Leah's Law Library Weblog


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Leah's Law Library Weblog

  Friday, July 26, 2002

Via Bibliolatry:

Laura Flanders at The Nation has something to say about librarians being harassed by law enforcement. Professor Leigh Estabrook's study, which Flanders refers to, is here, and the data is here (PDF).

The article brings the issue up to date by mentioning Congressional interest in the issue.  These are the first links I've seen to Professor Estabrook's survey of public libraries about attitudes and changes since Sept. 11.  Good stuff.

8:51:49 AM comment []   

  Thursday, July 25, 2002

Via Bag and Baggage:

Can I Get A Little (Declaratory) Relief?. So asks the ACLU on behalf of Ben Edelman in the U.S. District Court, Massachusetts (great looking courthouse, btw) concerning Edelman's potentially DMCA-barred plans to discover and make known the "block list" used by the N2H2 Internet filtering software. Donna Wentworth and Declan McCullagh have this well covered with discussion, commentary and links (here, here and here), and Donna's interview with Ben Edelman is well worth the read.

This cropped up on several other blogs today as well.  N2H2 is one of the major filtering programs that Congress tried to force libraries to install under the CIPA. Here's the page at the Berkman Center with more info and the actual complaint.

8:14:16 PM comment []   

I'm back from Orlando and trying to catch up before I go on vacation.  However, I plan to add some comments about the AALL Convention over the next week. Please be patient.  I do have some general comments, though.

I never heard any official numbers, but I'm pretty sure the number of attendees were down.  Since this is only my third Convention, I can't report from my own knowledge, but most folks felt the number of exhibitors was down as well.  It was an interesting mix.  There seemed to be more foreign exhibitors and lots of knowledge management/competitive intelligence companies represented.  The Lexis-Nexis bag was sturdy and the Thomson/West bag great for hauling dirty clothes, but the conference bag was a little too plastic.  The best gimme I got was from the Liberty Fund booth:  a hand-crafted tile coaster with the "earliest-known written appearance of the word 'freedom' or 'liberty'." It's a keeper.  Most of the rest of the stuff will go to the law library's "prize closet" to be given out as prizes in our intermediate research bootcamp next spring.

One other comment:  although this was just my third convention, I thought the presentations that I saw were among the best I've attended.  I particularly liked the diversity symposium on Islam and the presentation on Electronic Surveillance.  More on both of these later.

1:38:49 PM comment []   

  Monday, July 22, 2002

Via How Appealing:

Attention all copyright law enthusiasts: Eldred v. Ashcroft will be argued at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 9, 2002.

For the full list of arguments for the first two weeks of the 2002-2003 term, see http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/argument_calendars/monthlyargumentcaloctober2002.pdf.

6:47:08 PM comment []   

  Saturday, July 20, 2002

For those of you who want to know more about blogging, you may want to check out this article & its related links by Steve Outing of Poynter.org.  While the title, Weblogs: Put Them to Work in Your Newsroom:   A Beyond-the-Basics Look at a Powerful and Potentially Profitable Tool for Journalists, it's really geared for a more general audience.  [Thanks to Scripting News]

7:20:42 PM comment []   

In anticipation of AALL, Legal Times/Law.com has a three article package of stories, entitled The Changing World of Law Librarians.  The first is a run down on how to get the most out of visiting vendors in the exhibit hall.  The other two are specifically aimed at firm librarians: one discusses librarians who are responsible for other departments in the firm and the other with disaster preparedness. [Via The Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk]

6:49:44 PM comment []   

I'm here in incredibly humid Orlando, waiting for the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Convention to begin.  I'm going to try to post some reviews and comments about the convention here over the next few days.  This is my third convention and I'm beginning to get the hang of them.  Today, all I've got going on is a Diversity Symposium on Islam and Contemporary Muslim Societies.  I hope this will give me some more background to use to counter the "Islam is evil" bunch.  Tomorrow will be busy, with a breakfast business meeting, a few substantive sessions, and lots of receptions, including the Opening Reception at Sea World.  That's it for now.
7:14:17 AM comment []   

