Thursday, November 30, 2006

Trouble in Minnesota

A controversy has erupted at the University of Minnesota Law School about the hiring of Robert Delahunty, currently an associate professor of law at the University of St. Thomas. An article in the November 29 issue of Inside Higher Ed summarizes the controversy surrounding Delahunty, which "stems from a memorandum drafted in 2002 by Delahunty and a Justice Department colleague, John Yoo, a conservative scholar and professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall." This is the infamous memo that "concluded that the Geneva Convention did not cover Al-Qaeda suspects captured in Afghanistan, and helped lay the foundation for the Bush administration's handling of prisoners captured during the war on terror." When one considers the damage that our treatment of prisoners has done to our standing in the world community, it is easy to understand why some members of the Minnesota community would object to Delahunty's presence at their law school.

A first-year student is circulating a petition requesting that the dean reconsider bringing Delahunty to Minnesota. The administration at Minnesota has stated that the students' objections were a "gross violation of academic ethics and academic freedom." But the students respond that their objections do not stem from ideology, but rather from legal ethics. The faculty has also become involved in the controversy. Nine Minnesota professors who objected to Delahunty's hire stated in a "sharply worded letter" that "Mr. Delahunty's role in the Torture Memos was not academic and we object to hiring someone of his credentials rather than to anything that he may say in class should he be so hired..." It is shocking to think that an individual who twisted the Constitution in order to make it fit what Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were intent on doing should be entrusted with teaching constitutional law at one of the top law schools in the United States.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can an employer fire or refuse to hire smokers?

Another local development is this Globe story about Scott's lawncare firing an employee for smoking off the job. The former employee has sued. I am a non-smoker who is very grateful for the societal changes that reduce my exposure to second-hand smoke. But even I found it pretty disturbing that an employer would think it right to control employees' private behavior. It leads to all sorts of disturbing scenarios that have been raised as testing for various diseases and genetic pre-disposition for disease became possible.
I found this blog posting tracking announcements of Scotts and other employers that they will no longer employ smokers. North Carolina's Atlantic Beach also decided not to hire smokers link. Here is a CBS News story on employers regulating employees' private lives, titled "Whose Life is it anyway?"

And this announcement that refusing to hire smokers is NOT discrimination in the EU. This website discusses in considerable detail the author's legal analysis of including smokers as a group under "negligent hiring," as being dangerous to other employees. Includes a bibliography and lists of cases on hiring/firing, dangerous cigarettes, and more. Attributed to The Crime Prevention Group link which states as its mission:

# three functions, providing (1) background information on smoking and laws,
# (2) links to more detailed information, and
# (3) letter writing samples for you to take action to promote safe cigarettes by contacting government officials with authority to accomplish that goal.

The MSN money website also mentions an employer firing employees after instituting a no-smoking-employees policy link. This story links to WorkRights, where a search for smoking turns up a number of stories of employers firing, testing, and refusing to hire, smokers here.

The issue is sometimes called "lifestyle discrimination." Under that rubric, you can locate reports from

the ACLU here

Stephen Sugarman paper at U.C. Berkeley e-repository link (dated 6/27/02)

You're Not The Boss Of Me: A Call For Federal Lifestyle Discrimination Legislation, 74 The George Washington Law Review 553 (April 2006).

National Workrights Legislative Brief link Includes model statute, list of states with relevant legislation, and a brief bibliography, which only dates 1980's - 1991.

Washington Post article dated 10/06 on workplace discrimination link

Ungaretti and Harris law firm report on Illinois law prohibiting "lifestyle discrimination." link

Inside Counsel's analysis of how the ADA may prevent lifestyle discrimination here

Seattle Times story from 2004 on employers' refusing to hire smokers, which lists employers I did not see noted elsewhere link

Jackson-Lewis Connecticut Employer article on lifestyle discrimination from 2005 link

Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin, June 2006 on the legal implications of "Wellness Programs." link through Jackson-Lewis.

Article from American City & County on how wellness programs reduce health care costs (dated March 1, 2005) link

Image courtesy of


Now this is truly a fantastic idea: the Allen County Public Library in Indiana is posting internal training, outreach, and local community videos on YouTube! What a great way to offer training for staff--and for library users--whenever and wherever they like!

Boston Bar's Volunteer Lawyer Project links lawyers to clients for trial opportunities

The article in the title link here is from today's Boston Globe. It details the phenomenon of the "disappearing trial." So many cases now settle out of court, that many newer lawyers have difficulty finding opportunities for trial work. The Boston Bar Association's excellent pro bono program, Volunteer Lawyers Project, is addressing that problem by offering Boston area attorneys the chance to represent landlords and tenants in the Housing Court.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

No Two Snowflakes Are Alike

Everybody says these things, but who knows if it's true? I mean, have you actually examined snowflakes to see? And how could you ever know -- nobody could examine all the snowflakes in the world. Actually, it turns out that some physicists at CalTech do, in fact know. Statistically speaking, it seems to be true: no two snowflakes are likely to be exactly alike. Visit the link in the title for a nice change of pace and read why.

I'm just living vicariously here -- Boston is preternaturally mild all this November. When we should be having bluster, snow and sleet, it's been soft blue skies and sun or mist. Makes all good New Englanders fear the winter that's surely coming!

Legal Materials Prices

The discussion on pricing of legal materials fascinates me. If I were an economist, I would be better able to approach the question.

In the court libraries, law reviews and SSRN are never used. Practicing attorneys and judges rarely read more than five law reviews a year. SSRN articles are never used. I know that in my library, I could cancel law review subscriptions without any marring of patron satisfaction, Even though law reviews are cheap, the time spent creating serial prediction records and check-in could be better spent.

Judges and attorneys heavily use the commentaries and annotations in the New York State codes. The indexes to print materials are very helpful. The West’s New York Practice series answers almost all of my reference questions that are not answered by the Matthew Bender materials.

What is the value of those items? And is the value applicable to the price? Practicing attorneys don’t pay for these materials. They rely on public investment. My library saves a lot of attorneys a lot of money. The court by subsidizing these materials promotes the more efficient use of court time. For the amount of people working in my unit, my proportion of court moneys is substantial.

