Friday, March 31, 2006

Finding People

When Googling someone just won't do, try some of these other resources:
If these resources don't work, check out these in-depth guides to locating people:

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Is This the End of an April Start to DST?

As you know by now, Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday. Will it be the last time we "spring ahead" in April? Maybe.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (link to PDF of Act) lengthens the time spent in Daylight Savings Time by moving the start date from April to March and the end date from October to November. 15 U.S.C. 260a(a).

The Secretary of Energy must determine the impact of the change on energy use and report back to Congress, which has reserved the right to revert back to the 2005 system. P.L. 109-58, section 110 et. seq.

Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report

The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has issued a report on "juvenile crime, violence, and victimization and on the juvenile justice system."

More information about the report, including a summary, Excel files of data, and PowerPoint slides of graphs are also available online.

Federal Podcasts

Firstgov.gov has created a list of podcasts from Federal agencies. It includes podcasts from the Pentagon Channel, the State Department, NASA, NOAA, and Presidential speeches and radio addresses. There are podcasts in both English and Spanish.

Most surprising entry? A Vodcast (a video on demand podcast) from Barney, the President's dog.

Computers in Libraries Conference Presentations

Many of the presentations from the 2006 Computers in Libraries Conference are now available online.

From Library Boy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Roll Your Own (Search Engine)

Ever wished you could search just part of the web? Or several websites at once? Now, you can roll your own search engine or use a searchroll created by someone else.

Creating your own searchroll is easy, just name it and enter in the URLs you want it to search. Your searchroll can be public- so others can use it- or private.

Learn more about Rollyo here.

Transportation of Radioactive Materials Across Border

From the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO): Border Security: Investigators Transported Radioactive Sources Across Our Nation's Borders at Two Locations.

New CRS Reports

Some new Congressional Research Service ("CRS") Reports have been made available. The Reports cover a wide-range of topics, including:

Women in Iraq: Background and Issues for U.S. Policy

Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse of the Legal Background and Recent Amendments

Administrative Subpoenas in Criminal Investigations: A Brief Legal Analysis

Material Support of Terrorists and Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Sunset Amendments in Brief

For a more complete list of recent CRS Reports, check out Open CRS.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Collision of Domestic Violence and a Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Ohio

On Friday, the Second District Court of Appeals in Ohio found that Ohio Rev. Code § 2929.25 (F)(1)(a), which is the portion of the domestic violence law that protects people "living as spouses," violates Article XV, Section 11 of the Ohio Constitution, which bans same sex marriage and prohibits the creation of "a legal status or relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage."

This opinion creates a conflict among the Ohio District Courts of Appeal (the Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Twelfth Districts have found no such violation) and enables the appellate court to certify a conflict to the Ohio Supreme Court. See Rule IV of the Rules of Practice of the Supreme Court of Ohio for details.

For more information about the legal aspects of same-sex marriage, check out the very thorough bibliography from Rutgers law librarian Paul Axel-Lute.

What's your mindset?

Yahoo! is beta testing a new way of searching. In addition to entering keywords, you can choose your mindset by sliding a bar with "Shopping" on one end and "Researching" on another.

Say you're using your tax refund to buy a new TV and want to learn more about HDTV. You might start your research by sliding the bar toward "Researching" to learn what HDTV is. Once you're comfortable with the concept of HDTV, you can slide the bar to "Shopping" and resubmit your search to start looking for a good deal.

Learn more about Yahoo! mindset from Yahoo! Research

The Truth About Billable Hours

How much time does it actually take to get those billable hour numbers that many law firms require? The Yale Law School Career Development Office has taken a look at The Truth about the Billable Hour. Not surprisingly, it's a little harder than you might think to bill those hours.

From FSU College of Law Library Blog.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Computers in Libraries 2006

I've spent the last three days at the 2006 Computers in Libraries Conference and have picked up some great searching tips. The InfoToday blog has covered the conference and contains summaries of many of the programs and even some pictures of PowerPoints taken by a cell phone camera.

