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June 30, 2010

Help Needed to Develop Bluebook Citation Style for Zotero

I received an email yesterday from Frank Bennet who has been leading the development of a Bluebook citation style for Zotero. Zotero is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. Currently, Zotero only offers a beta version of the Bluebook citation style which is pretty limited.

But, Frank tells me that now "Zotero has acquired the basic capabilities needed for legal writing." He adds:

From this point, the project will benefit greatly from the input of actual legal writers. Unfortunately, there are very few lawyers in the Zotero community at present, for the obvious-enough reason that Zotero has until now not been terribly useful for things legal...

I would be looking for people who are comfortable with a few basic technical things (installing Firefox, installing plugins), who are able to invest a small amount of time playing with software with limited and occasionally broken functionality, and who have the patience to report a bit of detail when things do not work correctly-- beta testers for alpha software.

If you're willing to help out, contact Frank Bennett. See also the Zotero-legal Google group - a forum for discussion and a repository of notes and proposals.

June 18, 2010

Changes to the 19th Edition of the Bluebook

A new edition of the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation was released in May.

Pace Law Library has compiled a list of the changes to the 19th edition and the associated rule numbers. Note that many of the changes deal with electronic sources.

Copies of the new edition are available from Hein for $32.

Source: Pace Law Library

June 17, 2010

Migration from GPO Access to FDsys Almost Complete

The migration of government content from GPO Access to FDsys is almost complete. As of this month, 29 of the 40 collections have been migrated with the remaining collections set to make the move in the coming weeks.

It was previously reported that migration would be complete by June 30, 2010. Due to the constraints of testing the remaining collections, the completion date for migration has been moved to July 31, 2010.

Source: GPO FDLP List

How Much Does PACER Actually Cost?

Less than 18% of the total income generated by PACER fees relate directly to the cost of running the service - that's according to a new working paper by Steve Schultze, Associate Director of the Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy.

Where does the rest go? Read the paper to find out. From the abstract:

There has been considerable confusion about motivation and justification for the courts charge for access to PACER, the web-based system for "Public Access to Court Electronic Records." Representatives from the Administrative Office of the Courts describe the policy as mandated by Congress and limited to reimbursing the expenses of operating the system. This paper identifies the sources of these claims and places them in the context of the increasing push to make government data freely accessible.

Source: Law Librarian Blog

June 16, 2010

Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls with E-documents: Metadata

Metadata is a topic of increasing importance to legal practitioners in sending and receiving electronic documents. The latest issue of InsideTrack from the State Bar of Wisconsin has a good article outlining the basics of metadata and why attorneys should be concerned about it.

Part II of this article, which will appear in the July 7 issue of InsideTrack, will address proper methods of redaction.

June 10, 2010

Are All Librarians "Good Librarians"?

Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Steven Bauer contacted me this morning to let me know he'd linked to WisBlawg on his blog, To Speak the Truth. It's quite a nice post about his positive experiences with libraries and librarians as the following excerpt illustrates:

I love libraries and librarians. I was going to write "good librarians", but after using libraries my entire life, I can't remember a bad experience with a librarian. (I find that statement to be quite incredulous, even to myself, understanding the bell curve of human behavior and performance in any profession.) I am almost always impressed with their helpfulness and ability to navigate the labyrinths of a library and other sources of stored knowledge.

His statement made me think - are all librarians really "good librarians"? Of course, as Bauer notes, there are varying degrees of behavior and performance in every profession - so certainly some librarians are more skilled than others in digging up and organizing information.

But if you consider that what makes a "good librarian" is someone who is happy in her career - who enjoys helping others and the intellectual challenge of working with information - then he may be on to something. I know that this certainly fits the bill for me - and can honestly say that it's true of most librarians that I know. Yes, there are downsides - as there are with any profession - but as a whole the good outweighs the bad.

It stands to reason that someone who is happy with what she does (and has at least a minimum level of skill) is likely to do a better job than someone who doesn't care about or dislikes the work. Despite whatever difference in skills, the person who is happy in her career is just likely to have a better attitude and try harder.

So to all you librarians out there - keep up the "good" work!

June 8, 2010

Map of Restaurants Recommended by UW Law School Faculty & Staff

I don't think that I ever realized how many great restaurants there are in the Madison area. See the many recommendations from our UW-Madison Law School faculty and staff on the this Google map.

From upscale dining to burger joints to chocolate shops, there is something for every taste. Enjoy!

Below is a snap shot of the map. Click here for an interactive version. Restaurants with vegetarian or vegan offerings appear in green. All others are in blue.

June 1, 2010

Minnesota's Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board Addresses Ethical Obligations regarding Metadata

From ABA Site-tation:

At the end of March, Minnesota's Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board approved a new ethics opinion addressing lawyers' ethical obligations regarding metadata. Opinion No. 22, available in PDF format on the LPRB's website, addresses the three primary metadata questions: what is a lawyer's duty when sending electronic documents; what is a lawyer's duty when receiving electronic documents; and what is a lawyer's duty upon discovering confidential or privileged metadata. We've updated our metadata ethics opinion comparison chart to include the new Minnesota opinion.

Also from Site-tation, basic training on How to Secure PDFs for Transmission is now available to ABA members.