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3.04.2004

Blackmun Papers Released Five years after his death, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun's papers have been made public. The Washington Post's Fred Barbash has written a good article about them: Blackmun Papers Provide a Peek Inside the Court [Free registration required]. The Library of Congress has a few of the documents scanned and online here. Fascinating. Might be worth a trip to DC to see them in person.

10.24.2003

Psst... Do You Think He's Asleep? Here's the article from the Toronto Star:
A Toronto judge fell asleep in the middle of a criminal trial but woke up when a defence lawyer dropped a 2,136-page copy of the Criminal Code on the desk in front of him, a court was told yesterday.

Mr. Justice Ayres Couto convicted Andras Deak of mischief and criminal harassment at the end of the trial on July 18, 2001, and sentenced him to two years' probation. But an appeal court overturned the conviction yesterday, saying Couto's ability to observe the demeanour of a key witness might have been impaired.

Couto dozed off during cross-examination of the complainant during the Old City Hall trial...

Nice.

[Thanks to Obscure Store for the link.]

10.16.2003

New Job Last week I accepted a position with a bigger firm downtown. I start in a little over a week. I'll be doing more reference and no Intranet, which makes me happy. Posts may be even spottier than usual while I make the transition. Bear with me!

10.08.2003

Business Research Tools Research Notebook offers tips, techniques, and observations about business research. It is written by the staff of Baker Library at Harvard Business School. Recent topics include labor statistics and researching bankruptcy information on the Web. [Thanks to SiteLines for the link.]

10.03.2003

Brand Spankin' New LLRX Content There's a whole slew of new articles on LLRX, including an analysis of the OCLC v Library Hotel suit; an elucidation of the uses of that, which and who; and links galore. LLRX is one of the most valuable web sites I use in my work. Subscribe to their free update and make sure you don't miss anything!

9.25.2003

Arrrrrgggh RSS Bob from Daily Whirl kindly pointed out that when you view Legal References via an RSS reader, there's no link back to the post itself. I'm busily linking all my previous posts using their permalinks, which is a pain, but not impossible.

I have a question for anyone wise in the ways of RSS. Because Legal Refs is on Blogger, I don't have much choice but to use LISFeeds RSS-ify to create a feed. Is there a way to create a post with a link back without posting first to get the permalink? Anyone know what sort of scheme Blogger uses to decide what the permalink address will be? Anyone have an easier way?

9.24.2003

Google vs. Cornell Librarians The Ithaca Journal has an article on a study pitting Cornell librarians against Google researchers. The conclusion? What some librarians have been saying all along:

"The source should match the person's need," Lance Heidig said. "If you want a quick fact, use Google. If you're writing a dissertation, you should be in a library, either virtually or physically."

I agree with that statement, sort of.

If you want a quick fact, Google (or AlltheWeb or...) is definitely the place. If an attorney asks me for materials on lazy susans, I say sure, no problem, I'll get back to you. Meanwhile, I have no clue what the things are, much less where I would find information on them, so I throw the term in Google. I am able to get a quick and shallow grasp on the concept so I can begin my real research.

The problem is that a lot of people, even educated and/or smart people, don't know how to use a search engine to get an answer. A search for a quick answer can become slow and tedious. Librarians help retrieve books, sure, but we can also teach research skills to those who want to learn.

(For more info on Google Answers from a researcher's point of view, see Jessamyn West's article called, "Information for Sale: My Experience With Google Answers," from Searcher Magazine.)

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