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. 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.

“Cranch Project” Launched by the District of Columbia Council to Create Open-Source, State-Level Code

The “Cranch Project” has been launched by the Council of the District of Columbia “to create the nation’s first UELMA[Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act]-compliant, open-source, state-level Code of Laws.”

For some news/commentary please see here.

Hat tip to Law Librarians.

Recent Paper of Interest: “The Open Access Divide”

Prof. Jingfeng Xia at the School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has recently published

The Open Access Divide

The abstract to this article reads:

This paper is an attempt to review various aspects of the open access divide regarding the difference between those academics who support free sharing of data and scholarly output and those academics who do not. It provides a structured description by adopting the Ws doctrines emphasizing such questions as who, what, when, where and why for information-gathering. Using measurable variables to define a common expression of the open access divide, this study collects aggregated data from existing open access as well as non-open access publications including journal articles and extensive reports. The definition of the open access divide is integrated into the discussion of scholarship on a larger scale.

Hat tip to Law Librarians (with further hat tip to DigitalKoans).

Recent Open Access Development in the U.K.: “Briefing on Mandatory Open Access Policies”

The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) representing all university libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland published last month a 135-page document

Briefing on Mandatory Open Access Policies

Prepared by Sarah Durrant, Red Sage Consulting and Ann Rossiter

Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.

Newly-Digitized Archival Material from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently expanded FRASER (Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research), by releasing newly-digitized archival material, making it the largest digital collection of Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) historical materials.

Please see:

FRASER digital library releases archival documents from the early days of the Federal Reserve [August 1, 2013]

From the news release:

These documents offer a glimpse into the founding of the Fed and its policy making activities.

Hat tip to ResourceShelf.com.

United Nationas Human Rights Council (UNHRC): Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

The subject report of the UNHRC is here.
From the report’s introduction:

1. The present report analyses the implications of States’ surveillance of communications for the exercise of the human rights to privacy and to freedom of opinion and expression. While considering the impact of significant technological advances in communications, the report underlines the urgent need to further study new modalities of surveillance and to revise national laws regulating these practices in line with human rights standards.

Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.