March 1, 2011
New and Updated Research Guides from GlobaLex
New Research Guides:
- The European Human Rights System by James W. Hart
- An Introduction to the Law of the Southern African Development Community by Dunia P. Zongwe
- Immigration Law – A Comparative Approach. Guide to Immigration Law of Australia, Canada, and the United States by Annmarie Zell
- Researching Cameroonian Law by Charles Manga Fombad
- A Guide to the Legal System of the Islamic Republic of Iran by Omar Sial and Ershadul Karim
More articles on international, comparative, and foreign law research at GlobaLex. [JH]
Opening: Reference Librarian & International/Comparative Specialist, Florida Coastal School of Law
The Florida Coastal School of Law is seeking candidates for the position of: Reference Librarian & International/Comparative Specialist. Coastal Law is a well-established and fiscally secure standalone institution that is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. The Library also supports an International Certificate program, the Caribbean Law Clinic, an International LLM program, and numerous international courses and faculty comparative research projects.
To be considered for this opportunity, please submit a resume and cover letter to HR(at)fcsl.edu.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Assisting patrons with the evaluation and use of print, electronic, microform, and other resources. Providing general reference services in all formats and maintaining responsibility for reference services in the areas of comparative, foreign, and international law.
- Working with faculty in support of scholarly research and class instruction, including developing and providing in-class research presentations.
- Developing and presenting formal and informal library instruction for full range of available resources.
- Participating in the Library's Reference Desk rotation, including some evenings and weekends.
- Producing and maintaining instructional materials (such as pathfinders and guides) to aid library patrons in their research.
- Participating in collection development with specific responsibility in the concentrations of international and comparative law resources.
- Keeping abreast of developments in information technology that could be used to improve library reference and instructional services.
- Performing other duties as assigned.
Education & Experience Requirements:
- Master of Library Science and JD required.
- Significant law library experience preferred (may be considered in lieu of JD).
- Experience or interest in providing reference services in foreign and international law required.
- Demonstrated classroom teaching experience and foreign language skills highly desirable.
Job Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:
- Strong service orientation and ability to work collegially and professionally with others in a team atmosphere.
- Excellent oral, written, and organizational skills.
- Flexible and positive attitude - ability to work well with changing priorities and/or situations.
- Detailed knowledge of print and electronic legal research tools.
- Proven group training and instruction skills.
- Strong computer knowledge and ability to adapt to new systems.
Coastal Law is an equal employment opportunity employer.
February 28, 2011
Crownsourcing the UK's Protection of Freedoms Bill
From the Civil Liberties and Identity Policy Unit of the Home Office's Public Reading Stage site:
The Government is committed to continuing this public engagement with the content of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. This website gives you the opportunity to comment on each clause contained in the Bill. Your comments will get collated at the end of this public consultation and fed through directly to the Parliamentarians who will carry the Bill through the House of Commons.
Supreme Court Action Today
The one opinion issued by the Supreme Court today concerns the Confrontation Clause. It is one of those rulings where the Court analyzes the facts and circumstances of the underlying case to determine the application of the law in a different way than had come before. Two dissents by Justices Scalia and Ginsburg take the Court to task for its departure from established law.
Police encountered a mortally wounded Covington at a gas station in Detroit. He was shot some distance away and drove himself to the station. Police called for medical assistance and questions Covington about what happened. Covington told police that Bryant (the respondent in this case) had shot him at Covington's house and that he drove himself away. The Michigan courts convicted Bryant of second degree murder but that conviction was reversed by the Michigan Supreme Court. It held that the statements were inadmissible hearsay using other U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
The Supreme Court reversed the Michigan Supreme Court, holding that Covington's statements about Bryant were not testimonial. Rather, their "primary purpose" was to assist the police in meeting an ongoing emergency. The Court distinguished earlier precedent where statements were taken in non-emergency circumstances. The underlying subject of those cases was domestic violence, which provided a different application of the Confrontation Clause.