The publisher’s editorial enhancements are a substantial intellectual effort to place legal effort within a framework. My most successful attorneys rely upon those editorial efforts. It is the self-represented who sit at the terminals composing searches. The attorneys use Lexis when they know what they want.

My question is—how can this intellectual effort be priced? Value is a different term than price. We are not happy with the price, but the attorneys are happy with the value of these resources. Right now, libraries are cutting back on titles. Will this damage court administration? Will there be less justice in the street because we cancel law reviews?

At some point, the merry-go-around stops. The courts could announce that they will only accept criminal cases. That was threatened at one point during the NYC budget crises. Civil cases would go to private judges and be handled only by boutique firms with their own libraries. That practice has affected court filings in California and by extension the California public access law libraries that rely on civil filing fees for their budgets. Solo practitioners might disappear; people cannot afford attorneys and the poor solos lead lives of desperation.

The states and courts have done a good job of making current law available over the Internet; it is the intellectual work to conceptualize the law which the private sector provides. I don’t see universities or libraries doing as good a job as the private publishers I don’t understand the calls for universities to compete with private publishers. Such an effort would require a complete reorganization of funding, promotions, tenure, and teaching, even clerkships because law reviews would have to be dropped. Law schools have a poor editorial record of supporting courts; the private publishers do a better job. Complain as we do about the prices, the publishers provide a service. We just don’t like the price. Our economy has shifted from manufacturing to information; maybe we have to start new ways of measuring value and price.

Sometimes I think the private publishers have identified government as the last growing part of the economy and price accordingly. They are in a spot. Their classifieds are going down; Craig’s list destroyed newspaper classifieds. The publishers have laid off staff and outsourced production. Where else can they go to make money, but government and courts?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Presidents usurping legislative powers - a longer view

Apparently, a historical view of the issue of executive encroachment into legislative prerogatives reaches back considerably before the signing statements of current President Bush. Interestingly, the Cato Institute issued a report in 1999, Executive Orders and National Emergencies: How Presidents Have Come to "Run the Country" by Usurping Legislative Power link. Note the date, still during the Clinton presidency. See also the Cato analysis of The Problem with Signing Statements, link, which also appeared as an essay in the Chicago Tribune, in July, 2006. You can see an interesting webography on the issue of separation of powers at Cato, here.

Another historical survey of presidential powers, from The Daily Reckoning, here, dated 2006, "The Limits of Presidential Power: All the President's Power," by By Thomas E. Wood Jr. This site describes itself as libertarian.

The American Bar Association's bi-partisan committee studied the effect of presidential signing statements link, in July, 2006. See here for a link to the full text of the report and information on the taskforce members.

In-depth law review article at 52 Duke Law Journal 403, Mark J. Rozell, "Executive Privilege Revived?: Secrecy and Conflict During the Bush Presidency," link.

A list of law review articles on the topic of presidential powers from the American Constitution Society, here.

And, at (which bills itself as independent investigative reporting since 1995), there are a variety of essays on the topic of the new "imperial presidency" model of Bush-Cheney:

Roberts and the Apex of Presidential Power link

Bush's Absolute Power Grab, here. This essay covers the signing into law of the Military Commissions Act, which was blogged in-depth here at OOTJ here.
More on this troubling act, here and here, at ConstitumNews, from Robert Parry. Here is a webography from ConsortiumNews on the "Imperial Bush," link.

For another discussion on the limits of presidential power, see Legal Affairs' Debate Club dialog between Berkely law Prof. John C. Yoo and Prof. Neil J. Kinkopf of Georgia State University College of Law, link from November, 2005.

Prof. Yoo writes at the Heritage Foundation, on "Energy in the Executive: Re-examining Presidential Power in the Midst of the War on Terrorism," last April, here.

Prof. Kinkopf writes more as well, on Jurist at Pitt Law, in March, 2006, link, on statutes and presidential power.

CQ Researcher, in 2002, issued this report, Presidential Power v.12-40. See also CQ link to "Constitutional Powers of the President."

This report at, under the aegis of the conservative People for the American Way. Titled, "PRESIDENTIAL POWER, CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY, AND ROLE OF COURTS," the report is looking at the confirmation of Justice Alito. Another article looking at the same issues in the context of Alito's confirmation, from the L.A. Times, at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life website, here.

On Findlaw's Writ, John Dean writes here on "The Problem with Presidential Signing Statements: Their Use and Misuse by the Bush Administration," in January, 2006. Dean analyzes the effect of the signing statements.

From a comment on Slashdot, a collection of quotes dated 2004, from past presidents on their view of executive power, here, compiled by Tod Landis.

An essay on the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision as the "most important decision on executive power, ever," at The Nation, here, July, 2006.

A brief article from IndyMedia, here, and a referral to the New Yorker article of July, 2006, here, by Jane Mayer, "The Hidden Power: The legal mind behind the White House’s war on terror." That mind belongs to David S. Addington, Vice-President Cheney’s chief of staff and his longtime principal legal adviser.

At The American Conservative, an article on Bush's use of signing statements here, from July, 2006, "Power of the Pen: The president uses signing statements to decree which laws apply to him ," by James Bovard.

Justice Scalia

Best-selling author and practicing attorney Scott Turow writes in the November 26 New York Times Magazine in an article entitled "Scalia the Civil Libertarian?" that the Bush Administration has faced obstacles in waging the so-called war on terror from the Supreme Court. "Objections to Bush's sweeping view of executive power have come not only from liberals and centrists...but, more remarkably, from Justice Antonin Scalia, who may end up playing a pivotal role in future war-on-terror cases." Scalia has been criticized for, among other things, his cozy relationship with Vice President Dick Cheney (remember the duck hunting trip, following which Scalia refused to recuse himself in a case involving Cheney); the appointment of Scalia's son to a position in the Labor Department after Bush v. Gore; his opposition to Miranda warnings and the exclusionary rule; his refusal to recognize a woman's right to an abortion, making him "a conservative icon and a favorite face on liberal dart boards." According to Turow, however, Justice Scalia has also often "taken an expansive view of the Bill of Rights, thus supporting defendants in criminal cases," such as his concurring opinion in Apprendi v. New Jersey, a case that "revolutionized sentencing laws." Turow cites other examples of Scalia's pro-civil rights decisions, and states that he is "led to these seemingly divergent positions by his unyielding adherence to a school of constitutional interpretation called originalism. To Scalia, the Bill of Rights means exactly what it did in 1791, no more, no less. The needs of an evolving society...should be addresed by legislation rather than the courts."

