About Paul Lomio

Paul is library director and lecturer at law at Stanford Law School. He has a J.D. from Gonzaga Law School, an LL.M. from the University of Washington, and a M.L.I.S. from the Catholic University of America. He is the author (with Henrik Spang-Hanssen) of Legal Research Methods in the U.S. and Europe. He also likes to ride his bicycle.

Save the Tweets: Library Acquisition of Online Materials

The latest issue of AIPLA Quarterly Journal (Volume 39, Issue Number 2, Spring 2011) just landed upon my desk, and at page 269 I found this article calling for “digital acquisition rights”:

Save the Tweets: Library Acquisition of Online Materials, by Jodie C. Graham

Its abstract from the AIPLA webpage:

As the Internet becomes an increasingly pervasive communications technology in society, public discussions and other born-digital documents of social and political importance frequently exist solely on various websites.  To fulfill their missions of preserving public knowledge, libraries seek to acquire and make accessible web documents to scholars, students, and other library patrons.  However, section 108 of the Copyright Act, which previously provided sufficient protection from liability for libraries’ acquisition and reproduction activities, does not adequately map onto the technological realities of acquiring digital documents over the Internet.  As a result, libraries must accept the risk of copyright infringement liability or forgo preserving historically important online documents.  This Note proposes a set of amendments that would update section 108 to extend libraries’ current limited protections from copyright liability to the acquisition, preservation, and making available of online documents.​

Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide

Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide
INFOdocket
Information Industry News + New Web Sites and Tools From Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy
CRS — Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide

Posted on June 20, 2011 by fulltextreports
Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide (PDF)

    This report provides an overview of federal legislative history research, the legislative process, and where to find congressional documents. The report also summarizes some of the reasons researchers are interested in legislative history, briefly describes the actions a piece of legislation might undergo during the legislative process, and provides a list of easily accessible print and electronic resources. This report will be updated as needed.

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Hat tip to the always useful-to-follow Boley Law Library in Portland, Oregon (to follow on Twitter, it’s:   @lawlib )

PACER Training Pilot Project Begins in July

PACER Training Pilot Project Begins in July
June 17, 2011

A pilot project aimed at having public libraries enhance the public’s knowledge and use of the federal judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service begins July 1, 2011.

Two libraries – the Library of Congress in the District of Columbia and the Law Library for San Bernadino, California – will kick off the pilot, but up to 50 additional public libraries may join them in future months.

PACER allows users to obtain case information from federal courts without having to visit the courthouse. The service allows an Internet user to request information about a particular case or party, and makes the data immediately available for printing or downloading at a cost of 8 cents per page.

In the pilot project, libraries will conduct at least one training class for the general public every three months, and offer training or refresher opportunities for library staff at least one a year. Those staff members, in turn, may assist library patrons in the use of PACER. For participating libraries, the first $50 of PACER use fees each quarter will be waived.

The pilot is a joint undertaking of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Government Printing Office, and the American Association of Law Libraries.

The FTC should begin an investigation into U.S. law schools

That’s the conclusion reached by Joel Murray in his paper “Professional Dishonesty: Do U.S. Law Schools That Report False or Misleading Employment Statistics Violate Consumer Protection Laws?.”

From the conclusion:

The FTC should begin an investigation into U.S. law schools. Many law schools are violating the FTC Act by reporting false and misleading employment statistics. The FTC has jurisdiction over law schools because they are professional schools oriented towards preparing students for legal careers and therefore, provide pecuniary benefits to students. If a law school reports false or misleading employment statistics in marketing materials or to U.S. News and World Report, the law school engages in deception and false advertising in violation of the FTC Act. Reporting false employment statistics is deceptive as prospective law students have limited, or no, resources to determine a school’s actual employment statistics. These employment statistics play a material role in a prospective law student’s choice to attend a law school. . . .

