As I wrote the previous post, even more pictures showed up.  Here they are.

Caren Luckie from the firm Jackson Walker in Houston submitted these:

Each year the attorneys and paralegals host an appreciation lunch for the staff at Halloween – complete with awesome decorations, games, and a costume contest.  I don’t have all of the pictures from my phone downloaded yet, but here is our Chief Knowledge Services Officer (and candidate for AALL President), Greg Lambert, my assistant, and our newest associate.

associate Sarah Maize

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The next one was sent in by Carolyn J. Keery from the Law Offices of Hinckley Allen in Providence RI.  The source was Facebook.

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Mark

The first batch comes from Miriam Murphy, Interim Director of the Ruth Lilly Law Library at IUPUI in Indianapolis.  Miriam writes:

My wonderful staff turned the library into a “Frozen” wonderland. We participiated in a law school wide trick or treat give away to the children of our students, staff and faculty.  We won best office décor, but lost out on the group costume to the Dean’s office where they were “A Christmas Story” with the Vice Dean as Ralphie in the pink bunny suit in the back right of the larger group photo.

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The next batch comes from Beth Applebaum at the Arthur Neef Law Library at Wayne State University in Detroit.  All I can say is one of them is a unique use for a print periodical.  You can’t do that online unless you hang a monitor from the ceiling.

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I’m writing this as I’m sweating it out in my Jake the Dog Costume. Yes, those are Shepards volumes on a cart behind me.  They are scheduled to go to that big Law Library recycling bin in the sky.  That is below with a few others from the Rinn Law Library at DePaul.  Keep sending them in and I will post them through next week.

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Mark

 

We’re celebrating Halloween at our library.  I’m sure others are as well.  Feel free to share pictures of Halloween at your library.  I’ll post the best of them all through next week on the Blog.  Send pictures or a link to their location to me at mgiangr@gmail.com.  I’ll be in costume tomorrow at DePaul as Jake the Dog from Adventure Time.  Yes, I’ll post that picture.

Mark

Today is National Cat Day.  I share a house with five of them, not counting the strays I feed in my back yard.  As such I want to present a picture of Olivia.  She runs the house.  If I understand correctly, she is also Queen of the Universe.  Or is that Empress.  I’m never sure about these things.  I have not met a cat who can match her use of the royal meow, or as she spells it, “meoux.”  Happy National Cat Day.

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Olivia

Mark

Gizmodo reports that the Wayback Machine, the part of the Internet Archive that preserves web sites, is getting its own search engine.  That’s good news in that the only way one can use the archive now is by typing in a URL.  There are 439 Billion pages in the Archive.  The web from my perspective is still a chaotic place despite its sophistication.  Stuff comes and goes, and it’s not just Facebook posts.  This development should be a vast improvement for researchers.

Mark

There is so much to catch up on.  The recent news is that Ravel Law is teaming up with Harvard to scan significant portions of the primary law collection with the ultimate goal of placing the bulk online for use by the public.  The story in the New York Times mentions the fact that the librarians are cutting the books apart so the pages could go through high speed scanners.  The implication here is that there is no turning back for the project. Here is another story from the Harvard Law School News.

The interesting part for me aside from having as much primary law on the web is that this is the first major scanning project announced since the Google Book decision from October 16th.  Most primary law is in the public domain so there shouldn’t be any question about the legality of scanning.  Nonetheless, that decision should comfort the project managers.  I wonder if the decision will be giving impetus to any other large scale digitizing projects.

Mark

The DMCA Exemptions for 2015 were announced by David S. Mao, the Acting Librarian of Congress, and effective as of October 28.  This is a series of exemptions allowed every three years upon review.  There is now a limited exemption for jailbreaking software in cars, 3D printers, phones, tablets, other portable devices, games, and allowance for the use of excerpted DVD clips for educational use.  Some of the items on the list, such as limited use of DVD excerpts had been approved in last reviews.  The process requires a renewal to prevent the exemption from expiring.

I often found the refusal to exempt making archival copies of DVDs a bit hypocritical as there are quite a few software packages that can accomplish this for sale on large commercial retail sites.  And then there are stories such as a review of the Five Best DVD Ripping Tools from Lifehacker.  Let me state up front that I am not encouraging anyone to violate copyright law.  I’m merely pointing to examples that show how little the prohibition against copying/ripping seems to be enforced.  Maybe this software is bought mostly by academics for classroom use.

Some of the commentary on this year’s announcements are in Wired, boingboing, the EFF, and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Mark

Last Friday, Thomson Reuters released its third quarter financial results. For TR Legal

  • Revenues increased 1%. Excluding US print, revenues grew 3%.
  • Solutions businesses (46% of the segment’s revenues) grew 4%, slightly lower than the first half of the year due to timing factors. Revenue growth was driven by Elite, Serengeti, Pangea3 legal managed services, and the Investigations and Public Records business. Solutions businesses represent all of Legal’s revenues excluding US print and US online legal information.
  • US online legal information (40% of the segment’s revenues) grew 2%, reflecting growth for the third consecutive quarter.
  • US print (14% of the segment’s revenues) declined 8%, as expected.
  • EBITDA was unchanged and the margin increased 90 basis points to 38.8% compared to 37.9% in the prior-year period. Excluding the benefit of currency, the margin increased 30 basis points.
  • Operating profit increased 4% and the margin increased 200 basis points to 31.7% compared to 29.7% in the prior-year period. Excluding the benefit of currency, the margin increased 130 basis points due to lower depreciation and amortization expense.

triq3dia

As one can see from the above, US Print and US Online Legal only represents 54% of the revenue generated by TR Legal during Q3. Solutions is the revenue growth driver and likely will surpass 50% of TR Legal’s total revenue in a couple of years as US Print continues its death spiral.

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Do note TR Legal’s profit margin for the nine months ended Sept. 30th. At 29.3%, it is substantially higher than all of TR’s other divisions: Financial & Risk (17%), Tax & Accounting (21%), and Intellectual Property & Science (20.4%).

— Joe

Rick McKinney, Assistant Law Librarian, Federal Reserve Board Law Library, posted the following announcement on various AALL lists:

The Federal Law Librarians Special Interest Section of the Law Librarians Society of Washington, D.C., Inc. is pleased to announce the availability on its website of a new online resource entitled Quick Links and Sources to U.S. Court Opinions. The new website presents quick links to all major sources for U.S. Court opinions including sites for recent years, sites for recent and historical years, and subscription sites. It also presents direct links to court opinion sites of specific U.S. courts such as the U.S. courts of appeals as well links to opinion sites to those courts before the 1990’s.  Each specific’s court’s abbreviation and city location can also be found and there is an example of how new slip opinions can be cited. The new website is also linked on LLSDC’s Legislative Source Book.

Bookmark it. — Joe

I’m in the middle of creating lesson plans for three introductory legal research classes to be taught to first year students by librarians next month.  That’s one reason why there has been a lack of posts in the last couple of weeks, among others.  The task is, how can I put it, time consuming.  That’s another story.

I thought I’d take a moment this afternoon and wander through Google Scholar to see what literature it contains on the process of legal research.  I did the obvious and searched the phrase “legal research.”  At about two or three pages into the search I noticed an entry for Land Use, Planning, and Zoning Legal Research Guide: Home by Vicky Gannon at Pace University.  The citation came up because the title contains the words “legal research.”  I have to admit that I had not expected a libguide to be one of the results in Google Scholar as I had not seen any prior to today.  I use Scholar a lot.  I mean, a lot.

I decided that I would try and search the word “libguide” all by itself and sure enough there were citations linking to any number of guides mixed in with the scholarly articles about the use of libguides.  Many of them were listed as [citation] which linked to an entry in either Bepress or a university commons page that in turn linked to the actual guide.  I found this all quite interesting.  Scholar apparently can be another vehicle for researchers to get to the intellectual output of a law library staff.  My suggestion is for all of you out there to give it a try.  Create some sample searches and see what happens.  I know I will.  This may be another strategy I can use in teaching or advising at the reference desk.