The war on terror causes problems for originalists. In some cases, "Scalia has come down strongly on behalf of the administration and its prisoners." But, Turow says, the "extensive powers claimed by the Bush administration" are in conflict with the fact that the Bill of Rights was created to "keep the new American executive from repeating the monarchal abuses of King George." And yet, Scalia, in his dissent in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld stated that "Congress has not given the president the power to hold any American, even one who has taken up arms against his country, as an enemy combatant and instead must present criminal charges or let him go."

We now have an administration dedicated to the expansion of executive powers (see Betsy McKenzie's excellent blog entry below entitled "Dick Cheney and his long-time campaign to extend Presidential powers"). Turow opines that the Bush Administration must be wondering how Scalia will decide future war-on-terror cases. The Court's "centrists" are likely to "apply nuanced balancing tests," while the conservatives on the Court, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts, "have shown an inclination to defer blankly to executive power," which is probably one reason that the latter two were appointed. Scalia may be the wild card, because he is "more like the court's liberal members in seeing the Bill of Rights as a constitutional trump when it collides with government power."

Turow concludes by speculating that Scalia's "occasional alliance with the court's more liberal justices could be struck again in future terror cases. The result would be an unequivocal declaration that executive power must yield to constitutional liberties, even when the nation is on the prolonged war footing we seem to have adopted." I am very grateful to Turow for this insight into Scalia's jurisprudence.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Law Librarians and Reporters--The Movie

No, it's not a replay of "The Front Page" or "His Girl Friday."

Earlier this month, blog entries noted the rising price of legal materials. At the same time, newspapers were being forced to lay off newsroom staff because their profits were insufficiently high. Some of these newspapers had profit rates of twenty percent. Newsrooms were aleady lean after years of cutbacks; a study I read last year found that most newspapers recycled the same wire copy. Not a surprise to anyone who reads small town newspapers that shut down capital bureaus years ago. Newspapers used to rely on stringers paid on spec; now newspapers rely on blogs written by students living on loans.

Our publishers are divisions of these media companies. Our price woes may flow from the same roots as the newspaper problems. How many new books are brought out by publishers? What is the cost of updating content? With publishers shifting to on-line publishing, have production costs gone down? If a book is written by an author, hasn't the author spent a lot of time and money to reach the level of expertise required to write an authoritative work? What does the publisher contribute to that personal investment?

It just seems to me that this information economy requires a lot of time and investment by creators who are expected to live like simple lifers. I don't think our budget woes are ocurring in a vacuum. Any one have anything to contribute on this issue?

Dick Cheney and his long-time campaign to extend Presidential powers

Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage presents today an excellent analysis of Vice-President Dick Cheney's long-time campaign to extend presidential powers. Looking back to political offices Cheney has held in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and both Bush administrations, Savage studies all manner of media expressions by Cheney on the issue. Well worth reading! Just as an appetizer to get you to the full article,

In July 1987, then-Representative Dick Cheney, the top Republican on the committee investigating the Iran-contra scandal, turned on his hearing room microphone and delivered, in his characteristically measured tone, a revolutionary claim.

President Reagan and his top aides, he asserted, were free to ignore a 1982 law at the center of the scandal. Known as the Boland Amendment, it banned US assistance to anti-Marxist militants in Nicaragua.

"I personally do not believe the Boland Amendment applied to the president, nor to his immediate staff," Cheney said.

Most of Cheney's colleagues did not share his vision of a presidency empowered to bypass US laws governing foreign policy. The committee issued a scathing, bipartisan report accusing White House officials of "disdain for the law."

Cheney refused to sign it. Instead, he commissioned his own report declaring that the real lawbreakers were his fellow lawmakers, because the Constitution "does not permit Congress to pass a law usurping Presidential power.

The Iran-contra scandal was not the first time the future vice president articulated a philosophy of unfettered executive power -- nor would it be the last. The Constitution empowers Congress to pass laws regulating the executive branch, but over the course of his career, Cheney came to believe that the modern world is too dangerous and complex for a president's hands to be tied. He embraced a belief that presidents have vast "inherent" powers, not spelled out in the Constitution, that allow them to defy Congress."

The article refers to Prof. Peter Shane, from Ohio State's law school, as an academic following these issues. Just as an aid to scholars of this issue, here are a few links for Prof. Shane:

Link for SSRN article on Government Watch Lists

Link to NPR report on the limits on Executive Privilege dated 1/28/06

Link to Election Law@Moritz, a website from Ohio State University.

The photo above is from the Globe article, which they titled "Power Couple" showing President Bush and Dick Cheney looking almost like conjoined twins.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Model Inauguration

Last weekend, I was pleased and honored to serve as Smith College's representative at the inauguration of Karen Gross, a Professor at New York Law School, as the eighth President of Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vermont. President Gross and I are Smith alumnae, and have known each other for many years. It was an inspiring day.

The festivities began with a panel including several sitting college presidents discussing one of my favorite topics, Education in the 21st Century. I was particularly struck by Frank Macchiarola's remark to the effect that what really matters is not the students we enroll, but the students we turn out. So much of our energy is focused on recruiting students, and that's obviously crucial to the future of any educational institution, but we also need to think harder about fostering our students' intellectual and moral growth. Everyone on the panel spoke about access to higher education and the high cost of tuition today, and that is an issue that resonates with anyone who works at a law school; we all know students who would love to enter public service but cannot because of the large debt they have incurred to pay for their tuition.