The Court calls the the primary purpose inquiry objective, noting the existence of an "ongoing emergency" as the most important circumstance informing the primary purpose. The Court then states that whether an emergency exists and is ongoing is a highly context-dependent inquiry. By analyzing the facts of the underlying shooting and the police response, the Court reached its conclusion that its earlier precedent did not apply. The dissents take the Court to task for blowing big holes in what up to now was consistent Confrontation Clause jurisprudence. The case is Michigan v. Bryant (09-150). [MG]
Law Student Research Competency Task Force Hosts Blog for Comments on Draft Principles
Law Student Research Competency Task Force Hosts Blog for Comments on Draft Principles – Tuesday, March 1 through Friday, March 4th
Last November the Law Student Research Competency Task Force hosted an online discussion. The discussion very much enhanced our work. Since then we have been drafting the report that we will submit to the Executive Board for their April meeting, in accordance with the task force's charge. We are in the final stages and would like your comments on our draft principles.
Our draft will be available for comment on a blog. Please go to http://researchcompetency.wordpress.com/ to comment.
We really appreciate everyone’s time and effort. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Sally Wise.
Thank you so much.
Law Student Research Competency Task Force
Is Thomson Reuters Going to Be a Sponsor for AALL's Annual Meeting in Philly This Year?
I doubt AALL has quietly banned Thomson Reuters from sponsoring Philly 2011 since the Company did provide pricing information AALL asked for to produce the current edition of the Price Index. Well, let's put it this way, if AALL has banned Thomson Reuters, has anyone read anything in one of our association's official publications? Perhaps I missed it.
If I didn't miss an announcement, if AALL hasn't quietly banned Thomson Reuters from sponsorship, what wrong with the below screen capture taken on Feb. 27, 2011 from the annual meeting sponsorship web page? My first thought is AALL's web staff simply hasn't updated the page with a TR Legal banner. Considering the timeliness of AALL website updating, this is a plausible explanation. Due note, last year TR Legal was a "Silver" category sponsor and, at the moment, there is a big gaping hole in the list of "Silver" category sponsors.
A second possibility is TR Legal is still counting its pennies, trying to decide how much to contribute. This, too, is a plausible explanation. TR Legal's 2010 4Q financials were a bit nasty. Profit margin came in at 26.3%. But even West Publishing pre-acquisition sponsored AALL annual meetings and pre-acquisition West's profit margin was typically in the 25% range.
A third possibility is that Thomson Reuters simply isn't going to toss AALL any sponsorship $$. Well, buying up Latin American legal publishing and Indian legal outsourcing firms, running the parallel universe of TR Legal hosted gatherings at AALL meetings, and staffing up the exhibit hall does cost a fair amount of money. Is this a plausible explanation? Is the $255 million TR Legal earned in 2010 4Q already spent?
AALL's Sponsorship Opportunities notice does not include a deadline for vendor sponsorship committments. I quess we will just have to wait and see which of the above three explanations plays out. Of course, there is a fourth possibility, namely, realizing that the "partnership" rhetoric didn't work, TR Legal's marketing gurus just decided that institutional buyers in the Shed West Era and unexpected push-back on WestlawNext pricing means we aren't all that important in TR Legal's marketing grand scheme of things. [JH]
Today's Agenda for the Proceedings AALL Members Will Not Be Able to View for Themselves: AALL's Vendor Colloquium
From scanning AALL's website, it looks like no webcast, live or archived, will be available to uninvited AALL members for the Vendor Colloquium. In Sarah Glassmeyer's recent post, On Transparency and Openness, she wrote:
All I’m asking to know is what happens at the colloquium. Exactly what happens. Not a second-hand summary live blogged or a later recollection written by a participant. I want a straight, unfiltered accounting of what happened. And I say this with all due respect to Mark Estes who will be providing the official blog of the proceedings. I’m sure he will provide the best blog possible. But it (and later accountings) will still all be filtered through the author’s experience of the event. Nuances can be missed, comments misheard… all humans are fallible, and it can’t be a perfect recreation of the event.
In a comment to this LLB post, Sarah observed "just looking at the agenda, it looks like this is going to be mainly prepared statements...what's the harm in showing that?" The scripted comments are particularly appropriate for today's agenda; rehearsed answers for tomorrow. We all know how some vendors tend to use a lot of words to say nothing.
