Feb 15
11:24 AM

Efforts to Save Online Government Data for Public Access

Access to government information

Photo Credit: dialog.ua.edu

By Anna Russell, Electronic Resources Librarian

This post is meant to summarize recent efforts by various private and academic institutions to save federal government information for public access.   I am referring specifically to online information, typically agency website reports, pages and datasets but also federal commission work and other federal entity online presence pieces.  I do not turn my attention to the social media posting by these same federal entities, but Facebook and Twitter pages and feeds remain another arena for collection efforts.  Read more here from the NC State libraries on social media harvesting tools.

The Federal Process for Saving Online Data?

Currently, there is no federal system for preserving the entirety of federal government online information for public access.  There are some purely apolitical reasons for the lack of a systematic approach to creating online site archival pages such as lack of server space and too few human agency records managers to properly preserve the online content.  There is no Federal Depository Library Program for online content.  Lack of a standard method for structuring agency website content is also an issue.  An agency application, pulling datasets from multiple sources can be difficult to digitally preserve.  Likewise, until recently, harvesting ftp materials has been out of scope for web crawlers.

Is Anyone Minding the Store (of Information)?

Interestingly, as the Trump administration made preparations to govern, many began looking into this issue of federal agency web content preservation.  Stepping back for a moment, in 2004, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) mandated that all agencies capture their web content but has not required such full-scale preservation since then.  Under the current Office of Management and Budget guidelines, Circular A-130, federal agencies are not required to maintain nor provide GPO or NARA materials they create so long as the work is not officially categorized as a “record” or a “report” or a “publication.”

Enter the End of Term Project: Every four years, beginning in 2008, libraries and academics including the Library of Congress, the Internet Archive, the University of North Texas, ann Stanford work feverishly to preserve the previous U.S. administration’s publicly accessible .gov and .mil sites and social media pages, statistics, pdfs and reports from http/https content.  According to Mark Phillips, a founder of the End of Term project, by overlaying the archived 2008 pdfs with its 2012 sister project’s saved pdfs, he found that approximately only 17 percent of the 2008 pdfs remained online in 2012 (i.e. thank goodness for the End of Term project!).  For the 2016 End of Term project, the harvesting and archiving of federal domains far surpassed the previous two end of term projects.

The energized End of Term project folks continue to spread the word about the importance and issues surrounding preservation of online government information.  I include a Google doc list of current data rescue efforts here.  They are also currently recruiting technical librarian volunteers.  There are over 1200 records that need metadata support.  If you are interested in helping create good archival records, the End of Term has created a volunteer metadata cataloging Google doc guide here.

May 6
1:26 PM

Study aids available at LRC

liaf-groupThe LRC has multiple resources to help students prepare for final exams. Several shelves of study guides are located in the Reserve Room, to the immediate right of the entrance. These materials are organized by subject matter. Prefer flashcards? Stop by the circulation desk and check out flashcards on a variety of legal topics. Interested in reviewing old exams? Search here by professor or course name to see what is available. In need of other resources? Ask a reference librarian for help.


Apr 30
10:53 AM

LRC hours extended during final exam period

The LRC will be open the following hours during the study and exam period:

Library Hours
April 30 – May 12 7am – 2am
May 13 7am – 12am
May 14 7am – 10pm
Reference Hours
Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

The library is restricted to law and paralegal students during this time. Coffee and tea will be available on the first floor each day at 5pm. Good luck with finals!


Mar 20
11:47 AM

Is the Bar Exam a Fair and Reliable Judge of Legal Competence?

Many law school deans have begun to openly question the mechanics of the test, and some states are even exploring other options.  From the New York Times yesterday:

Bar Exam, the Standard to Become a Lawyer, Comes Under Fire

In the NYT article, USD School of Law Dean Stephen C. Ferruolo, is quoted as asking the  bar testing agency in December for details about the test to assure that it was fair and reliable.  Otherwise, he maintained, the exam “is an unpredictable and unacceptable impediment for accessibility to the legal profession.”



Mar 12
11:33 AM

Senate Bill 683 seeks to lift federal restrictions on medical marijuana

On Tuesday, Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), introduced a sweeping Senate bill that seeks to significantly reduce federal government restrictions on medical marijuana. S.B. 683 would implement a number of reforms alleviating access for doctors and researchers. The most important change would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which is intended for drugs, like heroin, that have no accepted medical use in the United States, and place it instead in Schedule II, the classification for drugs that have a legitimate medical use but also have a “high potential for abuse.”


Mar 10
10:02 AM

This Day in the Law – Gandhi Arrested for Sedition

On March 10, 1922, Mahatma Gandhi was arrested and charged with sedition for leading a campaign of mass civil disobedience against the British in India. He was then convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. After his release, Gandhi continued to build Indian unity and use civil disobedience and non-cooperation to oppose British rule in his country.

Click here for USD materials on the life and legacy of Gandhi.


Mar 4
12:40 PM

USD Law Students – Join the San Diego County Bar Association!

The San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA) offers law students free membership.  Being a part of the SDCBA community opens the door to fantastic networking opportunities, leadership and volunteer opportunities, and educational programs and events.

Join online at www.sdcba.org/join or mail in a PDF application to:

San Diego County Bar Association
401 West A St., Ste. 1100
San Diego, CA 92101


Jan 13
12:09 PM

Welcome Back! Spring 2015

growth-chart-resized-600.jpgTo ring in the new year – a very positive legal job market article from the National Jurist’s online magazine: Most robust legal market ever just around the corner, study says – conducted by Western New England University School of Law professor Renè Reich-Graefe, came to five conclusions which led Reich-Graefe to believe that the legal market will improve. The paper concluded that the legal market will not only be the “most robust legal market that ever existed in this country,” but also that this market will last throughout the entirety of recent, current and certain future law school graduates’ careers.

“Over the next two decades, the legal profession market is moving statistically into the direction of almost guaranteed legal employment for all law school graduates,” he said.


Nov 25
12:36 PM
Nov 24
3:18 PM

New legal mobile apps from recent law grads

From the Boston Globe:

Young lawyers seek to shake up legal profession with mobile apps

William Palin is a 32-year-old lawyer who passed the bar exam in 2013. But it didn’t take him long to wonder why, when the rest of the world is increasingly conducting business on cellphones and tablets, the legal profession is so tied to paper, desktop computers, and e-mailed Microsoft Word documents.

So as a child of the digital age, he decided to act, joining a growing group of young, tech-savvy lawyers dedicated to developing technology to deliver legal services more efficiently.

Palin taught himself how to write code for mobile applications. He built two apps to speed up how lawyers work with each other and their clients. And in December he’s launching a Boston-Cambridge branch of a nationwide group called Legal Hackers, young lawyers focused on creating and adopting technological tools.

While many attorneys see mobile technology as a way to better serve existing clients and recruit new ones, the partners at major law firms play a big role in how aggressively the law business will adapt. And those established practitioners may be leery of adopting some new technologies for fear that will lead to breaches of confidentiality.

Legal Hackers hopes to bridge that generational divide — and the group seems to be making progress. In August, at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting, one panel was titled “Cracking the Code: Everything You Wanted to Know About Coding, Open Data & More But Were Afraid to Ask.”

Read more.