The Association of Research Libraries (ARL), a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries [map], has published its most recent installment of statistics for 2010-2011 — please see the press release/announcement here.

Hat tip to

Legal Information Institute for China?

The Legal Information Institutes (LIIs) have been spearheading the free access to law movement throughout the world. Until recently, China has been conspicuously absent from the family of LIIs; however, that may soon change.

The Internet Law Review (网络法律评论) from Peking University Law School is working on an upcoming article that focuses on the possibility of forming a legal information institute in China. Keep an eye out for the article tentatively titled: “Law via the Internet: Why there is no LII for China.”

If you are interested in China’s development of a LII or Chinese legal research in general, you may wish to attend the the Chinese and American Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries (CAFLL) Conference scheduled for Shanghai from June 11-12, 2013. CAFLL conferences offer a unique opportunity for Chinese and foreign law librarians to exchange ideas and expertise.

Additional conference information is available at the CAFLL Website:

Wishing our Chinese colleagues good luck with promoting free access to law in China.

New Home Webpage at Law Library of Congress

The Law Library of Congress (LLoC) has announced a new, less “text-heavy, easier to scan” home webpage at:

Two of the most-used LLoC products, and the Guide to Law Online, are more prominently displayed.

And the right-hand column contains the Twitter stream:LawLibraryofCongress

In general, there is a widened the webpage layout as well as improved search function from the addition of metadata and related facets.

For information on an earlier (June 2012) update, please see:

The LLoC also invites visitors to its blog, In Custodia Legis, at:

LexisNexis and Westlaw charges – who’s paying?

A story in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Law Firms Face Fresh Backlash Over Fees, caught my eye with this paragraph:

Johnson & Johnson has its own strategy for curbing charges for legal-research services. The health-care-products company maintains its own subscriptions to legal databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis. It asks law firms to use its accounts when doing work for the company. A J&J spokesman says the practice is one of several used to reduce costs for outside legal work.

Is this a common practice?  Comments welcome.

“Open Access Spectrum” (OAS) Guide

The final version of an “Open Access (OA) Spectrum” guide

How Open Is It? Open Access Spectrum — OAS: A Guide to Understanding the Core Components of OA

came out last Friday, October 19, 2012 from SPARC [Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition], PLOS [Public Library of Science] and OASPA [Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association] in preparation for Open Access Week {Monday-Friday, October 22-28, 2012}.

This resource aims to indicate the central components of Open Access (OA) – such as reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights, author posting rights, etc — running from “open access” to “restricted access.”

It is also intended to assist authors decide where to publish based on OA- or non-OA publication policies.

In addition, it provides a resource for funding organizations and others to help establish standards as to appropriate levels of OA.

Hat tip to

“Open Access Solutions” from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)

The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), the well-known non-profit organization focusing on copyright licensing services, has launched “Open Access Solutions.”

Please see:

Copyright Clearance Center Launches Open Access Solutions

New Pew Internet & American Life Project Report on How People Learn about Their Local Communities

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has another new report of interest:

How people get local news and information in different communities

Please see here for the report’s overview and accompanying information.

Hat tip to

New U.S. Library of Congress product “” unveiled… which will eventually replace THOMAS

The U.S. Library of Congress has announced today:

We’ve just launched a new public beta site for accessing free, fact-based legislative information that will eventually replace the venerable THOMAS.

Read more: here.

And see an instructional video of the legislative process: here.

Plus, take a look at the Library of Congress Magazine.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

Writing a winning brief, in three easy steps

The best way to become a good writer is to read a lot of good writing.  And to me there’s no better legal writing than that of Judge Ruggero Aldisert.

Judge Aldisert just published the third edition of his important and popular book on Opinion Writing (details from the catalog record copied below).  This third edition (listen up, law students) includes a new chapter on law clerk duties, an expanded treatment of trial court opinions, and new chapters on administrative law judges and arbitration procedures and opinions.

But, one might ask, how will a book on opinion writing help me write a winning brief?  The answer is found in what the good judge calls his “chambers mantra” — “writing a good opinion is the best training on how to write a good brief.”

And about those three steps.  Opinion Writing, 3rd edition includes three checklists (these checklists, alone, are worth the price of the book) on opinion writing that can be used in brief writing:

1. Writing it.

2. Testing it.

3. Shortening it.

The book asks:  Why use checklists for writing, testing and shortening an opinion?  The answer:  “Checklists ensure that you touch all the bases on your way to file a ‘home run’ opinion.”  These checklists are gold, pure gold.

Here’s the book’s description from our library catalog:

Opinion writing / Ruggero J. Aldisert.

        Aldisert, Ruggero J.


        3rd ed.
        Durham, N.C. : Carolina Academic Press, c2012.

        Includes bibliographical references and index.

        Writing judicial opinions
        To write or not to write
        Reaching and justifying the decision : a distinction with a difference
        Judicial declaration of public policy
        The outline of your opinion
        Jurisdiction and standards of review
        Orientation paragraph
        Summary of issues
        Statement of facts
        Writing the reasons for the decision.


        Legal composition.
        Judicial opinions > United States.

At the Library:
        Crown (Law) > Stacks 1
                KF250 .A35 2012
                KF250 .A35 2012
                KF250 .A35 2012


Yes, we have three copies.  Every law library should have at least that many, and law librarians should encourage their students, especially their students in law school clinics, to read and heed the judge’s insightful tips.

Full disclosure:  I met Judge Aldisert in 2008 when my daughter was serving as one of his law clerks.

The 2012 Web Index

The Web Index is an interesting new measurement of “the Web’s utility and impact on people and nations.”

Coverage is of “61 developed and developing countries, incorporating indicators that assess the political, economic and social impact of the Web, as well as indicators of Web connectivity infrastructure and use.”

Please see the “snapshot” here and the full report available here.

Hat tip to

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.