Stay tuned for new and classic searching tips next week!

State Business Tax Climate Index

From Ohio Legal Research Blog:
The Tax Foundation has issued a survey that rates state tax codes for businesses. The State Business Tax Climate Index (SBCTI) lists New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Ohio, Maine, Kentucky, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas as having the "least hospitable" tax environment for businesses. Each state was evaluated on five aspects of its tax system. CNN Money also reports on the story.

RSS Feeds?

RSS Feeds, what are they and what are they good for? I've been meaning to write a post about this, but I really can't do much better than the series of posts already up at Law Dawg Blawg. Check them out:

What RSS Feeds Can Do For You, part 1

What RSS Feeds Can Do For You, part 2

What RSS Feeds Can Do For You, part 3

What RSS Feeds Can Do For You, part 4

What RSS Feeds Can Do For You, part 5

What Is a Site or RSS Feed?

Subscribing to RSS Feeds

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Death of Milosevic

The British Broadcasting Corporation ("BBC") has compiled news articles and analysis about the life and death of Solobodan Milosevic, former leader of Serbia and Yogoslavia. Information on the website includes his life story, his United Nations trial for war crimes, and coverage of his death. The webpage is called In Depth: Death of Milosevic.

From Librarians' Internet Index.

Free Online Newspaper Archives

Here are two subject-specific, free online newspaper databases that you might find interesting:

Titanic Newspaper Archive: free access to 15,000 digitized newspaper pages about the Titanic.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Newspaper Archive: free access to 50,000 digitized newspaper pages about Martin Luther King, Jr.

I don't know how useful a Titantic newspaper database will be for legal research, but I love it whenever they digitize newspapers.

From LibrarianInBlack and ResourceShelf.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

White Collar Crime Survey

The National White Collar Crime Center ("NW3C"), a federally funded non-profit organization, has just released the results of its National Public Survey on White Collar Crime. From the website:
Despite the evidence of the widespread nature of white collar crime, there remain few empirical studies devoted to assessing the prevalence of white collar crime as it relates to the general public. In response to this, NW3C conducted the 2005 National Public Survey on White Collar Crime (a follow-up to NW3C’s original National Public Survey on White Collar Crime conducted in 1999). By utilizing household and individual measures, this nationally-representative survey highlights the public’s recent experiences with white collar crime including victimization, reporting behaviors, and perceptions of crime seriousness.
Download the entire PDF report here.

From ResourceShelf's DocuTicker.

Power Google Searching

When you're looking for a specific type of file on Google (like PDFs), try limiting your search to receive results only in that file type. You can add the search term "filetype:PDF" in the searchbox or select the file type in the Advanced Search mode.

Other filetypes include PPT (PowerPoint), XLS (Excel files), RTF (Rich Text files), and DOC (Microsoft Word).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Avian Flu and Pandemic Flu

PandemicFlu.gov is a website, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that is intended to provide comprehensive government information about pandemic flu and the avian flu. The site contains general information about the different kinds of influenza, as well as more specific information about outbreaks, travel, tests and vaccines.

Grotian Moment: The Saddam Hussein Trial Blog

This blog, by the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center of Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the Public International Law and Policy Group, focuses on the trial of Saddam Hussein and its lasting impact on international law through a series of group essays on such as whether the trial is a "show trial" or a "real trial" and the invisibility of women at the trial.

The blog also collects documents from the trial of Saddam Hussein such as exhibits entered into evidence during the trial. Other features include a glossary of key legal terms and links to news stories and scholary articles related to the trial.

Source: InSite
Related Resource: The Trial of Saddam Hussein by Library of Congress

Monday, March 20, 2006

Social Justice Research

A new blog Vox Bibliothecae (which means "voice of the library") provides updates and research tips on social justice issues. It's written by law librarians at University of Dayton's Zimmerman Law Library.

