Showing posts from 2014

RIPS Post - The Evolving Role of the Academic Law Librarian

Check out my new post over at RIPS on the evolving role of the academic law librarian and what it means for teaching legal research.

Happy Holidays!

I recently informally accepted a new position. I am scheduled to start in January, and the month of December will be devoted to visiting family and getting my affairs in order. I will be back with new posts at the beginning of 2015. Until then, Happy Holidays!! image:

Does Your Database Need A Law Degree?

While contemplating the major legal database algorithms recently, I realized that the current generation of searchers might rely too heavily on the results without really understanding how those results are generated.  There could be a point in time when the algorithms become sophisticated enough with an artificial intelligence (AI) to rely on them more in this way. Especially because algorithms tend to get stronger over time by relying on external cites and the number of clicks, for example, to generate results.  But we are not there, yet. For example, with a current natural language search, the databases may look for synonyms for a particular keyword. But the synonym may be replacing a term of art for which a synonym should not be used, and this "helpful" function of the database actually becomes a hindrance offering irrelevant results.  This is good news for lawyers and librarians because the algorithms do not have the AI necessary to interpret case law, evaluat

Convenient Searching In Library Catalogs

An ongoing concern for librarians is the ease at which a user can search a library catalog.  If the search is too convoluted, researchers will generally resort to resources t hat they are comfortable using, such as Google and Wikipedia, and forego the use of the library catalog and library resources. To that end, " Yale Library Information Technology will beta test a new search system called Quicksearch, slated to replace the current Orbis catalog in September 2015. According to library administrators, the new platform will streamline the different search engines available across schools into a unified Yale library site. Library administrators said they hope the new system will resolve inconveniences in searching for texts. 'The library always had a multitude of systems that don’t necessarily talk to each other,' Chief Technology Officer for Yale Libraries Michael Dula said. 'We are aiming to pull the resources available at Yale under one umbrella, starting with mai

Decline In Bar Exam Scores Causes A Stir

We're seeing a national decline in bar exam scores, and it's causing a stir. The  WSJ Law Blog reported  that "[t]he overall passage rate for the Texas exam given in July, for example, was 11 percentage points lower than last year’s results. Idaho, Iowa, Oregon and Washington were among other states reporting sharp drops." And we'e already seen drops in other states. In response to the lower scores, the president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners sent out a memo a  memo  addressed to law school deans across the country that defended the integrity of the group’s exam and raised concerns about the ability of the would-be lawyers who took it. "The NCBE is a national Wisconsin-based non-profit that prepares widely used standardized portions of the bar exam, including the Multistate Bar Examination, a multiple choice test that typically counts for half of a test-taker’s score." The memo stated in part, “[w]hile we always take quality cont

The LSAT & The Upward Trend In Transfers

The National Jurist reported that LSAT takers have hit a record low. LSAC reported that "the number of students who took the October LSAT dropped to 30,943, down from 60,746 in 2009, when it hit a high mark. The numbers are off 8.1 percent from last year. It was the lowest number of test-takers in October since prior to 1987. The July exam was also off from the prior year, dropping from 23,997 to 21,803. The number of test-takers is on pace to be the lowest number since prior to 1987, when there were fewer law schools." As law schools compete for fewer students, it may be easier than ever to get into law school even with a less-than-stellar LSAT score. For prospective students who do score low on the LSAT, say in the high 130s, there is a good chance that you can start law school at a lower ranked school and transfer to a higher ranked school after your first year. The ABA Journal reported "as law school enrollment declines nationwide, competition for transfer

July 2014 Michigan Bar Exam Results

Last week, the Michigan Board of Law Examiners released the seat numbers of the most recent Michigan bar exam passers. The passage rate was 73% for first time takers with 563 people passing on their first try. The total passage rate for all applicants (including retakers) was 63% with 604 total passers. The breakdown for Michigan law schools for all takers is as follows: Thomas M. Cooley:  44 percent passed, 56 percent failed. (140 passed) Michigan State University: 80 percent passed, 20 percent failed. (123 passed) University of Detroit Mercy: 55 percent passed, 45 percent failed. (68 passed) University of Michigan: 87 percent passed, 13 percent failed. (33 passed) Wayne State University: 74 percent passed, 26 percent failed. (115 passed) University of Toledo: 79 percent passed, 21 percent failed. (11 passed) Others: 75 percent passed, 25 percent failed. (114 passed) These are pre-appeal. It looks like the Michigan Board of Law Examiners has figured out a wa

