The Laws of Science

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By , July 29, 2011 11:07 am

By Philippe Cloutier

A recent Library of Congress blog post highlights a work in their archives, Tractatus juridicus & practicus, de partu by Alonso Carranza (1629). From our viewpoint this 17th Century piece is a token of history once serving as a legal treatise. A treatise that combined religious and scientific beliefs, developing arguments for use in law. The book’s catalog page helps us understand the topics covered with the caveat of “Religious Aspects” and “Early Works to 1800”: pregnancy terms, embryology, inheritance and succession, abortion, and medical jurisprudence. The LOC blog mentions other details. Details that could inform potential additions to the subject headings such as: witchcraft and family law.

The digital scans of the brown withered pages, old font style, and an older legalese version of French language makes me think of times long forgotten and parts of our ancient history. However, issues tackled by Carranza still capture the US Court’s attention, keeping the topics contemporary. For example, The National Center for Science Education has a web-page dedicated to Ten Major Court Cases about Evolution and Creationism, with the most recent US District Court ruling in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover (2005).  The history and currency of it all proves eerie and exciting, exposing where humanity has stood, where it stands, and where it hopes to go.

Fastcase 50

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By , July 27, 2011 2:30 pm

By Philippe Cloutier

Fastcase, the new kid on the block who is growing up right before our eyes, ramps up its marketing and advertising game by highlighting some very special people in the legal community. The Fastcase 50 comes to us with this announcement:

“We are pleased to announce the inaugural class of the Fastcase 50, the fifty most interesting, provocative, and courageous leaders in the world of law, scholarship, and legal technology. From lawyers and judges to librarians and government servants, here are your nominees and our picks for 2011.”

The list certainly has recognizable names often found in mainstream and contemporary legal library issues. And perhaps the names we don’t recognize will lead us to discover other topics concerning our profession. My non-scientific count found 8 or 9 librarians and many quasi-librarians in the mix.  Boosts in image such as this are exactly what our profession needs. We are serious professionals with a deep passion for our field. While the Fastcase approach is very corporate in comparison to the Librarian Rock Star campaign, both serve similar and valuable purposes. Continue reading 'Fastcase 50'»

Nominations and Elections Committee Report

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By , July 26, 2011 11:23 am

The Nominations and Election Committee was composed of Brenna Louzin, Robyn Hagle and Richard Jost, Chair. The committee was pleased to submit to the LLOPS Executive Board and LLOPS membership two outstanding candidates for the open positions: Jennifer Hill (Keller Rohrback) agreed to serve as the new Vice-President/President-elect and Stephanie Wilson (Seattle University Law Library) agreed to serve as  the new Treasurer.

As in past years, the membership voted by electronic ballot. Rick Stroup (King County Law Library) graciously volunteered his services to set up the ballot for voting and tabulate the results. The election for new officers opened on May 1 and closed on May 27. In addition to the LLOPS listserv announcement at the beginning of May that voting had opened, a reminder email was sent to the listserv in mid-May to encourage members that had not voted yet to participate.

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Grants Committee Report

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By , July 22, 2011 10:11 am

The 2010-2011 LLOPS Grants Committee, with members Jan Lawrence and Bridget Dacres and Dawn Kendrick Gibb, Chair, awarded grants to three members during the year.

The budget for the 2010-2011 year was $1,500, slightly more than we enjoyed the previous year. We were able to support members who wished to take advantage of significant professional development opportunities.

In January, 2011, the committee awarded $285 to Kim Ositis (Reference Services Librarian, Public Law Library of King County) so she could attend DrupalCon 2011 in Chicago from March 7-10.  Kim learned basic as well as more advanced features of Drupal, the open-source content management system which will power the new PLLKC website. Continue reading 'Grants Committee Report'»

Didn’t Dante Have Something to Say About Circles?

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By , July 21, 2011 3:16 pm

by Stina McClintock

Hey everyone, have you heard the news? There is a new social networking site out there for you to use!  At the end of last month Google+ was launched to compete against Facebook (and further render Myspace obsolete). This represents the latest Google attempt to get in the social networking game. And after only a few short weeks the site has reached 18 million users.