Betsy McKenzie adds
even if there is no live webcast, there is hope for a good amount of transparency. There are several bloggers who are attending who can be expected to blog and Twitter a good bit during the event: Mark Estes, Greg Lambert, John Mayer and Rich Leiter all blog and Twitter, and we can hope will be actively reporting live during the Colloquium.
See Betsy's highly recommended post, Why Vendor Relations are a Sore Topic with Librarians!
Yes, We Can Hope. Of course that assumes AALL hasn't issued some sort of blogging-tweeting moratorium during the two-day proceedings. Imagine participants receiving strict instructions to leave their 21st century communication devices outside the meeting room. Or the Internet "pipes" having been shut down at the Lodge in Oak Brook today or tomorrow.
But seriously, why the "Cone of Silence?" I know I'm showing my age but like the use of the Cone of Silence in the 1960's Get Smart comedy television series the Cone of Silence never really worked. This behind closed doors thing does not work either. All it does is lead to a later muddling of the waters re who said what to whom and when and what was the response to that, etc. Could this be an unintended or an intended consequence hoped for by AALL officialdom? I doubt our vendors are afraid to speak openly for all to hear. They have not demonstrated any fear of reprisals from the law library community in years.
Transparency is an institutional matter, easily do-able by way of early 21st century web communications and one not left to hopes that individual meeting participants blog or tweet their personal observations. That comes after the event when one can place their individual comments in a shared context of having experienced the proceedings, too.
AALL's Better Late Than Never Seriously Half-Hearted Attempt to "Open" This Meeting. AALL issued a member's call for questions last Friday. I repeat, last Friday. See AALL Spectrum Blog's Vendor Colloquium Questions & Answers:
You can contribute by commenting to this blog or by emailing me (mark.estes(at)acgov.org). I will try to address questions/comments and, if appropriate, share them with the colloquium participants.
The post also provides some background reading:
- Law Librarians’ Responses to Questions for Discussion, Arranged by Topic
- Vendors’ Responses to Questions for Discussion, Arranged by Topic
- A bibliography of background reading was provided to colloquium participants but the last time I checked the AALL Spectrum Blog post the link was broken. Ah well, it happens.
See also yesterday's hurried-up AALL Spectrum Blog post, Background on the vendor colloquia series. Note the comments from John Mayer and Carl Malamud. My hunch is this recent blog posting activities is in response to the "firestorm of controversy" (quoting Betsy, below) over this meeting. At least that is a more postive, less cynical, assessment than AALL intentionally planning the timing of the publication of those posts for days when law librarians tend not to check their RSS feed, if they even take the AALL Spectrum Blog feed,
My hunch also is that the AALL Spectrum Blog will be our association's officially filtered source for reporting on today's and tomorrow's proceedings. In case you don't read the blog, here's the link. Better late than never for Friday and Sunday's posts? Ditto for any forthcoming AALL Spectrum Blog posts today and tomorrow (purely speculation on my part). As Betsy writes in her above-linked post:
There has been a firestorm of controversy after the colloquium was announced. AALL members wondered why the meeting would not be held at a regular AALL meeting, why the limited number of participants. And why the meeting seemed to be held in such a way that appeared to reduce the transparency. There is a huge amount of distrust right now between many of the members of AALL and their Executive Board, which is a very sad state of affairs, but which is illustrated by the reaction to the announcement of this colloquium.
So below is today's agenda for AALL's Vendor Colloquium or what you won't be seeing or hearing for yourself. Do note our association is spending $27,500 for the Vendor Colloquium.
What, They Can't Chew Gum and Walk at the Same Time? And why is this series of meetings not taking place at our annual meeting in Philly this year? Betsy writes
The answer to why the colloquium was not held during a regular AALL meeting seemed to be that vendors and regular members alike had so much else on their minds at the annual meeting, that they would not be able to focus on a vendor relations event during the annual meeting period or shortly after/before it.
