Google is working to make communicating easier for those with hearing difficulties, recently releasing two new apps, Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier.
Live Transcribe works as a “live” transcription tool. It uses cloud-based speech recognition to transcribe conversations in real time. This can help those with hearing difficulties to participate in conversations without a time lag or delay, since they can read the conversation as it’s happening, instead of struggling to hear and missing out on what’s being said.
If you have a Pixel 3 device, Live Transcribe is already installed. If not, Google Play is adding it as an option in beta- you can sign up here to be notified when it’s ready.
Sound Amplifier is like a hearing aid in the form of an app- it functions kind of like noise-cancelling headphones. It can cut out background noise and raise the sound of what you’re trying to hear or listen to. It does require wired headphones to work, and also comes pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices. You can also download it from the Google Play app store here. You can play with the settings in order to tweak it to fit your personal needs.
Established in 1949, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is the United States’ primary source for criminal justice statistics. BJS publishes many reports such as the seminal Crime in the United States as well as several data analysis tools. The Arrest Data Analysis Tool, for example, allows users to generate tables and graphs of national arrest data from 1980 onward. The results can be customized either by age and sex or by age group and race for more than 25 offenses.
Users can also view data on local arrests because the arrest data is compiled from the reporting of individual law enforcement agencies. The FBI has collected arrest counts for several decades now through its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program which forms the backbone of the underlying statistics. Over 18,000 city, university/college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies voluntarily participate in the program covering about 80% of the U.S resident population. The output from this dynamic tool can be downloaded to Excel format.
Congress.Gov announced yesterday that with their new version of searching, users will now get slightly different results. The reason? The default operator is now AND and not OR. So, as Congress.Gov’s post points out, a search for National Park will yield results that include National AND Park instead of National OR Park. A nice improvement, if I do say so myself!
Link Rot is a pervasive problem in the legal community – so much so that Supreme Court opinions are sometimes riddled with cites to websites that no longer exist, which undermines the entire concept of a citation.
Many in the legal academic world are aware of Perma.CC, which is a long-term solution to link rot. Perma.CC allows authors and judges and anyone to preserve the websites they are citing by archiving the page, therefore preserving it as they were citing it.
However, Perma.CC is still in the process of being adopted, and some cites may fall through the cracks. So in the meantime, the University of California Berkeley Law School Library has created a citation program that catches the websites that are cited in Supreme Court opinions and archives them as soon as possible. With this program serving as a stop-gap and the growing adoption of Perma.CC and other web archiving programs, link rot will become extinct, or at least endangered!
Kudos to the UC Berkeley School of Law Library for a great tool. Be sure to check out their site and review the data from cases and citations!
The following blog post was written by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian at the University of Wisconsin Law School Library
CourtListener is a powerful new free legal research website sponsored by the non-profit Free Law Project. The Court Listener platform is composed of four searchable databases containing judicial opinions, an audio collection of oral arguments, judge profiles, and documents from the Federal PACER system. The repository’s numbers are impressive and growing daily.
Almost 4 million legal opinions from federal and state courts.
Real-time coverage of oral arguments from SCOTUS and 11 of the 13 Federal Judicial Circuits.
A database of over 8500 judge profiles.
2.4 million plus PACER documents.
The search engine is easy to use and offers an “Advanced Search” option to refine searches in a number of ways including citation, judge, and docket number. Case law searches are powered by their CiteGeist Relevancy Engine to provide the most relevant and important cases at the top of the results. CourtListener downloads opinions from many jurisdictions on an ongoing basis thereby allowing users to set up alerts using customized search and citation feeds. RSS feeds may also be set up by jurisdiction.
The oral arguments database is also continually updated, making it the biggest such collection on the Internet. At present, CourtListener provides oral arguments to over 1500 cases originating from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A count of available oral arguments from SCOTUS and 11 of the 13 Federal Judicial Circuits totals over 19,000. The judge profile search now also links up to the oral arguments database meaning when you look up the profile page for a judge, you may see a list of oral argument recordings for cases that judge has heard.
What really makes CourtListener special is the free access to PACER documents it provides through the RECAP Archive. Users of the PACER system can contribute to the building of the archive by downloading the RECAP Extensions for Firefox and Chrome. As you browse PACER, the RECAP extension automatically uploads docket files and PACER-downloaded PDFs to the Internet Archive for others to download later. The net effect is kind of like paying it forward, allowing the documents (and legal benefits) to flow to everyone. This newfound access to PACER documents is truly groundbreaking.
There have been some very exciting advances in the fight to make court documents more freely accessible to everyone. As many legal researchers and law librarians are aware, many legal materials can be relatively rare or sheltered behind a paywall. Movements are afoot to change this, at least in part, and there has been progress over the past several months.
Harvard’s Case Law Access Project, which involves scanning scanning in Harvard’s entire collection of case law books, recently scanned it’s last volume. That may sound blase, but that means that nearly 44,000 volumes with roughly 40 million pages of case law have been digitized. This case law will be made freely available to anyone who needs to review it.
In addition to finishing their scanning, Harvard also recommended providing bulk digital data of future case law to make it easier to add to the currently scanned collection. The director of Cornell’s LII and a Professor of Law from Indiana University also testified on behalf of the continued digitally accessible case law.
Lastly, and potentially most exciting, was the announcement by the Internet Archive of their desire to store PACER records from Federal Courts and make them freely available. While it remains to be seen if this proposal will come to fruition, it is another indication of legal material becoming more easily available to anybody. For now, many PACER documents can be found via RECAP, a free website that is co-run by the Internet Archive and Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.
As you search for case law and other legal materials, imagine how that process may become easier as it all migrates to the open web!
It’s the end of an era as Lexis.com, the long-running and highly regarded database says its final goodbyes to the Law School community.
With 100% of Lexis content now migrated to Lexis Advance, the small amount of loyal Lexis.com users will have to prepare for the switch to Lexis Advance, which has slowly been becoming the primary Lexis database over the past several years.
Both Lexis and Westlaw have transitioned to their new platforms and retired their flagship databases in recent years.
Potentially the most exciting part of the Bhopal archive is that it will continue to grow. As other Bhopal scholars volunteer their unique material, it will be reviewed and added to the collection, thereby strengthening the usefulness of the collection itself.
Good news for all you Hein-heads out there (I am certainly one of them). Hein Online recently added a great new feature to their interface where you can email a link to a Hein PDF…and anybody can access it, whether they are authenticated by Hein or not.
Granted the link will expire after 7 days (if the user isn’t authenticated…if they are it will never expire), but that is still more than enough time to share research or a great article with a colleague or student that may not know how to access Hein or not have access at all.
For full directions on how to email these PDFs straight from your Hein search, check out Hein’s blog post. Happy Hein-ing!
Now, after an extended legal tussle, the 9th circuit has come down with a pro-fair use decision, with Circuit Judge Richard Tallman writing (for the 3-0 panel) that:
“Copyright holders cannot shirk their duty to consider in good faith and prior to sending a takedown notification – whether allegedly infringing material constitutes fair use,”
Copyright holders, following this ruling, may be held much more accountable (and perhaps legally liable) if they do not take fair use into account when issuing take-down orders. It seems that there may be a smaller amount of these orders sent out in the future if this decision holds up.