Harvard’s Caselaw Access Project has scanned 6.4 million unique cases from 627 reporters totally 40 million scanned pages, achieving its goal of making all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online, in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law Library. The capstone of the Caselaw Access Project is a robust set of tools which facilitate access to the cases and their associated metadata with two ways to access the data: Caselaw’s API, and bulk downloads.
This Trump tracker monitors Trump’s approval rating state by state and month by month.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is a database of press freedom incidents in the United States — everything from arrests of journalists and the seizure of their equipment to interrogations at the U.S. border and physical attacks. The Press Freedom Tracker documents incidents across the country, involving national, state and local authorities.
Beginning in early 2019, the 60,000 members of the California Lawyers Association will have access to Fastcase according to this press release. This agreement brings Fastcase’s user population to 900,000 or approximately 70% of all licensed attorneys in the US.
Is Fastcase’s user population larger than Thomson Reuters? Larger than LexisNexis? Bloomberg Law? Wolters Kluwer? Can’t prove it but I think Fastcase is the largest legal search vendor by user population. With duopolies in both the general law market (Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis) and the speciality law market (Bloomberg Law and Wolters Kluwer), Fastcase is poised for a breakthrough.
For some context, see Fastcase Rising on LLB.
The Sunlight Foundation’s Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest project provides a free, searchable database detailing President Donald J. Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as President of the United States. The project also documents news coverage of these potential conflicts.
The Gun Violence Archive is an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 2,500 media, law enforcement, government and commercial sources daily in an effort to provide near-real time data about the results of gun violence. The database has tracked mass shootings since 2013.
Bloomberg Law wants to get out of the print business (except, perhaps, for its treatise product line). I know of no BLaw press release announcing this fundamental change in publishing model but to its credit the Company explained its plans in some detail to CRIV earlier this year.
Last summer BLaw announced to CRIV that it was moving toward becoming a digital-only publisher because, the company explained, law libraries are moving away from print. True for law firms — 75% of total information budget is spent on electronic information. Less so for academic law libraries — 44% of total information budget is spent on electronic information. And much less so for public sector law libraries — 35% of total information budget is spent on electronic information according to AALL statistics.
The transition from BNA Law Reports in print to the news platform is a major component of this strategy to reinvent the Company. Not offering new Bloomberg Law online subscribers print materials for sale started some two years ago and that is another major component. Now BLaw is transitioning existing clients to its digital-only model. Or should I say, digital-almost-only model.
BLaw reported to CRIV that Tax Management Portfolios and Corporate Practice Series will continue in print for the time being. “No print sunset has been determined at this time. Subscribers will be notified in advance when an end date is determined.” Until that date is determined, BLaw is executing a sales policy similar to LexisNexis tying its print products availability to entering into a subscription for Lexis Advance. One difference: while LexisNexis has no coherent publishing strategy and is just trying to improve its bottom line by holding print hostage to digital, BLaw is trying to move to digital-only publishing by pricing some of its most valued print resources out of existence.
With regret, my county law library cancelled all BNA print and e-resources several years ago. We simply couldn’t afford to maintain our subscriptions. Now several of my Ohio county law library colleagues are grappling with BLaw demands as their print editions of BNA’s portfolio series come up for renewal.
For existing subscribers of BLaw BNA print portfolios, the Company now is requiring law libraries to subscribe to at least one seat for Bloomberg Law in order to have the privilege of subscribing to the print editions of Tax Management Portfolios and/or Corporate Practice Series for an additional expense. One Ohio county law library recently calculated that BLaw’s tying is almost a 300% increase over its cost for subscribing just to portfolios in print. That county law library, one of Ohio’s largest, cancelled its BNA print and did not subscribe to Bloomberg Law. So did another Ohio county law library. And a third, also one of Ohio’s largest county law libraries, will probably cancel if it does not receive some concessions from the Company. That’s how Ohio’s public sector is responding to BLaw.
I wonder how many other law libraries are simply walking away from BLaw in response to this new digital-almost-only sales policy. I guess subscriber cancellations in response to take-it-or-leave-it negotiations tactics is one way to reinvent yourself as a digital-only publisher. Unfortunately BLaw’s fundamental changes impact the law library marketplace unevenly. Arguably private law firm libraries are more capable of paying the increased cost than either academic or public law libraries.
Julian Assange will remain as publisher of WikiLeaks while one-time spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson has been appointed WikiLeak’s new editor-in-chief. Newsweek opines that this development may be related to how Assange’s internet connection was cut off by the Ecuadorean Embassy in London back in March 2018.
From the blurb for Kyle Banerjee & Terry Reese, Jr., Building Digital Libraries, 2d ed., (ALA Neal-Schuman, 2019):
Whether you’re embarking on the challenge of building a digital collection from scratch, or simply need to understand the conceptual and technical challenges of constructing a digital library, this top-to-bottom resource is the ideal guidebook to keep at your side, especially in this thoroughly updated and reworked edition. Demonstrating how resources are created, distributed, and accessed, and how librarians can keep up with the latest technologies for successfully completing these tasks, its chapters walk you step-by-step through every stage. Demystifying core technologies and workflows, this book comprehensively covers
- needs assessment and planning for a digital repository;
- choosing a platform;
- acquiring, processing, classifying, and describing digital content;
- storing and managing resources in a digital repository;
- digital preservation;
- technologies and standards useful to digital repositories, including XML, the Portland Common Data Model, metadata schema such as Dublin Core, scripting using JSON and REST, linked open data, and automated metadata assignment;
- sharing data and metadata;
- understanding information-access issues, including digital rights management; and
- analyzing repository use, planning for the future, migrating to new platforms, and accommodating new types of data.