Next on the agenda was a live conversation with New York Law School's Professor Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union. Professor Strossen could not attend in person, but spoke via telephone. Her focus, naturally, was civil rights, and she stated that although the Bush administration has an abysmal record on civil rights, the Clinton administration also had a bad record; after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Clinton took steps to restrict the due process rights of American citizens. Professor Strossen is a fascinating speaker, and I was particularly pleased to hear her commend librarians for their strong opposition to the Patriot Act.

President Gross wanted her inauguration to be more than a "one-off event," as she calls it in an article she authored for Inside Higher Education on November 7. For this reason, she announced in advance the five books that she would cite in her address. She hoped thereby to involve the college community and the broader Bennington community in her inauguration and make it "replete with lasting institutional value." I think she succeeded admirably in this effort--some of the students with whom I spoke talked about the five books President Gross had chosen, and said that they were books that ordinarily the students would not have read, but that because they were going to be cited in the speech, they had read them and were going on to read other books by the same authors. What more can a librarian ask for?

Libraries in the digital age (LIDA) 2007

Ah, Dubrovnik in the spring! I attended LIDA 2006 last May and had wonderful time. The programming was excellent, the people were friendly, and Dubrovnik was beautiful. I hope to go again in 2007 and see more of Croatia this time.

Libraries in the digital age:
Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia
28 May – 2 June 2007

Inter-University Centre ( )
Don Ivana Bulica 4, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia, and
Hotel Odisej, island Mljet, Pomena, Croatia (
Course web site:
Course email:

The general aim of the annual conference and course Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA), started in 2000, is to address the changing and challenging environment for libraries and information systems and services in the digital world, with an emphasis on examining contemporary problems, advances and solutions. Each year a different and ‘hot’ theme is addressed, divided in two parts; the first part covers research and development and the second part addresses advances in applications and practice. LIDA seeks to bring together researchers, practitioners, and developers in a forum for personal exchanges, discussions, and learning, made easier by being held in memorable locations.
See more information here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

What the ??? Blogging with Non-Compete clauses!?

Maybe it just goes to illustrate what a babe in the woods I am, or maybe it's that the stuff I blog is not worth much... But evidently, bloggers on the Paul Caron blog empire are requested to sign a non-compete clause, promising that they will not blog anywhere else on the same topic they do there. Wow!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The heart's desiring

When I was young, I lived by the motto:

When in danger, when in doubt
Run in circles, scream and shout.

Well, that only takes you so far in life! I have come to a new bit of wisdom, from a friend I knew at St. Louis University, Fr. Joe Tetlow, speaking of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits:

The Spiritual Exercises are a way to go through a prayer experience to discover through praying and Scripture and the Church's revelation what your own deepest and most authentic desiring is, and to find the courage to enact that.

(see link)
I think that is a terrific statement, and applicable far beyond Christian spirituality. When I have a difficult situation, I try to think about looking for my own deepest and most authentic desiring, and finding the courage to enact that. Thank you, Fr. Tetlow!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Beautiful things

It's time to turn to beautiful things. A long week, with difficult tasks and decisions, should end with something beautiful, to make the heart smile.

The sun shining on white brick and glass, with blue sky behind, is one beautiful thing.

Flowers, sent by a friend, are a second beautiful thing. Tiny roses in white, peach and peachy-pink, in a small vase covered with golden mosaic tiles -- lovely enough, but knowing they came in kindness from a friend, even better!

The laughter of a child, the third beautiful thing. If, like me, you don't have a handy small child to laugh for you, see the video of a laughing baby at
on youtube.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Technology and Legal Education

Many members of legal academia have been thinking for years about what role technology should play in legal education. Professors have correctly wondered whether it made sense for them to spend time learning to use technology in the classroom when it was questionable whether it enhanced their students' learning experience. An opinion piece by Professor John Palfrey of Harvard Law School in the November 13, 2006 National Law Journal highlights this issue. Professor Palfrey points out that "[t]echnology for technology's sake, even if it's cool, is not the point. Technology in law schools makes sense only in the service of pedagogy." He does not advocate instruction in how to use specific programs that might be encountered in practice; rather, he believes that students should be encouraged to think about how technology might enhance the practice of law. "[I]integrating technology into legal research and writing courses" is a natural first step, and one that most legal research instructors have already taken. Clinical programs at law school could introduce students to "case management software, e-discovery programs, research databases and time management tools," all of which they will be expected to use once in practice. Professor Ethan Katsch (University of Massachusetts at Amherst) has had success using simulations to teach dispute resolution and mediation. Professor Palfrey comes to the conclusion that most others have already reached: Despite these limited successes, "[i]t's less clear that there's a role for technology in the doctrinal classes that constitute the backbone of legal education." Can the teaching of contracts or constitutional law be improved through the use of technology? Probably not, although there is probably a place for "real-time polling tools, wikis and Web an upper-level class on intellectual property."

In Professor Palfrey's opinion, the whole issue of technology in the classroom raises "the larger and tougher question of whether law schools are adequately connected to the practice of law and to members of the profession." Could technology in the classroom help to transform the legal profession? We may have an answer to this question later this year when a study undertaken by Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, of which Professor Palfrey is executive director, and LexisNexis is released. This study will survey practicing attorneys and law faculty and ask them whether they think technology can "play a transformative role in legal education at a systemic level." The goal of the study is to "highlight some of the most promising ways forward."

How Parties are Key to Running a Library

All of the libraries I have ever worked in, from my library student days to now, have thrived on parties. We have holiday parties, of course, but also celebrations when a big project is finished. We have parties occasionally just because we want to remind ourselves how terrific we are. It's good for morale. It's good for team-building. And it's a great excuse to have a good time and show off recipes. I love parties!

Some of the parties are just for library staff. Some are for librarians and faculty, like my annual tea party. I want to bring them together, get faculty into the library, and introduce them to the people who have been doing terrific work for them. A few parties are for the whole law school staff and faculty. Last year, several people helped me put together a Valentine's Day Consolation Party. The theme, of course, was chocolate. It was a terrific party, largely because of the excellent help I received in planning it.

