Law and Legal
Open Source Crowd Sourcing Game Platform: “Metadata Games (MG) is a free and open source (FOSS) crowdsourcing game platform. As players play Metadata Games, images, video, and audio from libraries, archives, and museums gain valuable descriptions, making it easier for the general public and scholars to discover these collections. The current MG build we are hosting contains over 45 Collections from 11 Institutions, containing tens of thousands of media items (images, audio, video) that have generated over 167,000 tags. Our current collaborations include the British Library, Boston Public Library, The Open Parks Network, Digital Public Library of America, and the American Antiquarian Society, among others! For more technical information, check the Technical Implementation section.”
“ProgrammingLibrarian.org provides the resources, connections and opportunities libraries need to fill their role as centers of cultural and civic life. It is a place for library professionals to share, learn and be inspired to present excellent programming for their communities. Through resources, ideas and professional development opportunities, we seek to help libraries fill their role as cultural and civic hubs in their communities. ProgrammingLibrarian.org is run by the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, which empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation, and connection in communities of all types. Though the job title can vary, a programming librarian is charged with any element of planning and presenting cultural and community programs on behalf of the library. Programming librarians can be found in public, academic, special and school libraries, from the largest urban communities to the smallest rural communities, and everywhere in between. Usually, programming librarian is one of many hats that a librarian wears, which makes up-to-date resources like this site even more important.”
Giblin, Rebecca and Kennedy, Jenny and Weatherall, Kimberlee Gai and Gilbert, Daniel Ian and Thomas, Julian and Petitjean, Francois, Available – But not Accessible? Investigating Publisher e-lending Licensing Practices (October 4, 2018). Forthcoming, Information Research (expected June 2019); Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 19/20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3346199
“Introduction: We report our mixed-methods investigation of publishers’ licensing practices, which affect the books public libraries can offer for e-lending. Method: We created unique datasets recording pricing, availability and licence terms for sampled titles offered by e-book aggregators to public libraries across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and United Kingdom. A third dataset records dates of availability for recent bestsellers. We conducted follow-up interviews with representatives of 5 e-book aggregators. Analysis: We quantitatively analysed availability, licence terms and price across all aggregators in Australia, snapshotting the competitive playing field in a single jurisdiction. We also compared availability and terms for the same titles from one aggregator across five jurisdictions, and measured how long it took for a sample of recent bestsellers to become available for e-lending. We used data from the aggregator interviews to explain the quantitative findings. Results: Contrary to aggregator expectations, we found considerable intra-jurisdictional price and licence differences. We also found numerous differences across jurisdictions. Conclusions: While availability was better than anticipated, licensing practices make it infeasible for libraries to purchase certain kinds of e-book (particularly older titles). Confidentiality requirements make it difficult for libraries to shop (and aggregators to compete) on price and terms.”
