A great new addition the world of legal research is the recently launched Collateral Consequences database from the ABA. With it, legal researchers can search across all 50 states and federal jurisdictions to discover and analyze how collateral consequences impact individuals with criminal convictions. These consequences can be hard to nail down and were certainly not available all in one place, so this database is welcome to fill that gap.
Coming on the heels of Hein’s new Author Profile pages that Bonnie detailed last week comes Hein’s ScholarRank. This interesting tool gives users a glimpse at which Hein authors are not only cited the most by other articles and cases, but also have the most views of their own articles. Basically, ScholarRank is trying to determine the 250 most influential legal scholars by analyzing and crunching these important numbers.
UW’s faculty is represented at number 90 by Professor Emeritus Marc Galanter, who has written numerous influential articles throughout his career. The list is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of legal scholars, including such well-known names as Scalia, Renquist, Bader-Ginsburg, Brandeis and many others. University of Chicago Senior Lecturer Richard Posner is number 1.
You can review the list (and review each author’s enhanced profile page) by visiting the Hein ScholarRank page.
As Bonnie mentioned last week, HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library is available to anyone at the UW Law Library, as well as at the State Law Library, the Dane County Legal Resource Center, the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Marquette Law School. It is also available remotely to Wisconsin State Law Library cardholders who work at a firm or organization with fewer than 25 attorneys (for more information, see WSLL website).
HeinOnline has added a new author profile feature in their Law Journal Library that allows readers to to view more information about authors and allows authors to showcase their work.
To access the profile page for a particular author, open the Law Journal Library and search for an author. From the search results, click the author’s name to view their profile which contains information about the author, a list of their articles available on HeinOnline, and data on how many times their articles have been cited and accessed in the last year.
Authors may further enhance their profiles by adding a photo, biography, university/affiliation, and links to profile and social media accounts. Simply click the “submit author profile” link at the top of your author profile and complete the form.
HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library is available to anyone at the UW Law Library, as well as at the State Law Library, the Dane County Legal Resource Center, the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, and Marquette Law School. It is also available remotely to Wisconsin State Law Library cardholders who work at a firm or organization with fewer than 25 attorneys (for more information, see WSLL website).
Last year I became responsible for our collection of Native American materials at the UW Law Library. In reviewing the collection and availability of sources, I learned that tribal legal materials are very difficult to track down, especially for non-Indians.
There are 566 federally recognized tribes in the United States today. For a majority, no law has been published. Where is it available, tribal law is scattered across various websites, databases and print publications.
Curious about why this was true, I did some research on the matter. I’ve recently posted a working paper on SSRN that describes my findings. The paper, entitled ‘Whatever Tribal Precedent There May Be’: The (Un)Availability of Tribal Law, explores the costs and benefits of publishing tribal law and presents various publication options.
Part I analyzes why tribal law may not be more widely available; part II illustrates how making tribal law more accessible can benefit tribes and others; and part III describes how tribes can make their law available if they so choose.
An appendix lists existing publicly available tribal law collections, both historical and current.
Two of the biggest names in the legal database and publishing world recently announced that they would be partnering up to expand the scope of services that they offer to their customers. Hein Online and Fastcase will allow each other to integrate services that will enhance the experience that users will receive. The integrated libraries will be available at the end of the Summer.
Hein Online will now offer federal and state law that will be connected via inline hyperlinks that will be powered by Fastcase. Authority Check, a citation analysis tool that was developed by Fastcase will also be available to Hein Online subscribers. One element of Authority Check that may be heavily utilized is the “Bad Law Bot”, which will allow Hein Online users to identify negative citation history. These additions all come to Hein Online subscribers at no addtional cost.
Fastcase users will gain access to a wide range of Hein Online’s library, ranging from Session Laws to Hein’s extensive Law Journal Library. Hein’s large collection of Law journals (more than 1,800 unique journals) is the first secondary material that has been added into the Fastcase Legal Research Service. Fastcase users will be able to view Hein’s search results and abstracts for free, and will have subscription options for viewing full articles.
Overall, this collaboration will be a great boon to researchers using either service. Hein is enhanced with greater primary law and citation analysis, while Fastcase gains one of the greatest collections of Law Journals that have been assembled. For more information, check out the joint press release from Fastcase and Hein Online that was released today.
Congress.gov is a beta site by the Library of Congress that contains U.S. legislative information. It will eventually replace THOMAS.gov.
At this point, the beta Congress.gov contains legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present, member profiles from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present, and some member profiles from the 80th through the 92nd Congresses (1947 to 1972).
For more information, see the comparison of coverage currently available via Congress.gov and THOMAS.gov.
bepress recently launched a new product called The Digital Commons Network. It indexes and makes available scholarship contained in the broad network of open access institutional repositories that use the Digital Commons platform. Digital Common Network is available to researchers at no cost.
According to the about page, “the Digital Commons Network brings together scholarship from hundreds of universities and colleges, providing open access to peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work.”
The main Network covers all subject areas included in the Digital Commons repositories. However, legal researchers may be most interested in the Law Network, which is a subset of the full product.
Once in the Law Network, you can do a broad search for scholarship in all legal subject areas, or you can narrow your search by practice area first (on the left). On the right side, there is a display of the most popular institutions, authors or articles in that subject area. This is based on the number of downloads.
There are also several options to follow content by email. You can follow all new scholarship or just content in a specific practice area or choose to follow the most popular institutions, authors or articles.
From the journal, Government Technology:
On Jan. 8, city officials announced the launch of its open data ordinance and a more accessible open data platform. Thus far, only one other city in the country, New York City, has implemented an ordinance mandating widespread government release of data, according to officials.
The city, officials said, is making open data projects a high priority. The new ordinance will require agencies to eventually release most of their data in raw format and make it available for download through the city’s new open data Web portal.
Though the city made open data available in the past, the effort was far less comprehensive and the data was not in a format that developers could easily use, said CIO Paul Kronberger. “We recognize that this data has been created with public funds,” he said, “so it rightfully belongs to the public and should be made available to the public.”
Almost all city data will be made available, he said, with the exception of personally identifying information and any data prohibited to be released by existing regulations. In some cases, the city will further support software developers by providing access to APIs through the new portal, Kronberger said, and will look for opportunities to work with local developers.
Another benefit to the Web portal, Kronberger said, is that the city will field fewer formal requests for data because it will already be openly available to those who need it on the portal. Not all city data will be made available at once, but the city plans to gradually make most data available, Kronberger said.
Internet for Lawyers recently posted a whitepaper in which authors, Carole A. Levitt and Mark Rosch, compare the results generated by the following caselaw citators: Google Scholar, Fastcase, Casemaker, LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg. Registration is required.
The study is somewhat limited in that it only compares the results from one case, but it is still illustrative. The authors found that LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg performed better than their lower price counterparts, Google Scholar, Fastcase, Casemaker. No big surprise there. However, the authors so suggest some workarounds to help expand results.
SSRN, the Social Science Research Network, has recently launched a iPhone/iPad app.
SSRN is a repository of scholarly research for social sciences and humanities scholarship, including law. Many of our UW Law School professors have contributed scholarship to SSRN.
The SSRN app allows users to search over 260,000 research papers in the SSRN electronic library. The papers can be emailed or viewed right on the device.