Mark

The Second Circuit handed Google another victory in its battle with the Authors Guild, et al., by upholding the District Court’s determination that its book scanning project is fair use.  Here is the Court’s own summary of the decision from the end of the opinion:

In sum, we conclude that: (1) Google’s unauthorized digitizing of copyright-protected works, creation of a search functionality, and display of snippets from those works are non-infringing fair uses. The purpose of the copying is highly transformative, the public display of text is limited, and the revelations do not provide a significant market substitute for the protected aspects of the originals. Google’s commercial nature and profit motivation do not justify denial of fair use. (2) Google’s provision of digitized copies to the libraries that supplied the books, on the understanding that the libraries will use the copies in a manner consistent with the copyright law, also does not constitute infringement. Nor, on this record, is Google a contributory infringer.

The Court relied on its decision in the HathiTrust case for declaring that Google’s scans were transformative.  The Court here noted that the libraries did not offer snippet view in local search in comparison to Google.  That wasn’t a problem, however, as Google’s snippets were no substitute for a copy of the book.  At best a research could determine whether the book would be useful in a research project.  That would not be a lost sale necessarily if the researcher rejected using the book in a personal project.

I’m still digesting the opinion and may have more to say about this later.  I’ll refer readers to c copy of the opinion on Google Drive as supplied by the Chronicle of Higher Education.  I’ll also point to a copy linked in a statement of disappointment in the ruling by the Authors Guild.  Note, however, that the Guild links ultimately to copy placed on Google Drive as well (oh the irony).  I would also draw your attention to the fact that the link from the Chronicle allows the reader to download the document.  The version from the Guild does not offer that option.  I’m guessing the Guild is hard-wired in that regard.

Mark

There was no Friday Fun last week because I was out having fun.  Specifically, my friend Virginia Thomas,  Director of the Arthur Neef Law Library at Wayne State University in…uh, DETROIT, and I went to the United Center here in CHICAGO to view the Stanley Cup.  This was a fan event celebrating the third Cup win in six seasons by the Blackhawks.  Fun was definitely had by all.  Maybe next year Red Wings.  Maybe next year.

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Mark

Oakland University and Wayne State University have partnered so that the last year of undergraduate work and the first year of law school are essentially the same year.  According to the Detroit Free Press (the “Freep”), the first 30 hours of law classes at Wayne would count as the credits to complete a bachelor’s degree at Oakland University.  That’s a saving of $13,350 in tuition for both degrees.  In my value system, that money could by 26,000 cans of cat food, or a small car.

More information is available from Wayne State University and Oakland University:

For more information about the partnership, current and prospective OU students can contact David Lau at 248-370-3229 or lau@oakland.edu. For more information about Wayne Law, contact Wayne Law Admissions at 313-577-3937 orlawinquire@wayne.edu.

Mark

Interbrand released its annual survey of the top 100 of the most valuable brands.  Apple and Google hold the number 1 and 2 spots respectively.  Barnes & Noble is nowhere to be found, but Amazon comes in at number 10.  Lego broke into the list for the first time at number 82 (Ninja Go!!!!).  Facebook is listed as a top rise are number 23.  I guess having 1 billion users helps with brand awareness.  My old friend Jack Daniels makes the list at number 84.  Thomson Reuters comes in at number 63, though that represents a drop of 12% in brand value.  There must be some people out there still pining for Westlaw Classic I imagine.

Mark

It’s the end of an era certainly.  OCLC has produced its last printed catalog card.  We may take online catalogs for granted these days, but someone, somewhere has been using printed cards.  An article in the Columbus Dispatch noted that the last set of printed cards went to Concordia College in Bronxville, NY.  The peak total for cards within a year was 135 million in 1984.  That’s the year personal computers by Apple and IBM started hitting the mainstream.  At the end, some 1.9 billion cards had been produced.  There is a forest somewhere that is sighing a breath of relief.  What to do with the table and drawers that formerly held the carefully organized cards?  We use ours to hold snacks for the library staff.

Mark

Via Press Release:

This fall, our colleagues at HarvardX, a University-wide initiative supporting faculty innovation in teaching, are helping with those connections by bringing to life some of the library’s holdings in the open online course The Book: Histories Across Time and Space.   Harvard librarians have been essential partners in the development of this course, and we hope it will increase awareness about the value of libraries as well as enthuse people about learning more about books and their impact on learning and society.