Isn't this exactly the sort of meetings that would make attending our annual meetings worth the expense? [JH]
Today's Agenda for AALL's Vendor Colloquium
8:00 am: Continental breakfast
8:30 am: Welcoming Remarks: AALL President Joyce Manna Janto,
Introduction of the Facilitator, Maureen Sullivan, Introduction of Participants
9:00 am: Keynote Speaker: Roberta I. Shaffer, Law Librarian of Congress
10:00 am: Preparation for Participant Discussion and Dialogue: Maureen Sullivan
Review of the Goals for Discussion and Dialogue:
1) To discuss what information creation and dissemination mean today in light of “The Challenge” and the responses of constituent groups
2) To foster an awareness by AALL members of this new environment
3) To foster an awareness by vendors of the challenges that librarians face
4) To collaborate on developing a "Shared Principles" document that will reflect the discussion of these topics and serves as a voluntary guide for both vendors and libraries.
Review of Parameters and Procedures for Discussion
10:15 am: Break
10:30 am: Presentation 1: Each vendor provides a brief summary to address:
"What would legal publishers like to tell law librarians about their industry?"
Dialogue 1: Participants discuss their reactions to the presentations and identify common themes and concerns
11:45 am: Presentation 2: Three law librarians provide a brief summary to address:
"What would law librarians like to tell legal publishers about their institutions?"
Dialogue 2: Participants discuss their reactions to the presentations and identify common themes and concerns
12:45 pm Lunch
1:30 pm: Presentation 3: Facilitated discussion among end-user stakeholders:
“What would consumers of legal information like to tell or like to ask both librarians and publishers?”
Dialogue 3: Participants discuss their reactions to the stakeholders’ conversation and identify common themes and concerns
2:30 pm: Presentation 4: Each vendor provides a brief summary to address:
"What would legal publishers like to ask law librarians about their institutions?"
Dialogue 4: Participants discuss their reactions to the presentations and identify common themes and concerns
3:45 pm: Break
4:00 pm: Presentation 5: Three law librarians provide a brief summary to address:
"What would law librarians like to ask legal publishers about their institutions?"
Dialogue 5: Participants discuss their reactions to the presentations and identify common themes and concerns
5:15 pm: Wrap-Up: Brief overview of the day’s discussions and review of the agenda for the next day
5:30 pm: Adjournment
6:30 pm: Reception
7:30 pm: Dinner
Opening: Assistant Librarian for Collection Management and Preservation, Library of the Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States has an opening for an Assistant Librarian for Collections Management and Preservation. The offical and complete announcement, including how to apply, is posted here. What follows are snips from it. Do note that the closing date is March 14, 2011 and applications are accepted via FAX.
SALARY RANGE: $89,033.00 - $140,084.00 /year
OPEN PERIOD: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 to Monday, March 14, 2011
SERIES & GRADE: GG-1410-13/14
POSITION INFORMATION: Full-Time Permanent
PROMOTION POTENTIAL: yes
DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy - Washington DC Metro Area, DC
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Applications will be accepted from United States citizens and nationals.
Job Summary: Department Head responsible for planning, directing and evaluating operations of the Collections Management Department, which includes supervision of six staff members, and organization and maintenance of the library collections and Chambers' materials to ensure accessibility and availability. Responsible for preservation of the library's general collections, coordination of interlibrary loan service and loan tracking database, oversight of the document delivery budget, planning and evaluation of all automated circulation operations, and coordination of library-wide disaster recovery planning and emergency evacuation. Responsible for administration of an offsite library Annex, including retrieval, delivery and maintenance of materials. Participates in collection development, space planning, and department heads executive committee. Reports directly to the Librarian of the Court.
Duties: Department Head responsible for planning, directing and evaluating operations of the Collections Management Department, which includes supervision of six staff members, and organization and maintenance of the library collections and Chambers' materials to ensure accessibility and availability. Responsible for preservation of the library's general collections, coordination of interlibrary loan service and loan tracking database, oversight of the document delivery budget, planning and evaluation of all automated circulation operations, and coordination of library-wide disaster recovery planning and emergency evacuation. Responsible for administration of an offsite library Annex, including retrieval, delivery and maintenance of materials. Participates in collection development, space planning, and department heads executive committee. Reports directly to the Librarian of the Court.