And here’s the paper’s abstract:

This paper examines the potential legal application of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) to American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools. In recent years, evidence has emerged indicating that many law schools are misreporting or falsifying employment statistics in marketing materials and to the U.S. News Rankings and World Report law school rankings, the preeminent rankings for United States (U.S.) law schools. The reporting of false or misleading employment statistics to prospective students may violate provisions of the FTC Act that prohibit deceptive practices and false advertising. This paper reviews evidence that U.S. law schools are misreporting employment statistics, examines how the FTC Act applies to U.S. law schools, and argues that U.S. law schools that misreport or falsify employment statistics violate multiple provisions of the FTC Act.

And here’s the complete cite:

Murray, Joel, Professional Dishonesty: Do U.S. Law Schools That Report False or Misleading Employment Statistics Violate Consumer Protection Laws? (May 27, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1854709

 

Open Access Law Journals – “One Journal at a Time”

Judy Janes and Marissa Andrea just published a good article on open access law journals.  Their article, “One Journal at a Time,” includes a few paragraphs providing “a brief history of open access.”  In addition, they comment upon how “the success of RSS feeds, SSRN alerts and SMARTCILP/CLJC email updates has further accelerated the transition to Open Access journals.”

In their “Learn More” section of the article they link to a video presentation where Dick “Danner discusses Open Access and the Durham Statement and also his paper entitled “The Durham Statement on Open Access One Year Later: Preservation and Access to Legal Scholarship” available at SSRN.”

Other resources linked in the Janes and Andrea article include:

Directory of Open Access Journals

Science Commons Open Access Law Project

and

New York Law School list of law reviews with online content

This movement will benefit us all, as Janes and Andrea state it:

. . . As more journals become available on the Internet through an initiative called Open Access, published legal scholarship — once only available in print form from law libraries, or online through proprietary databases ­— will reach a wider audience. This is a movement not only benefiting practicing attorneys, but historians, scholars and members of the public with legal research interests, who will be able to access legal scholarship by simply googling a topic.

My White Horse Case Book Now in Its 3rd Edition! Happy Day!!

How many times have we seen students spinning their wheels online seeking that illusive ”white horse case?”

Don’t know what a white horse case is (I’m showing my age here)?  Then look it up in Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage, one of my most favorite reference books.  I love this book and I read it for fun and find many definitions — besides “white horse case” (and this is the only book I’ve found which offers a good definition of the phrase) —  to share with my students, so I was delighted to see that this book is now out in its third edition; from the Oxford University Press Law Newsletter:

Bryan A. Garner reaffirms his position as the foremost expert of legal usage and style with the Third Edition of his Dictionary of Legal Usage. This month, be among the first to own this revamped and expanded new edition with more than 800 new entries.
Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage
Third Edition
Bryan A. Garner

This new edition discusses and analyzes modern legal vocabulary and style more thoroughly than any other contemporary reference work.

I can’t wait to start pouring over those 800 new entries.  Talk about poolside summer reading!

Where Law Books Are Made, Illustrated

“West’s Words, Ho! Law Books by the Million, Plus a Few” 

Green Bag 2d, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 301-339, Spring 2011
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 11-25

ROSS E. DAVIES, George Mason University School of Law, The Green Bag

This essay introduces an interesting but nearly invisible artifact of American law: A promotional pamphlet titled Law Books by the Million: An account of the largest law-book house in the world, the home establishment of The National Reporter System and The American Digest System. It was produced by the West Publishing Company in 1901 and is reprinted in its entirety below at pages 311 to 339 of this issue of the Green Bag. Professor Robert Jarvis has quite rightly bemoaned the meager public information about John West, founder of the West Publishing Company and an important figure in American legal history. A similar, albeit less severe, paucity of information plagues the West Publishing Company itself (now owned by Thomson Reuters). There isn’t much out there about the company’s early years, and what little there is can be strangely difficult to get hold of. For example, the biggest single source of West history – William Marvin’s 1969 book, West Publishing Company: Origin, Growth, Leadership – is out of print, rare, and not available on the Internet. The same goes for The Publications of West Publishing Company and The Romance of Law Reporting: Serving the Bench and Bar, pamphlets published by West in 1901 and 1934 respectively. Law Books by the Million is nearly as hard to find, but at least it is in the library and in the public domain, and therefore susceptible to reproduction here. And it is worth the trouble and expense. Law Books by the Million provides a readable, richly illustrated narrative of the processes West used to create and disseminate its products in the early years (that is, the late 19th and early 20th centuries) of those simultaneously democratizing and costly, mutually reinforcing revolutions in American law: the expansion of the bar and the legal information explosion.

