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.

Free Law Project Improves with API

Our good friend Pablo Arredondo shares this great free law development:

Those pursuing better legal technology will find new wind in their sails with the release of the first-ever application programming interface (“API”) for U.S. judicial opinions. The API is the latest in a string of great contributions from the Berkeley-centered Free Law Project (FLP), and will give developers and researchers unprecedented dexterity in accessing and analyzing FLP’s substantial (and growing) collection of judicial opinions.
Mike Lissner, co-founder of FLP and the driving force behind the new API, describes some potential uses for the API here: http://freelawproject.org/?p=342

The actual API can be accessed here: https://www.courtlistener.com/api/rest-info/
As with everything FLP does, this project is open-source and feedback from the community of users is encouraged and greatly appreciated.

“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).

Introducing “Citing Legally,” helping to improve legal citation

A byproduct of this year’s revision of Professor Peter Martin’s Introduction to Basic Legal Citation and the forthcoming revision of The Bluebook, is a new blog “Citing Legally” at:
http://citeblog.access-to-law.com/

Citing Legally just posted this item about a survey to improve the Bluebook:

Ideas on how to improve The Bluebook? Online survey

October 21st, 2013

In preparation for the commencement of work on the 20th edition of The Bluebook, due out in 2015, that manual’s proprietors have placed a survey online at: https://www.legalbluebook.com/survey.  Anyone with views on how that reference might be improved in scope, delivery, or content should register them … soon. Submissions must be received by Nov. 8.

 

Filings in Legal Databases as Possible Source for Withdrawn State Court Opinions

We wanted to share as a tip the good fortune that might be had in a legal database’s collection of “Filings” when one is searching for withdrawn state court opinions.  In our scenario, citations in both WestlawNext (“WLN”) and LexisAdvance (“LA”) indicated that a particular state supreme court opinion had been withdrawn.  The WLN & LA results for the withdrawn opinion revealed only that the opinion had been substituted, but no longer contained the text for the withdrawn opinion.  However, with some deep digging into WLN’s “Filings” linked to the substituted opinion, we were able to find a PDF copy of the withdrawn opinion attached as an exhibit to a petition for review.  Often (and as was the case here) the HTML versions of these “Filings” lack referenced exhibits, but thank goodness for PDFs…particularly for these 25-year-old, pre-electronic-filing state court cases!

We hope you’re equally as lucky in gaining ready access to withdrawn state supreme court opinions!

New Report of Potential Interest: “Now for the Long Term: The Report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations”

The Oxford Martin Commission in the United Kingdom has this month released a report

Now for the Long Term

that urges the “break[ing of] gridlock on global challenges” to “overcome increasing business short-termism” or else warns of “an unstable future.”

Please see generally here and here.

Recommendations [with CAPITALIZATION, italic and boldface emphasis added] of the October 2013 report — “Now for the Long Term: The Report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations” – include:

  • CREATE a C20-C30-C40 Coalition to counteract climate change; a new coalition made up of G20 countries, 30 companies, and 40 cities. The coalition could accelerate action on climate change, with measurable targets for initiatives that include energy-efficient buildings, faster market penetration of efficient vehicles and tracking emissions.
  • ESTABLISH a Voluntary Taxation and Regulatory Exchange to address tax abuse and avoidance and harmonise company taxation arrangements, promote information sharing, enhance transparency and governance.
  • ESTABLISH sunset clauses for publicly funded international institutions to ensure regular reviews of accomplishments and mandates to ensure they are fit for 21st century purpose.
  • INTRODUCE CyberEx, a new early warning platform, aimed at promoting a better understanding of common cyber threats, identifying preventative measures, and minimising future attacks for the shared benefit of government, corporate and individual interests.
  • REMOVE perverse subsidies on hydrocarbons and agriculture, and redirect support to the poor.
  • FIGHT non-communicable diseases with a new action focused, city-based network, “Fit Cities” which would involve food, beverage and alcohol providers, in collaboration with public health and city authorities, as well as civil society, to reduce the burden on health systems.
  • END discrimination against future generations by revising discounting methods and adjusting them to take account of the uncertainties, risks and ethical implications for the long term.
  • SET UP Worldstat, a specialist agency charged with undertaking quality control on global statistics, assessing domestic practices, regulating misuse and improving data collection.
  • INVEST in Younger GenerationsSocial protection measures such as conditional cash transfer programmes should be used to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, whilst youth guarantees would help reduce ‘scars’ of long-term unemployment and disconnection.

“Weighing Paper against Pixel”

From the November issue of Scientific AmericanWhy the brain prefers paper, by Ferris Jabr

In many studies people understand and remember what they read on paper better than what they read on screens.  Researchers think the physicality of paper explains this discrepancy.

How people find books

 

I can’t tell you how many times a faculty member has sent me a reference from Amazon asking if we could get a certain book.  Often we already have the book in our collection, but the go-to source for many for finding books is Amazon, not the OPAC.  This new NBER Working Paper talks about the online tools consumers use to find books of interest.

Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of
Platforms for Finding Books
by Michael R. Baye, Babur De los Santos, Matthijs R. Wildenbeest – #19519 (IO PR)

Abstract:

This paper provides a data-driven overview of the different online
platforms that consumers use to search for books and booksellers, and
documents how the use of these platforms is shifting over time. Our
data suggest that, as a result of digitization, consumers are
increasingly conducting searches for books at retailer sites and
closed systems (e.g., the Kindle and Nook) rather than at general
search engines (e.g., Google or Bing). We also highlight a number of
challenges that will make it difficult for researchers to accurately
measure internet-based search behavior in the years to come.
Finally, we highlight a number of open agenda items related to the
pricing of books and other digital media, as well as consumer search
behavior.