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Showing posts from 2017

A New Focus for Nota Bene

Here at O'Quinn Law Library, we try to consistently ask ourselves: what services are we providing? Are we using our talents to the best of our abilities? How are we contributing to the University of Houston Law Center, the University as a whole, and the greater law community? Recently we sat together and took a hard look at our blog, Nota Bene. Collectively we thought we could sharpen our usefulness by deciding what we could publish that would serve our communities and utilize our specific talents in the best way possible.

We are pretty excited about our decision. Starting in January, we will be using our blog to systematically review all Texas-specific law publications. Our hope is that our reviews will help other librarians and researchers know where to turn to get great information about our state's legal system. In the spring, we will be taking on monographs, but our hope is to expand our reach to articles and invite guest librarians from other Texas institutions to partici…

A New Look for Nota Bene

The O'Quinn Law Library is proud to present a new look for our blog, Nota Bene. We look forward to continuing our tradition of providing interesting, current content for our readers.

If you have suggestions for improvements, please comment below. We would love to know how to make Nota Bene even better!

Research Recess!

During the 2017 Fall Semester, the O'Quinn Law Library reference librarians will offer a series of lunchtime talks on legal research topics. The sessions will be given at 5:00 p.m. Mondays and 12:00 p.m. Tuesdays from September 25 through October 24.

FOOD AND BEVERAGES PROVIDED FOR THE FIRST TWENTY ATTENDEES!

Please visit the following link for more information: http://www.law.uh.edu/libraries/publications/brownbags.htm.

1. Federal Legislative Research

Monday, 9/25, 5:00-5:45 (room 1 BLB)
Tuesday, 9/26, 12:00-12:45 (room 1 BLB)
Robert Clark, Reference and Research Librarian

2. Resources for Legal Practice

Monday, 10/2, 5:00-5:45 (room 109 BLB)
Tuesday, 10/3, 12:00-12:45 (room 1 BLB)
Katy Badeaux, Reference and Research Librarian

3. Legal Technology for Lawyers

Monday, 10/9, 5:00-5:45 (room 1 BLB)
Tuesday, 10/10, 12:00-12:45 (room 1 BLB)
Emily Lawson, Reference and Research Librarian

4. Power Searching on Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law

Monday, 10/16, 5:00-5:45 (room 1 BLB)
Tuesday, …

SEC Publishes New Edgar Filer Manual

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently published the second volume of its EDGAR Filer Manual, which describes the process for submitting a filing with the SEC. EDGAR stands for Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval. It is a publicly accessible database that provides investors with information on SEC-registered companies. For more information on EDGAR, click here.

Free Law Project Now Hosts Searchable Opinions and Orders (free!)

The Free Law Project has announced that they have collected every free written order and opinion that is available in PACER, the online hosting source of federal court opinions and case documents. They are now available at free.law and are completely searchable. 
The Free Law Project reports that this collection contains  "approximately 3.4 million orders and opinions from approximately 1.5 million federal district and bankruptcy court cases dating back to 1960." The project required the scanning and implementing OCR for more than  "four hundred thousand of these documents . . .  amounting to nearly two million pages of text extraction."
This archive of opinions and orders is available for search here. In addition to common search categories (judge, nature of suit, etc.) it also has advanced search capabilities including field search, as well as proximity and fuzzy search capabilities. 
The Free Law Project estimates that the cost of obtaining that same content on…

Drones Across America

The ABA has recently published Drones Across America: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulation and State Laws (KF2406.N55 2017) by Dr. Sarah Nilsson. This book begins with a discussion of the definition of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) as well as the different categories. Chapter 2 analyzes regulation at the federal level with a discussion of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA), proposed legislation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulatory action and relevant court cases. Chapter 3 explores commercial UAS rules, in particular focusing on relevant FMRA provisions, federal regulations such as 14 CFR Part 107 dealing with small unmanned aircraft, and state laws throughout the country. Rules pertaining to public aircraft operations as well as model aircraft are also covered. This is now available on the law library's new titles shelf (across from the reference desk).

New Features Added to Govinfo Website

In February of last year, the United States Government Publishing Office (GPO) launched the beta version of govinfo.gov, which will eventually replace the Federal Digital System (FDSys) as the GPO’s free, searchable repository of government documents. Last week the GPO announced the addition of several new features to govinfo. Here are some of the highlights:
New links allow you to click through from Congressional Records details pages directly to related bills. Thumbnails are now displayed in the search results for applicable documents (which is very helpful if you are searching for photos). RSS feeds are now available for bills and statutes, budget and presidential materials, congressional committee materials, judicial publications, and several other types of government publications. To learn more about these and other recently added features, see the latest release notes.

