Sunday, November 15, 2009

Professor Bob Berring on whether open access will threaten Wexis legal research dominance

Our good friends over at the Law Librarian Blog have been posting for several weeks on the now famous video interview with Professor Bob Berring opining about whether open access legal research databases will supplant the commercial players, primarily Westlaw, Lexis and upstarts like Bloomberg.  In short, the answer is "no." 

Professor Berring says that neither private "volunteers" nor the government has the financial incentive nor resources to match the value added provided by the commercial companies.  It's not enough for private or public open access advocates to merely gather and make available for free thousands of cases and statutes.  What legal researchers need instead is not just the "law" but the editorial enhancements (i..e headnotes, the digest system and the like) the commercial companies provide.  And because that is such a labor-intensive and expensive addition to what is otherwise free public information (see this fascinating video that shows in real time how Westlaw creates headnotes), only private enterprise has the ability and financial wherewithal to make these enhancements.

The man makes a good point; I'm convinced.    I wonder what our own resident legal research expert and regular reader and contributor to this blog, Chris Wren, thinks.

I am the scholarship dude.


November 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A great website for looking up synonyms, antonyms and definitions

Maybe many of you already use an online resource like this, but it was news to me when I stumbled across it over the weekend.  It's a website called that provides the user with a definition (although it doesn't say from which dictionary the definition is derived), a list of synonyms as well as antonyms.  Per the website's homepage: is the web's best resource for English synonyms, antonyms, and definitions. Type in a word and the synonym finder will come up with a list of synonyms. Check out the most popular online synonym searches to find the right word for any occasion. Use the antonym tool to find find antonyms and check out the definitions feature to read the definition.

An absolutely boffo website for student and teacher authors alike!

I am the scholarship dude.


November 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Empire State Legal Writing Conference -- call for proposals

Images  The First Annual Empire State Legal Writing Conference will be held at Hofstra University School of Law on May 14, 2010.  The planning committee invites proposals for presentations at this conference on a broad range of topics relevant to those teaching legal writing and research.  While proposals from those who have previously presented at legal writing conferences are welcome, this conference also  seeks proposals from those who have not presented before.  Feel free to contact any of the planning committee members for help developing a proposal or to see sample proposals. Proposals should be limited to one page, single-spaced, and should include:


1. title of proposed presentation;
2. brief description of proposed presentation and the teaching method for the presentation (lecture, simulation, small group exercises, etc.);

3. a two-sentence summary for the program brochure;
4. time needed for presentation -- 25 minutes or 50 minutes;
5. technology needed;
6. contact information

7. Also state whether you have previously presented at any national or regional legal writing conferences.

The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2009.  Please e-mail proposals, as a Word document attachment, to:

Amy R. Stein,  Conference Chair, Hofstra University School of Law    (516) 463-5927

Planning Committee

Robin Boyle-Laisure, St. John’s University School of Law

Ian Gallacher, Syracuse University College of Law

Tracy McGaugh, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

John Mollenkamp, Cornell University Law School

Amy Stein, Hofstra University School of Law

Marilyn Walter, Brooklyn Law School


hat tip:  Amy Stein


November 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

it takes a village

Marlow  Professor Melissa Marlow, at Southern Illinois University, has published an article for everyone involved in legal education.  She explains how It Takes A Village to Solve the Problems in Legal Education: Every Faculty Member's Role in Academic Support, which you can find now at 30 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 489 (2008).  If you teach at a law school full-time, as an adjunct part-time, or even "just" helping out judging students' oral arguments, this article will help you better understand your larger role within the village of the law school.


November 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)