American Library Association (ALA) Report: The State of America’s Libraries 2015

The American Library Association (ALA) has issued the report:

The State of America’s Libraries 2015

For the associated press release, “New State of America’s Libraries Report finds shift in role of U.S. libraries,” please see here.

From the press release:

[A]cademic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society. No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished spaces.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

University of North Texas (UNT) Annual Open Access Symposia: 2015 Symposium “Open Access and the Law”

The University of North Texas (UNT), in furtherance of its commitment to the global open access movement, sponsors an annual symposium on Open Access.

Please see here for information about previous years’ events, speakers and presentations.

The 2015 symposium’s theme is “Open Access and the Law.”

The scheduled dates of the 2015 symposium — at the UNT Dallas College of Law — are Monday-Tuesday, May 18-19, 2015.

It will open on Monday evening May 18th with a reception.

Substantive programs will then take place the following day.

Speakers will include individuals working on the authentication of electronic legal materials as well as on institutional repositories.

More information on the 2015 symposium will become available soon.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

New Email-Alerts System from U.S. Library of Congress for Tracking Legislative Action on Congress.gov

Earlier this month the U.S. Library of Congress made available — on Congress.gov — “a new optional email-alerts system that makes tracking legislative action even easier.”

Please see the explanatory news release “Congress.gov Offers Users New Alert System” of 5-Feb-2015 here.

Pilot Program to Put Court Transcripts in the Cloud

A pilot program in Fresno, California to create and distribute court transcripts in The Cloud offers hope on the legal transcript front — please see:

Sean Doherty, Law Technology News

See also here for YesLAW Online.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

Legal Affairs Committee of Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly States that Mass Surveillance Practices “Endanger Fundamental Human Rights”

A new report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Council of Europe states that the mass surveillance practices disclosed by US whistleblower Edward Snowden “endanger fundamental human rights.”

The report is here.

Please see the accompanying press release here.

“PubAg,” User-Friendly Search Engine, Debuts at the U.S. National Agricultural Library

The U.S. National Agricultural Library (NAL) has debuted PubAg, a user-friendly search engine, which provides “enhanced access” to the public to search for and obtain research published by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The NAL is part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Please see here for the USDA’s press release about PubAg.

World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) “Living Planet Report 2014″

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recently released its Living Planet Report 2014 — for the full report, please see here.

Unfortunately, biodiversity on earth seems to be in worse shape than ever and is declining in both temperate and tropical regions of the earth, although the decline is reportedly greater in the tropics.

Per U.S. Library of Congress, Congress.gov Is No Longer in Beta Phase

Per the U.S. Library of Congress, Congress.gov — the successor to THOMAS — is no longer in its beta phase — please see the following news release:

Congress.gov Officially Out of Beta

From the news release, here are some new features/enhancements:

  1. New Feature: Congress.gov Resources
    – A new resources section providing an A to Z list of hundreds of links related to Congress
    – An expanded list of “most viewed” bills each day, archived to July 20, 2014
  2. New Feature: House Committee Hearing Videos
    – Live streams of House Committee hearings and meetings, and an accompanying archive to January, 2012
  3. Improvement: Advanced Search
    – Support for 30 new fields, including nominations, Congressional Record and name of member
  4. Improvement: Browse
    – Days in session calendar view
    – Roll Call votes
    – Bill by sponsor/co-sponsor

Are we teaching what they will use?

Here at Stanford we haven’t shown our students Shepard’s in print in at least a decade.  And we have long since stopped using the digests in print as well.  So it was good to see these decisions validated in an article from the latest issue of Mississippi College Law Review, “Are We Teaching What They Will Use? Surveying Alumni to Assess Whether Skills Teaching Aligns with Alumni Practice,” by Sheila F. Miller.

The article wasn’t surprising to me, except the evident reluctance by law school alumni to use low-cost tools made available to them, namely Casemaker and Fastcase.

As can be seen from the frequency of usage chart, Lexis and Westlaw continue to be the most popular choices for online research. This finding is not significantly different depending on the size of firm, or year of graduation. This data is similar to a 2007 survey of Chicago lawyers in which 87% of attorneys surveyed who had practiced for zero to five years did “most” of their research in Lexis or Westlaw.   Casemaker provides free research for members of both the Ohio and Indiana Bar Associations. 43 Yet, only 16.9% of respondents used Casemaker often, very often, or always, and only 13.5% used it at least sometimes. This was a surprising number given the number of the respondents in small offices. In the follow-up interviews there was some criticism of Casemaker. For example, attorneys stated Casemaker is “too slow” and Casemaker is “not as easy as Westlaw, and I have an unlimited subscription for Ohio law.”

From Footnote #43:

Fastcase provides basically the same service for some other states, and we asked in the survey about Fastcase as well. The numbers were so low on Fastcase use that I did not include them in the tables of results.

Scribed Brings E-Readers Wiley’s “For Dummies” Reference Series Via E-Book Subscription Service

E-book subscription service Scribd and “For Dummies” reference series publisher Wiley have partnered to make available 1,000 of Wiley’s books within Scribd’s e-book subscription service.

Please see the following press release:

And see a number of the Wiley “For Dummies” titles here.

Hat tip to ResourceShelf.com.

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