Mastering Negotiation

Carolina Academic Press has recently published, Mastering Negotiation, by Michael R. Fowler. The author discusses choosing the best approach to negotiation including the positional bargaining and interest based negotiations. Pre-negotiation issues such as preparing for the negotiation, organizing preparation, and identifying goals are covered in Chapter 2. This book also looks at matters related to initiating talks such as setting an agenda and an constructive tone for the negotiation. There are other chapters that focus on working with interests, ethical negotiations, problem solving, closing the deal, and analyzing alternatives, leverage, and power, among other topics. This book is now on the law library's new titles shelf (located across from the reference desk) (K2390.F69 2017).

Federal Judiciary to Limit PACER Access?

Should some PACER filings be blocked to ensure the safety of witnesses and informants? Possibly, according to a recently published a survey of federal judges, prosecutors, defenders and probation officers by the Federal Judicial Center.

Originally reported in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required/ available via Lexis Advance), recent survey (PDF) of federal judges, prosecutors, defenders and probation offices by the Federal Judicial Center found that nearly 700 witnesses and informants perceived as snitches had been threatened, wounded or killed over a three year period. According to the Wall Street Journal article,

"Federal inmates are restricted from accessing PACER themselves, but it is easy for them to ask people outside the prison to search the online system and report the information back into the prison by phone, according to judges." Inmates are becoming more sophisticated at decoding available criminal findings within the case filings, leading to a substanti…

The Clean Water Act Handbook, 4th ed.

Bernan Press has recently published the fourth edition of the Clean Water Act Handbook by Duke K. McCall, III. Designed for the practitioner, this source cover the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, which regulates discharges to waters within the United States. The chapter on effluent limitations discusses standards that regulate discharges to waters based on what is economically and technologically achievable in one's industry. Another chapter provides an overview of Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) standards, which are designed to test the impact of pollution on aquatic life. The author also covers non-point sources such as agricultural runoff, the regulation of dredged or fill materials, storm water discharges, and regulation of sanitation systems, among other topics. Finally, the reader will learn about topics related to enforcement of the Clean Water Act, such as criminal and civil enforcement, defenses, and citizen suits. The full text of the Clea…

LOC Makes 25 Million Catalog Records Available for Bulk Download

Earlier this week, the Library of Congress announced that it was making over 25 million of its catalog records available for free bulk download. These records will be available at data.gov and on the Library of Congress website at http://www.loc.gov/cds/products/marcDist.php. Previously these records were only available individually or by subscription. This new free service of the LOC will be an invaluable resource for anyone doing bibliographic research.

The records are in the MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging Records) format, the international standard for bibliographic data. To learn more about MARC records, see this tutorial on the LOC website.

The Problem of Dark Data

A March New York Times articlesounded warning bells for researchers: the scourge of dark data. Dark data doesn’t refer to anything secret or illegal, but rather data developed by the government and other organizations subject to loss. A more complete definition, often used in the corporate context, is "the information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.” Concern over the loss of data that could lead to new discoveries has been especially equated with the loss of scientific data stored by agencies and other organizations. Much of this data is stored on government servers, with no legal obligation to remain available. The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to scientific research and agency funding has only increased the alarm felt by scientists and other researchers.
An additional problem is that dark data, by definition, is unknown. It can’t be verified if it can’t be found, even though …

Law Firm Cybersecurity

The ABA  has recently published Law Firm Cybersecurity by Daniel Garrie and Bill Spernow, which is now in the law library's collection (KF318.G37 2017). This book begins with an overview of cybersecurity and the law firm, discussing issues such as law firm vulnerabilities to cyber breaches, ethical violations that could result, and the potential liability for clients because of the breaches. The second chapter provides "Ten Commandments of Cybersecurity" that law firms should implement immediately to prevent a cyber attack. There is a chapter that provides a detailed overview of cyber threats that exist and another chapter provides advice on password management, encryption, firewalls, and perimeter security control. Cryptography, the International Organization for Standardization 27000 series (which cover cybersecurity standards), and framework for improving critical cybersecurity infrastructure are among the other topics covered.