Inter-American Court of Human Rights Database

For those interested in human rights legal research, you should be aware of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Database . The Organization of American States established the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 1979 to enforce and interpret the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights. Its two main functions are thus adjudicatory and advisory. Under the former, it hears and rules on the specific cases of human rights violations referred to it. Under the latter, it issues opinions on matters of legal interpretation brought to its attention by other OAS bodies or member states. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) Project of the Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review has released its Inter-American Court of Human Rights Database. This freely-available database produced by the editors and staff of the IACHR Project under the supervision of Professor Cesare Romano allows users to search Inter-American Court decisions by case nam

Tips For Archival Research

It's great to have an understanding of the necessary tools of the trade to make research more efficient.   Gradhacker recently posted six tools that make archival research more efficient. It's important to do archival research efficiently because "grant budgets can only go so far, it’s important to make use of every minute when visiting faraway libraries and repositories, capturing as much information as possible." 6 tools for efficient archival research include: 1. Apps for managing finding aids: Store a copy of the finding aid for each collection in GoodReader on an iPad in PDF format. GoodReader allows for annotating and highlighting, noting material that the researcher would like to find in a particular resource. Next, use trusty old Google Drive to make master plan and stay one task. 2. Camera: A DSLR or iPhone depending on resolution needs. 3. Wireless SD card:  Eyefi, for example, makes an SD card that fits right into your camera and then, via wifi, a

The Perils of Focusing On ROI

Over at InsideHigherEd , Library Babel Fish (aka Barbara Fister) posted an interesting 'stream of consciousness' article discussing the perils of assessing return on investment in libraries. Fister started thinking more about ROI because she was alerted to a new position for a "librarian whose role would be assessment and marketing. The library is seeking a librarian who is 'interested in using the results of library assessment to promote the value of the library to the university as part of our our strategic communications program.' The audience is the higher administrators who probably don't use the library but hold the purse strings." As Fister notes, there is a conflict of interest when doing assessments. "When we do assessment, are we honestly trying to find out what is going on with our students so that we can figure out what practices improve or inhibit learning? Or are we simply trying to demonstrate a good return on investment?" In

Recent RIPS Post - Law Library Involvement In Law School Incubators

Please see my recent Research Instruction & Patron Services (RIPS) Blog post on law library involvement in law school incubators.

Is An Open Source Bluebook On The Way?

Is it true? Is The Bluebook really in the public domain?  The Lawyerist reported that "Harvard Law Review who has been aggressively protecting the copyright of the Bluebook against all those who would let legal citation free into the wild forgot to renew the copyright on the 10th Edition." Professor Christopher Jon Sprigman from New York University School of Law sent a letter stating that his client, Public Resource, intends to publish an electronic version of the 10th edition in light of its public domain status.  In addition, Professor Sprigman calls the copyright protection of the 19th edition into question. "[N]umerous courts have mandated use of The Bluebook. As a consequence, The Bluebook has been adopted as an edict of government and its contents are in the public domain. But even if we lay that point aside (which, of course, we would not), very little of the 19th edition can be construed as material protected by copyright. Many portions of the 19th

HLS & Berkman Center's Free Online CopyrightX Class

Both lawyers and librarians are on the  front  lines of enforcing copyright. If you are interested in learning more about copyright from  preeminent  scholars, you may be interested in  Harvard Law School and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society's free online class called CopyrightX. "CopyrightX is a networked course that explores the current law of copyright; the impact of that law on art, entertainment, and industry; and the ongoing debates concerning how the law should be reformed. Through a combination of recorded lectures, assigned readings, weekly seminars, live interactive webcasts, and online discussions, participants in the course examine and assess the ways in which the copyright system seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression." Three types of courses make up the CopyrightX Community: a  residential course  on Copyright Law, taught by Prof. Fisher to approximately 100 Harvard Law School students; an online course divided into  sections