The very best library party story I know: Some years ago, we were preparing for the library holiday party. My assistant director was bringing a tray full of wine and liquor bottles down the hall to the party location. Of course, that was the moment that one of our deans came up the hall. And there was D, holding the tray full of booze. The perfect moment! He still has his job and the dean is still our friend, so all was well. But whooeee!

Conference on Emerging Libraries

I'm going: anybody else? We need to have law libraries represented at conferences like this.

De Lange Conference VI Emerging Libraries | De Lange Conference | Rice University:

De Lange Conference VI
Emerging Libraries
Monday-Wednesday, March 5-7, 2007
Rice University, Alice Pratt Brown Auditorium, Shepherd School
6100 Main Street, Houston, Texas

Rice University's 2007 De Lange Conference Aims to Describe How Knowledge Will Be Accessed, Discovered, and Disseminated in the Age of Digital Information

The traditional concept of a library has been rendered obsolescent by the unprecedented confluence of the Internet, changes in scholarly publication models, increasing alliances between the humanities and the sciences, and the rise of large-scale digital library projects. The old ways of organizing and preserving knowledge to transmit our cultural and intellectual heritage have converged with the most advanced technologies of science and engineering and research methodologies. Such rapid and overwhelming changes to a millennia-old tradition pose significant challenges not only to university research libraries but to every citizen. If the traditional library is undergoing a profound metamorphosis, it is not clear what new model will take its place. More information has been produced in the last several years than in the entire previous history of humanity, and most of this has been in digital format. Libraries are not storage places any more; they are less and less a place. The critical issues now include: How can that information be efficiently accessed and used? How do we extract knowledge from such an abundance of often poorly organized information? How might these enormous digital resources affect our concept of identity, our privacy, and the way we conduct business in the new century? Insight from many disciplines and perspectives is requisite to begin to understand this phenomenon to identify ways to help chart a future course.

The De Lange 2007 Conference will examine the transformational influences these astonishing emerging libraries may entail. A planning committee, led by Rice University's Fondren Library and Computer and Information Technology Institute (CITI), now seeks a rich mix of subject specialists with unique perspectives who will enliven and enrich this exploration. The De Lange Conference will also have a historical perspective as well as be forward-looking and self-reflective; the conference will reveal that the emerging library is of enormous consequence and relevant to the rethinking of fundamental assumptions that structure our understanding of the world and facilitate new discovery.

Who should attend: It is expected that this conference will appeal to an audience representing a very broad range of background and interests.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans' Day - a poem

The Dead
By Rupert Brooke

BLOW out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.

For the full poem, which continues, see Bartleby link
I do not support the war, but with all my heart, I honor the military personnel who are fulfilling their duty, despite lack of proper support from their government.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Ergonomics can apply to physical aspects, psychological, and organizational aspects:

the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people (IEA, 2000).

Thinking about that definition, the guiding principles of ergonomics should be: design with the end user in mind, and KEEP IT SIMPLE! According to the eminent designer, Milton Glaser: "Less isn't more; just enough is more." link. This is an interesting concept and worth contemplating as it applies to librarianship. Jim Milles has suggested that the new direction should be "just in time" librarianship, buying materials on demand for patrons rather than stockpiling them for "just in case." I would argue that libraries need something in the middle -- buy the things you are pretty sure somebody in your patron base will need or at least find helpful. Then, make sure they will stumble accross it -- point to it, display it, make sure reference and reserve staff know where to find it when a question comes up. Then, be prepared to purchase or borrow materials that are more single-use or less demand. The hard part, as we all know, is recognizing what materials fall into those two categories!

What other ways do ergonomics apply to librarianship? Obviously, the set-up and design of work spaces, both for staff and for the patrons, should be guided by ergonomic principles. The design of OPACS and web pages should also be ergonomically designed. Think about the end user, and make it simple. There are so many temptations to put buttons on the front page, so many items you'd like to highlight (see paragraph above!). And yet, clutter is the enemy of use-ability. And finally, do ergonomics apply to library organization? Wow! Maybe just apply it to the info sheets on who to call....

Interesting links about simplicity in design and ergonomics:

Cornell University Ergonomics Web link
Fantastic link page, including links to the Human Factor Design Standard at the FAA, and lots of Cornell sites as well. Lots of helpful and useful advice, including a self-help workstation set-up from a design class in 2002. Fun stuff, too. Excellent.

Bad Human Factors Designs link
Multi-year list of bad designs, with illustrations and even cute symbols to note particularly cool or new listings. Cute, and thought-provoking. The author often includes his suggestions on how to fix the bad design.

Fast Company article link: "The Beauty of Simplicity" by Linda Tischler, Nov., 2005.
An excellent article discussing the new focus on simplicity and user-oriented design. Looks at the individual who keeps Google's main page SIMPLE (Marissa Mayer brief bio), and how that came about in the first place.

Also discusses MIT Media Lab Simplicity project link, and the work there guided by Dr. Maeda link. He is not only a technorati hero, but also has a PhD in art. What a cool combination!

And the article also discusses Continuum link, a Boston-area design firm that works with clients to focus their designs. They also sponsor a design mentoring project for youth.

And lastly, the article discusses Royal Phillips link, as an example of the power and difficulty of designing with simplicity and users in mind. Follow their site in to read about their implementation of "Sense and Simplicity" (link) as a corporate philosophy, not just a marketing tag line.

Photo illustration "Keep it simple" courtesy of link

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rise and Fall of Executive Directors as a Profession

Rumor has it that AALL is in the market for a new Executive Director. As the Executive Board casts about for a new leader at headquarters, I hope they will consider looking outside the ranks of professional "Executive Directors." While we have had three Executive Directors of varying quality, and all three have had library backgrounds, I think all 3 had morphed into a new profession: Executive Director of Blah Organization. There is an organization for these folks link to the American Society of Association Executives. It does not seem to matter what else they have been Executive Directors for; they move from job to job, and look to their own peers in this group to validate them professionally.

It is very easy for the valuation of your peers to trump the interests of the organization you ostensibly serve. How many librarians have been tempted to put their own professional interests ahead of the interests of their parent organization? We like to think that librarianship calls us to keep the long-term interests of our law school (or firm or court, state or county) firmly in mind. But the short history of AALL with professional managers that I have watched (admittedly from a distance) does not fill me with much optimism if the next Executive Director comes from the ranks of the American Society of Association Executives group.

I'd like to propose that AALL consider recruiting a librarian to the position. Perhaps somebody at a point in their career to consider what I hear called a "capstone position." Somebody who has experience getting things done efficiently and dealing with budgets and long-term planning, but who also has skills in networking and knowledge of library values.

And finally, here is a snippet from an article about Association Executives and delivering value, by Ed Rigsbee link. I believe our AALL volunteer leaders have met his criteria. So,why are we falling short in the Executive Director position? Read:

For association volunteer leadership:

· Have a long-term strategic and review it yearly. Keep what is valuable and change what is not. Do not shift with the wind, meaning each president or chair must not select a new and different direction at the onset of his or her term.

· With an executive director, you get that for which you are willing to pay.

· The board should conduct a Relationship Value Update with its executive director at a minimum, yearly.

· The board collectively should, at a minimum, each year speak to every member over the telephone asking about the value received the member that year.

· Be true leaders. Don’t cop-out and say, “I’m just a volunteer, I’m too busy.” If you are too busy to be a leader in your association, why in the world did you accept a leadership role? Could it be ego? Why does your lack of planning have to become a crisis for your executive director? Do not expect your executive director and staff to do it all.

For association executive directors:

· Rather than focus on job protection, focus on helping the volunteer leadership to deliver the highest level of real value to your association members. What is real value? The value they want. If you are delivering the necessary value, they will want you for life.

· If you are regimented enough to be a superior administrator and flexible enough to excel as an entrepreneur, you will operate in that “sweet spot” where the two seemingly opposing circles of interest overlap. That where the organizational magic emanates from.

· Is it your association? Or, does it belong to the members? That can be a much more difficult question than you might think. “Sure,” you say, “It belongs to the members.” And, do your actions say the same thing?

· Executive directors must be skilled and seasoned politicians, a job I, myself do not do well. Yet, there is a time to collaborate, and there is a time to lead with a firm grip. Knowing which, and when, is the secret.

· Like the board of directors, the executive director and staff too must yearly communicate with each and every member.

While the above is not a magic solution for the ills of many of today’s associations, the ideas will deliver a greatly improved perception of value from the eyes of your association members. And as I always say in my seminars, “The conversation I have with myself about you is my reality.” The same holds true with your members’ conversation about you...

Rankings & Recruitment for law librarianship

Dear all,
The AALL Spectrum article linked in the title above, "Breaking Down the Rankings" by Tina Ching and Holley White, in the Nov., 2006 issue, is just excellent! Those of my readers who are already AALL members will be reading this article in print (still easier on the eyes, Jim!). But those who are not, should link on and read the article. The newest U.S. News and World Report rankings for graduate programs included library school programs on law librarianship for the first time. This article looks at the methodology of the rankings (not very inspiring, especially when Penny Hazleton asks library school folks if they received the survey, and only one replies!). The article goes on to look at how much influence the rankings have for library schools and who might be influenced by them (university provosts more than potential students, who tend to choose based on geography). Great work, Tina and Holley!

The same issue includes terrific articles on recruiting to law librarianship:

Six Ways to Spread the Word, about recruiting methods by library type, by Susan Lewis-Somers, Jennifer Meger, Phebe Poydras, and Maureeen Well: link

Let's Do Lunch, by Pamela Rogers Melton, about an inspirational lunch program at University of South Carolina designed to recruit library students to law librarianship: link.

That's not all in this terrific new issue of Spectrum, so be sure you look at the real thing. This was just a great collection on one hot topic! Way to go, authors and Paul Healey (soon to be retired) editor of the journal! Paul, you've made so much difference by being the editor of Spectrum! It's a much better, more responsive and professional product today. Good for you!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


That complex word is the title of an article published in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday, November 5. The article describes the author's visit to the editor, "John Simpson and his band of lexicographers in Oxford" this fall. They are working on the third edition of every librarian's favorite book, the Oxford English Dictionary, and started their revision with the M's. If you want to know why, you'll have to read the article! It is fascinating to learn the process by which new words are added to the OED, and to learn that the "O.E.D. lexicographers are adding new words wherever they find them, at an accelerating pace." I had never heard of a lot of the new words that were listed in the article, e.g., "bahookie," "beer pong," "chucklesome." Maybe I need to get out more.

Monday, November 06, 2006

What is innovation in legal education?

Elmer Masters (Director of Internet Development at CALI and new contributing editor at the Law School Innovation blog) writes in his introductory posting:

When I first visited this blog I was encouraged by the title, 'Law School Innovation' and hoped to find a new forum discussing the impact of technology on legal education. With my background in law school technology, innovation is about using technology in new and interesting ways to further the vision and goals of a law school. What I found was quite different. The discussions on LSI are more about bringing innovation to the curriculum and the scholarship of law schools, no mention of technology. This apparent divergence of the meaning of 'innovation' certainly got me thinking. We are using the same language, but our connotations are different. My innovation is not necessarily your innovation.

Websters Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines innovation as "the introduction of something new" or "a new idea, method, or device". By this definition the application of technology to further legal instruction, changes to the traditional law school curriculum, and advances in scholarship all present opportunities for innovation. In thinking about this it has occurred to me that what I am seeing are different facets of innovation. The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is focused on the 'how' of innovation. How do we bring technological innovations into the classroom and into legal education? How are the tools we develop used in legal education? The community emerging around the LSI blog is focused on the 'what' of innovation. What are we teaching? What is the focus of our scholarship?

These facets are not mutually exclusive. CALI does think about what innovative subjects are being taught in law schools and the LSI community is concerned with how innovations to curriculum are implemented. Understanding these different connotations for innovation are important because any innovation is difficult and needs all the help it can get. No matter the connotation, innovation that is well grounded and well thought out is a good thing. My hope is that I can bring some of 'how' of innovation to the discussion here while understanding more of the 'what' of innovation that is discussed.