“Dutch book lovers got free rail travel across their country’s entire network this weekend as part of the Netherlands’ annual book week celebrations. Every year since 1932 the Netherlands has encouraged reading with Boekenweek – a celebration of literature marked with literary festivals and book signings across the country. Traditionally, a well-known Dutch author writes a special novel – the “book week gift” or Boekenweekgeschenk – which is given out for free to people who buy books during the festivities or sign up to a library. But the special book – this year the novel Jas Van Belofte by celebrated author Jan Siebelink, can also be presented instead of a rail ticket on every train in the country on the Sunday of book week. Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the Dutch state railway company, has long been a sponsor of the annual festivities – and even organises book readings signings by top authors on its trains…”
BoingBoing: “Sharon Ringel and Angela Woodall have published a comprehensive, in-depth look at the state of news archiving in the digital age, working under the auspices of the Tow Center at the Columbia Journalism Review; it’s an excellent, well-researched report and paints an alarming picture of the erosion of the institutional memories of news organizations. Ringel and Woodall find that news organizations are cavalier, even negligent, about archiving their news, and contrast this with the heyday of newspapers where dedicated librarians staffed a “morgue” of carefully clipped and cross-referenced print articles. By contrast, today’s news organizations rely primarily on their CMSes, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, reporters’ personal Google Docs accounts, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to store their articles, social media posts, and other materials.Although the Internet Archive has done yeoman service in this field, Ringel and Woodall are rightfully skeptical that a single institution should be entrusted with being the sole entity recording our collective history — not least because the Archive only saves pages it discovers in its crawls, and cannot traverse paywalls (let alone recording alternative headlines, associated social media posts, comments, personalized layouts shown to logged-in users, etc)…”
Consumer Reports – “Despite the high price you pay for internet service, it’s easy to find yourself frustrated by slow speeds. That’s especially likely if you’re one of the many households cutting the traditional pay-TV cord and streaming more entertainment—including Ultra High Definition (4K) movies and TV shows. If your internet seems slow, it’s time to make sure you’re getting the speed you need, both from your internet service provider and the WiFi setup in your home. But the first step is to have a realistic idea of how much broadband you need…” [h/t Pete Weiss]
Smarter Every Day – “This is video 1 of a 3 part series on Social Media Algorithm manipulation and countermeasures. Even if you’re aware of these issues, odds are your friends and parents are not. I’m hoping we can use this video series to educate an incredible amount of people about the realities of algorithmic manipulation online. The engineers tasked with working on these problems take their jobs very seriously and they are truly the unsung heroes in this fight…”
The New York Times: “Swastikas daubed on a Jewish cemetery in France. An anti-Semitic political campaign by Hungary’s far-right government. Labour lawmakers in Britain quitting their party and citing ingrained anti-Semitism. A Belgian carnival float caricaturing Orthodox Jews sitting on bags of money. And that was just the past few months.
The accumulated incidents in Europe and the United States have highlighted how an ancient prejudice is surging in the 21st century in both familiar and mutant ways, fusing ideologies that otherwise would have little overlap. The spike is taking place in a context of rising global economic uncertainty, an emphasis on race and national identity, and a deepening polarization between the political left and right in Europe and the United States over the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
“There’s an ideological pattern that is common,” said Günther Jikeli, an expert on European anti-Semitism at Indiana University. “The world is seen as in a bad shape, and what hinders it becoming a better place are the Jews.”…”
The 2019 LinkedIn Top Companies list reveals the 50 companies where Americans want to work — and stick around once they’re in — now. “Every year, our editors and data scientists parse billions of actions taken by LinkedIn members around the world to uncover the companies that are attracting the most attention from jobseekers and then hanging onto that talent. The data-driven approach looks at what members are doing — not just saying — in their search for fulfilling careers. The result of that data is Top Companies, our 4th annual ranking of the most sought-after companies today. As always, we analyze U.S. members’ anonymized actions across four main pillars: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention. (We exclude LinkedIn and LinkedIn’s parent company, Microsoft, from all LinkedIn Lists. You can dig into the details of our methodology at the bottom of the article.)
World Economic Forum: “The average person living in Europe loses two years of their life to the health effects of breathing polluted air, according to a report published in the European Heart Journal on March 12. The report also estimates about 800,000 people die prematurely in Europe per year due to air pollution, or roughly 17% of the 5 million deaths in Europe annually. Many of those deaths, between 40 and 80% of the total, are due to air pollution effects that have nothing to do with the respiratory system but rather are attributable to heart disease and strokes caused by air pollutants in the bloodstream, the researchers write. “Chronic exposure to enhanced levels of fine particle matter impairs vascular function, which can lead to myocardial infarction, arterial hypertension, stroke, and heart failure,” the researchers write. Their estimate more than doubles the World Health Organization’s previous estimate of early deaths due to air pollution…”
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation – A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 – Suboptimal diet is an important preventable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs); however, its impact on the burden of NCDs has not been systematically evaluated. This study aimed to evaluate the consumption of major foods and nutrients across 195 countries and to quantify the impact of their suboptimal intake on NCD mortality and morbidity…”
GBD 2017 Diet Collaborators. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet. 2 April 2019. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30041-8.
- See also the Healthy eating saves lives infographic.
Kevin O’Keefe: “I use Twitter more to give shout outs to the good stuff being done by others than to broadcast about LexBlog and our doings. I’ve always had a hard time believing I did something that qualified for bragging. Maybe that’s my Irish Catholic roots and my being an entrepreneur my whole life — nothing’s ever good enough and there’s no reason not to feel guilty. Selfishly though, it just always felt good to make others feel good about what they’re doing. Lawyers, the organizations supporting access to legal services and the innovators bringing us the future of the law also need an attagirl or attaboy now and again. Turns out that sharing the good of others, rather than talking about my company and our products, is the most effective method of business development I have ever used. Dale Carnegie, in one of the best-selling books of all time, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ laid out six business principles for making people like you – an essential he believe needed for business development. Each of Carnegie’s points apply to how you as a lawyer can use Twitter to make people like you…”
EurekAlert: “Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to, a new study found. This “million word gap” could be one key in explaining differences in vocabulary and reading development, said Jessica Logan, lead author of the study and assistant professor of educational studies at The Ohio State University. Even kids who are read only one book a day will hear about 290,000 more words by age 5 than those who don’t regularly read books with a parent or caregiver. “Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school,” said Logan, a member of Ohio State’s Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. “They are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily.” The study appears online in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and will be published in a future print edition.”
The Splendid Table: “The unfortunate reality about seeds is that most are not bred and selected for flavor. Rather, they are chosen specifically for the yield, uniformity and shelf stability of their fruit or vegetable. Chef Dan Barber wants to change that. The chef-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns wants to help create seeds that bring forth new foods with unexpected and unique flavors. Which is why he – along with seedsman Matthew Goldfarb and seed breeder Michael Mazourek – cofounded of a new seed company called Row 7. They work directly with professional chefs, who give guidance on what flavors to breed for in their vegetables. Barber explained to Francis Lam that this type of partnership could change how and what we all eat. See the Cook + Grow section of Row 7’s website for more information on growing and cooking with their unique produce…” [This work can been seen as a metaphor for how the legal sector has multiple, complex dependencies upon commercial products and services that in large measure determine the “flavor” of our research.]
Litigation Finance Journal: “The Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law has launched a comprehensive digital library of documents relating the third-party litigation funding industry. The third-party litigation funding industry is young and growing quickly in size and importance. Its supporters maintain the industry, when run properly, provides needed resources to improve the delivery of civil and commercial justice. The industry has also attracted significant detractors. There is a need for careful, comprehensive, independent analysis of and reporting about the industry. A threshold need is to establish a neutral, quality repository for the collection of information and data about the industry. The Library includes information supplied by both supporters and critics, and it is freely available to the public. From statutes and case law to journal articles and bar reports, from best practices to news stories, the Library contains the documents needed for industry insiders to conduct their business and for industry outsiders to learn as much as possible.
“The Center on Civil Justice is dedicated to making information and data on our civil justice system more readily available. We have collected dispersed information on this new and growing industry, and we are proud to have made that information freely available to the public,” said Center on Civil Justice Director Peter Zimroth. The Library is available online at www.DisputeFinancingLibrary.org.”