 

Source: LSN Legal Education eJournal Vol. 8 No. 35, 06/13/2011

. . . a good tailor, a good priest, and a good librarian.

From The Conglomerate:

 We Have Winners! – and a Paean to Law Librarians

Posted by Peter Conti-Brown
 
. . .
 
First Peter gives a well-deserved “e-high five to Erika Wayne” (read his post for the reason) and then concludes his blog posting thusly:

Last of all, I cannot restrain myself from praising our extraordinary librarians at Stanford Law School. I have a bucketful of examples of their extraordinary sleuthing (the Martin speech is only the latest), one of which includes going through repeated FOIA requests and appeals, losing each one, and then still securing the key document from an 80 year old researcher who had it in his own files in some barn in Vermont, or something like that. I only know SLS, so if you have other examples of librarian sleuthing that made your research possible, I’d love to hear them, as I think they are the sometimes too-well-kept secret of the academy. After all, an eminent legal authority — I think it was Ronald Coase, but it may have been Moses himself — once said that every great scholar needs a good tailor, a good priest, and a good librarian. I have no experience with the first two, but can vouch emphatically for the third.

 

SCOCAL in the news and its recent growth spurt (with a new feature in development too).

Our Supreme Court of California Resources  database  (SCOCAL) is in the news!  There is an item about the project on page 2 of the  Stanford Lawyer just-out Spring 2011 issue (Volume 45, Issue #2), “California Supreme Court Opinions and Annotations Online.” 

We have 67 students in our Advanced Legal Research class this spring (67!) and they each have to write two annotations.  The first is due today, so 67 new annotations will be appearing online before (or perhaps at) the first stroke of midnight.

Later this summer, in partnership with a law firm, we will be adding a new feature to the database, so please stay tuned.

The Journal of Law – “Like Water for Law Reviews”

Another Volume #1, Issue #1, just came across my desk:  The Journal of Law.

The Journal of Law looks like a conventional law review, but it is really a bundle of small, unconventional law journals, all published together in one volume.  This approach saves money over separate publications.  It also frees editors of the individual journals to spend more time finding and refining good material . . .  The idea is that the Journal of Law will be an incubator of sorts, providing for legal intellectuals something akin to what business schools’ incubators offer commercial entrepreneurs: friendly, small-scale, in-kind support for promising, unconventional ideas for which (a) there might be a market, but (b) there is not yet backing among established, deep-pocketed powers-that-be.

This first issue contains three journals:

Pub. L. Misc. is a project of James C. Ho of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Trevor W. Morrison of the Columbia University School of Law.  Their plan is to provide a forum for the publication of a relatively neglected body of legal material: constitutional documents, recent and ancient, that originate outside of Article III of the U.S. Constitution.

Law & Commentary is an experiment in non-blind peer review in which signed reviews (by senior, influential scholars) are published side-by-side with the reviewed work.  The first issue features an article by Stuart Chinn of the University of Oregon School of Law, with commentary by Bruce Ackerman of the Yale Law School and Sanford Levinson of the University of Texas School of Law.

The Congressional Record, FantasyLaw Edition, is a student-edited journal . . . focusing on empirical analysis of the activities of federal legislators.

More about the journal, including its full text and an explanation of why it is “like water for law reviews” here:  www.journaloflaw.us

It’s in print too and will be “as long as the most prestigious law reviews appear in print, . . . “  As for when it will “abandon ink and paper” it cites, among other things, the Durham Statement.