very recently acquired by TR, Canada Law Book is a sponsor. Since that acquisition was announced on Aug. 4th, I'm thinking TR inherited the sponsorship. Sponsors listed here.
The Canadian Forum on Court Technology is being held in someplace called Ottawa. Perhaps the current Vice-President of MichAll will send one of my newest bestest friends (read private party at AALL Denver) to it to report back to the rest of us. He speaks kinda funny but then who doesn't to Canadian ears.
Endnote. On a related and closer to home note, see The Conference of Court Public Information Officers' report, New Media and the Courts: The Current Status and a Look at the Future (Aug. 26, 2010). The Report concludes with the following predictions about the near future of new media and the courts:
- More courts will develop official presences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites.
- More judges will be on Facebook, both professionally and personally.
- Courts will continue to become primary content providers and develop multimedia communication capabilities.
- Public information officers and information technology officers will form stronger partnerships and collaborative operations.
New and Updated Research Guides from GlobaLex
The long-term and consistently excellent new and update research guides from GlobaLex is simply amazing considering how web resources come and go. Here's the lastest.
New Research Guides:
- The Inter-American System of Human Rights: A Research Guide by Cecilia Cristina Naddeo
- Introduction to the Ethiopian Legal System and Legal Research by Girmachew Alemu Aneme
- The Legal System and Research of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): An Overview by Dunia Zongwe, François Butedi and Phebe Mavungu Clément
- Alternative Dispute Resolution in Pakistan by Salman Ravala
- An Overview of Polish Law by Piotr Rakowski and Robert Rybicki. Update by Piotr Rakowski
- Guide to Tanzanian Legal System and Legal Research by Bahame Tom Nyanduga and Christabel Manning; Update by Christabel Manning and Seka Kasera
September 9, 2010
Law Prof as Independent Law Book Publisher: Quid Pro Books' Alan Childress Interview (Part 2)
Yesterday, we published the first part of our interview with Tulane law prof and co-editor of Legal Profession Blog, Alan Childress, about his new publishing venture, Quid Pro Books. We left off with a discussion of Alan's new work The Annotated Common Law. To borrow from Holmes, we continue our interview with "the life of law book publishing is not logic, it's experience."
Joe Hodnicki: Do you view Quid Pro Books competing with traditional publishers?
Alan Childress: Not really, maybe for new manuscripts, but it doesn’t feel that way. They have their way of looking at the business, I have mine. So far all the authors have clear rights and the publishers have been cooperative. Some are books that they cannot sustain but once proudly published. In a few cases my inquiry into rights spurred them to republish, one in a featured second edition. I was Broadway Danny Rose. All right by me, and the authors were happy! I did learn not to buy a few warehoused copies from them to scan. Twice the publisher told an author they were hesitant to revert the work since it had some nice recent sales, me. I now buy used or ask the authors to share their stash.
Joe Hodnicki: What else did you learn?
Alan Childress: Professors do not meet their promised deadlines. Except Andrew Kaufman, which is maybe one reason he is at Harvard. That Holmes memorized his book and spoke it without notes. That scanning and OCR are a mess. That ISBNs cost plenty. That establishing rights takes time because the old publisher may not exist. And that formatting print is a lot harder than digital—which is surprising because the greatest gap in the market is for properly-formatted digital nonfiction books, as I said. There is just a trick to making eBooks functional, and it cannot be done by using the simple tools online, as they assume no linked notes.
Joe Hodnicki: Welcome to my world as publisher of 40-plus law prof blogs, Alan. Do you think eBooks will kill pBooks?
Alan Childress: I hear that out there, but: not anytime soon. They complement each other. I read more with my Kindle, as do my friends with their iPads, than ever before. And still I buy print books. I think there was once a big debate in law practice over discovery versus ediscovery. Then someday it just became discovery again. Digital is one way to deliver content but publishers need to think of ways to see that as complementary or part of the package and quit worrying about cannibalizing sales. The Kindle forums are full of people fuming that it feels like a seller of wares is not trying to let them buy. All of my release dates are when it is done, not staggered to drive paper sales.
Joe Hodnicki: Any publishers you know about personally?