  Wednesday, July 17, 2002

The Politics of Crime, a very interesting "on-line source for liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news," contained a blurb yesterday to this report from the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG).  Section 1001(3) of the USA PATRIOT Act, P.L. 107-56, requires this office to make semi-annual reports to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on possible PATRIOT Act civil rights or civil liberties complaints against DOJ employees and officials.  This is the first report, covering Oct. 26, 2001 to June 15, 2002.  During this period, OIG received 458 complaints suggesting "Patriot Act-related civil rights or civil liberties connection." They opened nine investigations; four are briefly described.  Section 1001 also required DOJ to publicize the complaint program.  The report details what OIG has done in that regard.

3:31:32 PM comment []   

Just ran across a library blog yesterday called Bibliolatry, run by a Canadian librarian, Amanda Etches-Johnson.  Today, she had a link to a list of library blogs maintained by Peter Scott, the Internet Projects Manager in the University of Saskatchewan Library.  The list is part of Peter's Weblog Compendium site. Peter is also the editor and compiler of LibDex, "a worldwide directory of library homepages, web-based OPACs, Friends of the Library pages, and library e-commerce affiliate links." Useful stuff.

3:04:52 PM comment []   

Online Resources for Lawyers

Check out Howard Bashman's recent articles on Technology & Appellate Litigation and Online Appellate Court Resources.  Howard points out how technology is transforming the practice of law for appellate lawyers, and discusses the online resources available through various court websites.  He also has a series of articles on various topics of interest to the appellate practitioner available here, among which is an article on how to write better appellate briefs.  I highly recommend these resources to law students, moot court students, and anyone who is interested in learning the craft of legal writing. [Via Ernie the Attorney]

It's taken me too long to post this, but the articles and links are good.  If I haven't said it before, every lawyer with any kind of appellate practice, all law librarians, and even law faculty should keep a close watch on Howard's How Appealing blog.  It's the best.  Howard recently posted this comment about appellate court websites:

Two federal appellate courts at the forefront of these developments are the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Both courts' Web sites make available for public online access the parties' appellate briefs and audio feeds of appellate oral arguments. Indeed, one of these two courts has even evaded the unfortunate requirement that supposedly forces federal appellate courts to charge for docket access. Bringing up the rear: At the other end of the spectrum is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. While the Eleventh Circuit now has a quite lovely looking Web site, you need an advanced degree in computer science to figure out how to access that court's current rulings. And, unlike every other federal appellate court today, the Eleventh Circuit does not allow an Internet user easy access to that court's published opinions on the day of issuance. Indeed, I have found that the easiest way for me to access the Eleventh Circuit's rulings is not to visit the Eleventh Circuit's Web site, but rather to visit this page on FindLaw.

11:10:42 AM comment []   

  Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Links on Linking from Bag and Baggage:

Link Controversy Page Updated. Weblogs are great, but you knew that, right? Example: I have referred here before to Dr. Stephan Bechtold's Link Controversy Page as a valuable one-stop shopping point for global cases and scholarship about link related disputes. Trouble was it was starting to get a little out of date, but Dr. Bechtold has surfaced with a comprehensive update as of July 13 (Happy Fifth Anniversary to the Link Controversy Page as well). Bill Slawski of the Delaware Law Office spotted the update, and mentions . . . Linking Rights page by Brad Templeton, Chairman of the EFF.

Thanks Bill, thanks Dr. Bechtold. (And don't forget to check in with the dmoz Open Directory Project's Linking Law page if you are researching or interested in link controversy issues.)

Dr Bechtold's site is amazing, especially since it gets outside the "it only matters if it's US law" mindset.  I referred to an earlier version of Brad Templeton's page several years ago; it's good for a general overview.

