Thursday, January 30, 2014

Health & Human Rights Research Guide

Looking for information about health and human rights? Save yourself some time by starting with our new guide. It links to guides, international governmental organizations, and NGOs active in the field and suggests catalogs and indexes for locating books and articles.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

National Academies Press: A Feast for Policy Wonks

The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on an incredibly wide array of policy questions. And you know what's extra cool? They make a lot of their reports free! You just have to register to be able to download PDFs. (You can also buy them in print if you want.)

To highlight some of their timely and important reports, the National Academies Press posted The NAP Guide to the 2014 State of the Union Address. It has the text of President Obama's speech last night with inserts pointing out NAS reports. Just about anything the President talked about has at least one report: obesity, firearm violence, climate change, sustainable energy sources, education, the Affordable Care Act, and more.

As a Washingtonian, my eye was caught by Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future (2012)

book cover: Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington
And since I've spent my career at the University of Washington, I was curious about Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation's Prosperity and Security (2012) 
Research Universities and the Future of America

And of course the National Academies have lots of reports on topics the President didn't address, too. You can browse categories—for example the Law and Justice subtopic under Behavioral and Social Sciences. They even list some titles that aren't yet available, like The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences (2014). Are you interested in scientific evidence or forensics? I recommend Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence (2012).

Gallagher Law Library has some National Academies books in paper if you don't want to bother downloading a PDF and reading on screen (sometimes a printed book is just what you want!). E.g.,

If you ever tire of reading policy analysis, you can pop over to Gifts and Apparel and pick up a T-shirt of the Einstein sculpture that's on the National Academies grounds in Washington, DC.

photo of National Academies T-shirt with Einstein sculpture, "Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine"

Extra Extra! Read All About It!

screenshot of old newspaper
The New Dominion True Humorist: Bruno the Bloodhound
Do you miss the days of spreading black and white pages, feeling like an eagle of information  is taking flight in your hands? Of smudging ink on your fingers as you consume the latest news, perhaps literally hot off the press, the paper warming your hands? No?

Me neither, but whether we grew up with the crinkling sound of newspapers hovering over the breakfast table or not, "the paper" remains an iconic part of our culture. And sometimes, it contains critical content for our research. So where do we go when we need "the paper"?

That depends entirely on what paper you're looking to find! The research guides from Gallagher can help you stay current and keep up with Washington. There are a variety of sources for locating news, including your standbys Bloomberg, Lexis, West, and LexisNexis Academic. But I want to focus on one that offers something a little different, and it looks something like this:

screenshot of Google news archive
Google News Archive

The Google News Archive is a great resource for finding that weird publication no one else seems to have. Looking for "The Age Sentinel" or  "The Prince Albert Times"? How about "Le Shipshaw"? With extremely spotty coverage stretching back in time to at least 1736 and springing forward to 2009, the archive is a great last resort for hundreds of hard-to-get hotsheets.

Born in 2006, and officially launched in 2008, Google began the ambitious project of digitizing thousands of newspapers into a searchable format, with results that are almost as browsable as the traditional format. Though Google abandoned the project in 2011 (for reasons unknown), the site is still available for your perusal - at least for the moment.  So if you need  Fredericksburg's reaction on the day of the decision in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), or just want to explore how SCOTUS decisions affected vices back in the 1970's, the Google archive is a good place to go.

If you want to spend time admiring the archive, you'd be wise to spend it when you are A) looking for a particular title, or B) searching for something after 1970. The titles are easy to browse, as they are listed alphabetically. Searching is best done by following the directions provided by Google, and unfortunately, won't allow a custom date-range prior to 1970. Despite its drawbacks, this site is a great search tip to tuck away for the future.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rap Lyrics as Evidence of Crime

Should a jury hear (or read) violent lyrics written by a criminal defendant? Even if they were written years before the crime? The issue has come up in a number of cases, including one that was recently argued in the New Jersey Supreme Court (State v. Skinner).

Two professors argue that rap lyrics should be entitled to protection as artistic expression. Erik Nielson & Charles E. Kubrin, Rap Lyrics on Trial, N.Y. Times Jan. 13, 2014.

The lower judges disagreed: the majority remanded, holding that the admission of the lyrics was prejudicial; a dissenter would have upheld the admission of the lyrics, finding that the trial judge appropriately applied New Jersey's four-part test for admission of extrinsic "bad-act" evidence. State v. Skinner, No. A-2201-08T2 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Aug. 31, 2012). The opinions offer extensive analysis and factual context. The ACLU of New Jersey's amicus brief is here link to the organization's amicus brief.

