"Nota Bene" means "note this well" or "take particular notice." We at the O'Quinn Law Library will be posting tips on legal research techniques and resources, developments in the world of legal information, happenings at the Law Library, and legal news reports that deserve your particular attention. We look forward to sharing our thoughts and findings and to hearing from you.
N.B: Make a note to visit "Nota Bene" regularly.
-Spencer L. Simons, former Director, O'Quinn Law Library and Associate Professor of Law
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 Clean Water Act (CWA) is available in the appendix. This book is now available on the law library's new titles shelf (located across from the reference desk next to the public computer terminals) under call number (KF3790.C545 2017).
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.
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
we know it’s there. Somewhere. Right now, data.gov
is the central repository for government created databases, but it relies on
agencies to self-report and is, by many researchers’ estimates, only a fraction
of data created by the agencies. The use of proprietary code and data.gov’s practice of linking to data housed
on websites, instead of the databases themselves, makes it even more difficult
While there does not seem to be any federal
legislation prohibiting the destruction or decentralization of these types of
data, several non-profits have formed to save this data from going dark, by identifying
and downloading data viewed as
vulnerable to deletion.
To learn more about dark data, here are some
resources to get you started: