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.

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

The European Parliamentary Resource Service has this month posted a valuable briefing on open educational resources (OERs) – something related, of course, to Open Access (OA), which has been frequently referenced earlier on this blog in various places, including but not limited to here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here; please see (for a PDF):

New technologies and open education resources: Transforming education requires pedagogical, organisational and technological innovation. Increasing use of the Internet brought in a new era in course design and delivery to the mainstream model of traditional education. That is particularly so for open educational resources

 

First Birthday of Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) – referenced earlier on this blog here — has just this month celebrated its first birthday; please see the following announcement:

Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its First Birthday with the Arrival of Six New Partners, Over 7 Million Items, and a Growing Community (April 17, 2014)

New White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memo on Improving Management of and Access to Scientific Collections

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) of the White House yesterday issued a memorandum to the heads of all federal executive departments and agencies on “improving the management of and access to federal scientific collections – please see here.

The accompanying press release is here.

Hat tip to Law Librarians.

WeCite Project’s win-win opportunities

Analyzing how a given opinion has been impacted by subsequent decisions is an essential part of legal research.   Consequently, the work of the Free Law movement cannot stop with making opinions freely available: a free and robust citator is also needed.

A gargantuan effort will be required to build (and continually update) such a citator. The newly launched WeCite Project, co-sponsored by the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics and the free legal research platform Casetext, aims to bring the win-win power of crowdsourcing to the task. Along with the traditional crowdsourcing strategy of enabling a community of like-minded people to easily contribute,  the WeCite Project is also giving law schools the unique opportunity to do their fair share in another win-win way:  students learn about citators and citation analysis; the database grows.  Already a number of advanced legal research classes have already participated and our class this spring will join the crowd.

The Columbia Society for Law, Science and Technology is hosting a WeCite Event at Columbia Law School on March 26, 2014 (see details and RSVP here: https://casetext.com/wecite/event).  Any and all who are passionate about legal research and/or equal access to the law are invited to attend.  Those who cannot make it to New York can also participate remotely.

Importantly, any and all citator entries created under the WeCite Project (“wecites”) are public domain under a Creative Commons SA license.  Casetext will also be creating an API to allow anyone to bulk download wecites.

The beauty of crowdsourcing is that small contributions from individuals can aggregate into something magnificent.  For those who are interesting in pitching in, instructions can be found here: https://casetext.com/wecite

Ralph Nader Supports Carl Malamud & His Nonprofit Public.Resource.Org

Longtime American political activist, lecturer, author, and attorney Ralph Nader has today posted

The Law Must Be Free and Accessible to All — Not Secret and Profitable

in support of Carl Malamud, our friend and technologist, author, and public domain advocate — and perhaps best known for his nonprofit foundation Public.Resource.org.

New from Copyright Clearance Center (CCC): Open Access Resource Center

The nonprofit Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), “a global rights broker for the world’s most sought-after books, journals, blogs, movies and more” – last month launched a new Open Access Resource Center, in partnership with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), which “aims to be a comprehensive resource for all things open access to make it easy for the marketplace to stay on top of the latest developments” (see press release here).

See also: Why I Don’t Care About Open Access to Research—and Why You Should

U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG): 65 percent of college students have at some point decided against buying a college textbook due to its high price

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) has today released a report — Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: How Students Respond to High Textbook Costs and Demand Alternatives — showing “that 65% of student consumers have opted out of buying a college textbook due to its high price, and of those students, 94% they suffer academically.”

Please see: here, here and, for the full, 18-page report, here.

U.S. Census Bureau Adds New Mobile App — “dwellr” — that Delivers On-the-Go Local Statistics

Late last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released a new mobile app called dwellr that helps users find local statistics.

Please see the official news release here.

The new app is available for both Apple iOS and Android OS (operating system) mobile devices.