The Supreme Court Mapping Project, produced by Baltimore Law prof Colin Starger, gives one a way to analyze and predict developments in Supreme Court doctrine with simple visual charts that cover 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th and 14th Amendment doctrine as well as the commerce power, patents, civil procedure, and more. The software allows users to create sophisticated, interactive maps of Supreme Court doctrine by plotting relationships among majority, concurring and dissenting opinions. With the software, users can both visualize how different lines of Supreme Court opinions have evolved and employ animation to make interactive presentations. Very interesting.
From the abstract for Kyle Langvardt, A New Deal for the Online Public Sphere, 26 George Mason Law Review ___ (2019):
Social media platforms have emerged as formidable regulators of online discourse, and their influence only grows as more speech activity migrates to online spaces. The platforms have come under heavy criticism, however, after revelations about Facebook’s role in amplifying disinformation and polarization during the 2016 presidential election. Policymakers have begun to discuss an official response, but what they envision – namely, a set of rules for online political ads – addresses only a small corner of a much wider set of problems. Their hesitancy to go deeper is understandable. How would government even go about regulating a social platform, and if it did, how would it do so without intruding too far on the freedom of speech?
This Article takes an early, panoramic view of the challenge. It begins with a conceptual overview of the problem: what kinds of risks do online platforms present, and what makes these risks novel compared to traditional First Amendment concerns? The Article then outlines the eclectic and sometimes exotic policies regulators might someday apply to problems including false news, private censorship, ideological polarization, and online addiction. Finally, the Article suggests some high-level directions for First Amendment jurisprudence as it adapts to online platforms’ new and radically disruptive presence in the marketplace of ideas.
AI Fairness 360 (AIF360) is a comprehensive open-source toolkit of metrics to check for unwanted bias in datasets and machine learning models, and state-of-the-art algorithms to mitigate such bias throughout the AI application lifecycle. Containing over 30 fairness metrics and 9 state-of-the-art bias mitigation algorithms developed by the research community, it is designed to translate algorithmic research from the lab into actual practice. Here’s IBM’s press release.
JSTOR’s Research Basics course no longer requires registration and has moved from the Moodle platform to the LibGuide platform. While designed to help early college and college-bound students learn academic research skills, the course can be useful for teaching law students how to do secondary law research.
H/T to Gary Price’s InfoDocket post.
On Sept. 11, Gale launched its Digital Scholar Lab (DSL), a cloud-based text mining and natural language processing solution that facilitates analysis of raw text data (optical character recognition/OCR text) from 160 million pages of Gale Primary Sources content. Combining commonly used open source algorithms and programs such as MALLET (MAchine Learning for LanguagE Toolkit) with proprietary tools, DSL is designed to enable students and researchers to generate data sets, utilize integrated data visualization tools, download and share those data sets and visualizations, and organize research for long-term projects.
- Corpus of Founding Era American English, a collection spanning 1760 to 1799 that contains nearly 100,000 documents from the founders, ordinary people and legal sources, and that includes letters, diaries, newspapers, non-fiction and fiction books, sermons, speeches, debates, legal cases and other legal materials.
- Corpus of Supreme Court of the United States, a collection of all Supreme Court opinions in the United States Reports though the 2017 term (with the 2018 soon to be added).
- Early English Books Online (EBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) corrected by the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) Evans Bibliography (University of Michigan).
Here. Finally! What do you think? — Joe
This edition of the Congressional Research Service’s U.S. Constitution Annotated is a hypertext interpretation of the CRS text, updated to the currently published version. It links to Supreme Court opinions, the U.S. Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as enhancing navigation through search, breadcrumbs, linked footnotes and tables of contents.
H/T beSpacific. — Joe
According to this Above the Law post, attorneys searching Casetext’s CARA completed their research 24.5 times faster compared to Lexis Advance. Annualized time savings using CARA adds up to between 132 and 210 hours a year. The survey also found that attorneys rated CARA’s results 20.8 percent more relevant than Lexis Advance. Interesting but I would prefer to see a similar study comparing Casetext’s CLARA and Westlaw Edge. — Joe
From the announcement: “Today we are thrilled to announce the general availability of PACER Docket Alerts on CourtListener.com. Once enabled, a docket alert will send you an email whenever there is a new filing in a case in PACER. … We believe PACER Docket Alerts will be a valuable resource to journalists, researchers, lawyers, and the public as they grapple with staying up to date with the latest PACER filings.” — Joe
Following Facebook and Twitter, Google has published its political ad database which details spending in US federal elections. The database contains any political ads purchased to run on Google Search or YouTube starting on or after May 31. The database will be updated weekly, not in real time. The database will include information about who paid for the ad, how many impressions it received, how long it ran for, and how much money was spent on it.
H/T Gary Price’s InfoDocket post. — Joe