Qualifications Required: Master's degree in Library and Information Science from an accredited school required. At least three years of experience as a library administrator or supervisor required. Working knowledge of Millennium or similar comprehensive library automation system required. Working knowledge of Interlibrary Loan functions required, including experience with OCLC. Experience in collections management, preservation and conservation of library materials strongly preferred. Experience with document delivery systems and knowledge of relevant issues preferred. Employment is subject to successful completion of a security background check.
You will need to successfully complete a background security investigation before you can be appointed into this position.
What to Expect Next: Best qualified applicants will be contacted for interviews. All applicants will receive notification after the job has been filled.
February 27, 2011
Do you like your ILS?
Earlier this month, Marshall Breeding released Perception 2010: an International Survey of Library Automation which garnered over 2100 responses.
The questions asked were centered around how satisfied libraries were with their ILS and how they rated the customer service provided by that company.
The ILS used by most of the respondants was Millennium (388) followed by Symphony /Unicorn (288) and Horizon (179). None of these systems ranked toward the top of user satisfaction or customer service. The three top ILS systems in all but one category were:
Of these three, both Opals and Koha are open source systems (ByWater is a support team for Koha migration and hosting).
It gives one pause.
Breeding does point out that more complex libraries with more complex automated systems will typically have mid-range rankings. According to his commentary on the survey, it is because they will often have outstanding issues that will cause the system to fall short of the highest praise. I suppose this is true, but I don't think it is a good explanation of why an open source system can score higher than an expensive, commercial product. In fact, I think it should be the other way around. Nevertheless, the survey showed very little interest for dissatisfied customers to switch to an open source solution. This may in be in part due to needs for complex systems at larger libraries which many feel cannot be serviced by an open source solution (though, I am not sure why).
Interestingly, with respect to Millennium, "[t]he statistic that stands out the most for Millennium reflects the number of libraries indicating interest in migrating to a new ILS. This percentage has increased steadily since 2007 from 6.69% to 8.28% to 11.71% to 18.73% in 2010. The comments generally had a negative tone, many of which acknowledged the strengths of the system while complaining about the cost or lack of openness."
The ILS is probably the most critical technology component of a library. And, it can be one of the more expensive components of a library. And yet, there seems to be a real reluctance to critically evaluate the sacred ILS. These vendors, unlike the Wexis's of the world, seem to get a free pass when we talk about service, cost and transparency. It makes no sense to me.
Some of the comments I see on problems related to adopting an open source ILS are really not problems at all, but fears. Fears have been phrased as "what if the development goes stale" and "what hidden costs am I not seeing." You can really say the same thing about commercial providers. Just because you are paying them, doesn't mean you won't get a crappy product. The only true concern I have heard in this discussion is a worry over scalability. Adopting open source means you have to plan ahead. You have to predict the future. These are not new skills for librarians.
Library budgets are shrinking, the way we handle information is changing, what we do with the ILS is evolving. We need to evolve too. (VS)
UMass School of Law Performance Better Than Expected
So how is that first public law school in Massachusetts working out? Well enough, if this article in the South Coast Today is to be believed. The Chancellor is quoted as saying that the school is sending $918,000 to the state and not taking any tax money. Tuition revenues were projected to be $5.9 million but are actually $6.9 million, hence the surplus. The school is working to receive provisional accreditation with hopes for full accreditation by the 2017-18 academic year. Sceptics abound, including Charles Chieppo, senior fellow at the Pioneer Institute who suggests the money won't be there for physical plant improvements or programs to increase bar passage rate, all necessary for ABA approval. Time will tell if he is right. [MG]
Round-Up of Practitioner Blogs
Indiana Intellectual Property Lawyer Blog
Covers intellectual property cases, reports and news in Indiana. Published by Overhauser Law Offices, LLC.
Mississippi Lawyer Blog
Provides insight on injury, criminal and family law cases and opinions in Mississippi. Published by Coxwell & Associates, PLLC.
New York Birth Injury Lawyer Blog
Examines birth injury law cases, reports and news in New York. Published by Bottar Leone, PLLC.