While we Seattleites can be proud of our hometown rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis who won four Grammys and are white, it is clear that attitudes toward rap are tied to attitudes about young black men. Some commentary by bloggers and two radio programs:
This reminds me of an article Prof. Helen Anderson wrote several years ago: The Freedom to Speak and the Freedom to Listen: The Admissibility of the Criminal Defendant's Taste in Entertainment, 83 Or. L. Rev. 899-943 (2005).

Monday, January 27, 2014

Washington State or State of Washington?

If you are from Washington, you've probably experienced a conversation something like this:

    "Where are you from?"


    "Oh, D.C.?"

    "No, state."

How did this conundrum come to be?  And what should Washingtonians do about it? Well, the originally proposed name for the Washington Territory was "Columbia."

screen shot of the House Journal of January 25, 1853.  Mr. Stuart introduces “a bill to establish the territorial government of Columbia.”

That name was ultimately rejected because, get this, it might be confused with the District of Columbia. Congress decided to give the Territory a name honoring our first President (because naming the capital city after him was not enough), and so the Territory was named Washington, which could never be confused with the District of Columbia.

Screen shot of H.R. 348, a bill "to establish the Territorial Government of Washington."

As a quick side note, at least one Senator was bright enough to see that "Washington" was just as confusing as "Columbia" and offered up an amendment proposing the name "Washingtonia."

Screen shot of a proposed amendment that would "strike out the word Washington wherever it occurs, and insert in lieu thereof the word Washingtonia."

He lost.

Okay, so we’re stuck with a duplicative and confusing name, but how do we properly tell people which Washington we live in? Is it “Washington State,” or “State of Washington?”*

Why not see what Congress said, since they’ve been on a roll so far? In the federal statute that admitted Washington to the Union, Congress uses the phrase “State of Washington.” 25 Stat. 676.  In addition, the preamble to the Washington Constitution begins, “We, the people of the State of Washington." Wash. Const. preamble.  The Constitution refers to the state throughout as the “State of Washington,” with the phrase “Washington state” appearing only in the context of the phrase “Washington state building authority.”  The state flag also falls squarely into the "State of Washington" camp.

The flag of the state of Washington featuring the Seal of the State of Washington

That would seem to seal the deal, right? Well, not so fast. We’ve got a legislature of our own here in our Washington, and they might have something to say on the matter. The Constitution refers to the Legislature as the “legislature of the state of Washington,” Wash. Const. art II, § 1, but the legislature refers to itself as the “Washington State Legislature” on its website. They don’t seem committed to that formulation, though, as they use the phrases “Washington State” and “State of Washington” interchangeably. Compare Wash. Rev. Code § 1.20.010 (“The official flag of the state of Washington…”) with Wash. Rev. Code § 74.09.402 (“Improving the health of children in Washington state…”).

At least they care about the children.

So, Congress and the Washington Constitution say “State of Washington,” and our state legislature doesn’t seem to care. What do the people think? And by the people, I mean Google Books.

A Google Ngram showing that the phrase "Washington State" is more used in the Google Books database than "State of Washington"

This Ngram (if you don’t know what an Ngram is, check out this blog post) shows the usage over time of the phrases “Washington state,” “Washington State,” “state of Washington,” and “State of Washington” (Ngrams are case-sensitive). As you can see, “Washington State” trumps the competition, being used approximately six times as much as the other options. Now, this can potentially be explained by the fact that “Washington State” can also serve as an adjective (e.g., Washington State University, Washington State Attorney General, etc.), but still, it is interesting.

So, what should you call your state? Well, the authorities say “State of Washington,” so if you want to stick it to The Man, call it “Washington State.”  But “Washington State” is definitely the mainstream term these days, so if you want to be hip and retro, call it the “State of Washington.”

Or better yet, let’s just start calling it “American Columbia.”

* Hat tip to Professor Jane Winn for asking this question and inspiring this blog post.

P.S. The legislative history images used in this post were taken from the Library of Congress's webpage, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875.  The Congressional Record, along with its predecessors the Congressional Globe and the Annals of the Congress of the United States, are also available on HeinOnline.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jurors Have a Hard Time Resisting the Call of the Web

After a five-week trial, Judge Mary E. Roberts
Judge Mary E. Roberts (UW Law '84)
Photo from King County Superior Court
faced a tough decision: after learning that the jury foreman defied her instructions not to research legal issues on the Web, should she let the verdict stand or declare a mistrial?