Alan Childress: Not a lot, no, just their rights people mainly. Again they’ve been cooperative as I am not fighting their rights, and not cannibalizing their sales. I’ve heard personally some examples of misinformation about the capacity of digital, myths. I’ve been “told” that Kindle only reads books from Amazon and has no USB. One publisher was told by an eBook outsourcer that a footnote couldn’t have a second paragraph, and so they’re going to advise writers to keep that in mind. Nonsense, and I hope we do not let form drive content. They should look at quality converters like Joshua Tallent in Austin, who wrote the book on eBook building.
Joe Hodnicki: You’re one of the few law eBook publishers that produces for distribution RTF editions which should be accessible to screen reader apps used by readers with disabilities including the seeing-impaired and ADD/ADHD readers who find listening to text improves their ability to concentrate. Was reaching out to the widest possible market, like this, central to your business plan?
Alan Childress: May I pretend Yes and take credit for this goal? This is the first I’ve heard about that use of RTF. I know Amazon has agreed to make Kindle more accessible and encourages text-to-speech enabling, which all my books allow, so they can be read along with text or just heard on the treadmill. But I did not know RTF would be so useful to some people; I thought it was there for the computer-averse, Amazon-haters, or just to view it online. All of that is done via buying at Smashwords. I did want to maximize the number of ways to read a book, and not just Kindlize it, so an agile aggregator helps, but I did not see the possibility you mention. I have no idea why traditional publishers would not make their books available in multiple formats.
Joe Hodnicki: In one of your Quid Pro Books blog posts, you indicate your build-out will include offering direct sales in the ten formats currently available through retailers’ distribution channels. Your sales catalog offers titles attractive to law profs, historians, lawyers, and also course adoption for students. While some of the digital formats Quid Pro offer present problems for library lending of eBooks, other formats you offer do not. When you offer direct sales, will there be an institutional buyer program component, one that provides eBook lending for some formats?
Alan Childress: I hope so. I’d have to go back to my authors and see what they think, for creative lending. I think most of them want maximum exposure, as seen in their allowing me to sell their books for much less than a traditional publisher—I just noticed someone’s reader in law and society on Kindle for $160, whereas my paperback of Cardozo/Kaufman is $12.50 and Ted White’s Patterns is $13; the ebooks are $5 and $7—so creative distribution is something I’m willing to work on. As for paperbacks, I sell in discounted bulk to anyone interested, classroom adoptions, or bookstores; but really if ordering off Amazon is easier, I’m happy.
Joe Hodnicki: If law librarians want to review one of your titles for publication, how do they reach you?
Alan Childress: Using Info(at)quidprolaw.com, or the contact-us page at Quid Pro Books. Even a little blurb in a blog or journal about a title of ours counts as a review to me, thanks.
Joe Hodnicki: Legal skills instruction is a hot topic right now. For example, there is a real need for a good eBook on legal research by professional law librarians that isn't slanted toward resources of the title's publisher, can provide links to reliable online sources, and can be readily updated. Interested?
Alan Childress: Very interested. One advantage of an eBook for such areas is that it can be produced quickly and then updated even faster, whenever the research advice becomes dated in such a fast-moving arena. And actual links can be embedded. This agility is also true for practitioner works in subjects that change quickly.
Joe Hodnicki: Well, law librarians now know how to reach you if they have a book proposal. Hopefully someday Quid Pro Books will be able to afford our Network’s ad rates. Until then, let’s get the word out by way of links to some of your titles.
Alan Childress: I really appreciate it. All are easily found searching Amazon, etc. or linked on our website. (Search Kindle Store for Quid+Pro+Books.) For print and libraries, the new Nature of the Judicial Process is just out at Amazon. It features a new, explanatory Foreword by Andrew L. Kaufman, a law professor at Harvard and Cardozo's premier biographer. And see Kadish & Kadish, Discretion to Disobey: A Study of Lawful Departures from Legal Rules, Calavita's Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration, and the I.N.S. or Auerbach's Rabbis and Lawyers: The Journey from Torah to Constitution. White’s Patterns of American Legal Thought is on Amazon. (Most are on B&N too.)
And of course the annotated Holmes book, which I hope some libraries would add as a new title their patrons will regularly use, is available from our page, and on Amazon, print edition and Kindle edition, and other ebooks elsewhere. I publish unannotated versions of the book too, again to have a modern, legible print of a classic, or an eBook form that actually uses Holmes’ words. Thank you.
Joe Hodnicki: Well, Alan, in a different context I mentioned that a mindset divide between our traditional and nontraditional legal publishers exists. While I know you are not trying to compete with our traditional legal publishers, Quid Pro Books' publication of quality law eBooks in multiple formats plus print editions for select titles where there is a need for them is evidence of the defining characteristic of this mindset divide, namely, the entrepreneurial spirit. I think we should close this interview with a quote from your For Authors web page because it captures the mission of your new venture:
We are investing for the long haul and have no need to make quick cash off your intellectual property. We will work with you to create and market your book at the highest level. And we are not exclusive, in the sense that you can publish parts as articles (or post to SSRN, etc.) or pursue other print options. We do not tie authors down but rather open up new formats and markets.
Our primary field is digital publication and that is where the quality gap is greatest. Ebooks and online books tend to have holes, errors, unlinked notes, weird formatting–most just look scanned without proofing. Digital books are an afterthought to publishers yet want to be embraced by the discerning reader. We cater to that reader by catering to the author, and the care and commitment they used to get from print publishers. Even so, we often publish a paperback or print version too if that is what the market demands for your work. We work to meet your needs.
World Legal Information Institute Launches What May Be the Most Comprehensive International Law Library
A big hat tip to Cocky Law Blawg for calling attention to the World LII's International Law Library. The International Law Library has been developed with the assistance of all LIIs whose databases are searchable via WorldLII. The International Law Library includes both the International Treaties Collection and the International Courts and Tribunals Collection. It may be the most comprehensive free-access resource of its kind. See the site's About Page, brochure and press release for more. [JH]
September 8, 2010
Law and LIS Materials in iTunes U and YouTube EDU
Now that the academic fall semester has begun, it seems appropriate to point out some of the legal and library materials that appear on iTunes University and YouTube EDU. The trend is for universities to share lectures on substantive subjects via audio and/or video, and these sites aggregate a number of these offerings. It may be worthwhile for law students (and maybe even a few lawyers) to search these sites for materials that augment their class lectures.
For example, in iTunes, Emory University offers topics such as an Introduction to Torts, and Constitutional Law Parts 1 and 2, in their Mini Law School. These are audion files. Suffolk University offers 26 separate audio files of Legal Writing Tips. The University of Pennsylvania has 39 lectures on different aspects of property law, each lasting over an hour. There isn't a wide variety of legal topics represented in iTunes U, though it's worth browsing. Law is listed as a subtopic under social science.
YouTube University is a subset of Google's video sharing site. Access is by search, though it's important to note that the site features two search boxes, one for EDU and one for the general YouTube offerings. YouTube EDU by comparison probably has more materials available, if for no other reason than the ease to upload and access videos. A search for law brings up over 3,100 results. Some of these are false hits as laws of physics and other science disciplines show up in the results. Searching by legal topic will bring up more specific results. Administrative Law, for example, brings up relevant and peripheral materials. With only 16 results, however, browsing is easy.
One area not represented in iTunes U is library science. YouTube EDU has 11 results when searched as a phrase and 166 results generally. A lot of the material is peripheral, but there are videos of How Technology Will Shape the Future of Libraries from Simmons College, and the SILS Student Panel- Futures of Librarianship from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Much of the general searches consist of one-time lectures on libraries, and video guides to services and offerings from different libraries.
Note that YouTube EDU doesn't offer downloads, though with the number of software packages out there that harvest video from the web, this is merely a minor problem. Access to iTunes U is via the proprietary iTunes software provided by Apple. Most of these materials are free downloads and do not acquire an account for access. The YouTube EDU main page is here. [MG]
PLL Summit II Coming to Philadelphia: Calling All Private Law Librarians
Exciting news! There will be an all day PLL Summit II in Philadelphia on Saturday, July 23, 2011. Stay tuned for information on theme, speakers and the webinars that will be held leading up to the summit. If you would like to volunteer to assist with the summit please contact Kate Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Law Prof as Independent Law Book Publisher: An Interview with Alan Childress, Founder of Quid Pro Books
From the Quid Pro Books’ Publisher Information page:
A snip from the For Authors page:
You will find that our service of authors, and the royalty rate, is the highest in the business. We are investing for the long haul and have no need to make quick cash off your intellectual property. We will work with you to create and market your book at the highest level. And we are not exclusive, in the sense that you can publish parts as articles (or post to SSRN, etc.) or pursue other print options. We do not tie authors down but rather open up new formats and markets.