Statutes In WestlawNext

WestlawNext is an amazing product. The new interface is very user friendly. And although I generally prefer to use terms and connectors searching , the natural language algorithm does have a benefit for the up-and-coming Google generation. One of the best features of WestlawNext and West products, in general, is the editorial process that cases and statutes go through to organize the content and connect cases and statutes to other helpful content. For example, statutes have annotations that cross reference to secondary sources, give the history of the statute, and offer Notes of Decision, which are cases that interpret a particular statute. While researching recently, I noticed that WestlawNext does not update the Notes of Decision for a particular statute after a statute has been amended. There may be cases attached to the amended statute that interpret the older language of the pre-amended statute. This was confirmed by Westlaw through one of their Research Attorneys: "Gener

Evolving Role Of The Academic Library

Libraries must constantly evolve to meet the demands of a changing patron base. For most academic libraries, that means evolving from a repository of print material to a dynamic, technologically advanced institution. An article posted on Coexist highlights the changes taking place in academic libraries. "Despite all the dire predictions for the future of academic libraries in the digital age, when people believed the digitalization of print and other emerging technologies would make them irrelevant, universities around the country are evolving their libraries and intellectual centers into catalysts for discovery, learning, collaboration, and scholarly breakthroughs." The article goes on to highlight 4 ways that academic libraries are adapting for the future: LIBRARIES MUST RESPOND TO STRATEGIC CAMPUS AND BUSINESS NEEDS The library is a part of the overall institution and needs its strategic plan to coincide with the overall strategic plan and mission of the universi

Alternative Lending In College Libraries

College libraries are starting to circulate interesting technology as an alternative lending scheme. Alternative lending is not a new phenomena as libraries continue to transition from print to digital and have more space at their disposal. With alternative lending, libraries are also trying to reach a wider patron base. I have blogged about alternative lending here , here , and here . The Chronicle of Higher Education recently posted about college libraries and alternative lending. Georgia Institute of Technology has a "program at the library that lets students and professors check out a growing catalog of computers, cameras, and other electronics—a selection more akin to a Best Buy store than a lending library." CHE goes on to offer a few of the more unique tech items that "[c]olleges and universities across the country now lend ... in addition to books": • Drones. Colgate University’s library is among several around the country that offer what are known a

Law Firm Transitions To Digital Library

The NYTimes reported that when the law firm Kaye Scholer moved to Manhattan, it left a lot behind, including most of its library. "Shelves full of uniformly bound legal volumes — beloved of any photographer, videographer or cinematographer who needs a background that instantly proclaims 'law office' — are headed to oblivion in the digital era. Kaye Scholer’s library just got there faster because of the exigencies of the move." When Kaye Scholer moved, "[n]early 95 percent of a library that numbered tens of thousands of volumes was discarded. Outdated books were recycled. Updated books were donated. Some were kept, like 'New York Jurisprudence, 2d,' which costs $19,963 for a new hard-bound set." The new library in the Manhattan office has 700 ft of linear shelving compared to 10,000 ft in the old library. As one partner said, "[w]e have an account with an online library. That’s all that’s used.” From the NYTimes article, it sounds like Ka

Copyright Case Update: Cambridge v. Patton (Georgia State)

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Cambridge v. Patton , the Georgia State course reserves case . As InsideHigherEd noted , "proponents of fair use said the opinion in Cambridge v. Patton recognizes that colleges and universities can legally create digital reserves of books in their collections," but the appeals court reversed the lower court's decision creating a bright-line rule for fair use. "[T]he appeals court instead issued a stern warning against quick-fix, one-size-fits-all solutions to legal disputes -- specifically, the idea that copying less than a chapter or 10 percent of a book automatically protects an institution from a lawsuit." Cambridge v. Patton  "concerns an initiative created by Georgia State University, which in 2004 began letting faculty members scan book and journal excerpts and host them in the university’s e-reserves. Instead of waiting in turn for their classmates to finish an assigned readin

Law Office Or Law Offices?