Recent entries include a primer on oil drilling in the Arctic, and changes to Human Rights at the UN.

EPA Enforcement & Compliance History

The Enviornmental Protection Agency's Enforcement & Compliance History Online (ECHO) can be used to search for enforcement information. You can determine if compliance inspections have been conducted, whether environmental law violations were detected, and if enforcement actions were taken in response to violations. You can do quick searches by zip code, city or state. An advanced search feature is also available. Results from the search will show facilities and a record of the company's compliance history.

From Internet Legal Research Weekly.

Friday, March 17, 2006

New Reports - Law Related

ResourceShelf's DocuTicker has reported on several new reports related to law from government agencies and think tanks . (All documents are in PDF.)

Copyright Management Center

Indiana and Purdue Unversities have created the Copyright Management Center. Internet Legal Research Weekly describes the Center:
[I]t's designed to serve the community with the management of copyright issues arising in the creation of original works and in the use of existing copyrighted works for teaching, research, and service. A Copyright Quickguide is offered to help you learn basic copyright information quickly. There are also guides on Fair Use Issues, Permissions Information, and Copyright Ownership.
It looks like a nice resource.

New CRS Reports

Some new Congressional Research Service ("CRS") Reports have been made available. The Reports cover a wide-range of topics, including:

Military Aviation: Issues and Options for Combating Terrorism and Counterinsurgency

Homeland Security: Protecting Airliners from Terrorist Missiles

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

“Sensitive But Unclassified” Information and Other Controls: Policy and Options for Scientific and Technical Information

For a more complete list of recent CRS Reports, check out Open CRS.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Captured Documents from Iraq and Afgahnistan Online

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence ("ODNI") has created a website where it will post documents captured in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is reported that the website will be updated continuously with new documents. These documents include some documents that were previously released in conjunction with a study by analysts at West Point. Supposedly, hundreds of new documents will be made available in the coming days, including 50-60 hours of audiotapes from the Iraqi regime. Read the article discussing this development here.

Website Monitor

If you find yourself visiting a page frequently to check for updates (such as a webpage listing job openings), try a free alert service such as ChangeDetection.com or WatchThatPage. These services send an email alert each time the page changes.

New Federal Courts Statistics

The U.S. Courts have recently made available statistics and other information about the operation of the federal judiciary in 2005. Read the news release, "Legal Decisions, Legislation & Forces of Nature Influence Federal Court Caseload in FY 2005." Check out the 2005 Judicial Business of the United States Courts report.

From lrc-orbit.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Great Hunger Archive

Quinnipaic University has created An Gorta Mór: The Great Hunger Archive. This is a collection of material about the Irish potato famine that begin in the 1840s. The site includes transcriptions of workhouse minute books, digitized documents, photographs, a bibliography, and links to related sites.

From Librarians' Internet Index.

Congressional Hearings Online

If you are looking for the official record of a hearing in Congress, don't forget to check the Congressional Hearings: Main Page from GPO Access. The PDF version is a print equivalent, so it provides the information necessary to build a proper Bluebook citation (Rule 13.3).

C-Span should be your first stop if you’re looking for video of Congressional Hearings such as the recent hearings on foreign control of US ports. You can browse recent hearings from the 109th Congress, or search for video in the gray box right in the middle of the C-Span home page.

If you’d like to keep up to date on C-Span programming, including congressional hearings, subscribe to C-Span alert and each day you will receive an email summarizing upcoming C-Span television and radio programming.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ohio Sunshine Laws

Each year, the Ohio Attorney General publishes an overview of Ohio public records and open meetings law called the Yellow Book. The 2005 edition is available online in PDF.

Information about ordering print copies can be found on the AG's Sunshine Laws page.

Irish-American Facts

The U.S. Census Bureau has compiled its Facts for Features: Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick's Day. These facts and statistics include such topics as population distribution of Irish-Americans, immigration, and trade.

