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Moritz Law  /  Law Library  /  Opinio Juris  /October 2010


Opinio Juris - October 2010

Scroll down to learn about Digital Casebooks on SSRN, Public Domain Mark 1.0, CCH Intelliconnect, GPO's MetaLib, and new Yahoo search features.

Digital Casebooks on SSRN

University of North Dakota law professor Eric Johnson has created a free, downloadable torts casebook available as a pdf on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). The casebook is basic, consisting solely of edited cases in the areas of negligence and liability related to health care. According to Johnson, the value of the textbook is in terms of its editing. In the casebook’s introductory notes, he offers to provide an editable copy to instructors who wish to modify the book to suit their particular courses. A second volume covering additional torts topics will follow. Johnson credits University of New Hampshire law professor Thomas Field for inspiration. Field’s digital casebook on intellectual property law, which contains notes and problems sections in addition to edited cases, is also free and downloadable as a pdf on the SSRN.

Public Domain Mark 1.0

The non-profit group Creative Commons recently announced the release of Public Domain Mark 1.0, a tool for labeling works that are free of known copyright restrictions. The mark is the letter “C” in a circle with a slash through it. With the release of the mark, Creative Commons seeks to make copyright restriction-free work more easily discoverable on the Internet and improve access to the digital public domain. According to a Creative Commons press release, Europeana, a site that contains digital versions of works from many European museums and libraries, is the first major adopter of the mark. The mark does not guarantee that a work is free of copyright restrictions. It is a label that is as credible as the individual or organization choosing to use it. See Creative Commons’ press release for more information about the intended uses of the mark.

CCH Intelliconnect

CCH (Commerce Clearing House) now features a user-friendly interface called Intelliconnect that allows users to search across multiple CCH databases simultaneously. In addition to primary and secondary sources related to tax law, CCH offers a substantial amount of legal material in such areas as antitrust, banking, corporations, employment and labor, health care, intellectual property, products liability, and secured transactions law. Users can narrow search results by document type, topic area, jurisdiction, or additional search terms, and can save results into folders. There is also a browsing function that allows users to view an expandable topic outline on the left side of a split screen while viewing more specific documents on the right side. Additionally, users can opt to receive electronic updates on developments in particular topic areas. CCH Intelliconnect is accessible on campus or off campus with proper authentication.

GPO's MetaLib

The Government Printing Office (GPO) has announced the release of MetaLib.  This combined search engine allows users to retrieve reports, articles, and citations by simultaneously searching across multiple databases (including reference databases, digital repositories or subject-based Web gateways).  A complete list of all resources that can be accessed within MetaLib can be found here.  Basic, advanced and expert searching is available.

New Yahoo Search Features

Earlier this month, Yahoo announced some new features for its search engine.  These new features are enhancements for news and entertainment related searches.  They seem to be particularly useful when searching for information about films, music, and other popular culture topics. For example, if the recent film "The Social Network" is typed into the search engine, movie review information is immediately provided, along with a tab that directs users to information on Twitter and a link that will place the film into users' Netflix queue.  A search for "Billie Holiday" or "Johnny Cash" will produce immediate image and video tabs, along with the standard results that are expected from a search engine search.