I posted a comment which I cross-post here below the fold:
CALI has done a great job of promoting and facilitating technological innovation in law schools. They're best known, of course, for the computer-based interactive tutorials, but in the last couple of years, with the development of Classcaster, they (largely Elmer, in fact) have been on the forefront of helping faculty adopt both blogging and podcasting in their teaching.

On the other hand--Elmer's assumption that "innovation" means "technology" is telling. I was on the CALI Board of Directors for several years, and I declined to stay on after my second term because I was increasingly put off by the tenor some of the discussions I heard on the board. The assumption seemed to be that law faculty who were not interested in "technology" were not interested in innovation, or even in improving their teaching. Faculty, it was often suggested, are interested only in their scholarship; teaching is something they put up with. Perhaps I've been lucky in my choice of employment, but in all the law schools I've worked at, faculty take their teaching very seriously and seem to get a great deal of joy out of it.

Secondly--and as a podcaster myself, this may be surprising coming from me--I'm not sure that the CALI model of course podcasting represents innovation. The most engaging law school classes tend to be those with a high degree of interaction among the instructor and the students. I'm not talking about the tedious first-year "Socratic method" which seems largely to be a thing of the past anyway; I'm talking about smaller classes and electives where students are truly engaged in the subject matter. Podcasting in this context seems to be a step back, to the "sage on the stage" model of teaching. I think podcasting has great value, but I'm not sure that classroom instruction is its best use.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Improve your Google Searching!

Three tips to improve your Google searches:

* Use the Google Advanced Search page -- read it!
They even have a Tips link to help you use the special features better link
Here are a few favorites:

Search Symbols: Put them right before your term, with no space between

+ Requires a term. This is helpful if you are searching for a phrase that includes a common word that Google would otherwise knock out of your search: At Will

- But not the term following: RICO -Puerto (searches for web pages about the Racketeering statute and excludes webpages about Puerto Rico)

~ Synonym. Put this little tilde in front and Google will search the word you type PLUS synonyms.

Hyphenate your term to get all spellings: co-operation (will retrieve web pages with co-operation, cooperation and the little umlaut over the second o)

.. Number Range. Put those two little dots between a range of dates, dollars, ages, or whatever.

OR Capitalize the search term to use like a "terms and connectors" Boolean logic search

Put quotes around your phrase to make Google find just those words with nothing else.

filetype: or ext: You can restrict the returns to pdf pages, for instance, or html

link: Type this right next to the URL you want to find out about, and locate all the pages that link to it.

Define: Put the word you need defined right next to the colon and find pages that explain the meaning.

Put the name or phrase you want to search right next to the colon to locate web pages discussing the movie, and skip the pages with that phrase in another context.

phonebook: Gets white pages listings in the U.S.

residential phone listings only, in the U.S.

weather Add the city or zipcode to find websites that cover the weather for your location.

* Use Google Help link

This link page takes you 'way beyond simple help with your searches (though there's lots of that, too). Includes Creating, Organizing and Sharing your stuff, for instance. Help links you to Google Scholar, Froogle (it's still there), Google Book, Google Earth, and lots more.

Search for Google Hacks

Link 1 Douwe Osinga includes a fantastic list of things you didn't know Google could do: translate poetry (I don't know how well, though), find the best time to visit locations, Google News Map, and lots more.

Book link This links to the book of that title, by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest. You can buy the book here, but the site includes some sample "industrial strength hacks." Included are "Getting around the 10 word limit."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Gender Equity lagging in U. S. Higher Ed.

The AAUP study on tenure and salary rates for male and female faculty at colleges and universities across America link. It shows fairly depressing numbers, with women faculty lagging seriously in both tenure track positions, achieving tenure and salary equity.

Related articles from the Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 3, 2006 issue:

AAUP Study link, includes this quote:

"Women face more obstacles as faculty in higher education than they do as managers and directors in corporate America," according to the report. Women have not been "welcomed into the faculty ranks," says the report, and they confront an "inequitable hurdle" when it comes time to apply for tenure. If higher education continues hiring, offering tenure, and paying women at the same rate it does now, says the report, it will take decades for women to "reach parity."

The X-Gals on balancing career and family (these women are writing with pen names, but all are post-docs in sciences). This article contains some nice time management ideas for either gender link

Here is a summary of this articles thoughts for time management, with my occasional comments in brackets[]:

Write down a plan and stick to it. In any given week, most of us have multiple projects, grants, experiments, classes, and other work to manage. It is easy to procrastinate or, worse, become completely paralyzed and unable to move forward. So write down your major goals for each current project. Then write down reasonable ways to achieve them on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis. Then collate all of that information into a weekly to-do list. (snip)

Have a routine and be efficient. It is important to have a set schedule in order to both effectively plan your work days and fit in time for family and a hobby or two. (snip)

When in doubt, farm it out. [she means delegate jobs or parts of jobs where you can] (snip)

Get at least one hobby that is not work related. [ah, wise woman!]

Don't do it all. Do just enough. [you go, girl!]

Avoid drama, seek fulfillment. If you reach a point where you are disgruntled, frustrated with failure (perceived or real), or often complaining or blaming others for your unhappiness, then go back to your original priorities. Are the decisions you have made so far jibing with your priorities? If not, own up to it and start making decisions that do.

That might mean applying for a different job, saying "no" to new responsibilities, revising your schedule and routine, or simply changing your attitude. The only way to find fulfillment in the things we decide to do is to make sure we actually enjoy whatever it is we are doing. (snip)

I suggest you read the whole article, no matter which gender you are, but I find these women very heartening.

Harvard is offering more faculty posts to women, but fewer are accepting link Larry Summers' legacy, perhaps? The report describes some of the things Harvard is doing to try to make it more welcoming to women:

it says that while a number of steps have already been taken to increase the number of women, more should be done.

Among the steps already taken, the report notes that Harvard began offering women eight weeks of maternity leave, as of last July, and that its Standing Committee on Women has held several receptions and lunches to help new female professors feel comfortable.

