Saturday, May 20, 2006


Opinions about the latest movies, books, and TV shows seem to be expanding exponentially. Thankfully, savvy consumers have Metacritic. Metacritic is a one-stop Web site, an aggregated database of film, music, television, book, and video game reviews. Metacritic gathers authoritative reviews from respected Web sites of prominent newspapers, publications such as Entertainment Weekly, the New Yorker, Time and Variety, Web journals like Salon and Slate, publishing and library reviewing journals, and gamer magazines. Using a unique rating system, Metacritic combines individual critic scores into an overall consensus grade for each item (here's a sample) while also providing the full individual reviews. Started by three attorneys as a film review database in 2001, its scope and popularity have expanded but its mission remains “helping consumers make an informed decision about how to spend their money on entertainment.”

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, May 19, 2006

Library Summer Hours

You have all made it through the semester and Exams - Congratulations!!!!

For the Library - it's Summertime - which means Summer hours. Our schedule through July 2nd is:

Monday - Thursday: 8am - 10pm
Friday: 8am - 7pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10am - 6pm*

*On May 21st, we are open until 8pm. For the complete Summer schedule, go to the Library's hours web page .

Have a great Summer!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, May 18, 2006

CALR Refresher

Before assuming your permanent or Summer associateships, would you like a quick refresher in Computer Assisted Legal Research ("CALR") , and, in particular, on when it is best to use print sources or electronic sources in your legal research? Are you interested in a reminder of how print and electronic resources work together, and of the strengths and weaknesses of each? If so, then visit the University of Washington Law School's concise introduction to CALR Web page to find just that!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Yahoo! Update

Above is a photo of Yahoo!'s founders David Filo and Jerry Yang unveiling the redesign to the Yahoo! homepage. The new design is more then cosmetic. It provides for many personalization options (see "personal assistant" and "page options"). It also has more interactive features, reducing the need to click through to other pages such as news, weather, email etc. The search box is also more prominent. Another addition is Yahoo Pulse, which offers recommendations and information about cultural trends pulled from the searches of millions of Yahoo! users. Sounds like that "database of our intentions" concept again....

I am a big fan of Yahoo! and like both the look and feel of these changes. Please let me know what you think.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

National Geographic's Map Machine

Do you like maps? Drawn from the map collection at the U.S. Library of Congress, these authentic historical maps reflect the world that existed when they were created. In some cases California is an island, New York City is a mid-sized city of under one million people, and railways snake westward across the opening U.S. The date in parentheses after the map title is the actual year of creation. Try to find the City in the New York City map (1639).

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, May 15, 2006

Family Law in Fifty States

The American Bar Association's Section of Family Law website provides tables summarizing family law in the fifty states. The seven tables are:

# Table 1 -- Alimony/Spousal Support Factors

# Table 2 -- Custody Criteria

# Table 3 -- Child Support Guidelines

# Table 4 -- Grounds for Divorce and Residency Requirements

# Table 5 -- Property Division

# Table 6 -- Third-Party Visitation

# Table 7 -- Appointment Laws in Adoption, Guardianship, and Parentage Cases

The tables are also published in Family Law Quarterly Volume 39 No 4, Winter 2006.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Google Trends

Google Trends, a new feature, allows you to tap into Google's database of searches to determine what's popular. Unlike Google Zeitgeist, a long-running feature which lists trends that are becoming more and less popular, Google Trends allows for customization. You can specify what's being tracked, you can do comparisons of up to five terms, you can see the volume of queries over time, by city, regions, languages and so on. Check here for details.

John Battelle, author of the (wonderful) book The Search describes the information gleaned by what people are typing into Google's search box as the "database of our intentions". Having access to this information may prove powerful indeed...

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat