Saturday, March 23, 2013

Open States: Transparency Report Card

Earlier this month, a brand new Sunlight Foundation site called Open States, containing free legislative information from all 50 states, caught my eye (see previous post).  Just nine days later, the same folks announced a byproduct of all their work on Open States: a "Transparency Report Card" that grades the states on how online-accessible their legislative data is to the general public.  As explained here, the grades are based on six criteria: completeness, timeliness, ease of access, machine readability, use of commonly owned standards, and permanence.  Being the Hofstra Virtual Library Cat, I was happy to note that New York has been given an "A."  Check out how other states fared, and bookmark the New York legislature's public information site, a great resource for law school research and legal practice.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Spring Break Schedule

Well, it's time to enjoy some free time. I will still be prowling, but on an abbreviated schedule. The Library's schedule will be:

SPRING BREAK: Friday, March 22 - Sunday, March 31
Monday - Thursday          8 AM - 8 PM
Friday    8 AM - 7 PM
Saturday              10 AM - 6 PM
Sunday  10 AM - 6 PM

Thursday, March 28, 2013 8 AM – 8 PM**
Friday, Mar 29, 2013        CLOSED**
Sunday, Mar 31, 2013      CLOSED**

**Indicates no 24/7 access
There will be no 24/7 access after Thursday, March 28.  24/7 access resumes at 8 AM on Monday,     April, 1.  

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

5 Great Online Tools for Mining Public Records

"Thanks to our open records laws, you can find a treasure trove of information on the web—everything from details about publically traded companies to where stimulus funds are going. You can even submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests online."

Click here to read more about FOIA Online,, The Consumer Complaint Database, SEC's Electronic Data-Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System (EDGAR), and

Hat tip to Pogo Blog 

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Google Glass v. Apple iWatch

For a laugh, and possibilities for upcoming birthday presents, check out this Google Glass v. Apple iWatch cartoon:

The Google Glass Project (augmented reality glasses): is competing with the Apple iWatch: as the next "must have" device.  And amid rumors that Apple rival Samsung is working on a competing watch, it shouldn't be long before Apple puts the iWatch into production.

Which do you want?

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, March 18, 2013

Gideon v. Wainwright is 50 today.

Gideon v. Wainwright is the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the court ruled that indigent criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a court-appointed attorney. 

Articles marking Gideon's anniversary also note that the right to effective counsel for indigent criminal defendants is still more aspirational than a reality.  News @ Northeastern "3Qs:  The lasting impact of historic Gideon Ruling" is a clear overview of the importance of this decision and the difficulties of implementation.

The U.S. Department of Justice also offers their tribute:  Fifty Years Later the Legacy of Gideon v. Wainwright, links to related news and blog posts.  The DoJ also provides information on work and initiatives on access to justice. 

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Civil Procedure on the Bar Exam

The National Conference of Bar Examiners recently announced that Civil Procedure will be a part of the MBE starting from 2015.  Currently, the MBE covers six subjects: contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, torts and constitutional law.  Click here to read the National Law Journal article to learn more.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat