February 20, 2010
Creating the TED Experience for Librarians
From the TEDx Librarians site:
TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.
Hat tip to Blake's LISNews post, TEDx Librarians - Librarians as Thought Leaders. [JH]
Round-up of Practitioner Blogs
Florida Patent Lawyer Blog
Examines patent law cases, news and reports in Florida. Published by the Office Of Mark Terry, Esq.
Immigration Lawyer Blog
Provides insight on immigration law news, reports and opinions in California. Published by Jacob J. Sapochnick.
California Employment Lawyer Blog
Reports on employment law news, cases and opinions in California. Published by the Employment Law Team.
Helping Hands: A Social Security Disability Attorney Blog
Covers social security disability reports, news and matters in Georgia. Published by the Cochran Firm.
Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Blog
Examines truck accident news, reports and cases in Texas. Published by the Baumgartner Law Firm.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers Blog
Provides opinion on criminal law cases, reports and news in Florida. Published by the Law Offices Of Brian Y. Silber, PA.
February 19, 2010
Kindle for BlackBerry Now Available for US CustomersAmazon has released its new, free Kindle for BlackBerry app for the BlackBerry Curve 8520 and 8900, Bold 9000 and 9700, Storm 9530/Storm2 9550 and the Tour 9630. Details and download here. [JH]
Belated Happy 8th Birthday to Unshelved!Unshelved, the library comic strip, celebrated its eight anniversary on February 17th. Congratulations to Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes for consisting giving librarians something to laugh about. Check the email subscription link on their website for regular updates. [JH]
Dear Anne, Why Not Start Filling in Gaps in WestlawNext Information by Joining The Law Librarian Program Today?
We will continue to scan the blogs and listservs for comments that reveal gaps in the discussion, and I will try to speak to those points on a regular basis here on Legal Current. I invite your questions and comments and I appreciate being part of the discussion.
Her first and so far only post, dated Feb. 15, was the republication of her listserv announcement. Ellis' post solicited two questions about pricing and upgrade negotiations in the comment trail on the 15th and 16th but no responses so far. One has to wonder if these are not topics of "the discussion" that TR Legal intends fill the information hole about WestlawNext publicly or whether a scripted response is still in the works (as is most of the corporate fodder published on Legal Current).
Blogging is a fly by the seat of your pants form of communication much of the time, thinking out loud sometimes, as it were. Perhaps it simply isn't TR Legal's cup of tea if it is going to take this long to answer these questions, assuming they are not just being ignored.
Pricing, Upgrade Negotiations and Additional Information Gaps. Richard Leiter asked another important question after reading Ellis' listserv announcement in a blog post (but not in a comment on Legal Current) that if answered in some specificity could fill a huge hole in information about WestlawNext. Answering the question without revealing proprietary information is very doable. He writes:
Just beneath the surface of all the hub-bub surrounding the roll-out of WestlawNext (WLN), is an unanswered question regarding the structure and nature of the new search engine. West doesn't seem to be very forthcoming about what it is other than to say that it is more than just a new interface on the same old product.
Most likely the SE will be one of the topics of today's live Law Librarian podcast but I doubt the matter will be clarified. If anything, the discussion may raise more questions for Ellis to address or not address on Legal Current. Then, again, Ellis could call into the program to participate in the discussion. The program starts at 2:00 PM Central and the phone number is 347-945-7183. Seems like something someone on TR's Librarian Relations staff should be doing. [JH]
Friday Fun: Stephen Colbert on Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission
Better than Obama's State of the Union commentary on the SCOTUS ruling. [JH]
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Word - Prece-Don't|
Reminder: WestlawNext Featured Topic in Law Librarian Blogtalkradio Program TodayThe Law Librarian Blogtalkradio program will discuss WestlawNext, NCCUSL and other timely topics of concern to law libraries, law librarians, legal bibliography and the profession during today's episode at 2:00 PM Central. The call-in number during the live broadcast is 347-945-7183. [JH]
David Leonard, 1952 - 2010
In a very sad first for the Law Professor Blogs Networkcommunity, Colin Miller (John Marshall Law School, Chicago) reports on the death of his mentor, colleague and EvidenceProf Blog contributing editor, David Leonard, Associate Dean for Research and member of the faculty at Loyola Law School since 1990. Dean Leonard passed away on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 10 due to complications related to cancer. On EvidenceProf Blog, Colin writes
David was one of the first people whom I contacted when I was starting the blog, and he was extremely helpful in giving me advice and encouragement. The launching of this blog was also simultaneous with the launching of my teaching career, and David gave me extremely useful information about working with students and how to be an effective professor in general. David was one of the best Evidence professors and scholars in the world and an even better person. I send my warmest regards to his family at this time.
Facebook and Google Buzz Hit With Class Action Lawsuits Over Privacy Issues
Facebook's New Default Privacy Settings. A class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that site's new default privacy settings are "materially deceptive, confusing and ineffective" at guarding personal information by exposing users' Facebook friends, pictures, organizations they support and products they use to snooping by virtually anyone, "including hackers, scammers, criminals, sociopaths and the like." "[T]he default privacy settings are all set at the minimum level of protection," exposing Facebook users to "identity theft, harassment, embarrassment, intrusion and all types of cybercrime." Details here and here.
Google Buzz. A class action complaint filed in San Jose federal court alleges that Google violated various various electronic communications laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, because its Google Buzz service shares personal data without the consent of users. The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission earlier this week, arguing users should have to opt in into the service, not opt out. Details here. See also Michel-Adrien Sheppard's post, Canada's Privacy Commissioner Questions Google Buzz,
What Was Google Thinking? Merging public broadcasting via Buzz with private email (Gmail) to compete with Twitter and Facebook without being opt-in is not one of Google's better ideas. See, e.g., Google Buzz Privacy Issues Have Real Life Implications. and Latest Privacy Nightmare: Google Buzz in the Workplace ("The auto-follow feature works for many people and is probably pretty innocuous in a vacuum. However, what if a user emails an ex-boyfriend or ex-husband a lot? That person most likely does not want that person “following” them. ... [W]hat does Google Buzz mean for the workplace? The opportunities for further privacy concerns multiply.")
Do note The Official Google Blog's Feb 13th post, A new Buzz start-up experience based on your feedback ("We've heard your feedback loud and clear, and since we launched Google Buzz four days ago, we've been working around the clock to address the concerns you've raised.") The post provides much needed instructions on how to hide Buzz from Gmail or disable it completely. [JH]
February 18, 2010
GBS2: Reback on Why the Technology Sector Should Care About Google BooksThe GBS2 Fairness Hearing is set for today. No live blogging expected because of court restrictions but watch The Laboratorium for James Grimmelmann's comments this evening. Until then, here is the Open Book Alliance's Gary Reback TechCrunch post entitled Why the Technology Sector Should Care About Google Books. [JH]
Clayton Miller's "Crazy Summer Project to Reinvent Desktop Human-Computer Interaction:" 10/GUI
To date touch-screen desktop computing just doesn't seem to be the way to go. Why? Besides the smudges on the screen from PB&J eating users, there's the more fundamental matter of ergonomic design. See, e.g., Michael Arrington's Why Desktop Touch Screens Don't Really Work Well For Humans. TechCruch's MG Siegler recently posted a story about a multi-touch design concept by Clayton Miller. The touch screen would be located where the traditional keyboard is so that a user's multi-touch gestures could be executed in a comfortable position while one's hands would not block viewing the results of the interaction on a separate display. In essence, manipulating the user interface would by increased from a one cursor "click" on the screen to up to ten, one for each of the user's fingers. Hence the concept is called 10/GUI. More information at 10gui.com.
Here's Miller's video explanation of his ""crazy summer project to reinvent desktop human-computer interaction." Very interesting. [JH]
NYC Law Librarians Save the Date: The LAW.GOV Movement Moves to Its Next Forum
When and where:
Liberating Legal Information: The Law.Gov Movement
A Panel Discussion with Carl Malamud, Helen Nissenbaum, and Nicholas Bramble
February 24, 2009
New York Law School
From the announcement:
Law.Gov builds on the success of Data.Gov by documenting what is necessary to establish a distributed registry and repository of all United States legal materials. Public.Resource.Org is leading this revolutionary effort to collect briefs and opinions from the Judiciary; reports, hearings, and laws from the Legislative branch; and regulations, audits, grants, and other materials from the Executive.
Join the IILP as we welcome Internet pioneer Carl Malamud, President and Founder of Public.Resource.Org, to discuss the Law.Gov movement and it's opportunities for citizens to help change the way we distribute America's Operating System. He will be joined by distinguished Information Law scholars Helen Nissenbaum and Nicholas Bramble.
This event is open to the public. Please RSVP to Naomi Allen at email@example.com.
The panel discussion at Stanford Law on January 12th, led to NOCALL members volunteering to contribute to the LAW.GOV project. See Erika Wayne's blog post. And it is clear that law librarians support this ad hoc group's effort. Hopefully NYC law librarians will attend this event and volunteer their time and expertise, too.
If successful, LAW.GOV will change how federal, state and municipal goverments serve as wholesale distributors of primary legal resources.It is time for LAW.GOV. I just wish I wasn't an old, tired, well beyond my prime law librarian. For younger colleagues, this is your opportunity to revolutionize how access to primary legal sources is provided. It will not eliminate WEXIS but it will force them to change their current business model. Save the date. [JH]
The Case of Racial Bias by Judges in Court Rulings
In Race & Gender of Judges Make Enormous Differences in Rulings, Studies Find, Edward A. Adams, reports in the ABA Journal on recent research discussed at an ABA Midyear Meeting program entitled “Diversity on the Bench: Is the ‘Wise Latina’ a Myth?.” Opening, big splash, paragraph:
A judge's race or gender makes for a dramatic difference in the outcome of cases they hear—at least for cases in which race and gender allegedly play a role in the conduct of the parties, according to two recent studies.
According to one of the cited ELS studies, Myth of the Color-Blind Judge: An Empirical Analysis of Racial Harassment Cases, Pittsburgh law prof Pat Chew and Carnegie Mellon business school prof Robert Kelley, Adams offers this summary:
In federal racial harassment cases, one study found that plaintiffs lost just 54 percent of the time when the judge handling the case was an African-American. Yet plaintiffs lost 81 percent of the time when the judge was Hispanic, 79 percent when the judge was white, and 67 percent of the time when the judge was Asian American.
Adams reports that at the program, Chew
"said she found 'the rule of law is intact' in the cases she reviewed. Judges—no matter which side they ruled for—took the same procedural steps to reach their decisions, she said.
But judges of different races took different approaches “on how to interpret the facts of the cases,” she said.
Pressed on whether the rule of law could actually be considered intact when outcomes varied so much depending on the race of the judge, she replied: "It’s always made a difference who the judge was. We’ve long known, for instance, that a judge’s political affiliation makes a difference."
Anything Proven Empirically? On whether Chew and Adams have proven anything empirically in their study is another matter. Unlike Law & Economics, Empirical Legal Studies, while promising, still has a long road ahead before establishing accepted statistical methods and analysis. Publication of these studies in law reviews (Chew and Adams' study can be found at 86 Washington University Law Review 1117 (2009)) instead of peer-reviewed journals isn't helping the situation. Do you think the student editors really understood what they were reading when they decided to publish the article? For that matter, did the audience at the Mid-Winter Meeting program?
Problems with the Chew and Adams Study. About this study David Cohen published the following comment to the ABA story:
Empirical legal research is in its infancy and, I think, should be encouraged. But no good end is served by publishing sloppy work. The first study mentioned, by Professors Chew and Kelley should not have been published in its current form. I highly doubt that it could have been published in a peer reviewed social science journal used to publishing quantitative research.
There are lots of problems with their analysis and how they present it, but the three most important points (if I were reviewing their manuscript) are these:
1. They are looking at judges nested within circuits, and circuits make a difference to how plaintiffs must prove their case. Most discrimination lawyers will agree, I think, that they’d rather be in some circuits than others. If, for example, we assume that plaintiffs win more often in liberal and urband circuits, and that black judges are disproportionately located in liberal and urban circuits, then even if black judges decide cases for plaintiffs at the same rate as other judges in their circuit, it would still appear that black judges nationally were deciding cases disproportionately for plaintiffs.
Using logit ignores the variance at the circuit level—that is, how much law and practice differences between the circuits affect the outcome of discrimination cases. The authors really need to use a multi-level statistical method. HLM, a popular multi-level software package, can handle logits.
2. The right way of presenting regression results is to run multiple models, starting with your control variables, then adding your variables of interest, and then, if you want, interaction variables. This tells you whether adding your variable of interest actually makes a significant difference to your model. (In technical terms, you can report delta-F and delta-R-squared.) The authors never do this and there is some reason to think that the judge’s race would not, if analyzed properly, make a significant difference. They seem to be saying that, when analyzed alone, the R-squared (that is, how much of the variance between outcomes is explained by the judge’s race) is very low (0.03). Since, as explained below, this is likely to be too high due to omitted relevant variables, it might be that judges race does not add anything to their explanation of outcomes.
3. When you leave a relevant independent variable out of a regression analysis, the variables you put in appear more significant than they really are, depending upon how much they correlate with the omitted variable. That’s because some of the variance properly attributed to the omitted variable will end up being wrongly attributed to the included variable. So, if we think, for example, that judge’s race and political affiliation are correlated, then leaving out one will make the other appear more significant than it really is. All but one of the analyses the authors present leave out variables that the authors consider relevant (and all ignore which circuit the judge is in, which I consider relevant).
The one analysis that includes all of their relevant variables? Finds that judges race is not significant (p = 0.1). So the best evidence from this study (which is still not actually well-enough done for us to rely on this finding) is that judge’s race is not a significant factor and, at best, makes a very small difference in outcomes.
(The authors try to argue that p = 0.1 actually means something—but that is an argument that is mostly rejected by the good peer-reviewed social science journals today. 10 years ago, you could sometimes argue that p = 0.1 was “marginally significant.”)
Still, the difference in plaintiff’s success does seem large and there might be something going on here. I’m not saying that judge’s race has no effect, I’m saying that this study doesn’t support any conclusion. I wish that we could see a properly done multi-level analysis, because the effect might be to explain some of the unexplained variance, which would actually lower the p value of judge’s race, potentially making it significant. On the other hand, if black judges do tend to be disproportionately liberal or disproportionately urban, it could be that race has even less effect than the authors found.
Ah ... Here's how I will know when ELS is producing reliable results -- when peer-review journals start publishing dry-as-bones ELS research results like Law and Economics articles now do, then ELS will have moved beyond its current infancy stage. [JH]
February 17, 2010
Amended GBS Hearing On Tommorow As Planned, So FarIt looks as if the hearing on the Amended Google Book Settlement is going forward tomorrow as planned. Though the usual suspects still object to Google's vision for making scanned titles available, and though the Department of Justice is still not happy with the terms, Google has notasked for more time to meet objections. I can understand the position Google is taking. No one will ever be satisfied with the terms when it's clear that objectors simply want to stop the Settlement from happening at all. Maybe it is about time for the courts to act to resolve the objections or give guidance as to what is possible. And then there will be the expected appeals. It is about time for some clarity on which aspects of the Settlement are legal and which are not. Too bad the hearing can't be broadcast. We all know how the courts feel about that. [MG]
AALL's Draft Strategic Directions Statement for 2010-2013: Good Job as Long as It Does Not End Here
In case you missed it, AALL announced the release of its draft 2010-2013 AALL Strategic Directions last week. The draft statement is republished below along with our association's 2005-2010 Strategic Directions for side-by-side comparisons.
Draft 2010-2013 AALL Strategic Directions (text)
2005-2010 Strategic Directions (text)
|GOAL I: LEADERSHIP
Law librarians benefit from a strong Association. A strong Association articulates the collective vision of law librarians and enhances the stature of individual librarians as leaders in their workplace and in access to legal information.
|GOAL I: LEADERSHIP
Law librarians will be recognized and valued as the foremost leaders and experts in legal information, research, and technology.
|GOAL II: EDUCATION
Law librarians will have the education and training they need to meet and leverage the challenges of the changing information environment.
|GOAL II: EDUCATION
Law librarians will have the education and training they need to meet and leverage the challenges of the changing information environment.
|GOAL III: ADVOCACY
Law librarians will influence the outcome of legal information, technology policy, and librarianship issues of concern to AALL members.
|GOAL III: ADVOCACY
Law librarians will influence the outcome of legal information, technology policy, and librarianship issues of concern to AALL members.
I'm sure the leadership and education goals are important but at this late stage in my so-called career, the most important thing that matters for me is that our professional association becomes an agent of change, which for far too long it has not been. "A little too late, is much too late" is how I characterized AALL as an advocate for change.
Advocacy as Strategy. Assuming that the bullet points under the Advocacy Goal are objectives like the bullet points were in the 2005-2010 Statement (clerical omission, most likely) the Draft Statement's advocacy objectives are a substantial improvement over the lame 2005-2010 advocacy objectives. It is high time AALL address at the strategic level in some specificity the vendor-library relations, authentication and preservation of online legal resources, and no-fee public access to government information with all government information being in the public domain. Prior to the Draft Statement, all this was buried in a vague AALL core value statement published as a lead-in to the 2005-2010 Statement which stated " AALL values ... Equitable and permanent access to legal information."
Certainly AALL committees, special committees, SIS groups, etc., have pursued these objectives in recent years. Some with success, some not. Some past efforts undoubtedly could have achieved some or more success if AALL elected officials (1) engaged in active campaigning for them by taking a stance publicly, firmly and at the head of the pack instead saying nothing or trailing the pack as an also-ran institution and (2) staffed-up committee work by directing HQ employees to spend time supporting the work of committees (e.g., the current work of CRIV Committee comes immediately to mind, see Caren Biberman's comment to this LLB post) even if that meant hiring additional staff -- there's plenty of unemployed law librarians available -- and paying their salaries by substantially increase our ad rates (like West and LexisNexis would stop paying for ad space in AALL's email distributions to members et cetera, et cetera).
Call for Draft Statement Comments. Comments on the draft are invited here. The deadline for submission is Friday, March 5. The Executive Board will adopt the 2010-2013 Strategic Directions at the Spring Board Meeting, April 9-10. As a strategy statement for advocacy, I believe the drafting committee has done a good job. No quibbling over some wording from me.
Going To Do Something? Assuming the Executive Board approves the Draft Statement (like that won't happen, LOL), will this end here? A strategy without tactics is nothing more than an empty promise to the membership. An action plan was not part of the drafting committee's mandate (nor should it have been) so no criticism of the committee is intended or implied. But if the April 9-10 meeting doesn't produce an announcement to the membership outlining in specificity actions the Association intends to take to realize the stated advocacy objectives it just may be time to write off AALL.
What actions are our professional association going to take to:
- advocate at the policy level for the establishment of fair and equitable business relationships with legal publishers which also means campaigning against the "take it or leave it" approach to conducting business under the current market structure and publicly rebuking and sanctioning legal publishers who view being "partners" with the law library community by what few institutional buyers view as fair and equitable business policies and practices.
- advocate for greater transparency through expanded communication channels with information vendors regarding products, product development, and related policies which means something more than a toothless "fair practices" statement and informal chats with publishing executives by, for example: (1) the creation of an online database of licensing agreements sufficiently redacted to not reveal institutional buyer that contains agreements voluntarily contributed by law libraries, organized by library type, and accessible to member institutions for plan and pricing comparisons; (2) an AALL-supported resource of model licensing clauses law libraries could consider using to counter boilerplate agreements by addressing local needs; (3) annual price indexing of print supplements by vendor-supplied current information accompanied by institutional-provided actual paid-for price increases for prior years to track discounting trends; (4) data specifications that vendors should follow or at least libraries could insist upon for detailed and comprehensive product and services information; (5) customer service standards that call for major publishers to assign identified staff members to each library for billing, payment, purchasing and dispute resolution matters; and (6) search service usage reporting standards which require major vendors provide detailed and current information of on-site usage of search service databases accessible to law library contract administrators online and on-demand.
- advocate to ensure the authentication and preservation of online legal resources which, at a minimun must include data specifications that require digital access to all, including the disabled legal researcher, in an open source format.
- advocate for no-fee public access to government information and for all government information to be in the public domain, which at this moment in history means going beyond supporting the Law Library of Congress' vision of LAW.GOV to supporting the LAW.GOV project itself.
An announcement after the meeting that it is too soon to announce what actions will be taken because the Executive Board just approved the Statement is laughable and about as insulting to members' collective intelligence as what some of our vendors spit out in official statements. An announcement that a "committee will be formed to draft an action plan" will not satisfy the get on with it or get out of the way frustrations many rank-in-file members have with AALL. By the time any such action plan was drafted, circulated and approved, it would have to be re-titled "What AALL Should Have Done."
Either our elected officers and board members know what needs to be done or they don't. Which is it? [JH]
Humane Society Ranks 50 States on Laws to Protect Animals
The Humane Society of the United States has released its first "Humane State Ranking," a comprehensive report rating all 50 states on a wide range of animal protection laws. The ranking was based on 65 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including: animal fighting; animal cruelty; puppy mills; use of animals in research; equine protection; wildlife abuse; factory farming; fur and trapping; exotic animals; and companion animal laws.
At the top of the list with strong animal protection laws is California. New Jersey comes in second place. Tied for third place are Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts. The states with the weakest animal protection laws are Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota, with South Dakota ranking last.
Reaffirming Law Librarians' Role as Stewards of Information
In "Preserving Born-Digital Legal Materials - Where to Start?" [VoxPopuLII, reprinted in LRRX], Sarah Rhodes, Digital Collections Librarian, Georgetown Law Library, and a project coordinator for The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive, writes
I firmly believe that law libraries must invest in digital preservation if we are to remain relevant and true to our purpose in the 21st century. The core reason libraries exist is to build collections, to make those collections accessible, to assist patrons in using our collections, and to preserve our collections forever. No other institution has been created to take on this responsibility. Digital preservation represents an opportunity in the digital age for law libraries to reclaim their traditional roles as stewards of information, and to ensure that our digital legal heritage will be available to legal scholars and the public well into the future.
In her article, Rhodes provides an excellent overview of the task at hand for preserving digital-only legal and law-related information and identifies a number of tools and services available. Recommended. [JH]
Opening: Head of Research and Instructional Services, UNLVThe University of Nevada, Las Vegas Boyd School of Law invites applications for the position of Head of Research and Instructional Services at the Wiener-Rogers Law Library. This is a Library faculty tenure-track position at the assistant professor level. Information about the position and application instructions are available here.
February 16, 2010
Law Librarians Overwhelming Support LAW.GOV: Results of LLB Poll
I think it is fair to say based on LLB's utterly unscientific poll that law librarians overwhelming support the LAW.GOV project. I doubt my argument for answering the poll in the affirmative was needed to persuade almost 88% of the 98 participants that law librarians should favor this ad hoc group of documentation specialists and open access advocates in their independent effort to succeed in creating "a report documenting exactly what it would take to create a distributed registry and repository of all primary legal materials in the United States" based on a open source software model that could also allow states and municipalities to deliver primary legal sources without having to reinvent the proverbial wheel.
While AALL recently issued a call for state working groups to respond to "challenges that threaten the authentication and preservation of legal resources" by the recent and expanding trend to develop at the state level data transparency portals for online-only legal materials that are neither official nor authentic, the Association's only public statement on LAW.GOV has been its expression of support for the "Law Library of Congress' vision for LAW.GOV." Details here.
AALL Members Not Sitting Idly By. I think AALL members have a less myopic vision, one that supports the project in and of itself and some chapters, e.g., NOCALL, are already or are planning to participate in the project actively and on their own initiative while at the national level AALL sits idly by.
LAW.GOV's goals couldn't be simpler to understand. Nor do they lack specificity in their details. From the LAW.GOV website:
It is our goal to deliver, by mid-2010, a detailed report to policy makers in Washington, D.C., including at a minimum:
- Detailed technical specifications for markup, authentication, bulk access, and other aspects of a distributed registry.
- A bill of lading defining which materials should be made available on the system.
- A detailed business plan and budget for the organization in the government running the new system.
- Sample enabling legislation.
- An economic impact statement detailing the effect on federal spending and economic activity.
- Procedures for auditing materials on the system to ensure authenticity.
It's a no-brainer to support this effort. The vast majority of legal information professionals do. Kudos to those who are lending LAW.GOV a hand by contributing their time, effort and expertise while AALL does nothing publicly or officially to (1) support the LAW.GOV project itself and (2) encourage chapter-level involvement by serving as a clearinghouse for information about their activities at the national level. For the former, all it will take is a well publicized press release that gets posted on LAW.GOV's site. For the latter, an AALL-hosted wiki isn't too much to ask, is it? [JH]
The International Amateur Scanning League Has Been Launched
The International Amateur Scanning League is an experiment in volunteer-based crowd-sourced digitization to help government and other institutions make their archives more widely available with access to NARA’s collection just the start of the effort. In announcing the launch of the project, Carl Malamud reports:
NARA is kindly allowing us to install a second DVD duplicator for use of Scanning League members, who will systematically copy those 1,500 DVDs, place them in a FedFlix return envelope, and send them back to Public.Resource.Org. These DVDs will then be uploaded to the Internet Archive.
And this makes me think that more libraries and librarians should be doing the same thing for govt documents. Why not set up your own scanning operations in your depository library (Book Liberator or DIY Book Scanner can show you how to digitize on the cheap!) and then deposit those scans into the Internet Archive's US Documents Collection (don't forget to follow FDLP digitization standards!). Scans could also be ingested into FDSys (when they've got that capability working ;-)). So get to it; what are you waiting for?!