The juror had looked up the penalty for first-degree rape—but in criminal trials, the juror is supposed to focus on the definition of the crime, not the penalty. The judge decided that the jury had been sufficiently tainted by the juror's action that a new trial was warranted.

The Seattle Times has a long story about this case and the nationwide issue of jurors leaving the jury room via wireless technology. Ken Armstrong, Case of the Curious Juror: When the Web Invades the Courtroom, Seattle Times, Jan. 18, 2014.

As people increasingly carry around Internet access in their pockets and reflexively look up actors on IMDb, rate restaurants on Yelp, and settle trivia disputes with a quick look at Wikipedia, the use of the web by jurors has challenged judges, advocates, and parties nationwide.

The Washington Courts created (with private funds) a poster for jury rooms reminding jurors to "FOCUS ON THE COURTROOM." (Here's the press release about it.)
Washington Courts poster
Jury instructions include cautions about outside research. See WPI 1.01 (civil trials) and WPIC 1.01 (criminal trials):
It is essential to a fair trial that everything you learn about this case comes to you in this courtroom, and only in this courtroom. You must not allow yourself to be exposed to any outside information about this case. Do not permit anyone to discuss or comment about it in your presence, and do not remain within hearing of such conversations. You must keep your mind free of outside influences so that your decision will be based entirely on the evidence presented during the trial and on my instructions to you about the law.
Until you are dismissed at the end of this trial, you must avoid outside sources such as newspapers, magazines, blogs, the internet, or radio or television broadcasts which may discuss this case or issues involved in this trial. If you start to hear or read information about anything related to the case, you must act immediately so that you no longer hear or see it. By giving this instruction I do not mean to suggest that this particular case is newsworthy; I give this instruction in every case.
During the trial, do not try to determine on your own what the law is. Do not seek out any evidence on your own. Do not consult dictionaries or other reference materials. Do not conduct any research into the facts, the issues, or the people involved in this case. This means you may not use [Google or other internet search engines] [internet resources] to look into anything at all related to this case. Do not inspect the scene of any event involved in this case. If your ordinary travel will result in passing or seeing the location of any event involved in this case, do not stop or try to investigate. You must keep your mind clear of anything that is not presented to you in this courtroom.
For more on the impact of the web on litigation, see these articles by UW Law students from the last few years:
See also the Jurors & Courtrooms page in the Social Media & the Courts section of National Center for State Court.

Want more? Just take out your smartphone and run a search. (But not while you're on a jury.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

British Library Releases Over One Million Images into the Public Domain!

Image taken from "Das neunzehnte Jahrhundert in Deutschlands Entwicklung ... Herausgegeben von Paul Schlenther" (1899), available in the British Library's Flickr photostream.
Have a few minutes (or hours) to kill? The British Library can help! In December, the British Library announced the release of over one million images taken from the pages of 17th, 18th, and 19th century books into the public domain. The images, digitized by Microsoft and subsequently gifted to the British Library, span a variety of subjects. Read the official announcement here.

The images, which link back to the digitized books from which they originated, do not have many tags yet. While the book, volume, and page number associated with each image identify its location, no descriptive data is provided to indicate the subjects, colors, or themes. The British Library is planning the launch of a crowdsourcing application to obtain more descriptive information from the public; the data obtained will then be used for the training of automated classifiers.

Click here to see “Highlights from the Mechanical Curator,” a set of highlights that displays the wide range of subjects contained in the collection. In order to build and expand topic-specific sets, Flickr users are encouraged to add tags related to an image's subject matter. Twelve user-generated sets are currently viewable on Flickr and include categories such castles, science fiction, and maps.

As the images have been released into the public domain, they are freely available for anyone to use, adapt, or interpret. Some of my current favorites are below...what are yours?

Image taken from "Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children ... Illustrated by A. B. Woodward" (1897), available in the British Library's Flickr photostream.

Image taken from "[The Fashionable Lover.] Miss Obre oder die gerettete Unschuld. Ein Lustspiel in fünf Aufzügen nach dem Englischen des Herrn Cumberland" (1774), available in the the British Library's Flickr photostream.

Image taken from "The Angel of the Revolution: a tale of the coming Terror. ... With illustrations by F. T. Janes" (1893), available in the British Library's Flickr photostream.

Keep Laptops, Mobile Devices and Equipment Safe: Information from UW IT Connect

Thefts do happen here in the law library.  Please don't leave your valuables unattended, even for a minute!  And consider registering your electronic devices with the UW Police Department.

