by Grace Feldman
Public access to legal materials, digitization and authentication of legal materials, and budget cuts are frequent topics covered in conferences, literature and blogs like this one. These interrelated issues have been discussed and debated ad nauseum, so when Hollee Schwartz Temple’s Are Digitization and Budget Cuts Compromising History? was published in the ABA Journal, the article may have looked like one you already read several times. While some of the stories were familiar, Temple’s coverage of LLMC’s preserved print collection in salt mines 650 feet below ground gave a whole new meaning to the expression, “back to the salt mines.”
Recognizing debates over public access, digitization, authentication and budget cuts will continue indefinitely, for a moment let’s appreciate the ingenuity these problems have inspired: preservation in salt mines, UELMA, collaboration (like that between California and LLMC to digitize all of the state’s session laws), etc.
Okay, now back to the salt mines… really.
by Anna Endter
As noted in a recent AALL Washington Blawg post, FDsys now includes a collection of lower Federal court opinions as part of a pilot project between the Government Printing Office and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. The USCOURTS collection provides public access to authenticated Federal court opinions from selected appellate, district and bankruptcy courts back to April 2004. GPO authenticates these opinions with digital signatures, just as it does for all other collections within FDsys.
by Stina McClintock
On November 24, 1874, a man named Joseph Glidden was issued a patent for a strain of barbed wire dubbed “The Winner” which would go on to become the most popular form of fencing in the American West. So monumental was this discovery that Kansas could not let a tool that “tamed the west” go uncelebrated. Hence, the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum was created to pay homage to the fencing that illustrates the “inventiveness of the pioneers”. I came across this little gem of a museum while reading Eight Unusual All-American Museums and discovered that I can travel to a retirement community to view (and touch!) a Titan II Missile still on its launch pad, while exploring eight underground floors capturing the Cold War and the Nuclear Threat. Elsewhere in the US, you can view a museum dedicated to Jurassic Medicine, as well as a museum featuring Ava Gardner. Continue reading 'One Man’s Random is Another Man’s Collection'»
by Karen Helde
The story has been getting attention on blogs since February, but this week it hit the New York Times. Library copies of HarperCollins ebooks will expire after 26 loans. Assuming a two-week checkout period on a popular title, that means the book is gone from a library’s collection after a year. It’s fascinating to read the reactions. Given the current pressure on library budgets, it’s not surprising that many librarians are angry, but some think there’s some merit in the idea. HarperCollins released a predictable “can’t you see we’re trying to partner with you?” response. Many readers, library supporters and anti-DRM activists are outraged, but others defend the business needs of publishers, proclaim their distaste for ebooks in general, or argue that print books wear out too (true, but not that fast, according to these librarians)
I’ve yet to see ebooks gain a significant presence in law libraries, but I’m sure they’re in our future. And changes like this don’t make that future look rosy. It’s frustrating to see technologies which initially seem to offer cost savings and advantages for our users mature into yet another source of budget headache and administrative hassle.
by Philippe Cloutier
When we hear that an organization has gone paperless (or is considering it), we often think of cancelled book, newspaper, magazine, and other print subscriptions. More often though, it means an end to paper records, constant printouts and a focus on improved electronic archiving, storage, and access. More importantly, the move to a paper-free existence is a commitment to a new way of life.
It takes more than a fancy statement and the voicing of environmental concerns to enact change in institutions and individuals. A friend of mine works at a bankruptcy trustee office in Nevada, and their organization is mostly paperless. The paper records they generate are mainly for the court and case files. Typically, one case file is not very large and fits within a manila folder. Print also become necessary when attorneys review documents, making mark-ups and notes. In general, work is done digitally and stays digital.
Continue reading 'Truly Paperless'»