Archive for the ‘Library Stuff’ Category

My home state of Pennsylvania has finally joined the rest of the country in posting its statutes and legislative activity online:

Thanks to Genie Tyburski’s TVC Alert for the heads up!

*For those of you who need an explanation for this reference, please see for details.


From today’s NY Times:

“How did such a nerdy profession become cool — aside
from the fact that a certain amount of nerdiness is now cool? Many young
librarians and library professors said that the work is no longer just about
books but also about organizing and connecting people with information,
including music and movies.”



Just heard about this resource from Thomson Gale this a.m. on the drive into work:

AccessMyLibrary – News, Research, and Information that Libraries Trust

“…free access to millions of articles from top publications available at your local library.”

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From Mr. Christian’s testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

The path we
chose in Connecticut is based on a longstanding principle of
librarianship – our deep rooted commitment to patron confidentiality
that assures that libraries are places of free inquiry, where citizens
go to inform themselves on ideas and issues, without fear that their
inquiries would be known to anyone else. The freedom to read is part
and parcel of our First Amendment rights. To function, the public must
trust that libraries are committed to such confidentiality. When the
USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law, our Connecticut library community,
like the American Library Association, many other librarians as well as
booksellers, authors and others, were concerned about the lack of
judicial oversight as well as the secrecy associated with a number of
the Act’s provisions and the NSLs in particular.

JURIST – Paper Chase: Librarian who challenged NSL urges more privacy protection before Senate panel

Many legal professionals would agree that the day can’t come soon enough…..

Content Analyst, Public Sector – Mountain View or Washington D.C.

The fine folks at Justia (my favorite legal website) yesterday announced a new free service that contains information on recently filed  federal civil cases.

From the press release:

“The Federal District Court filings are categorized by State, Federal
District Court and Legal Practice Area, and include the presiding judge
and cause of action information for each case. The database includes
over 300,000 Federal District Court civil cases filed since January 1,
2006, and is updated multiple times each day.

Visitors can subscribe for free to RSS feeds of new cases that meet
specific criteria, or to RSS feeds for customized searches. For example,
with an RSS feed, visitors can track new Federal Court patent cases,
cases that are filed in a specific court or cases filed against a
particular company.”

In my research classes, I often speak with the students about paid databases, and how one day they may be replaced by information that is freely available on the Internet. Based on this announcement, I’d say that day is getting closer than any of us realize.

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Books are my favorite things, and librarians are some of my favorite people (which is why I hope to be joining their ranks soon…wish me luck!) So I seem to read quite a few articles like this one from today’s Boston Globe about how libraries are becoming more like Starbucks, and less like the more traditional library of my college days.

But is it really an either/or proposition? I found this statistic about library use at UMass most interesting:

With 149,859 people walking into the library last month, use is up 27
percent over October 2005. More students are taking out books as well.
Circulation as of June 30, the end of the most recent fiscal year, was
up 84 percent to 435,524 from the same time the year before.

Coffee’s on, dusty books are out at UMass library – The Boston Globe

Thanks to Sabrina Pacifici of the always extraordinary beSpacific blog for the heads up on the article!

I must admit that prior to reading Mr. Wilson’s obituary this morning, I never had any idea who had helped create this service that I use almost every day.

Donald Wilson, 82, Pioneer of a Database, Dies – New York Times

Mr. Wilson, a lawyer and business consultant, was a managing partner
at Arthur D. Little, the management consulting firm, in the late 1960s
when he wrote the plan for what later became Lexis-Nexis, an early
computerized system for retrieving information.

In 1969, Mr.
Wilson was asked by the Mead Corporation to assess a venture in
computerized legal research that the company was considering. Mr.
Wilson told his client that the searching of legal texts would be a
useful tool for lawyers, as well as a promising business.

not only recommended that the company pursue the venture but also
outlined a marketing plan for persuading law firms to adopt the

“Don knew how important it would be to be able to
search through the full body of a judge’s opinion to see if there might
be an argument that could become a new precedent,” said Gary A. Marple,
a former colleague of Mr. Wilson at Arthur D. Little.

From today's Washington Post:

"It's odd to hear Vinton Cerf, regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Internet, to gush over ink-on-paper books.

The electronic pioneer and computer scientist, who now works as Google's chief Internet evangelist, is also a bibliophile who has a collection of about 10,000 hard-copy volumes lining shelves at his home in McLean.

These days, Cerf is busy promoting Google's plan to marry his two passions — books and the Internet — by digitizing millions of library books."

Read the whole thing here.

National Archives Says Records Were Wrongly Classified

WASHINGTON, April 26 — An audit by the National Archives of more
than 25,000 historical documents withdrawn from public access since
1999 found that more than a third did not contain sensitive information
justifying classification, archives officials announced Wednesday.

They said the removal of the
remaining two-thirds was technically justified, though many had already
been published or contained old secrets with little practical import.

withdrawing those documents that included truly significant secrets may
have done more harm than good by calling new attention to the
sensitivity of records that researchers had read and photocopied for
years, the officials said.

“The irony is that some of these
reviews have actually exacerbated any possible damage to national
security,” said J. William Leonard, head of the archives’ Information
Security Oversight Office and the government’s overseer of
classification of records.