10:41:43 AM comment []   

  Monday, July 15, 2002

Professional Reading from Gary Price:

A Selection of New and Updated CRS Reports. New/Updated Reports from the Congressional Research Service. It's time once again for another a small selection of new and or updated reports from the CRS. To access these full-text reports (.pdf) head to this page from Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) or this page from Rep. [The Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk]

These reports range from one on Aids in Africa to another on Military Pay and Benefits. In addition, Gary also mentioned a new LLRX article on CRS Reports, by Stephen Young.

Gary also had a link to the Library Journal interview with Lawrence Lessig.  One good quote:

LJ There is a diverse array of amicus briefs filed on behalf of Eldred, including 15 library groups. On the other side, there are but a few large, well-funded lobbies. Is this a statement about our democracy, how you can literally see the public lined up on one side and on the other side you see, well, money and lobbyists, which are often a lot more important to legislators?

LL Of course, yes. And, well, I'm quite confident about what's more important to legislators. Not because they are corrupt, but because legislators just hear the view of those who are around them, and the people who can afford to be around them, in this case, that's the copyright interest. The Supreme Court is different. They are not surrounded by a bunch of lobbyists. They call it the way they see it.

Finally, Gary mentions the latest issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association.  An article by Carolyn E. Lipscomb, Access to Information in War, which briefly describes the history of how librarians in the US have dealt with providing access in wartime during the 20th Century, may be of interest.

I feel like I'm cribbing a lot from Gary, but I want to give these articles more exposure and also save them for my own use. Thanks, Gary.

4:21:25 PM comment []   

  Thursday, July 11, 2002

Great professional reading from Gary Price and the The Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk:

Marcia Bates on Getting Web Information Retrieval Correct. Information Retrieval--WebSource: First Monday "After the Dot-Bomb: Getting Web Information Retrieval Right This Time"This article was written by Dr. Marcia Bates at UCLA. It's must read material. It concludes with seven suggestions by Dr.  Bates to improve information retrieval on the web. Here are three of them:
1) Use faceted classifications, rather than hierarchical.
2) Use the many vocabularies specifically designed for information retrieval, rather than general English language vocabularies.
3) If you develop a site with any information retrieval component at all, then hire information expertise.

Gary also recommends seeing Louis Rosenfeld's blog commentary on Dr Bates' article:  Some Batesian Inspiration.  Louis Rosenfeld is the co-author with Peter Morville of the great book Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. According to his website, a second edition of this book is due out this month; I highly recommend it for every librarian.  I've got to add this blog to my list.

Finally, Gary also links to an interview in CNET with Miriam Nisbet, ALA's Legislative Counsel:  Libraries:  The New Cyberbattleground.

8:42:24 AM comment []   

  Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Berkman Center's ILAW Conference Summaries:

I'll Take That To Go, Please. Summing Up ILaw: From Donna Wentworth, who also provides all the links to Dan Gillmor's, Drew Clark's, Frank Field's and Cedar Pruitt's notes/thoughts/etc. Huge thanks, some Tiger Balm and a bottle of Aleve to these writers (for aching finger joints and harried heads). [Via Bag and Baggage]

Three Cheers for these folks! I'm amazed at what Donna and Dan were able to do (I haven't read the other's reports yet, but I will). 

1:32:19 PM comment []   

Deep Linking Articles:

Deep Linking: The Latest. Our friend and co-author, Chris Sherman, has provided access to two excellent articles for SearchDay about this important topic. Yesterday, Chris wrote "Deep Linking Lunacy" where he shares several thoughts about the topic, specifically, about a recent court decision in Denmark. Chris writes that if deep linking is found illegal, search engines, phone directories, and tv listings better watch out. He also adds this warning for the academic world and librarians, "But why stop with the web? How about those sneaky academics, citing the work of fellow scholars with footnotes to specific articles using exact page numbers in the journals that published them? And just think of the worst offenders of all -- librarians, who not only help patrons find books, magazines and other materials but often even show them where to find specific information within the works?" Today, guest author Eric Ward has authored, "Linking Legalities: What You Need to Know". Ward writes, "In my opinion, there are only two specific instances where linking to someone else's content could be seen as illegal. First, if a link on your site when clicked loads someone else's content into a frame on your site, so that the user has no idea where that content came from, then you're on thin ice legally. Don't do it. Second, if the site you are linking to has stated on their site that linking is strictly prohibited, or requires permission first then don't link to them unless you have it." Make sure to share these articles with others. Must read stuff!  [Via The Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk]

