ZiefBrief has just heard from BoleyBlogs that the New York Times is unlocking its premium "TimesSelect" content for university students and professors — and it's free, provided you register with a current academic (".edu") email address.
TimesSelect gives subscribers access to the New York Times op-ed and news columnists, and to a searchable New York Times archive going back to 1851.
If you're a member of the BAR/BRI class action and you're unhappy with the proposed settlement of the case that we reported last month, you can sign a petition at PetitionOnline registering your displeasure. As of this morning, the petition only has 43 signatures, and there are approximately 290,000 eligible class members.
Concurring Opinions penned a long post that is critical of the Bluebook rules for pin cites. Daniel Solove argues:
I believe pin cites are important for direct quotations or for
difficult-to-find facts in sources. But they are often unnecessary for
many facts or for holdings of cases. What annoys authors is that
instead of working on improving the substantive arguments and writing
of an article, a ton of time is wasted hunting for pin cites that few
readers will care about.
Pretty uncontroversial issue, right? Think again! The post drew the attention (and ire) of some current and former law review editors, and they quickly weighed in with their own opinions about the citation abilities (or lack thereof) of legal scholars and law professors. One former law review editor unleashed this opinion:
My disagreement with you lies in the willingness to give the
authors' statements presumptive validity. Having personally seen many
respected authors attempt to blow a fast one past the editors (and,
consequently, the readers), I'm defending the requirement for more
precision. And I am doing so not as an editor who wanted to Bluebook
the article to perfection. I didn't. I'm defending the precision
(namely, the use of pin cites) for the readers' sake.
Many readers are fooled by the authors into thinking that their
articles are novel and insightful. The authors do so by making
statements of the following form: "Many scholars in the field argue X.
Shockingly, no one has paid sufficient attention to Y. I am going to
argue Y and show how brilliant I am." Often, the authors want to omit a
citation for the first proposition--that many scholars argue X. Their
reasoning mirrors that in your response to my previous post, that the
statement should be obvious to anyone well-versed in the field. Well,
And there's more! All in all, the post generated 33 lengthy comments from law professors and current and former editors, all fiercely defending or condemning the pin cite requirement. If you're cite-checking and need to take a break, this post and its comments should provide welcome comic relief from the tedium of cite-checking.
It is rare that Zief Brief has a chance to deflate an urban legend, especially one that involves the object of ongoing media frenzy. The story all started with a simple reference question and it ends with our questioning the accuracy of the ultimate in print journalism – the New York Times.
Martha Wright Griffiths (1912-2003): Congresswoman Griffiths served in Congress from 1954 to 1974. During that period, she fought successfully for the addition of language in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would prohibit sex-based discrimination. She also worked to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and Title IX, the federal statute that prohibits sex discrimination in education.
Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005): Judge Motley's career included many "firsts." She was the first African American woman accepted at Columbia Law School in 1944, the first African
American woman elected to the New York Senate, the first woman to serve as Manhattan Borough President, and the first African American woman appointed as a federal district judge. Before she became a judge, Judge Motley worked as a staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and she was the only woman to serve on the Brown v. Board of Education legal team.
Monique Mehta: A 2006 graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Ms. Mehta is the Executive Director of the Third Wave Foundation, an organization that supports "groups and individuals working towards gender, racial, economic, and social justice" through grants, leadership development, and advocacy.
Here's an interesting tidibit of local women's legal history gleaned from last Sunday's SF Chronicle: In 1911, California passed Amendment 8, which gave women the right to vote in state elections years before the successful passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Guess which city failed to pass Amendment 8? San Francisco.
Ever wonder just how much information from government websites is accessible through search engines such as Google? According to this article on Govexec.com, half of all government web pages cannot be accessed by using search engines. This figure doesn't come as a surprise to most law librarians, but I suspect that a lot of legal researchers would find this statistic surprising, even alarming. Fortunately, as the Govexec.com article reports, Google is working with federal agencies to reconfigure agency websites so that search engine Web crawlers can access them more easily. In the meantime, if you're searching for government information, here are a few research tips:
Use a search engine dedicated to searching just local, state, and federal government information, such as USA.gov;
If you don't find what you're looking for when you run a search on Google, Yahoo, Ask, or any other search engine, don't assume that the information isn't out there. Ask a librarian for help with your search.
When you visit government agency websites, you need to be prepared to dig, dig, and then dig some more. Most agency websites are incredibly complex (take a look at this Medicare agency site!), and it takes patience and perseverance to find the information that you need. Try the website's search function if a search box is provided, and don't give up after a few clicks!