To name your PLLC "Law Office of ______" or "Law Offices of _______," that is the question. When I was in law school, I noticed that many attorneys named their law office, "The Law Offices of ______ _ _____" even though they only had one office. So when it was time for me to create and name my own professional limited liability company (PLLC), it seemed prudent to name it "The Law Offices of Jamie J. Baker." It seemed like a common market use, and I didn't think twice about it. Then I came across a blog post from Findlaw that discussed the pitfalls of this issue. "The baseline rule, per the ABA's Model Rule 7.1 , is that a lawyer 'shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services.' So, dropping the plural 'offices' when you only have one location might fall under that broad rule." Although there doesn't seem to be an ethcis opinion on point, other "

Tarlton Law Library Seeks Fellow

For JDs interested in a career in law librarianship, you may want to consider applying for the Tarlton Fellowship . "The Tarlton Fellowship was created to encourage law graduates to pursue careers in law librarianship and, especially, to focus on the academic and scholarly side of law librarianship. Fellows are employed in the public services department of the Tarlton Law Library while they attend the University of Texas’ School of Information." The Fellowship is generally a two-year appointment, and "Tarlton Fellows, as members of the library's public services staff, engage in a wide variety of activities. Much of their time is spent providing reference services to the University of Texas Law School faculty and students and the general public. As part of their duties, they work closely with faculty members on in-depth research projects, assist student journals in a variety of activities, and offer bibliographic assistance, instructional programs, and current awa

FREE Webinar For Public Librarians: Connecting Patrons With Legal Information

Webinar: Connecting Patrons with Legal Information Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 Time: 2:00–3:00 p.m. EDT Every day, public library staff are asked to answer legal questions. Since these questions are often complicated and confusing, and because there are frequent warnings about not offering legal advice, reference staff may be uncomfortable addressing legal reference questions. To help reference staff build confidence in responding to legal inquiries, the American Library Association (ALA) and iPAC will host the free webinar “ Connecting Patrons with Legal Information” on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. EDT. The session will offer information on laws, legal resources and legal reference practices. Participants will learn how to handle a law reference interview, including where to draw the line between information and advice, key legal vocabulary and citation formats. During the webinar, leaders will offer tips on how to assess an

Coherently Reporting Research In Emails

Garner's On Words series in the ABA Journal  is very useful. Each month, he offers great tips for better legal writing. Garner's September post  is about coherently reporting research in emails. As noted, "[i]n the rushed exigency of modern law practice, with the expectation of nearly immediate responses to all manner of queries, emails are overtaking formal memos as the standard method for communicating research to senior colleagues and to clients." As Garner mentions, email is often seen as a more informal means of communication, which means that many emails are rushed and may lead to more questions than answers. He advises that "[b]efore hitting 'send,' step back and ask yourself exactly how clear you’re being. Avoid answering in a way that is sure to beget further queries. You might be well-advised to make your summary at least as clear as it should be in a formal memo." To paraphrase Garner, this means instead of replying to a research q

Chemerinsky's Preview Of New SCOTUS Term

Erwin Chemerinsky recently reported to the ABA Journal his preview of the new SCOTUS term. SCOTUS will review many familiar issues this term like executive power, bankruptcy, religious freedom, voting rights, employment discrimination, and the Fourth Amendment. There is one novel issue on the docket this term: "true threats" and the First Amendment. As Chemerinsky noted, "[t]he U.S. Supreme Court’s summer recess is over and the justices will return to the bench for oral arguments. The court traditionally sets half the docket for the coming year before it adjourns in early July, and grants the remaining cases between late September and mid-January." The cases on the docket this term include: Executive power: Zivotofsky v. Kerry is back before the court for a second time. Earlier the court ruled the case did not pose a political question and now the court will consider whether Congress impermissibly intruded upon executive powers by enacting a law that direct

SCOTUS Updates Website

Last Monday, SCOTUS unveiled an updated website . Findlaw reported on the new website noting  that "[a] new carousel of images greets visitors to the Court's main page, along with a more conspicuous calendar, a list of recent decisions, and a table of recent arguments with accompanying transcripts and audio recordings." Here are some highlights of the Court's new website (and compare with this version of the website as it was archived on August 29 ): It's responsive. Page elements automatically change size when the window is resized. This also means that the site is finally mobile device-friendly. The menus have been simplified. Instead of over a dozen menus and submenus, there are only six on the new website, and they fit into fairly logical categories: "Opinions," "Oral Arguments," "Case Documents," "Rules & Guidance," "News Media," and "About the Court." The image carousel on the main page

