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September 30, 2004

About Blawgs: Defining, Finding, Reading & Creating Law Related Blogs

Chances are if you are reading this post, you already have a pretty fair knowledge of what blogs/blawgs are. But you may not be taking full advantage of Webreaders / aggregators such as Bloglines to read blogs. Perhaps you are even thinking of taking the plunge and starting a blog of your own. Or, maybe you have a colleague who hasn't quite jumped on the blog bandwagon and you'd like to explain a bit about blogs.

If that's you, then you might be interested in a quick guide called About Blawgs: Defining, Finding, Reading & Creating Law Related Blogs. I created the guide for a roundtable we had with our UW Law School students a few weeks ago but it occurred to me that others might find it useful as well. Enjoy!

September 29, 2004

Article: First Spam, Now Spit

Watch out for Spit - Spam over Internet Telephony!

Learn more about it at CBS.MarketWatch.com's First Spam, now Spit

Here's a bit from the article:

If you can send a thousand e-mails with a click of the mouse, you can do the same with a phone call, if you're using the Internet as your telephone service.

A privately held technology company, based in Frederick, Md. is trying to attack the problem of what it calls Spam over Internet Telephony, or Spit.

"It's a combination of telemarketing calls and e-mail spam in which a single 'caller' uses Internet technology to send thousands of voice messages simultaneously into VoIP mailboxes."

Article: Seven Ways to Save Time Searching

Seven Ways to Save Time Searching from search expert Tara Calishain of ResearchBuzz! is full of useful search advice.

Her recommendations include:

1. Use the right search engine
2. Focus. Focus. Focus. Use special syntax
3. Use monitoring services
4. Use current awareness services as extra eyeballs
5. People are also great search engines
6. For quick looks, use the cache
7. Consider RSS

September 28, 2004

Study: 10 Major Trends Emerging in the Internet’s First Decade of Public Use

A recent report from the USC Annenberg's Center for the Digital Future has identified the 10 Major Trends Emerging in the Internet’s First Decade of Public Use

Among the findings from Year Four of the Digital Future Project:

• Internet access has risen to its highest level ever. About three-quarters of Americans now go online.
• The number of hours spent online continues to increase, rising to an average of 12.5 hours per week – the highest level in the study thus far.
• Although the Internet has become the most important source of current information for users, the initially high level of credibility of information on the Internet began to drop in the third year of the study, and declined even further in Year Four.
• The number of users who believe that only about half of the information on the Internet is accurate and reliable is growing and has now passed 40 percent of users for the first time.
• The study showed that most users trust information on the websites they visit regularly, and on pages created by established media and the government.
• Information pages posted by individuals have the lowest credibility: only 9.5 percent of users say information on those sites is reliable and accurate.
• Television viewing continues to decline among Internet users, raising the question: “What will happen as a nation that once spent an extremely large portion of time in a passive activity (watching television) transfers increasingly large portions of that time to an interactive activity (the Internet)?”

For the full report, see “Ten Years, Ten Trends” Highlight the Major Findings in Year Four of the Digital Future Project’s Study of the Impact of the Internet on Americans (pdf).

Gmail: Privacy Risk for Attorneys?

From BoleyBlogs!

The ABA Journal ereport asks in this article if Google's Gmail email service presents privacy risks to attorneys beyond those present in most email programs.

Why is Gmail different from all preceding email services? Because its revenue model relies on providing relevant adds, which requires Google to electronically scan all email messages for matching content. The article's conclusion: Gmail presents no more privacy risk than anyone elses.

September 27, 2004

Guide to Legal Resources in Selected Topics with BNA's Web Watch

Stay current with BNA's Web Watch, a free weekly service from BNA which compiles sources of free online resources in selected hot legal topics.

Links are provided to government, industry, and academic resources on selected topics spanning the breadth of BNA coverage. New subjects will be posted weekly, and new resources will also be added to existing topics.

Check if Your Text Has Been Copied on the Web with Quote Finder

With the ease of Copy and Paste in writing these days, wouldn't it be nice if there were a tool that could run your text through Google and inform you where it appears on Web? There is and it's called Quote Finder.

Just paste your text into the search box and Quote Finder lets you know in how many Web pages that text appears. Click on a selection which is highlighted in yellow and you will be directed to the results in Google.

This could be useful for copyright and plagiarism investigations.