cnet: “Dictionary.com added more than 300 new words and phrases on Wednesday, including a few tech-related entries like “textlationship” (when people text a lot but don’t really interact in person) and “keyboard warrior” (someone who shares opinionated content online in an aggressive or abusive way, typically without revealing who they are)…”
Law Technology Today: “What do popular podcasts like Lawyer 2 Lawyer, Legal Talk Network, and Life of the Law all have in common? Their creators showed a commitment to the production process, dedicating themselves to their project. Though the early stages of development are long, involved, and sometimes frustrating, they’re necessary. With this in mind, new podcasters who are enthusiastic and eager to record need to take a few preliminary steps. Developing a legal podcast isn’t as simple as finding the right microphone and going off the cuff. You have to follow proper protocol and prepare far in advance of the first episode…”
“Today we’re launching CAP search, a new interface to search data made available as part of the Caselaw Access Project API. Since releasing the CAP API in Fall 2018, this is our first try at creating a more human-friendly way to start working with this data. CAP search supports access to 6.7 million cases from 1658 through June 2018, digitized from the collections at the Harvard Law School Library. Learn more about CAP search and limitations. We’re also excited to share a new way to view cases, formatted in HTML. Here’s a sample!We invite you to experiment by building new interfaces to search CAP data. See our code as an example. The Caselaw Access Project was created by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab at the Harvard Law School Library in collaboration with project partner Ravel Law.”
Fontana, David and Schoenbaum, Naomi, Unsexing Pregnancy (March 11, 2019). Columbia Law Review, Vol. 119, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3350592
“Because sex does not dictate the capacity to provide care in the home or work in the market, sex-equality law combats harmful sex stereotypes by eliminating statutes and regulations that assign these roles on the basis of sex. When it comes to pregnancy, though, courts and commentators alike chart a very different course. They assume that pregnancy is a biological event that is almost exclusively for women. Thus, equal protection jurisprudence accepts the legal assignment of carework during pregnancy to women, and a range of laws regulating pregnancy carework — from prenatal leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to health benefits under the Affordable Care Act to employment protections under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act — apply only or mostly to women. Even though the sexed law of pregnancy stands in stark contrast to the unsexed law of parenting, the sexed pregnancy has avoided challenge and largely escaped notice.
This Article makes visible the law of the sexed pregnancy, identifies and evaluates the core tension it generates in the law of sex equality, and considers how to unravel this tension. Of course, typically only women can physically carry a child, and therefore some pregnancy regulations are appropriately sex specific. But the nine months of pregnancy encompass a range of carework, much of which has little or nothing to do with the physical fact of pregnancy. Expectant fathers can, for example, buy a carseat, quit smoking, take a childcare class, and choose a pediatrician or daycare center for the child. Given the ability to disaggregate sex from much of the carework of pregnancy, the law’s failure to do so marks women for caregiving and men for breadwinning in the same problematic way that sex-equality law has tried to combat after a child is born. And while pregnancy implicates real concerns about a woman’s constitutional right to bodily autonomy, this concern alone cannot justify the failure to scrutinize all sex-based pregnancy regulations, because much prebirth carework does not involve the woman’s body at all. After surfacing the law’s anomalous sexed treatment of pregnancy, this Article considers how to harmonize the law of sex equality. This effort can advance not only the goal of equality between the sexes, but also equality for lesbian, gay, and transgender parents, while at the same time enhancing women’s autonomy.”
Tidal Basin is falling prey to foot traffic, climate change as groups seek funds to restore historic area
Washington Post – “With the sun out and Washington’s cherry blossoms at peak bloom, visitors on Wednesday thronged the Tidal Basin, eating picnic lunches and taking selfies beneath some of the Mall’s 3,800 cherry trees. A few yards from the Jefferson Memorial, a pathway that rings the basin was under nearly a foot of water and parts of its concrete wall were crumbling — a reminder that the landmark is falling prey to increased foot traffic, the growth of the Washington region and a changing climate. “In 2019, it’s not functioning the way we need it to,” said Teresa Durkin, the senior project director for the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall. “There is a certain amount of urgency.” Officials from the trust and the National Park Service launched an effort dubbed “Save the Tidal Basin” in a partnership that aims to bring nonprofit organizations and the federal government together to reimagine the area and develop improvement plans that they say could cost up to $500 million…”