Use Adverbs Sparingly In Legal Writing

Adverbs and legal writing go hand in hand. For example, statutes that deal with criminal intent use adverbs to describe the essential state of mind. "Words such as 'knowingly,' 'intentionally' and 'recklessly,' which deal with criminal intent, pop up most frequently, but plenty of other adverbs have enjoyed the spotlight." One of the most recent adverbs litigated was "[w]hen the U.S. Supreme Court recognized religious protections of closely held companies, justices pondered the significance of an adverb in a 1993 federal statute that guards against laws that 'substantially burden' the exercise of religion." Because statutes are often written with adverbs, it means that the exact meaning of a particular adverb is litigated fairly often. In fact, the Wall Street Journal notes that "[t]he number of adverb-dense disputes over how to properly construe a criminal statute has surged since the 1980s, according to a case-law search con

Library of Congress's Guide To Law Online

When a legal issue presents itself from a new state or country, librarians must acquaint themselves with the legal materials from that state or country to do proper legal research. Understanding the courts within the jurisdiction or if the jurisdiction has an administrative code, for example, may be essential to proper legal research depending on the focus of the issue.  One of my go-to resources for information about state, federal, or international resources is the Library of Congress's Guide to Law Online . The Guide aggregates and offers a portal to information from each of the jurisdictions.  "In compiling this list, [the LOC emphasized] ... sites offering the full texts of laws, regulations, and court decisions, along with commentary from lawyers writing primarily for other lawyers. Materials related to law and government that were written by or for lay persons also have been included, as have government sites that provide even quite general information about them

Privacy, Privilege, & The Cloud

According to the 2013 ABA Tech Survey, over 90% of attorneys use smartphones in practice. The most popular smartphones (Androids & iPhones) generally have default settings that store material directly in the cloud. This should be a major concern for attorneys who must protect client confidentiality and adhere to the attorney/client privilege. The ABA Journal recently reported on ways for attorneys to protect their privacy following recent iPhone updates. "Lawyers must be especially vigilant about securing their mobile devices to guard any potentially sensitive client data." For iPhones, make sure to change your '"Diagnostics & Usage Data,' which can be found in the 'Settings' icon, under 'Privacy.' If you don’t check off the 'Don’t Send' option, 'pretty much everything you do on your iPhone or iPad' is tracked by Apple." To further protect sensitive data, "Apple provides more suggestions on ways to guard your

Tell Your Library Story

Gale has started an online community called  My Library Story  to combat the impression that libraries are past their prime or doomed to irrelevancy. From the promotional material: "Let's get the good news out about libraries! Visit and share the brand-new online community, My Library Story, to talk about the great things libraries do every day. How they are an essential institution in your community or on your campus. How all ages use libraries to thrive. How libraries make a significant impact on positive user outcomes like greater student performance, job placement, and more." There's a great story about a high school dropout who credits his local library, the Detroit Public Library, for educating him for "free." He never completed high school, never went to college, but he was admitted to the Detroit College of Law and practiced as a lawyer for 30 years (at the time when more law schools would admit nontraditional students without undergraduate

Luring Attorneys To Rural America

In recent years, there's been a push to get more attorneys to underserved rural areas. As I mentioned in April 2013 , "[n]early 85% of law students graduate with $100,000 in debt, and it is nearly impossible to service that type of debt by offering low-cost legal services in rural areas." Like South Dakota's stipend to get lawyers to its rural areas, a small town in North Dakota is doing something similar. The ABA Journal reported that "Wishek, [ND] took the unusual step of offering to pay for office space and other business expenses if a young lawyer agreed to move to town. The city got two: Cody Cooper and Mary DePuydt, a married couple who both finished law school in 2013 and moved to Wishek from the Twin Cities in April. They planned to set up separate law offices to avoid potential conflicts of interest." Wishek's offer to pay for office space and other business expenses was just one thing that lured the attorneys to town. "The two were

New RIPS Blog Post - Researching Across the Law School Curriculum

Please check out my new blog post on the Research, Instruction, & Patron Services (RIPS) Blog about incorporating legal research instruction across the law school curriculum .