Source: After Hours in the Law Library

September 25, 2004

Article: Cameraphones: Innocuous Gadgets Or Workplace Threats

From Findlaw's Modern Practice:

Cameraphones: Innocuous Gadgets Or Workplace Threats?

Employers have become wary of these fun little devices because they have the potential to create big privacy problems on the job. Not surprisingly, we're being asked to advise clients on employees' use of cameraphones. More employers are realizing the need for a formal policy that puts employees on notice as to the limits of permissible cameraphone use in the workplace.

Search Google for Books and Articles

It seems that Google has been digitizing content from selected print magazines and books. Thanks to search expert, Tara Calishain, there is now a search interface for this print content.

She has also developed two bookmarklets which set up Google Alerts to monitor new magazine or book content. [What's a bookmarket?]

Source: TVC Alert

Commentary: A Librarian Blogger at the DNC

There is a fascinating article in the latest LLRX.com from Jessamyn West, a public librarian from Vermont who writes about her experiences at the DNC as a credentialed blogger.

**Commentary: A Librarian Blogger at the DNC

Jessamyn West is a librarian, blogger and advocate for public libraries. She also has the distinction of having been one of the credentialed bloggers at the recent Democratic National Convention in Boston. As a pioneer in several arenas, her commentary provides a timely perspective on the continuing evolution of the role and impact of librarians and blogging, from within a professional, social networking and technology context.

September 22, 2004

Study: Life Without Net is Unbearable

Frank Barnako of CBS Marketwatch reports on a recently released study in Life Without Net is Unbearable

From the article:

Researchers investigating how people would react to not having access to the Internet had a tough time getting started. "It was incredibly difficult to recruit participants as people weren't willing to be without the Internet for two weeks," explained Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer of Yahoo, and a sponsor of the study.

All participants found living without the Net more difficult than expected, and in some cases impossible, the researchers reported. Nearly half of those in one of the surveys said they couldn't go without the Internet for more than two weeks.

Conifer Research worked with several dozen people who kept a diary of their activities. Regardless of age, income or ethnicity, all said they had withdrawal symptoms and a sense of loss, frustration and "discontentedness."

Article: Tips from the Top! Ask the Experts!

ABA's Law Practice has assembled some great tips for the practice of law in their article, Tips from the Top! Ask the Experts!


Good ideas come in all kinds of flavors. Empower creativity. Have a mentor. Empathize. Take prudent risks. Recognize others’ efforts. Be curious. Be responsive. Encourage learning. When we asked some recognized law practice management experts to provide their top practice tips for our Good Idea! issue, they came back with these ideas and more. But whether their pointers are tied to marketing, management, technology or finance, they all have a common purpose—to lead you and your firm to new success.

September 21, 2004

Generic Log-ins from Bug Me Not

Bug Me Not is an interesting service which keeps a database of generic log-ins for many Web publications that are free but require registration. It allows users to access content from sites like the New York Times, Washington Post, etc. without having to submit personally identifiable information.

Source: LibrarianInBlack

Case Links to be Added in Wisconsin Statutes Online

Bruce Hoesly, Deputy Revisor of Statutes, dropped me a line to say that the RSB will be adding links to cases in the Wisconsin Statutes online.

Simply click on the docket number at the end of the citation. Right now it's only for the most recent cases right but they are working on adding more, By sometime next year links should be available for all the cases on the court's website, back to about 1995.

Links in the Constitution and Supreme Court Rules databases will be added as well. I noticed that Administrative Code references are also linked.

Very nice!

September 20, 2004

Westlaw Patron Access Available at UW Law Library

The UW Law Library has recently purchased a subscription to Westlaw Patron Access which is available to the public without a password on three of the library's computers. Remote access is not available.

Content on Westlaw Patron Access appears to be equivalent to that of the law school's full password protected Westlaw. It includes case law, statutes, regs, news and journal articles, and more.

Users may print documents from Westlaw Patron Access to the library's printer for a fee, but emailing and downloading are not available.

For more information, content the UW Law Library Reference Desk at 608-262-3394.

House Passes Bill to Sanction Lawyers

From The E-LawLibrary Weblog (September 16, 2004)
House Passes Bill to Sanction Lawyers

The House of Representatives passed a bill - The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004 - on Tuesday that would require sanctions against lawyers who file lawsuits judged frivolous. The bill is meant to "amend Rule 11 of the Federal Civil Rules of Procedure to improve attorney accountability, and for other purposes."

Rule 11 is entitled "Signing of Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers; Representations to Court; Sanctions." The rule currently leaves sanctions to a judge's discretion and allows those filing a lawsuit to avoid any sanctions if the suit is withdrawn within 21 days of the filing of a motion for sanctions. The legislation would require sanctions and abolish the 21-day period.

Rule 11 requires that attorneys perform a competent level of legal research. In a Capital University law review article, Marguerite Butler, Associate Professor and Law Library Director at Texas Southern University, identified four types of inadequate research in Rule 11 cases:

1. Ignorance of an Unbroken Line of Contrary Authority.
2. No Citation to Cases in Support of the Argument.
3. Citation to Inappropriate Authority in Support of the Argument.
4. Failure to Argue for the Modification, Extension, or Reversal of Existing Law.

1. 28 USC Appendix - Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 11, Office of the Law Revision Counsel.
2. "Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004," H.R. 4571, 108th Cong. (2004), GPO Access.
3. Marguerite Butler, "Rule 11 - Sanctions and a Lawyer's Failure to Conduct Competent Legal Research," 29 Cap. U.L. Rev. 681 (2002).
4. Carl Hulse, "Bill to Require Sanctions on Lawyers Passes House," New York Times, September 15, 2004.

September 18, 2004

Tutorial on Reading Blogs with Bloglines

I've mentioned before that I serve as the Research Advisor for the UW Law Student Law and Entrepreneurship News blog. A few weeks ago, I made a presentation to that group on a resource called Bloglines (entitled Blogs and Webreaders) and it occurred to me that others might find it useful as well.

Bloglines is a Webreader (also known as an aggregator) which allows you to monitor all of the blogs that you read in once place. If you read more than a couple of blogs daily, Webreaders can be big time savers. And with Bloglines, you can even have messages from email listservs delivered there as well.

September 17, 2004

Article on the Relationship Between Bloggers and the Media

There is an interesting article in Editor and Publisher (billed as America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry) about the relationship between bloggers and the media: Blessing or Curse? Editors Examine Blogs' Role in '60 Minutes' Uproar

From the article:

Although editors from four major dailies contend that their product remains the most trusted source of news for most readers, they admit the blogging community is offering competition and provoking even more skepticism of the mainstream media than usual. But they are divided on whether or not this is a positive trend or not.

Source: TVC Alert

September 15, 2004

Article: Tracking Parolees Using Databases

Information Week has an interesting article entitled, Tracking Parolees Using Databases.

From the article:

The Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision plans to create a centralized database by end of the year to help the state and local law enforcement keep tabs on the approximately 250,000 parolees and criminal offenders serving probation nationwide who are given permission to move between states. The database and accompanying management tools will also be used to provide victims with more timely, accurate information about their cases.

Source: Legal Technology Blog

Article: Searching Smarter - Finding Legal Resources on the Invisible Web

I'm pleased to report that an article I wrote called, Searching Smarter - Finding Legal Resources on the Invisible Web appears in the September issue of the Wisconsin Lawyer. The article is part of a series of Wisconsin Lawyer articles written by members of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin.

Here is the abstract:

A great deal of information available on the Internet is found only on the "invisible Web," and is not searchable using a general search engine such as Google. Invisible Web content is considered dynamic because it exists as pieces of information within a database until you pull it together. Learn what strategies you can use to efficiently locate this content.

Update: Bruce Hoesly, Deputy Revisor of Statutes, wrote me to comment on the article. He noted that the search example I chose in the Wisconsin Statutes on livestock would have been more precise had I used the online index.

He notes:

A word search in the statutes database for livestock would generate a massive number of hits, including 41 in ch. 93 and 45 in ch. 95. A subject head search in the statutes index would lead directly to the Livestock subhead under Agriculture and Farming and a ready list of links to statutes relating to livestock.

Thanks for the tip, Bruce.

September 14, 2004

New Federal R&D Project Summaries Database

Seven agencies have teamed up to make federal research information available on the Web via the Federal R&D Project Summaries system.

From the About page:

Federal R&D Project Summaries provides a portal to information about Federal research projects, complete with full-text single-query searching across databases residing at different agencies. The public may use this tool to stay better informed as to how its investment in research and development is being utilized. It also provides a unique window to the Federal research community, allowing agencies to better understand the research and development efforts of their counterparts in government.

Source: TVC Alert

Get Client Tax Transcripts Online from IRS

From TVC Alert:
New Service for Tax Professionals The Internal Revenue Service introduced a new electronic service, which lets tax professionals request and receive transcripts of client tax records online. The Transcript Delivery System (TDS) responds to authorized requests within minutes via a secure online connection.

New WI Brief from LRB - Rent-To-Own Stores

The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau has recently released a revised brief in their Wisconsin Briefs series entitled, Rent-To-Own Stores. Wisconsin Briefs are produced the LRB Reference section focusing on topics of current interest often based on frequency of questions to the Reference Desk.

Oshkosh Candidate Forum Blog

Voters in Oshkosh have a new resource: a blog called 54th District - An online forum for the four candidates for the 54th District Seat in the Wisconsin Assembly courtesy the Oshkosh Public Library, Oshkosh Community News Network, and the Oshkosh League of Women Voters. What a great use of a blog - very innovative!

Here's a bit from the initial posting:

The four candidates who are running for the Wisconsin Assembly in the 54th District have agreed to engage in an innovative online forum that will allow them to debate the issues in cyberspace. The four participants in the forum are independent Dan Carpenter, Democrat Gordon Hintz, Wisconsin Green Tony Palmeri and Republican incumbent Gregg Underheim.

The forum will be conducted using a Web log and will function for approximately four weeks, from mid-September to mid-October. A parallel Web log will also be established where citizens will be able to post their comments about the debate. This will be an added benefit to candidates since they will be able to learn in real time how voters are thinking about and reacting to the issues.

Source: The Shifted Librarian

September 13, 2004

Chief Justice Abrahamson Responds to How Appealing's "20 Questions for the Appellate Judge"

How Appealing, a blog devoted to appellate litigation is running a series called 20 Questions for the Appellate Judge. This month's judge is Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson.

Among other things, Justice Abrahamson discusses the judicial selection process, Wisconsin's diploma privilege and the legal education system, expectations for law clerks, and offers suggestions for attorneys concerning written work and oral arguement performance.

Thanks to Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Anderson for passing this on.

September 9, 2004

Controversial "Black Boxes" Finding Way Into Courtroom

From: ESQlawtech, Ltd

Controversial "Black Boxes" Finding Way Into Courtroom:

For many years now, many American made cars have been equipped with "Black Boxes" that are capable of recording driving conditions including speed, braking distance, direction of travel, even seatbelt usage. Forensic use of the data collected by these devices has been a subject of controversy primarily on privacy grounds, but it appears that more and more courts are beginning to see the probative value of the data.

In the most recent example of Black Box forensics, the defense in manslaughter trial has successfully petitioned the court to have data contained in a Black Box made available as part of pre-trial discovery in a criminal trial involving a police chase.

Need to Research an Area of Law and Don't Know Where to Start? Try Zimmerman's Research Guide

For those of you who may not have discovered it yet, I encourage you to take a look at Zimmerman's Research Guide, an Online Encyclopedia for Legal Researchers. This is a wonderful resource for anyone needing to get a quick summary of research sources in a particular legal subject area.

Article: Overseas Outsourcing of Legal Work

Interesting article from Corporate Counsel called Outsourcing Reaches Corporate Counsel.

From the article:

Cheap foreign labor has long been a frightening specter for some American industries. But these days, garment makers and steelworkers are not the only ones competing with lower-paid counterparts abroad. Spurred by the slow economy, many in-house legal departments are cutting costs by relying less on U.S. outside counsel and more on lawyers in India, New Zealand, South Korea and other countries where professional salaries are lower.

Source: Netlawblog - Read this post for more discussion

September 8, 2004

More Problems with WisBlawg Email Subscriptions

It seems that Bloglet, the service WisBlawg uses to send email updates, is once again malfunctioning. I'm investigating alternatives so please bear with me.

New WI Brief from LRB - Voice Over Internet Protocol

The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau has recently released a new brief in their Wisconsin Briefs series entitled, Voice Over Internet Protocol: New Telephone Service Poses Regulatory Challenges. Wisconsin Briefs are produced the LRB Reference section focusing on topics of current interest often based on frequency of questions to the Reference Desk.

From the abstract:

Telephone service choices are becoming more complex. Wireless telephony is already widely used, but consumers can now receive telephone service by using their broadband computer modems. Should the federal and state governments regulate this service in much the same way as standard telephone service, or is a different approach appropriate? Several states have begun to address the regulatory issues, but the federal government may end up preempting state authority. Wisconsin's Public Service Commission continues to study the issue, and the 2003 Wisconsin Legislature considered but did not enact legislation on VoIP.

New Book: The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web

From Blawg:
Robert Ambrogi, who is constantly scouring the web for "new and intriguing web sites for the legal profession," has released a new, updated edition of his law website compendium, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web You can also keep up with Mr. Ambrogi's latest discoveries and web site reviews at his longstanding blawg, Lawsites.

Wireless Internet Access for Philly City-Wide and MI State Parks

Wireless Internet access is a hot commodity these days. The City of Philadelphia and the State of Michigan are launching some noteworthy projects.

See the following articles:

Philadelphia - Philly Considers Wireless Internet for All

Michigan - MiWiFi Brings Wireless Internet to State Parks, Marinas, Rest Areas and Welcome Centers

Sources: Stark County Law Library Blawg & ResearchBuzz

September 7, 2004

CA Bill Requires Employee Notification of Email Monitoring

Here is an interesting item from beSpacific:
CA Bill Requires Employee Notification of Email Monitoring SB 1841 -- an act to add Section 436 to the Labor Code, relating to electronic monitoring of employees, waits action by Governor Schwarzenegger.

From the press release by bill sponsor Senator Debra Bowen: "SB 1841 requires employers to give employees a one-time written notice if they plan to read e-mail, track Internet use, or use other electronic devices to monitor employees on or off the job. The bill requires employers to explain what will be monitored – for example employee e-mail content or location based on a GPS-chipped cell phone or car – but doesn’t require employers to tell employees each time they're about to read an e-mail or check an employee's hereabouts."

Article: Use a Cell Phone in a Library, Pay $1,000

Using a cell phone in a Huntington Beach, CA library could cost you a pretty penny! Read about it in this article from a Los Angeles area station entitled, Use a Cell Phone in a Library, Pay $1,000

From the article:

City leaders adopted an ordinance, which takes effect Sept. 15, that bans all cell phone use in libraries, including talking, text messaging and ringing tones of any kind.

First-time violators will be warned, then fined $250 if they don't comply. A second offense gets a $500 fine and a third offense gets a $1,000 fine.

Thanks to UW Law Library colleague, Cindy May for passing this one on.

September 2, 2004

New Tool: URLinfo - Find Info About Any Web Page

Michael Fagan of Fagan Finder has just released a great new tool called URLinfo for uncovering hidden information about any web page. Just enter a URL and URLinfo displays a series of tabs containing info about the page including general registration information (who owns the site), related sites, cached pages, etc.

For more info, read the review of URLinfo at SearchEngineWatch

Source: Inter Alia

Article: Tech-Heavy Trial Turns on Animation

Here's an interesting article - From Stark County Law Library Blawg:
"Tech-Heavy Trial Turns on Animation"

In the news: "When a Porsche-driving attorney struck a pedestrian in a California intersection, leading to sky-high medical bills and a lawsuit, it looked like a tough case to defend. The plaintiff's side even had 3-D animation depicting the accident, which it felt would put the defendant in a bad light. Find out how the defense ended up turning the imagery to its client's advantage, as well as which technologies were most effective throughout the trial."

September 1, 2004

New Edition of WSLL @ Your Service Available

The September 2004 edition of WSLL @ Your Service is now available from the Wisconsin State Law Library at http://wsll.state.wi.us/newsletter/issue04sept.html. Constitutional law resources are highlighted this month.

Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin Wins National Marketing Award

This summer, the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW) was awarded the American Association of Law Libraries Excellence in Marketing Award at the 2004 AALL Annual Meeting in Boston. LLAW was chosen for the award based on its innovative publishing campaign which encourages law librarians to write articles for legal publications. By publishing these articles, LLAW hopes to both educate legal practitioners about legal resources and to increase awareness that law librarians are experts in the field of legal research.

This is a project with which I have been quite involved since I first proposed the idea to LLAW in Fall 2002. LLAW has been quite fortunate to have LLAW member, Carol Bannen, serve as Articles Coordinator. I am especially proud of Carol and our member writers and am very honored to have served as President of LLAW during this award winning year.

A bibliography of articles written by LLAW members is available on the LLAW Web site. One of these is an article that Carol and I co-wrote about the publishing campaign which appeared in the AALL Spectrum.