. . . a good tailor, a good priest, and a good librarian.

From The Conglomerate:

 We Have Winners! – and a Paean to Law Librarians

Posted by Peter Conti-Brown
 
. . .
 
First Peter gives a well-deserved “e-high five to Erika Wayne” (read his post for the reason) and then concludes his blog posting thusly:

Last of all, I cannot restrain myself from praising our extraordinary librarians at Stanford Law School. I have a bucketful of examples of their extraordinary sleuthing (the Martin speech is only the latest), one of which includes going through repeated FOIA requests and appeals, losing each one, and then still securing the key document from an 80 year old researcher who had it in his own files in some barn in Vermont, or something like that. I only know SLS, so if you have other examples of librarian sleuthing that made your research possible, I’d love to hear them, as I think they are the sometimes too-well-kept secret of the academy. After all, an eminent legal authority — I think it was Ronald Coase, but it may have been Moses himself — once said that every great scholar needs a good tailor, a good priest, and a good librarian. I have no experience with the first two, but can vouch emphatically for the third.

 

Geeks seek to make the law Googleable; RECAP in WSJ

Buried on page W13 of today’s Wall Street Journal  is a must-read piece by Katherine Mangu-Ward, “Transparency Chic.”

As the author makes clear:

. . . no aspect of government remains more locked down than the secretive, hierarchical judicial branch. Digital records of court filings, briefs and transcripts sit behind paywalls like Lexis and Westlaw. Legal codes and judicial documents aren’t copyrighted, but governments often cut exclusive distribution deals, rendering other access methods a bit legally questionable. . . .

Which leads her to discuss RECAP:

. . . [Stephen Schultz, Tim Lee and Harlan Wu] whipped up a sleek little add-on to the popular Firefox Internet browser called RECAP (PACER spelled backward). Legit users of the federal court system download it. Then each time they drop eight pennies, it deposits a copy of the page in the free Internet archive. This data joins other poached information, all of which is formatted, relabeled and made searchable—the kind of customer service government tends to skimp on. . . .

This might be the first mainstream press mention of RECAP, which is something we are all abuzz about here.

The author of the Wall Street Journal piece, Katherine Mangu-Ward, a senior editor at Reason magazine, is apparently a bit of a geek herself, giving a Twitter shoutout to those who helped her write the piece:

@kmanguward Thanks @binarybits @carlmalamud @cshirky @evwayne for info, perspective, and snappy quotes in “Transparency Chic” http://tinyurl.com/navyvj

@evwayne is, of course, our very own Erika Wayne who was interviewed for the piece.