Law Libraries

Law Libraries

Law librarians archive New York State's regulatory history

“We combined our funding, our talents and our staff and finally got the project going,” Lee said.
Last month, they announced the availability of the open-access database: NYCRR Digital Archive, which contains pages from the “New York Codes, Rules and Regulations” from 1945 to 2001 in full-text digital format. This free resource allows researchers, librarians and lawyers to more easily research previous versions of New York regulations. Fifty users at one time can access the material.

“It took us that long to get together and get it done,” Lee said. “It’s something that is and has been well-received by the law library community.”

From Law librarians archive New York State's regulatory history - Buffalo - Buffalo Business First

The Samuelson Clinic releases "Is it in the Public Domain?" handbook - Berkeley Law

The Samuelson Clinic is excited to provide a
handbook, “Is it in the Public Domain?,” and accompanying
visuals. These educational tools help users to evaluate the
copyright status of a work created in the United States between
January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1977—those works that were
created before today’s 1976 Copyright Act. Many important
works—from archival materials to family photos and movies—were created during this time, and it can be
difficult to tell whether they are still under copyright.

The handbook walks readers though a series of
questions—illustrated by accompanying charts—to help readers
explore whether a copyrighted work from that time is in the
public domain, and therefore free to be used without
permission from a copyright owner.  Knowing whether a work
is in the public domain or protected by copyright is an
important first step in any decision regarding whether or
how to make use of a work.

From The Samuelson Clinic releases "Is it in the Public Domain?" handbook - Berkeley Law

AALL Executive Board Election

PACER Survey Shows Rise in User Satisfaction

PACER has seen a sharp rise in overall user satisfaction since a comparable survey was conducted in 2009, with 90 percent of users saying they are satisfied or highly satisfied with the internet-based public case information system. That compares with 75 percent satisfaction with the overall user experience in the previous survey.

Full story: http://news.uscourts.gov/pacer-survey-shows-rise-user-satisfaction

Not familiar with PACER? Read about PACER here.

Dwight Opperman, key figure in Westlaw’s launch in 1970s, dies at age 89

Dwight Opperman, a Drake University law graduate who rose to the top job at West Publishing after starting work there as an editor and was a key figure in the company's development of the Westlaw online legal research site in the 1970s, died Thursday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 89 years old.

“He was instrumental in leading West from a book publisher and moving into electronic publishing,” former West executive Grant Nelson told the Star Tribune. “Dwight had the vision that there was something else on the horizon. He really felt in his core that West Publishing was providing a vital service to the courts, to the legal system and to the country, and he took great pride in that.”

Full piece at the ABA Journal

Justice Scalia Writes Guide for Interpreting the Law

 

Interview with Scalia on the PBS News Hour about his new book - Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts

LexisNexis Announces LexisNexis Digital Library

Agreement with OverDrive creates customized eBook lending and management service offering the largest collection of electronic books for legal professionals Full story

Old-School Prisoner Wants Books, Not Westlaw

Old-School Prisoner Wants Books, Not Westlaw
Since 1989 a prisoner has been serving time in an Ohio state prison for rape, kidnapping, felonious assault and aggravated assault convictions. Frustrated that the prison library replaced law books with computer access to Westlaw, her has sued the prison, requesting $80,000 in compensatory damages and up to $200,000 in punitive damages for the violation of his constitutional right to a law library.

SOPA shelved until consensus is found

Controversial online piracy bill shelved until 'consensus' is found
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said early Saturday morning that Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) promised him the House will not vote on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) unless there is consensus on the bill.

"While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House," Issa said in a statement. "Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote."

Everything Must Go From Law Libraries

Everything Must Go From Law Libraries

It's not fair to say that area law schools, libraries, historical preservation societies and other groups interested in North Carolina law and Guilford County history are circling like vultures around the remains of the law library at the Guilford County Courthouse in Greensboro – which recently closed its doors due to funding cuts and other considerations. However, it is fair to say there's a great deal of interest among those groups as to who ends up with the library's contents.

New Mobile Application launched at the New York Law School

New York Law School's Mendik Library is proud to announce the release of Mendik Mobile, a smartphone app that gives library users mobile access to some of our key services. The app enables users to search the library catalog for books and course reserve materials. It provides channels for following the library’s blogs, and for contacting reference staff by phone, email or text. Users may review a list of books they’ve borrowed, and renew loans with just a click.

Bloomberg buys legal research company for $990 million

Bloomberg LP is buying legal tax and regulatory research company BNA for about $990 million in an all-cash deal.

Full article

The days of the law library being a showpiece of a firm are over

Take These Books... Please
"A Chief Operating Officer in the crowd backed me up and said that the days of the library being a showpiece of a firm are over. I asked him what is the "touchstone" of a firm these days (some central place where everyone feels connected). Is it the library? Is it the break rooms? Conference Center? Bathrooms?? I think we finally agreed that in this day and age, the touchstone of a firm isn't something that is based on a physical space."

New AALL Caucus on Consumer Advocacy

New AALL Caucus on Consumer Advocacy
A group of law librarians has begun the steps to create a Caucus on Consumer Advocacy. The caucus' statement of purpose reads:
"Statement of Purpose of New AALL Caucus on Consumer Advocacy
Business practices of legal information vendors (LIVs) warrant more vigorous consumer advocacy than our profession has pursued. Our caucus may: (1) recommend or implement improved disclosures of LIV practices that harm consumers or weaken LIV competition; (2) determine if law librarians and their supporters should renew efforts to investigate unfair, or anti-competitive, business practices by LIVs; (3) recommend further investigation to AALL, interested parties (such as library and attorney associations), or government agencies; (4) examine whether voluntary guidelines have provided adequate remedies to unfair, or anticompetitive, business practices by LIVs; (5) propose legal remedies to AALL, interested parties, or government agencies; (6) encourage law librarians to discuss or pursue these options among themselves and attorneys; and (7) partner with all parties seeking stronger consumer protections from unfair, or anti-competitive, business practices of information vendors. Our caucus may also take other actions to advance the strongest consumer advocacy allowed by law.
Once AALL approves our caucus application, we will welcome partnerships with other LIS consumers like attorneys, their affiliated associations, and LIS vendors who follow the letter and spirit of the law in their business practices."

Monty The Dog Hits The Stacks At Yale Law

Yale University Law School is an intense place, and its library is no joke: It has soaring vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows and giant chandeliers that hang from chains. To help students unwind, the library is offering a rather unusual checkout option: Monty, a Jack Russell-border terrier mix.

Full story

What standards vendors use to measure the underlying quality of their product?

On editing & updating standards
"What is important about these excerpts (and in my opinion, I don’t believe these systems or approaches to be unique to West) is that they get to an underlying issue not being asked of lawyers and legal researchers generally, that is, what do you, the consumer, consider to be a quality update to a legal treatise? It’s rare to find lawyers talking about such things, and law librarians had a perfect opportunity to do so at the recent AALL Vendor Colloquium, but instead limited their focus to pricing and subscription models, vendor communications, digital v. print, etc. Honestly, what difference does all of that make if you don't know what standards vendors use to measure the underlying quality of the product?"

Mendik Library's DRAGNET wins AALL Law Library Publication Award

The Mendik Library’s DRAGNET has won the AALL 2011 Law Library Publications Award, Nonprint Division. The award honors "achievement in creating in-house library materials that are outstanding in quality and significance." DRAGNET (Database Retrieval Access using Google’s New Electronic Technology) is a Google Custom Search engine that only looks at 100 highly-recommended free legal databases and web sites. It was developed over the summer of 2010 in a highly collaborative effort with input from all librarians.

Law Librarian at Several Ivies, Morris L. Cohen Dies

From the New York Times: Morris L. Cohen, a book lover who shunned the practice of law because it was too contentious and became one of the nation’s most influential legal librarians, bringing both the Harvard and Yale law libraries into the digital age, died Dec. 18 at his home in New Haven. He was 83.

Morris L. Cohen, at the University of Pennsylvania's law library in 1971, went on to be law library director at Harvard and Yale. The cause was leukemia, his wife, Gloria, said.

Mr. Cohen had worked at his Uncle Max’s law firm and on his own in Brooklyn in the 1950s before deciding that enough was enough. “He wasn’t cut out for practicing law,” Mrs. Cohen said. “He was not confrontational.”

Instead, he would become director of the law libraries at four universities: the former University of Buffalo, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Yale. He brought to those positions a fascination with legal history — as evidenced in the six-volume Bibliography of Early American Law (1998), which he researched and compiled for 35 years — and with modernizing law libraries. He also brought that fascination to his classes in legal research.

Blog Gives Superheroes and Supervillains Their Day in Court

A new blog addresses questions like whether Superman’s heat vision is protected by the Second Amendment.

Full article in the NYT

The Loris in the Library

The Loris in the Library

The projects that we can (and should) be collaborating on are new and different and will completely change the way people access their law. As such, they will be met with resistance and suspicion and push-back from commercial vendors and government agents. Presenting a united front and creating a system that benefits from all of our areas of expertise from the beginning will go a long way towards legitimizing our cause. We have one chance to make a first impression, one opportunity to make free law an accepted resource in this generation. Don’t mess it up.

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