Monday, March 13, 2006

March Madness Resources

The good folks at ResourceShelf's DocuTicker have compiled a list of resources for the 2006 Men's and Women's Final Four. The listed resources include championship handbooks, Final Four record books and rules.

Go Buckeyes!

Read about how the NCAA snubbed my beloved Cincinnati Bearcats here and here.

Freedom of Information Act Reading Rooms

The 1996 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) required federal departments and agencies to establish publicly accessible "electronic reading rooms" containing FOIA response materials and other public information. These websites contain valuable information about the operation of the federal government and many collect frequently requested records.

Celebrate National Sunshine Week by visiting one of the FOIA reading rooms listed below:

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Facelift for Westlaw

On March 11, Westlaw introduced new navigational features on the Westlaw Sign-In page and the Westlaw interface. Some of the changes include:
  • My Westlaw is now called Add/Remove Tabs.
  • Options is now called Preferences.
  • The new Alert Center combines all alert services.
  • Many of the functions that were listed directly under the tabs (e.g. Directory) now appear along the top of the screen.
  • Site Map is a new link that includes many of the browsing tools (e.g. Table of Contents and KeySearch).

To review the changes, view this Flash presentation.

Friday, March 10, 2006

National Archive Videos on Google

CNET reports that Google has started placing National Archives videos online. All of the vidoes are public domain and include films from United Newsreel, NASA, and the Department of the Interior. "Google Video product manager Peter Chane said the company is working in stages to put as many as possible of the National Archives' 114,000 film reels and 37,000 videos online."

From KERBlog and LibraryCrunch.

Supreme Court Term in a Nutshell

2005-2006 ALR United States Supreme Court Update: Part I is available. From West elert:
The staff of the American Law Reports (ALR) has compiled summaries of major decisions from the 2005 fall term in one document, the 2005-2006 ALR United States Supreme Court Update: Part I. (The update for the second half of the 2005-2006 term will be available in August 2006.) In addition to actual opinions, the update also summarizes orders granting or denying certiorari. The update is organized alphabetically by topic, beginning with Civil Rights and ending with War and National Emergency. Each summary includes the title and citation of the opinion or order, a summary of the facts, the Court's disposition, and the title and citation of a corresponding ALR article.

"Are We Safer in the Dark?"

During Sunshine Week 2006, March 12-18, media organizations, civic groups, libraries, schools, non-profit organizations and others nationwide will participate in coverage of and discussions about the importance of protecting public access to government information. The intent of Sunshine Week is to raise awareness of the importance of open government to the public. In celebration of Sunshine Week, a national program will be held on Monday, March 13, called "Are We Safer in the Dark?"

"[A] panel of experts from around the country will discuss open government and secrecy - the problems confronted, the impacts on communities, and what the public can do. Locally-sponsored programs in communities around the country will continue the discussion of openness issues in their communities."

The national broadcast portion of the program will be from 1pm - 2:30 pm and will broadcast from the National Press Club in Washington D.C. The national broadcast can be viewed at selected sites all across the country.

The national broadcast can be viewed at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. A local panel discussion will occur at the College immediately following the broadcast. Local panelists are Doug Clifton, editor of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland; Raimund Goerler, University Archivist, The Ohio State University; and David Marburger partner, Baker & Hostetler, Cleveland. The panel will be moderated by Peter M. Shane, Joseph S. Platt/Porter Wright Morris & Arthur Professor of Law and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies at the Moritz College of Law. This event is hosted by the Moritz Law Library and the Center for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies at the Moritz College of Law.

The event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Global Attitudes About the Web

The Pew Global Attitudes Project, from the Pew Research Center, has released its findings about computer usage and Internet access in more than a dozen countries throughout the world. It includes data about percentage of computer and Internet usage, and usage by gender and age for 2002 and 2005. The report can be viewed here.