Libraries Lend The Internet

NPR reported on a cool new alternative lending service available at some public libraries. "The public library systems in New York and Chicago won funding from the Knight Foundation to experiment with the idea of hot-spot lending. Both say they hope the move will help them expand Internet access among low-income families." As the New York Public Library's pitch reads, "'[b]ecause many Americans find themselves unable to afford quality Internet at home, they are caught on the wrong side of the digital divide.' This chasm presents an obstacle to participation in America's $8 trillion digital economy and deprives the Internet of contributions from these individuals." With so many people unable to afford Internet at home, "[g]iving patrons — particularly those who are low income — the ability to 'check out' the Internet seems a simple solution to improving Internet access across the country, particularly if the program expands beyond t

Access JSTOR Material With JSTOR Daily

InsideHigherEd reported on JSTOR's new daily magazine - JSTOR Daily . "Much of the world’s knowledge is contained in JSTOR, a vast digital academic library. But most of that content is behind a subscription wall. And if you’re not looking for something specific -- or even if you are -- attempting to take in all that knowledge can be an overwhelming experience. Wanting to make JSTOR's content a little more digestible and to engage a different kind of audience, the library is officially launching its new online magazine, JSTOR Daily." The content on JSTOR Daily links to the JSTOR library with free access to articles and other material.  From the about section: "JSTOR Daily offers a fresh way for people to understand and contextualize their world. Our writers provide insight, commentary, and analysis of ideas, research, and current events, tapping into the rich scholarship on JSTOR, a digital library of more than 2,000 academic journals, dating back to

Uniform Electronic Material Act

With continued support from the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the Uniform Electronic Material Act (UELMA) is starting to take hold. What is UELMA, you ask ? " The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, also known as the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), approved the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) in July 2011, recommending that it be enacted in all states. The act sets forth language, provisions, and parameters that require government publishers of primary legal materials in electronic format to authenticate, preserve, and provide permanent access to those resources." UELMA "addresses many of the concerns posed by the publication of state primary legal material online. UELMA provides a technology-neutral, outcomes-based approach to ensuring that online state legal material deemed official will be preserved and will be permanently available to the public in unaltered form. It furthers state policies of accountability

Press Pass For SCOTUSblog

Earlier this summer, news outlets like the ABA Journal and the NYTimes reported on the denial of a press pass for SCOTUSblog. "As the Supreme Court began to issue the final rulings of the term, 60,000 people — including journalists at major news outlets around the country — were following the live feed of Scotusblog, a website devoted to covering every warp and woof of the court’s complex litigation. Since its inception in 2002, the site has become required reading for Supreme Court news and analysis, winning multiple awards. Yet Scotusblog’s ability to cover the court remains precarious because it has repeatedly been denied a press credential." As the NYTimes noted, "[t]he Supreme Court has traditionally recognized credentials issued by the Senate’s Standing Committee of Correspondents, which is made up of journalists from mainstream news organizations. In April, the committee denied Scotusblog’s latest request for a credential because its founder and publisher,

State Bar of Michigan's 2014 Economics Of Law Practice Survey

The Michigan State Bar's Economics of Law Practice Survey was released in July 2014. " The survey is conducted every three years and the results are used daily throughout the state in courtrooms, law firms and by lawyers in all occupational areas. As referenced by the Michigan Supreme Court in Smith v. Khouri, it is the primary resource used by trial courts to determine attorney fees. It provides the benchmark for more than 50 specific fields of practice by geographic location. Survey results also contain data about salaries, benefits, hours worked and job satisfaction for attorneys in non-private practice occupations, such as those working as in-house counsel, in government service, non-profit organizations, academia, legal services and more." The survey has two practical objectives : To provide timely, relevant and accurate information to inform and guide the practical management decisions of Michigan attorneys To track and illustrate changes and trends within

"Deep Reading" In Print & Marginalia

For most Americans, print still reigns supreme.  The Wall Street Journal Blog  noted that the American population still tends to prefer print books over e-books. "Of the people in the U.S. who use the Internet, 46% say they still only read books that are printed, according to data from Harris Interactive that was charted by Statista. Another 16% say they read more printed books than e-books." Reading in print is still considered important for comprehension. One Chronicle of Higher Education author opines that "deep reading" is almost always best done in print. "Digital reading encourages distraction and invites multitasking. Among American and Japanese subjects, 92 percent reported it was easiest to concentrate when reading in hard copy. (The figure for Germany was 98 percent.) In this country, 26 percent indicated they were likely to multitask while reading in print, compared with 85 percent when reading on-screen. Imagine wrestling with Finnegan’s Wake whi