So why should I abandon my Friendster account for The Google+ Project? One of the more enticing features of Google+ is that it offers Circles. Essentially, users can place friends, acquaintances, family, and colleagues in Circles, and then choose status updates, contact information and images that only this particular group can see. So, if you wanted to discuss library matters strictly with colleagues, you can create a Circle to address them, this also allows for conversations to quickly be conducted in a group setting. Users can also follow others via a “Following” Circle, which mirrors Twitter.

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How Can You Not Like OK Magazine?

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By , July 19, 2011 8:09 pm

by Stina McClintock

The other day, in line at the grocery store, I was debating the proverbial question: “What trashy magazine do I buy to balance this New York Times?”  When I saw that OK Magazine was advertising more content for half the price of US Weekly and that I could read all about Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom on their new free iPad app!  Without question, I was instantly drawn to the promise of more content for less money.

It seems that what is good enough for gossip news must also be good enough for legal news, as and have recently announced that they intend to redesign parts of their websites to attract more users in the legal community.  In the coming months these sites will be unveiling new looks along with a slate of free-to-use additional features.  Also on the plate are mobile applications for better access.

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H2O: The Wave of the Future

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By , July 14, 2011 12:51 pm

by Robyn Hagle

During library training, for our first group of summer associates, I was introduced to a new technology that is gaining traction in at least one law school. H2O is a product of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard. At its core, H2O is basically a free online digital casebook.  But the concept could easily spread and gain acceptance and popularity outside of law schools as a more general legal wiki, for examples see Communications Decency Act or Remix Culture.

The cornerstone of H2O is the “playlist”. A playlist is a shared grouping of articles and other content on a particular topic, and is a primer or research guide of sorts. Other components of H2O are more specific to an academic or collaborative learning setting. The question tool allows users to submit questions or discussion points to be considered for conferences and classes and provides a more focused approach to connect speakers to audiences.  “Collage”, a tool recently added to H2O platform, provides a way to annotate a primary document (e.g. highlighting specific legal concepts at play in a case and hiding other non-essential text without changing the original document). “Rotisserie” is the discussion or message board component of H2O.
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Talkin’ ‘bout my generation!

By , July 12, 2011 10:29 am

by Robyn Hagle

Don’t go looking up the lyrics for this song and think I’m trying to diss on anyone!  It’s not about you; it’s about US and our future!

I recently accepted an assignment to serve on the AALL Futures Summit Planning Special Committee.  The committee has been tasked with developing an agenda for and planning a Futures Summit to be held in Chicago in early November.  The Futures Summit, which will be by invitation, will bring together newer and more seasoned members to discuss ways to engage, encourage and prepare new member law librarians for their future as the next leaders of the association and the profession.   As the more seasoned generation of member law librarians prepares to retire, issues around communication, participation, and understanding of newer members will be critical to a healthy transition and the future of our association. Continue reading 'Talkin’ ‘bout my generation!'»

Uniform Law Commission and State Online Legal Materials

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By , July 8, 2011 2:20 pm

By L. Fossum

The Uniform Law Commission is currently holding its 2011 annual meeting in Vail, CO. Among the new uniform laws being considered is the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act, which purports to provide a clear answer to the question of who is the official publisher of a given governmental record, and how official publishers can authenticate the fact that a given electronic record is, in fact, the official record for citation and other purposes. A draft version of the Act is available here.

The Uniform Law Commission, in existence since 1892, is responsible for the drafting and passage of more than 200 uniform acts designed to solve problems common to all the states. Some examples are the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, and the Uniform Partnership Act.  Just who are these commissioners? They are 350 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors, and lawyer-legislators from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Washington has six commissioners (listed by state) here.

Research Tips and Reminders for Newer Law Librarians

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By , July 8, 2011 9:52 am

by Erin Hoffrance

I recently stumbled upon an article written for summer associates on research success.  While reading these tips I thought that they could apply to newer law librarians too. Titled “Observations for Summer Research Success”,  written by Shawn G. Nevers of J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, this short paper provides several tips that I have found useful in my life and for summer associates.

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