From Librarians' Internet Index.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Pocket MBA for Lawyers

Learn about a new business or finance topic each week with the Practicing Law Institute's Pocket MBA. This free newsletter is published each week and has covered topics such as Mini-Tender Offers, The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Zero Coupon Bonds, and Six Sigma. Many issues have covered a timely topic (for example, PBGC was the focus of the Pocket MBA just after a bankruptcy judge allowed United Airlines to stop funding its pension fund).

Subscribe to the Pocket MBA (and other PLI newsletters) here. The Pocket MBA is also available as an RSS feed. Details on the RSS feed and older issues are available on the archive page.

New CRS Reports

Some new Congressional Research Service ("CRS") Reports have been made available. The Reports cover a wide-range of topics, including:

Taiwan's Political Status: Historical Background and Ongoing Implications

AIDS: The Ryan White CARE Act

Data Security: Protecting the Privacy of Phone Records

India's Nuclear Separation Plan: Issues and Views

Fatah and Hamas: the New Palestinian Factional Reality

Lobbying and Related Reform Proposals: Consideration of Selected Measures, 109th Congress

For a more complete list of recent CRS Reports, check out Open CRS.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Visual Search Engines

Sometimes a list of search results just isn't good enough. It won't show the relationships between the results or group similar results together; and it probably won't suggest more search terms. Visual search engines such as KartOO, Groxis, or Ujiko are an interesting alternative to the more traditional search engines.

If you want to try this out search "Samuel Alito" on KartOO. Notice that results are grouped together into subcategories like "court" or "nominee." So, if you really are interested in the Justice's nomination, click "nominate" and you'll get a more specific result set. If you place your mouse next to a search result (represented by a piece of paper), the realationships between the results are demonstrated. A snippet from the result page appears on the left so you can see if you're on the right track.

Just like other search engines, you'll get a few results that aren't related to your topic. This does, however, offer a different view of the Internet.

Importance of a Global Legal View

NPR reported on the growing importance of foreign and international law in the U.S. legal system and law schools this morning. Listen to the audio here.

Biographical Directory of Congress - Available Online

The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005, is now available online for the first time. The Directory has been described as "the definitive reference book about federal lawmakers." Read more about the Directory here.

From TVC Alert.

Free Credit Reports

A recent amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the Credit Reporting Agencies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion) to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. Details on ordering are available through the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) website.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Save Time, Money & Look Fabulously Smart or Tips of Things to Do BEFORE You Do Legal Research in a Law Library

One of the things most legal researchers find most frustrating is realizing only after making a special trip to the law library, they are missing a key piece of information and must return back to their office/house/other town to retrieve the information.

1) Dates:

Gather as much information as you can from whatever source you are using. For example if your resources are people ask what else they can remember about the time period, such as “I know it was before we bought this house” or “just shortly after 9/11/2001. ”Memory can be faulty, but sometimes a person is sure of the date, right down to the second, so be sure to write down the information you gather from people.

From a book, journal, or article pay attention to when the information was published. If it is from the 1970s there is a chance the law may have changed or someone has written an update on the subject.

2) Resources to bring:

If you got the information from a book, a newspaper article or any other written materials, bring them with you. There maybe useful clues in the endnotes or footnotes or picture caption or even in the text itself.

Bring all your notes from (1) above, so you can be sure of your information, as most law libraries do not permit you to make phone calls from within the library. You also, do not want to have to wait until they can call you back (again not allowed in most law libraries).

If you have any documents such a court papers, a ticket, a contract, a letter or any other legal papers, you will want to bring full copies of these materials so as not to risk losing your important paper work. If you feel comfortable having other people seeing these materials. If you are not comfortable having others possibly seeing these materials take careful notes, noting dates, key terms or any legal code or text referred to.

3) Materials to bring:

Bring money in order to make photocopies or for print outs, preferably in small bills and coins. There is nothing worse then having found exactly what you need and then having to find an ATM (always a mile away), buy a can of soda to break the $20, drink the whole can of soda (as once it is opened, it is considered an open container not allowed in most law libraries) and then going back to law library to make your one copy.