The Book, developed by HarvardX and available via edX, is an interactive learning experience made up of nine modules that examine the world of books, scrolls, and manuscripts. The course highlights aspects of these materials – from their physical structure and history to the print and handwriting found within their pages – across time and across cultures.

The Book brings learners inside the collections of Harvard’s libraries, providing access to some of the world’s most extraordinary works through the use of digital tools (including a rich image viewer) and perspectives from leading thinkers. A group of distinguished faculty members leads the course, including Jeffrey F. Hamburger (History of Art & Architecture, Faculty of Arts and Sciences), Robert Darnton (History, Faculty of Arts & Sciences and University Librarian emeritus), and Thomas Forrest Kelly(Music, Faculty of Arts and Sciences).

Anyone with an internet connection can take this self-paced course. Sign up for free today, and please share this opportunity with others.

Mark

Available on SSRN, Michigan Law School prof Michael D. Murray’s The Ethics of Visual Legal Rhetoric is a timely contribution to the legal writing literature. Here’s the abstract:

This Article discusses the application of visual rhetorical techniques in legal writing and the ethical questions that are raised regarding the use of these techniques. It is likely that visual rhetoric will be used in brief writing and general legal communications at an increasing rate because the research and scholarship of a wide range of disciplines — law and popular culture, cognitive studies and brain science, data visualization studies, and modern argument theory in rhetoric — indicate the communicative power of visual techniques. This fact coincides with the development of technology in the production of legal documents, and technology in the reading and reception of legal documents, that allow judges and attorneys to access full-color graphics, imbedded video, and multimedia content, and follow hyperlinks in the normal course of reading legal briefs and memoranda.

The recognition in the literature that visual rhetoric is rapid, efficient, constructive, and persuasive reveals the potential of visual rhetorical devices to serve as topics and tropes in legal discourse to construct meaning and to inform and persuade legal audiences. The visual rhetorical topics and tropes inspire inventive thinking about the law that constructs meaning, for the author and the audience. For many members of the legal writing discourse community — judges, practitioners, government agencies, and academics — the modes of persuasion of visual rhetoric can construct meaning and improve the persuasiveness of legal discourse generally in content, arrangement, and style.

Attorneys should fulfill their professional responsibility to use the best practices to represent the interests of their clients in law practice. However, the cautions of scholars as to the dangerous power of visuals to deceive or to overpower more deliberative forms of rational thought and analysis are not lightly to be dismissed. The speed and power of visuals is seductive. Visual topics and tropes are subject to abuse, and must be used ethically and with careful regard to their propriety as a tool to create meaning and inspire imagination, and not used as a tool of deception or obfuscation within the rhetorical situation at hand. I conclude that visual rhetorical devices are a proper form of legal rhetoric if they are used to construct knowledge and understanding of the meaning and message of the communication and do not mislead or prejudice the audience’s reception or understanding of the communication.

Recommended. — Joe

It’s time to get your drink vote on again. Online voting for this year’s crop of Executive Board candidates begins today and ends on October 31st. Check out the candidates’ statements to see if any of the candidates express anything that can be construed as indicative of having an agenda for reforming AALL. See also the Q&As with the candidates featured in the latest issue of AALL Spectrum. There you will find out what the candidates’ favorite comfort food is!

Vice President/President-Elect:

Gregory R. Lambert, Chief Knowledge Services Office, Jackson Walker LLP

Diane M. Rodriguez, Assistant Director, San Francisco Law Library

Treasurer:

Elaine M. Knecht, Director of Information Resources, Barclay Damon, LLP

Jean L. Willis, Assistant Director for Support Services, Sacramento County Public Law Library

Executive Board Member:

Pauline M. Aranas, Associate Dean, John Stauffer Charitable Trust Chief Information Officer, Director of the Law Library, and Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Southern California

Madeline Cohen, Director & Circuit Librarian, U.S. Courts Library for the Tenth Circuit

Mary Jenkins, Law Librarian & Director, Hamilton County (Ohio) Law Library

Meg Kribble, Research Librarian and Outreach Coordinator, Harvard Law School

— Joe