In the coming year, the report says, a more formal mentor program will be established. Twenty-five senior women will act as mentors to groups of 12 junior women, meeting for lunch once a semester. The mentors will not be in the same disciplines as the tenure-track professors.

"Junior faculty members," says the report, "often have questions or concerns that they are uncomfortable raising with colleagues in their department, especially those who might be serving on their promotion committees."

And, in the name of Title IX, to achieve gender equity in sports, James Madison University cuts women's teams sports, in addition to men's sports, link The article goes on to discuss Title IX:

Gender-equity advocates argue that applying Title IX's proportionality prong is a choice, not a necessity. If its application harms male and female athletes, they say, then universities ought to find other ways to comply with the law. The advocates are also frustrated that colleges are using gender-equity law as an excuse for cutbacks they are making for a variety of reasons.

"Title IX is being blamed unfairly for institutional decisions that have to do with priorities and finances," says Judith M. Sweet, a longtime gender-equity expert and recently retired senior vice president for championships and education services at the National Collegiate Athletic Association. James Madison had other options for achieving compliance, she says.

One alternative would be to rein in spending on big-budget sports like football. For example, rosters that are typically close to 100 — James Madison's is 99 — could be brought closer to National Football League size, 53.

"It's called downsizing," says Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. "The money that you would save would go a long way toward supporting other sports."

But football is one of the few college sports that generates significant revenue, and athletics officials are reluctant to trim their rosters. They do not want to disarm their teams unilaterally, and new divisionwide legislation from the NCAA that would cap rosters seems like a long shot.

I remember when the Equal Rights Amendment was being debated around the states, and the biggest argument against it, the one that really got people riled up, was: "Oh my gosh! We'll have to have unisex bathrooms!" Well, that's what all of us have at home, and in my law school building, there are 2 unisex bathrooms in addition to the gender-specific ones. Nobody fainted or has protested about them. After all these years, we still have gender equity problems. Too bad the ERA failed!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Teaching: Muddling Through , critically

I just came back from a Teaching Excellence presentation here at Suffolk University. We heard from Stephen D. Brookfield, author of The Skillful Teacher; On technique, trust and responsiveness in the classroom. He has a website link, featuring a really unprepossessing photo. I think it's part of his ethos of breaking down barriers and demystifying the professor, but he didn't say why he chose such a spectacularly unflattering photo for his splash page. The book, and his talk, though, were both terrific. His first chapter is "Experiencing Teaching," and talks specifically about muddling through. Unlike so many of the How To books, he does not try to come across as a higher being. He shares his horror stories and brings a lot of honesty to the writing and speaking.

"Muddling through" is, according to Brookfield, an honorable response to the unpredictable in life and in the classroom. His anecdote about his first day teaching in college illustrates this. A racially-motivated fistfight broke out between two students. Brookfield thought to himself, "What would Dewey do?" And came up blank. Melville Dewey would never have confronted such a situation and had nothing to offer his modern disciple. The response: Muddle through.

But muddling through must be done critically, and with a close eye to the effectiveness of the muddling. I found the book and the speech comforting and exciting. The main tool for critically evaluating how the class is going is the Classroom Critical Incident Questionnaire. Brookfield says he hands it out once a week, even in courses that only meet weekly. There are five questions to answer, asking the moment where the student felt most engaged, and the most distanced. The student is also asked what action was most affirming or helpful, most puzzling or confusing, and what was most surprising. He requires students to fill out a carbon-copy form each week. The student hands in one copy and keeps the second in their notebook. At the end of the semester, each student must write one or two paragraphs about what they learned about how they learn, referring to these weekly questionnaires.

The professor receives the questionnaires anonymously. If the class is large, he will read 25 at random, or sometimes have a number studenns assigned to read 25 and summarize them (in a really large class, which he said could be up to 250!). This practice is made clear the first time the questionnaires are handed out. The students who are summarizers are released from some portion of weekly homework in exchange for this task. Brookfield reports back to the class on the positive AND the negative responses each week, assuring the class that he takes their responses seriously. He will modify the class or otherwise address problem raised in the questionnaire, although he is clear that he does not capitulate on key requirements.

I think this is an interesting feedback mechanism. Brookfield says he has used the questionnaire as a response mechanism for meetings as well, and that it works well in all settings, from high school, through college, to meetings of his academic department at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. In some ways, I have used the student responses and discussion of worksheets in my Advanced Legal Research class to gauge how effective I am being. I used to give a diagnostic exam at the first and last class. I always read student evaluations collected by the law school. This might be a very good addition to my arsenal for testing effectiveness. I certainly can endorse his characterization of teaching as muddling through, with the important addition of critical evaluation on a constantly repeating cycle.

FCC rules that landlords cannot force tenants to buy their WiFi or block competitors

Travelers through Boston's Logan airport have been vexed to find that Wireless access was only available for a fee of $8/day. REeeaally annoying! It turns out that Massport, the quasi-governmental, independent agency link, which owns Logan, was bullying any vendors or airlines who tried to offer free or cheaper wi-fi. They wanted to maintain a lock on that market. Finally, Continental Airlines (yay! buy tickets from them! Visit their little press release on the matter link) stood up to Massport and challenged the rule at the FCC. I can't celebrate too much yet, since the Continental arrangement was to provide free Wi-fi to passengers and staff in their President's Lounge. Read the Boston Globe article on the matter, link in the title above. For links to the FCC Order and Statements, see below in the "Read More" section.

Still, the ruling is important because if allowed to stand, Logan's restrictions would act as a precedent allowing landlords to force tenants to buy Wifi access from them and to block competition.

Full text of order and two statements for In the Matter of Continental Airlines, Petition for Declaratory Ruling Regarding the Over-the-Air Reception Devices (OTARD)
at the FCC website: link. It's in Headlines for 11/1/06, but later accessible as docket number ET Docket No. 05-247. The order has lengthy citations to relevant CFR and statutory sections, if you need the underlying law.

The Wireless logo above actually is used by the London School of Economics -- it just says it so nicely, see