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Showing posts from May, 2011

Law Library of Congress Hearing Digitization Project

The Law Library of Congress has a collection of approximately 75,000 bound volumes of congressional hearings, and is partnering with Google on a pilot project to digitize all of them and make them freely available to the public.

Currently, there are selections relating to the U.S. Census, privacy and freedom of information, and immigration, with many more planned to follow. All of the digitized hearings are searchable PDFs, and full citation information is provided.

General Explanation on Tax Legislation

The Joint Committee on Taxation publishes a valuable resource for tax attorneys that analyzes recently enacted tax legislation, titled General Explanation of Tax Legislation (also known as the "blue book") for every Congress. The Joint Committee on Taxation, is a nonpartisan committee that advises congressional committees considering tax legislation. While CCH publishes its own version (KF6369.G46 2011), the official version is available on the Joint Committee on Taxation's website.

The following are some of the tax acts analyzed in the General Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted in the 111th Congress:

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5)Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-3)Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-291)Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203)Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-198)Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-240)Tax Relief…

Production of the Congressional Record

According to an announcement from the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) created a YouTube video covering the production of the Congressional Record. The video shows how GPO employees undergo the process of transforming manuscripts from Congress into print and electronic publications for use by the public. While most academic law libraries have the Congressional Record in print, the Government Printing Office'sFederal Digital System (FDsys) contains these from 1994 until present.

The "Gray Areas" of Westlaw/LexisNexis

I recently had a student email me with a problem. He was looking for a particular document in its original form (it has been amended at least once). He was wondering if there was a source in the library that would contain this document, but he also wondered if it was available online at all. He stated that he couldn't find it on Westlaw or LexisNexis, and that he even talked with a LexisNexis rep who "conceded that they probably don't have it."

Having spent several years working in the customer support department of one of these publishers, I recognized that this particular document was the kind of thing that could easily fall into what I call a "gray area" in the content available through Westlaw and LexisNexis.

Many of the secondary sources available through LexisNexis and Westlaw reprint the texts of entire treaties (including some not ratified by the US), decisions (of US courts, international bodies, and other entities), legislative materials (including …

And Then There Were None . . .

In my recent article, "A Jester's Promenade: Citations to Wikipedia in Law Reviews, 2002-2008" (7 I/S - A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, forthcoming 2011 (draft available through SSRN)), I applauded the University of Pennsylvania Law Review for being the only Top 30 (at the time) student-edited law review not to have cited to Wikipedia. Considering the edition of the Bluebook current when I finished writing the piece generally frowned upon citing to websites, I had originally planned to point out that Penn was the only one of the compiling editors of the Bluebook not to have cited to Wikipedia. I ultimately decided against it for two reasons: 1) I thought it would be redundant considering that all of the compiling editors are also within the Top 30, and 2) because there are instances where Wikipedia should appropriately be cited (although that pains me to admit).

The Bluebook is "[c]ompiled by the editors of the Columbia Law Review, the Harvar…