PowerNotes on Firefox

PowerNotes is now available as a Firefox browser add-on.  Previously, PowerNotes only allowed for annotations on internet pages when using Chrome, which limited the usability of the product.  To increase their reach, PowerNotes has expanded to include annotation capabilities on internet pages while using Firefox.  For more information on installing and using PowerNotes, follow these instructions.  Since PowerNotes is a subscription service, you or your institution will need to subscribe to access the program on either internet browser.

Update: C.F.R.s on GovInfo

After reaching out to John Martinez, Director of the Publications and Services Division at the Office of the Federal Register (under the National Archives and Records Administration), it is confirmed that the December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019 Federal Government shutdown is the primary reason for the delays in both print and GovInfo’s annual C.F.R. title publications.  According to Director Martinez, after finishing up the 2018 titles, the office began approving the current year’s titles (1-16) in early March, and the overall process takes at least 30 days to complete.  At the time of the writing of this blog, certain parts of 2019 Title 12 are now available on GovInfo, and the remainder both print versions and the GovInfo versions of the 2019 C.F.R. Titles 1-16 will begin to arrive very soon.

Fastcase is a Print-Machine!

Fastcase, a database that prides itself on using technology and AI for digital research, continues to bolster their print resources, both internal and external.  In February, Fastcase’s publishing division, Full Court Press, published their first print book titled MAP a Complex Case by Dave Dolkas. In March, Fastcase partnered with the ABA to sell print versions of ABA Expert Treatises from across the country.  In April, Full Court Press published their second print book, Mapping the Deal, as well as partnering with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), to print the first issue of the AILA Law Journal, a bi-annual journal analyzing and researching contemporary issues of immigration law.

These new print titles join with Fastcase’s current print collection of the Full Court Press journal RAIL (Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Law) and their other print partnership with James Publishing. Of course, Fastcase makes many of these materials available online through their database, but this increased focus on print materials swim against the current trend of other publishers and databases reducing their print collections in favor of a purely digital library.

Where Have All the C.F.R.s Gone?

As many readers of this blog know, the Code of Federal Regulations is updated annually on a staggered schedule.  Specifically, the  updated Titles 1-16 are published on January 1 of every year, and the updated Titles 17-27 are published on April 1 of every year.  As of the writing of this blog entry, none of these titles have been updated on govinfo’s annual C.F.R. library.  When contacted for an explanation, the reasoning given was that govinfo places them “online as we receive them and our office has not receive those CFR’s for online posting.  I don’t know why or where the holdup could be.  When they come in we will do our best to expedite the online process.”  Following up with other members of the CRIV committee, it appears that the print versions of the C.F.R. have also not arrived in many libraries.  While the Government Publishing Office’s Electronic C.F.R. (eCFR) is up to date, this remains the unofficial version of the code.  Therefore as of this writing, the most current official versions of the over half the C.F.R. Titles remain over a year out of date.

Additionally another anomaly, specifically the January 2019 List of C.F.R. Sections Affected referring to Titles 42-50 updates in the Federal Register dating back to October 1, 2017 (rather than October 1, 2018), makes it appear that the Government Publishing Office is delayed in either publishing or shipping the most current C.F.R. volumes, creating a rather vast gap in federal regulatory information for the public.  While the Federal Register is up to date on govinfo, and current regulations may be found therein, the fact remains that the C.F.R., the official source for federal regulations, is unaccountably out of date.  As stated in the response from govinfo, even divisions of the GPO don’t fully understand the delay, and I have been unable to find any news which would explain further.  One possible explanation is the December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019 federal government shutdown, but this is simply a guess without more information to support a conclusion.

If you have any information about the delay in the C.F.R. publications (either print or on govinfo) please reach out to myself (mtimko@niu.edu) or another member of CRIV.  Govinfo remains a tremendous resource for attorneys, information professionals, and the public at large, and providing the most current information is integral for the public’s access to information.

Lexis Advance Access Beyond Law School

Lexis Advance will once again be available to law students over the summer (May-August) with their law school login credentials.  Students will have full access to Lexis Advance, without a break in their search history or saved documents and searches.  This access is not limited to academic research, and students may use their student accounts for research related to clerkships, internships, or summer jobs at a law firm.

Similarly, any graduating students will maintain continued access to Lexis Advance through the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2019).  Graduate program access allows access to continue with the law school login credentials, however credentials will be updated from regular law school IDs to “graduate” credentials beginning on July 5, 2019.  For more information, please refer to the attached Flyers provided by Lexis.

Summer Access Flyer

Graduate Program Flyer

Bloomberg Law adds SEC Tools

Bloomberg Law has added new Securities resources to the database.  SEC Administrative Enforcement Analytics analyzes the decisions of enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and aggregates all of these decisions (both initial and final) to provide a more detailed trend of decision outcomes.  According to Bloomberg Law’s press release, “the new tool covers settled SEC administrative actions, including the full text of SEC Administrative Orders, links to relevant statutes, and analytic visual representations of key data points and trends.”  This complements the SEC ALJ Enforcement Analytics tool, which analyzes unsettled decisions which go to the Administrative Law Judges.  These tools are both available under Bloomberg Law’s Securities Practice Center.

Changes within Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is in the process of “rightsizing” their operations through reducing staff and management, as well as closing offices, according to Jean O’Grady.  This transition continues the trend of Thomson Reuters in recent years of downsizing their legal presence, including selling majority control of Financial & Business as well as closing their Rochester, NY office, which had been operating since the 1880s (prior to being acquired by Thomson Reuters).  According to O’Grady, this continued downgrading of human editors will further erode the quality of the legal publications under Thomson Reuters, and lead to growth in the artificial intelligence involvement in the editing process (which carries several drawbacks).  In the end it is unclear whether this move by Thomson Reuters represents a size-correction or downsizing to cut costs, as well as how the legal content will be affected.  Regardless of the intention, it is something that all users of their content should be aware of.