(Emphasis in original.)
I've known Alan Childress for about four years now, since we launched Legal Profession Blog for our Law Professor Blogs Network. He is the Conrad Meyer III Professor of Civil Procedure at Tulane Law School. Alan received his law degree from Harvard and a PhD in Jurisprudence & Social Policy from Berkeley. Before joining the legal academy, he clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and practiced in San Francisco with Morrison & Foerster.
As with the vast majority of the 100-plus law profs who write or have written for one of our Network blogs, by knowing someone, I mean by reading their posts, telephone calls and exchanging emails over the years. Recently Alan emailed me to let me know that the fourth edition of his Federal Standards of Review, co-authored by Martha S. Davis, was just published by LexisNexis. This three-volume fully revised and updated treatise is a comprehensive analysis of the review process in civil, criminal and administrative cases. (Note to FTC, no free review copy provided.) Alan also mentioned that he had just produced an annotated edition of Holmes’ The Common Law published by Quid Pro Books, a publishing house he recently formed.
Wait a minute, a law prof as independent law book publisher?! When I saw that Alan’s corrected and annotated version of Holmes' The Common Law was available in eight digital formats and in paperback and read the Publisher Information page about Quid Pro, LLC, sidebar, right, my interest peaked. This isn't some law prof who has gone the self-publication route because no major publisher would accept his 2010 edition of Holmes' The Common Law. Quid Pro Books is a new venture that publishes eBooks of original manuscripts in law and law-and-society, in addition to classics, for worldwide distribution.
Do note, Quid Pro Books also publishes pBook editions. While the Company isn't trying to compete with TR Legal, LexisNexis or any of the other major legal publishers, the Company’s For Author page, sidebar, right, echoes the theme of this recent LLB post, If p-Books are Heading Down the Path of Oblivion for Legal Titles, Royalty Contracts for Tomorrow's Authors with Yet-To-Be-Determined Legal Vendors May Be the First Step in This Process. Of course, I asked Alan for an interview about his new venture for publication on LLB. He kindly agreed and here is the first of our two part series.
An Interview with Alan Childress, Founder of Quid Pro Books
Joe Hodnicki: This discussion started because you told me about the annotated and updated edition of Holmes’ The Common Law you produced, but a few questions first.
Alan Childress: Thanks. I know I will not sell out of them before you ask me again.
Joe Hodnicki: Let’s start at the beginning. When was Quid Pro, LLC formed and how many titles have you published so far?
Alan Childress: In April, though I had been working on some projects, such as updating Holmes, and Warren & Brandeis, that folded nicely into the eBook and paperback publishing idea. And I had been all over the Kindle community boards before. I have published 19 books to Kindle and other eBook platforms like Nook and Apple, and 15 of these to paperback editions sold on Amazon and other sites, and four in the next month. Many of these were out of print classics that needed to be reborn digitally and in paper again, and increasingly new titles, including the annotated Holmes and a Venezuelan history by Rogelio Perez Perdomo of UniMet Caracas.
Joe Hodnicki: My Blog Widow thinks the amount of time and energy I put into our network and LLB is clear evidence that I am not right in the head. When you started formulating plans for your new publishing venture, did your family, friends and professional colleagues conspire to conduct an “intervention”?
Alan Childress: Ha, no, but thanks for sharing. At least this has the ostensible goal of selling product.
Joe Hodnicki: About selling products, you publish eBooks for distribution on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Sony, right?
Alan Childress: That is the main goal, yes, and certainly the main distribution method so far. I publish print editions to select titles where there is a need for a new version, or the used market sports only rare books (and I do hope your acquisitions-librarian readers will buy some paperbacks). But what makes Quid Pro different is really believing in eBooks—and by that I do not mean PDFs you could read, or online viewings, or other static content. I mean books that take advantage of the ease and comfort of a true digital book on a good eReader or app.
Joe Hodnicki: eBooks. So you are a tech guy?
Alan Childress: You of all people, Joe, know otherwise, which is why I think you asked. You explained what HTML is to me and how to link a URL, just to join a new blog in your LPB network. To build eBooks, I had to learn from scratch, with resources that assumed a base of knowledge I lacked. But I felt I had to, because as a Kindle user I found that many nonfiction eBooks are poor and many books needed to get out there.