Organization materials such as paper, pen or pencil, highlighter and folders are also a good idea. It is easier to keep track of the research you have already done, of the materials you have gathered and what you now know you do not need or what you need to follow up on. Also if you were in particular section of the library you can write the call number down so you can find your way back to that particular section rather then having to wander around the law library looking for that section again.

4) Dress for the occasion:

Law libraries can vary in temperature. Depending on the time of year it can be really hot or really cold, such as when the heat has not been turned on for the whole building and there is a sudden cold snap. Even if the law library could turn on the heat, it would take several days for the temperature to even out. Also, you are more likely to be cold when you are sitting. However, as you will have to look for materials, sometimes throughout the entire law library, layers are a good idea. You won’t be too hot or cold and will be able to concentrate on your legal research.

5) Budget your time:

If you just want to see if the law library might have the materials give them a call or stop by giving yourself at least ½ an hour.

If they do have the materials you are looking for then be realistic about how long it might take you. If it seems like it will take an afternoon do not park in a 30 minute maximum limit time zone, and risk getting a ticket and losing your train of thought because you have to move your car.

These few tips will save you a lot of aggravation. Finally, give yourself breaks and time to stretch. When you are doing legal research in a law library you are doing something which can be tedious and hard, but also rewarding and important.

Business Research Tutorial

Kognito Solutions LLC has developed an online, flash-based tutorial to help students develop effective business research skills. The tutorial, entitled "Beginner's Guide to Business Research," was commissioned by Baruch College of the City University of New York and developed in conjunction with lead content contributor Louise Klusek of Baruch's Newman Library. Read more about the tutorial from the Kognito press release.

From Law Librarian Blog.

Free Access to PACER

PACER is now offering free access to certain federal court opinions. This new feature is only available in courts that have installed CM/ECF version 2.4 or higher, and it will only provide free access to opinions filed after the court is actively using version 2.4. There may still be a charge to access earlier opinions.

From Inter Alia.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Law Librarians Seen as Irreplaceable

"More and More, Law Librarians Seen as Irreplaceable." Now that's a good title for an article.


Source: Heather Smith, More and More, Law Librarians Seen as Irreplaceable, The Recorder, Feb. 23, 2006.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Port Security - Government Publications

The Counter-Terrorism Training Coordination Working Group (convened by the U.S. Department of Justice) has collected government publications related to port security on its website. Publications go back to 2002 and include such topics as container security, port security challenges, the role of government agencies, and much more.

From Librarians' Internet Index.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Searching for Podcasts

A podcast is a web feed of audio or video files placed on the Internet for people to subscribe to or download. Sounds neat, but how do you find a podcast that you might want to listen to or watch? Podzinger is a search engine that allows you to search for podcasts by typing terms into a "Google-type" interface. I typed in "law librarian" (with the term in quotes) to see what would come up. Using this search, I found "Check this Out," a weekly podcast from Jim Milles at the University at Buffalo Law Library. Podzinger is a great way to find podcasts that might be of interest to you.

Source: Scott Gordon, The Search for Podcasts, EContent, Mar. 2006, at 12.

Canada Day

No, it's not July just yet, but our friends up north have had some interesting legal information developments. Pre-1985 Canadian Supreme Court Decisions are being made available on the Internet. From Library Boy:
The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII), the non-profit organization that makes Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet, has been scanning pre-1985 Supreme Court of Canada judgments as part of its digitization project to make them available for free on its website. The project is called ScanLII. 200 decisions prior to 1985 have been made available so far and more will be added as the project progresses. On the CanLII Supreme Court page, the early decisions from 1976 to 1984 can be found near the bottom under "Access by Decision Date".
In other Canadian legal information news, Slaw has created The Marshall Rothstein Pages, which provides a list of information resources about the nominee for the Supeme Court of Canada and the nomination process. (From beSpacific).