Law Library Involvement In Law School Firms & Incubators

In recent years, many law schools have started incubator programs to help graduates transition to practice. According to the ABA , CUNY started the first incubator program over 10 years ago, and incubator programs have really started to pop up since late 2012. Currently, there are around  28 programs nationwide. The Akron Legal News recently reported on Cleveland-Marshall College of Law's incubator program. Like other institutions, Cleveland-Marshall decided to create an incubator program because of the stagnant economy and because many of its graduates go into solo practice. "According to a report by the National Association for Law Placement, 84.5 percent of the class of 2013 secured [employment]. Despite the slight improvement over the last two years, the employment rate still remains quite a bit behind the all-time high of 91.9 percent in 2007, which was reached prior to the financial crisis. The less than rosy job market means more young attorneys are hanging out th

Helping Law Students Help Themselves - Creating Flowcharts

Part of a law librarian's job is to have a hand in teaching technology to law students . Generally law students are so focused on what is immediately in front of them that they do not have time to seek out additional information about technology and resources that may be helpful to their learning. The Chicago-Kent Law Library blog has a great post about creating visual outlines through mind maps and flow charts. Many law students find visual outlines helpful to really learn the subject matter and see how it all fits together. Historically, mind maps and flow charts had to be created with pen and paper, and it wasn't unusual to see a law student's study area plastered with visual outlines on the wall. Going the pen and paper route is just fine - whatever gets the job done. But some law students might find mind mapping or flow chart software helpful to get them started and save precious wall space. The Chicago-Kent Law Library blog goes on to mention these helpful too

Google Maps & Map It In Law Libraries

For large, expansive law libraries with hundreds of thousands of print volumes, it is easy for any library goer to get lost looking for a book. As the Georgetown blog noted , "[t]his is an all-too familiar scenario for Georgetown Law students who have gone hunting for books in remote corners of [the] two library locations. The library has over half a million print volumes spread out over 100,000 feet of shelves across seven floors and two buildings. Locating a book by its call number can be a challenge for even the most dedicated library dweller." Georgetown is utilizing a new service called Map It that links the catalog to a map of the law library. The map will pinpoint the exact location of a book. Google is also starting an indoor mapping project . "In November 2011, Google Maps released an indoor navigation tool as part of its Google Maps for Android smartphone and tablet applications. Google has partnered with many airports, casinos, convention centers, hotels

Technology In Libraries

The focus of my career thus far has been on reference, instruction, collection development, and faculty liaison work. But I am starting to take an active interest in library technology. These are a few resources that I have found particularly helpful for technology in libraries: Computers in Libraries Emerging Technologies In Libraries Library Tech Talk TechSoup For Libraries Each of the resources offer insight into new technology for all types of libraries.  A law library that is doing a wonderful job incorporating new technologies is Georgetown . They are using citation software and Map It. They also offer instruction on mobile apps for law faculty and students, as well as how to download documents from the legal databases to an e-reader.  It's great to see some of these technologies in practice and commentary about the implementation.  image:

New Title In United States Code - Voting & Election

For any die-hard researcher, the news of a new title in the U.S. Code offers a rare kind of excitement.  As of September 1, the United States Code has extended to Title 52 “Voting and Election." Title 52 will cover federal election statutes under three subtitles: Voting Rights Voting Assistance and Election Administration Federal Campaign Finance As George Mason's blog noted, there was no congressional bill needed for the new title. "The U.S. Code is administered by the Office of Law Revision Counsel pursuant to 2 U.S.C. § 285. The OLRC has authority over the preparation of the United States Code, including the ability to make revisions. In the case of voting and election laws, the OLRC staff determined that the volume of laws enacted on these topics warranted a separate title." And now for West & Lexis to pick up the title and start adding the annotations that are so helpful to researchers.  See the Office of Revision Counsel's websit

Should Law Students Get Credit & Cash?

The reform idea that law student should receive credit and pay for their externships has been around for awhile .  This time, it's the NYTimes Room for Discussion series taking up the issue. As the intro to the series mentions, "[t]he American Bar Association prohibits law students from receiving pay for internships and externships that grant them academic credit. Critics have pressured the organization to reverse this standard, as law students face mounting debt and a slow job market." A law student, a law professor, and a legal professional all chimed in. The law student argues that law students should get paid and receive credit. "While in school, [law] students have to decide whether to accept an unpaid externship and receive law school credit — which could allow them to graduate and find a paying job more quickly — or take a paid legal position, without school credit, which might extend their time in law school." The law professor argues that th