Joe Hodnicki: What was ‘poor’ about some of the eBooks?
Alan Childress: Things like no linked footnotes, or the notes renumber but then all the cross-refs fail; indices that refer to page numbers that are not there, bad visual presentation, cannot handle tables, etc. Even some great publishing houses seem to outsource eBook creation to people who must understand fiction but cannot ‘get’ footnotes and don’t proofread. Independent republishers tended to dump a scan into an eBook frame and it came out sausage. So I learned, and thanks for starting that, sort of.
Joe Hodnicki: “Sort of,” is right Alan, all I did was explain a little HTML coding, and just barely at that. It looks to me like Quid Pro Books is publishing eBooks in more digital formats than any other publisher I know. Coding text in so many formats is no small task and getting it right, while keeping production costs down, is a challenge most publishers are not yet willing to take on. Once you have a manuscript for e-production, what’s involved in producing text in so many digital formats? I imagine it involves no small amount of blood, sweat and tears.
Alan Childress: I make Kindle books through Amazon’s DTP platform (but that is just a start because you have to go back into the HTML to make footnotes work, link references, embed tables and photos, and other nonfiction features). I use ePub files for Nook and Apple, and look forward to the horribly-named PubIt! from B&N. I use an aggregator, Smashwords, to translate Word into many eBook formats (plus PDF and RTF) and ship to Sony, Diesel, and Kobo. Truly the hardest part once you learn what each platform requires is working from a print book rather than a Word file, for the classics, since OCR introduces so much error; 1940 is always i94o.
Joe Hodnicki: Indeed, even with modern OCR getting it right 99% of the time, that’s a character count so there is plenty of quality control work that still needs human attention to detail. But it is not enough to build a functional eBook if you do not have good content.
Alan Childress: True. And I thought that would be the hard part. Turns out, every great author in fields I knew—law, law and society, history, sociology—has one great out of print book. They want it available again. Digital books and using Amazon and B&N to sell them make that easier than it used to be, especially if we agree that selling seven copies would be fine. I doubt any rational publisher would say that, but since I can do all the work, it is pretty cheap to produce seven. So one of my projects was to recreate as eBooks, and many as paperbacks, really great works in law and social sciences. I publish more than out of print books, but that was a way to go from 0 to 60 fast and have author names anyone would be proud to work with.
Joe Hodnicki: Some of these are available in the used market, though.
Alan Childress: I think there is room for both, and anyway my authors seem to have no interest in facilitating the reselling of their titles without them. But it is amazing how many great works are hard to get. Kitty Calavita’s fantastic Inside the State, on Braceros, cost you $145 used, even though it was routinely adopted for college classes before. I had to work from her last copy. You cannot find some of Neil Smelser’s groundbreaking sociology. Skolnick’s Justice Without Trial needed a new audience, some 45 years later, even if you could find the 2nd edition—but not the 3rd—used; same with Kadish & Kadish, Discretion to Disobey, first published by Stanford. But even if a print work exists, there is room for an eBook that is instantly available and comfortably read on a device or app.
Joe Hodnicki: What author names did you seem to want to drop before, those classic works?
Alan Childress: Thanks for circling back to that. Other ones already published, all in print too, include Joel Handler at UCLA, G. Edward White at UVA, Jerold Auerbach of Wellesley – Rabbis & Lawyers ought to be in every research library, and it’s only $13 in new print – and Susan Neiman at the Einstein Forum, her Slow Fire before she wrote Moral Clarity. Peter Gabel’s The Bank Teller. And soon Jerome Carlin, Lawyer’s Ethics, and Neil Smelser and Harry Scheiber.
Joe Hodnicki: New manuscripts in the pipe line?
Alan Childress: Under contract with several authors, but most immediately Amitai Etzioni for his latest book; that’s huge. I’m likely also to get some collections of ‘greatest hits’ from several name authors, and other new works where there is a premium on speed and an affordable digital book featured as part of the print run. Many heard about me through the Pantene Method, I think, which is a great model to acquire amazing, already-refereed talent and a lousy way to sell books. I hope to publish a new book by recognized sociologists and historians on Jews in the legal profession. Also new? Lisa Webley at Westminster in the UK is already out; Perez Perdomo’s Justicias e Injusticias, that is in Spanish and available. Also on the way, from prior works but with new Forewords, are multiple books from such legends as the late Stuart Scheingold and Philip Selznick.
Joe Hodnicki: The Pantene Method?
Alan Childress: Well, only my hairdresser would know for sure if that content-acquiring system works. I think Sanford Kadish, Malcolm Feeley, and Marc Galanter, in particular, see the potential in this project to secure legacies for the future of colleagues’ famous books; they’ve shared ideas and names. All their suggestions to me turned out to be perfect—great new people. And then they have three friends.... I also pick content from what I’d read in grad school. And I just generally ask people at conferences, What is the best out of print book you know that should not be? Even some editors at great publishing houses have answered that.
Joe Hodnicki: The general answer?
Alan Childress: Everyone has his or her own idea. My family lived near Harper Lee a long time ago. She is holding onto the digital rights to her book, and if she ever wants to go digital, I’m there. Not that her book is out of print. Oh, and we went to the University of Alabama together, well, she was there earlier than I was, pre- and post-Bear as time is judged in half the state.
Joe Hodnicki: Any other projects besides new works and old works?
Alan Childress: Well, also the in-between: public domain works that needed to be updated with new, explanatory Forewords. The coup there was getting Andrew Kaufman at Harvard, who wrote the book on Cardozo, to introduce The Nature of the Judicial Process. His Foreword is excellent, and the print book should augment the 1921 Yale edition in many libraries for basic structural reasons: it embeds the original page numbers, for continuity of citation—unlike other modern reprints, surprisingly—and it is presented in a pleasant, legible font. The original uses double spaced lines and wide margins, which are brutal to a Justice who did not break paragraphs as often as the rest of us might. This one is highly pretty.
Joe Hodnicki: That brings us back to your just released corrected and annotated edition of Holmes' The Common Law, which, to remind readers, can be acquired directly from Quid Pro Books and on Amazon in print and Kindle editions.
Alan Childress: I am actually proud of what I did there, and not just did for others. The Annotated Common Law is a new book that I believe will become a standard in every library or prelaw-student’s gift basket. I took a great book and decoded it with some 200 notes. All Holmes’ historians remark what a “difficult” read it is. Not really, if you just explain some basics to readers as they go, like “case” is a writ and what a writ is, or translate Latin and Greek. Some of his speech patterns are quite old but sound like my Southern uncles—in fact my ancestors may have shot Holmes. I think I deciphered him well and I explain legal terms, like chattels and bailments, for nonlawyers. I’m surprised no one did this before. Plus again with the proper footnoting, nice presentation on the page, true page numbers, etc. Its value in digital is simpler: every previous digital form of the book traced back to a poor scan which left out words from the margins and had him saying modem and docs. Holmes is hard enough without guessing his every eighth word.
On Unintended Consequences: Tenured Law Profs Who Helped Make Blogging a Mainstream Medium in the Legal Academy
The NLJ writes "[j]ust five years ago, the notion of law professors delivering quick and cogent commentary to the masses — with the opportunity for instant feedback, no less — was a novel concept." in a special Law School Report supplement titled "A look at professors who have made blogging a mainstream medium." The report features brief interviews with OSU's Douglas Berman, Sentencing Law and Policy, Cincinnati Law's Paul Caron, TaxProf Blog, Chicago's Brian Leiter, Leiter's Law School Reports, UCLA's Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy, and Illinois's Christine Hurt, The Conglomerate. Except for Hurt, I know them all. Gene Volokh by way of email exchanges over the years. Berman, Caron, and Leiter by way of the Law Professor Blogs Network.
Caron's Blog. Back in December of 2003, I suggested to Caron that he start blogging. He had been managing listservs, etc., and I thought blogging was a perfect medium for him. On April 15, 2004, we launched TaxProf Blog and the rest one may say is history. It is the source to go to for news and announcements about tax developments and its audience extends well beyond tax profs to include tax practitioners, agency officials, and others. Caron publishes multiple stories each and every day. He puts on his newspaper reporter's cap, researches what's going on, and churns out posts for one of the most visited tax blogs on the planet.
Berman's Blog. In the summer of 2004, Doug Berman contacted Caron and suggested an affiliation of sorts. He had launched his own blog, designed much like Caron's and using TypePad as we were, but was looking for some tech support (ah, that would be me at the time). That inspired Caron and me to launch the Law Professor Blogs Network and the rest one may say is also history. Berman's take on blogging was different than Caron's. He tends more toward commentary and analysis but it produced the same results, one of the most visited blogs in the blogosphere. While "death and taxes" are always good topics to blog about, I was surprised by the audience Bermans's blog garnered on sentencing law and policy. Perhaps we should say "capital offenses and taxes" are good blog topics. Like TaxProf Blog, Berman's audience extends well beyond academics. His blog has been cited in court opinions in part, early on, because the links to resources he provided were the first available on any web destination but also because of his informed opinion of issues he covered.
Leiter's Blog. Brian Leiter's blog is the web destination to go to for his personal professional opinions about the legal academy. He calls it like he sees it and some don't like how he sees it. But just about everyone in the legal academy reads Leiter's Law School Reports. Let's say he is a force of nature. I've known Leiter for years by way of working with him, emails, etc. Perhaps it is just because we have both read Nietzsche and understand what "human, all too human" means but I really like this law prof. His moral compass is dead-on. A conversation with Leiter is never boring and although we no longer have a business relationship, we still communicate from time to time and I read his blog regularly.
Volokh's Blog. Gene Volokh and his blog is what I call a free-range blog. He finds co-bloggers and lets them loose on the blogosphere to write about whatever they want. Volokh does the same in his posts. The result, well, the blog's RSS feed is one of the most subscribed to in the blogosphere, and VC is regularly recognized as one of the best publish-whatever-interests-your blogs because of its stimulating posts. Just take a look at the comment trails to VC posts.
Personal Law Prof Blog Publisher Observations. A number of prominent law prof bloggers were omitted from the NLJ article but at least a number of once interesting law prof blogs that are now also-rans were also omitted. My point to this post is that the listed bloggers did not make blogging by law profs mainstream but they were most definitely ground-breakers. As co-owner of the 40-plus blogs published by the Law Professor Blogs Network since 2004, I cannot tell you how many times un-tenured law profs wanted to blog in the early days (2004-2006) but were worried about what that would do to their prospects for acquiring tenure.
All the blogger-law profs I refer to above had tenure when they started blogging so acquiring tenure wasn't a concern for them. By 2007, law prof blogging was mainstream in no small part because many junior law profs also took the plunge. The blogging law profs featured in the NLJ article each have a unique and personal perspective on blogging. Each took the medium and did with it what they wanted to do. Along with other law prof bloggers they made blogging acceptable in the legal academy. The NLJ article glosses over that but credit is certainly due to them all.
I, for one, got in this crazy law prof blogging business to give younger (read un-tenured) law profs a means to gain exposure, and once blogging was "accepted" by the legal academy, that's exactly what has happened. No, I have no intention to write about the rise of law prof blogging in much detail. However, someday I may write a history of the Law Professor Blogs Network because it has a unique place in the history of this manifestation of web communications.
Whether the interviewed law profs thought about the consequences when they started blogging is an entirely different matter. However, every sociologist will tell you that the unintended consequences of behavior is the more interesting topic to study. In this case, it produced desirable outcomes. [JH]
September 7, 2010
The Saga of Garbage In, Garbage Out Continues: Employment Data Reported by Law Schools is "Junk"
Although US News has changed its ranking method to try to overcome law school gaming of employment data, critics argue the unaudited reported data is just plain "junk." See National Jurist's Employment Data Under Fire. Hat tip to TaxProf Blog. [JH]
Let the Battle of Law Library Association Website Redesigns Begin: CALL/ACDB v. AALL
Hat tip to Michel-Adrien Sheppard (aka Library Boy) for calling attention to the Canadian Association of Law Library's decision to redesign its website. Crosby Group Consulting has been engaged by the CALL/ACDB Executive Board to redesign the website. From the CALL/ACDB blog post announcement:
To date we have been quietly working in the background, talking to selected individuals in CALL, to make sure specific interests are being addressed. It’s time to open the process up a bit and invite your thoughts as we progress. We will be writing about various aspects of the project on this blog to make you aware of the thinking and process involved, and hope you will share your thoughts.
Click on the read more about the project link for details.
AALL's Website Makeover: Design Plus Accessibility. AALL is working on a much needed website redo, too. Should be interesting to see which assocation produces the more functional one. Of course, it's just a friendly competition. All website designs require makeovers from time to time. But it is not just about look-and-feel and navigation routes to content.
Certainly it is time that AALL executes one sooner rather than later but hopefully our association executes one that includes not only a better search engine and improved social media connectivity but also distibutes documents -- business records and LLJ and Spectrum articles -- in well-formed metadata-rich file formats that are ADA-compliant instead of merely slapping together way too many PDFs that are not properly tagged. Shouldn't our association's website distribution of documentation lead by example? Shame on us if it doesn't. [JH]
More Enhancements to THOMAS
The latest THOMAS enhancements according to a recent law-lib message posted by Emily Carr, Legal Reference Specialist, Law Library of Congress, include the following:
THOMAS now has a mobile-friendly homepage that will display on devices with lower screen resolutions like BlackBerrys. The homepage has also been optimized for iPhones and Droids, leveraging their larger screens to provide complete access to the full version of the THOMAS homepage.
The global footer now available on most Library of Congress websites, including the Law Library of Congress website, appears throughout THOMAS. The global footer includes ways to stay connected with the Library including an "All ways to connect" link http://www.loc.gov/homepage/connect.html.
In addition to easier access to the Library's social media, there is a new box to highlight ways to connect with THOMAS and the Law Library of Congress through the In Custodia Legis Blog http://blogs.loc.gov/law/, Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lawlibraryofcongress, Twitter http://twitter.com/LawLibCongress, YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/LibraryOfCongress#g/c/96401BE3402149B9, and iTunes U http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/loc.gov.3061529668.
A link to State Legislature Websites http://thomas.loc.gov/home/state-legislatures.html has been added to the THOMAS homepage. This new page displays a map with links to the legislative bodies for all fifty states, Washington, DC, and U.S. territories. It provides quick access to state legislative websites that are similar to what THOMAS provides on a federal level.
September 6, 2010
Put Your Writer's Cap On
And check out ALA's Writing and Publishing: The Librarian's Handbook edited by Carol Smallwood (ALA Editions, 2010). Two snips from the Forward by Bob Blanchard (Adult Services Librarian, Des Plaines Public Library):
[I]t is the written word that likely is the most widely used way that librarians share their ideas. Some librarian-authors may have cut their teeth writing for their libraries’ newsletters. Others have written for the professional journals of various state groups ... or of national associations... . Librarians also contribute articles, columns, book reviews, and letters to Library Journal [or god help us AALL's Spectrum Blog]. And librarians write books or chapters in books about the profession’s myriad topics, including management, technology, intellectual freedom, and innovative services.
[Writing and Publishing: The Librarian's Handbook] is a unique collection of articles by and about librarians whose work has been published in one form or another. Here, the writers talk about their writing processes, the thinking behind their works, and their feelings about sharing with others their experiences in the library and literary worlds.
The work offers practical how-to advice including writing as an expert for other library professionals, bibliographic essays, and book reviews, formal and informal, plus creating copy for websites, blogs and online columns. Author contributions to the handbook are many and most are very brief, perhaps too brief, so before buying the title, you might want to borrow it via ILL to see if it is worth the $65 list price. [JH]
September 5, 2010
Ouch! A Legal Analysis of On-the-Job Penis Injuries in the Porn Industry
The Legal Satyricon provides that, citing case law on the precise issue no less, along with details too painful to reiterate here. See Broken Penises and the Law with a big hat tip Above the Law. What the heck, a workers comp post seems appropriate; it is the Labor Day weekend holiday. [JH]
Round-Up of Practitioner Blogs
New York Injury Attorneys Blog
Reports on injury law news, cases and opinions in New York. Published by the Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC.
St. Louis Injury Lawyers Blog
Reviews injury law news, reports and cases in Missouri. Published by The S.E. Farris Law Firm.
Oakland Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
Analyzes injury law reports, cases and news in California. Published by the Law Offices of Thomas G. Lewellyn.
New York Probate Lawyer Blog
Covers probate law opinions, news and legislation in New York. Published by Jules Martin Haas.
Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog
Provides opinion on car accident cases, news and reports in Illinois. Published by the Van Popering Law Offices.