There's been a lot written about the recent Danish court decision.  Here's a slightly different take from Wired this morning, dealing more with the specifics of the case.  I love the intro:  "Links may appear to be helpful little bits of code that whisk site visitors across the Web, but in reality they are vampires that sneak in uninvited and suck the life out of other websites." The author admits that's a bit extreme, but that more companies are viewing deep linking this way.  That view is really scary for the future of the web.

1:19:20 PM comment []   

  Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Writing About Blogging. In all of the craziness last week, I forgot to mention that Rachel Singer Gordon has posted the July issue of Info Career Trends, the Lisjobs.com newsletter. I wrote article #4 - "Blogging and the Shifted Librarian" (scroll down to read it). It's a bit difficult to link to at the moment so I'll repost it when it goes in the archives, but it's basically about my experiences blogging for the last six months and regaining an online presence. [The Shifted Librarian]

Jennny's written a good short article about how she got started blogging and why it's a useful tool for librarians.  We need to get more folks on board.  I just heard about Info Career Trends in the last couple of weeks through a blog; check it out for some interesting career stuff. I need to check the archives myself for information on continuing status and tenure issues.


11:22:56 AM comment []   

  Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Weblogs and Firm-Wide Knowledge Management.

Here's an article I [Rick Klau] wrote a couple months ago but which was just published in the ABA's Law Practice Management magazine. Now that it's published, I can reprint it here. (Don't you love the publishing world?!) Thanks to Denise, Ernie and John for spending some time with me as I wrote it. I'm pretty happy with the results, and eager to see if any firms start using this technology for their own information-sharing efforts.[tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog]

This is a good article about primarily about using blogs as knowledge management tools.  Rick also refers to a previous article he wrote for Law Practice Management that has more basic information about blogs. Good reading.

3:20:14 PM comment []   

  Tuesday, July 02, 2002

VIA Ernie the Attorney

Dan Gillmor at Harvard, Listening to Larry Lessig and Blogging about it. Check it out.  I wish I were there.  Oh, and Donna Wentworth is blogging it too.

These are references to two writers attending the The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard's Internet Law Program this week.  The blogs are fascinating.  Dan Gilmore writes eJournal, a blog at http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/business/columnists/dan_gillmor/ejournal/; Donna Wentworth's blog is at http://www.corante.com/copyfight/.

2:53:15 PM comment []   

RSS Tutorial [via The Shifted Librarian].

Publish and Syndicate Your News to the Web

"In this workshop you'll learn how to create, validate, syndicate, and view your own RSS news channel. The emphasis will be the practical application of RSS XML/RDF metadata for dynamically publishing...." [via Serious Instructional Technology]

Now this is an excellent resource! Put up by the Government Information Locator Service (GILS) folks in Utah, this one-page tutorial gives a brief overview of RSS, what it looks like, aggregators (they call them "viewers"), how to locate feeds, how to create your own feeds, how to validate your RSS, and more.

This looks pretty good, although it doesn't appear to mention Radio. Check it out for some basic information.

1:52:36 PM comment []   

Great Article on Copyright laws affecting library digitization projects

Library Digitization Projects and Copyright via [LLRX.com]

It is a well-written, comprehensive article.  Even if you aren't interested in the library side of things, the explanation of copyright law is engaging a clear. [Ernie the Attorney]

Haven't had a chance to read this yet, but it's getting great reviews.

12:44:59 PM comment []   

Via Bag and Baggage:

It may surprise you to learn that most opinions deciding cases on appeal in the U.S. are unpublished, and in general only published decisions have legal weight as citeable precedent in future cases. This practice allows appellate courts to publish (and thus make law) when this would aid the law's development, while resolving more routine cases in unpublished opinons that help prevent an exponential increase in the number of published opinions, and encourage consistency.

Apparently this was news to Congress, and specifically the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, which lists "Nonpublication of federal opinions" as an "Oversight Plan" item for the 107th Congress:

During an oversight hearing in the 106th Congress regarding the size and operations of the 9th Circuit, the Subcommittee learned that some opinions in that Circuit are not published. The Circuit’s defense is that it is attempting to implement creative administrative practices that will generate resource savings, and involves only "easy-to-decide" cases for which there is clear and ample precedential authority. Still, the notion of not providing an explanation as to why an affected litigant actually lost a Federal case may not square with fundamental notions of due process. This issue needs to be considered in all judicial circuits.

. . . . . . . . . .

 I think the due process concerns cited in the Oversight Plan are overstated, given that litigants in cases resolved with an unpublished opinion also learn why the court ruled as it did; the opinion simply does not become part of the body of citeable case law. (If Congress wants litigants to have access to judicial reasoning, it should be more concerned about per curiam decisions that simply dictate an outcome without further elaboration.)

. . . . . . . . . .

As Judge Kozinski pointed out to the Subcommittee, use of the term "unpublished" today is anachronistic, and dates back to a time when the only way to access a judicial opinion was through a bound book. Now, both published and unpublished opinions are more widely available, and the terms "published" and "unpublished" may translate more precisely to "precedential" and "nonprecedential," but opinions differ here as well. In many jurisdictions, including California and the Ninth Circuit, unpublished decisions may not be cited to a court in connection with its decision-making process. At the other end of the spectrum, e.g. the D.C. Circuit, some courts permit citation of unpublished opinions "as precedent."

Via How Appealing:

Congress looks at non-precedential federal appellate opinions. CONGRESS LOOKS AT NON-PRECEDENTIAL FEDERAL APPELLATE OPINIONS: The House Judiciary Committee last Thursday held a hearing on the use, and abuse, of non-precedential federal appellate opinions. (Link courtesy of Bag and Baggage.) While I question Congress's ability to regulate the manner in which the Judiciary decides appeals, I too have repeatedly criticized the use of non-precedential appellate opinions.

While it's somewhat bizarre that Congress didn't know that courts don't publish (and never did) all their opinions, what's really bizarre is the new West Federal Appendix.  According to their promotional material on their website, "[y]ou can have access to U.S. Court of Appeals unpublished opinions, complete with West Group editorial enhancements, including case synopses, headnotes and Key Numbers in the West® Key Number System®, in this print series, a part of the National Reporter System®."  This series began Jan. 1, 2001, and already consists of 31 volumes, at a current price for the set of "$1,092." And there's more every month. 

Attorneys here can't cite it in either state or federal court.  From the discussions on law-lib, it appears that no law firms are buying this because the cases are on Westlaw or Lexis; law school libraries are in somewhat of a quandary because while faculty might find it useful to compare published v. unpublished cases on a topic, students can't cite to the cases.

But what happens if Congress should decide all or more of the cases should be published.  Will Congress provide more money to the federal courts for increased administrative and personnel costs? Will libraries get subsidies to purchase the extra volumes? (Ha!) And more money for space for the new volumes? (Double Ha!)

Yet there are legitimate concerns about how the courts decide which opinions have precedential value and which don't.  There was a presentation on this subject last year at the AALL Convention, which was a bit of an eye opener on the number of cases and the different rates of published v. unpublished cases between the circuits.  Should there be uniform guidelines between the circuits? What is Congress' role in this?   

11:14:24 AM comment []   

  Monday, July 01, 2002

Full-Text, Congressional Research Service Reports on the USA Patriot Act.

Resources, Tools, and Full-Text Documents USA Patriot Act Source: Congressional Research Service via FAS2 Full-Text Reports from CRS About the Patriot Act:
The USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch (RS21203)
The USA PATRIOT Act: A Legal Analysis (RL31377) [The Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk]

11:28:41 AM comment []   

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Last update: 9/28/2002; 3:31:24 PM.