Information from UW IT Connect:
Protect your new laptop or mobile device by registering your personal electronic equipment with UW Police to help in theft recovery, and by reading their crime prevention safety tips. The UW Office of Risk Management also provides loss control advice for laptops and mobile devices. University departments can buy low-cost coverage for owned, leased, or borrowed equipment (computer, office, audio-visual, and lab) used for UW work through Risk Management’s Equipment Insurance program.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Library Hours for MLK Jr. Day

The University observes the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, Jan. 20. You can participate in the Day of Service or otherwise remember Dr. King's words and legacy, including his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and a digital archive of his writings.

The Gallagher Law Library will be open from 8am to 5pm and the Reference Office will be open from 1 to 4pm.

Cold Comfort: New Legal Research Guide on Arctic Law & Policy Resources

The Arctic from space. Credit: NASA
The Arctic is a remote and vast territory. Without an experienced guide and a good GPS, one could get lost quickly.

Doing legal research in a subject on which you are unfamiliar shares some of those same characteristics.

But fear not! The Gallagher Law Library reference team arrives by snowcat and husky sled team to rescue you from a frozen fate.

The Library's website features more than 150 legal research guides on a wide range of subjects. In fact, we cover the globe! From Greater Horn of Africa (Researching Health and Human Rights--Greater Horn of Africa) to Islamic Law Resources and now to the Arctic.

Librarian Grace Feldman has created a new guide on Arctic Law & Policy resources. It identifies and describes key sources including books, government reports and websites, major international treaties and U.S. laws, nongovernmental organizations, and other guides.

Professor Craig Allen requested the guide. He is a member of the University of Washington Arctic Law & Policy Institute,
a collaborative, university-based, multidisciplinary think tank chartered to provide objective analysis of selected law and policy issues related to Arctic marine science, governance, pollution prevention and response, safety of navigation, conservation and management of natural resources and measures to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for Arctic peoples.
Professor Allen recently released a 30-page report on Arctic Law and Policy Year in Review: 2013, which provides an excellent summary of national and international developments affecting the Arctic.

Both the legal research guide and the report are reliable igloos of information. Parka yourself in front of a computer soon to warm up with these sources.

FIFA, Qatar, and the 2022 World Cup: Legal Troubles Ahead?

Here’s a question for all you soccer/sports law fans:

Will the 2022 Qatar World Cup
be a winter Cup?

If FIFA moves the 2022 Qatar games to November or December, instead of holding it in its traditional months of June and July, who could sue and on what grounds?

The background: Qatar submitted a bid to hold the World Cup back in 2010. One of FIFA’s significant concerns when it was evaluating the bid (see page 34 of the linked PDF) was the weather in Qatar in June and July, which can reach temperatures in excess of 120°F. Qatar apparently assuaged those concerns by proposing an innovative cooling system that would encompass stadiums, training sites, and fan zones; by grouping stadiums close together; and by developing an extensive transportation network that would both minimize the time spent outside and ensure that all outdoor sidewalks were shaded. FIFA awarded the bid to Qatar in late 2010 and Qatar moved forward with preparations.
The proposed Doha Port Stadium 
Back in September of 2013, FIFA president Sepp Blatter indicated that FIFA was considering moving the 2022 World Cup to November or December so as to avoid the potentially dangerous summertime heat in Qatar. In October, FIFA’s executive committee met, allegedly to vote on whether to switch the World Cup to the winter. The only result of the meeting, however, was the news that a decision would likely not be made until after the 2014 World Cup.

The controversy appeared to have died until Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s general secretary, reignited it when he told French radio last week that the Cup would be moved to November or December. FIFA immediately issued a statement that the views were Valcke alone; and FIFA’s vice-president emphatically stated that FIFA had yet to make a final decision regarding the dates of the Cup.

So who could sue if FIFA does decide to go through with changing the dates of the 2022 Cup?

Fox Sports (Fox's 24 hour sport channel)
CEO David Hill
Fox:  Fox spent a significant sum of money for the broadcast rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup; figures range up to $1 billion, with a solid $425 million tossed around as a figure for the U.S. rights alone. Fox has asserted that its contract with FIFA is for the broadcast rights to a summer 2022 World Cup and that its price would have been significantly different had it known that the Cup was going to be held in the winter.  Consider the timing in the United States: November and December is prime time for college sports, the NFL, the NHL, the NBA, etc. June and July have a relative dearth of sports to distract viewers from the World Cup. Neither Fox nor FIFA have released the details of the broadcasting contract, which would dictate whether Fox could sue FIFA and/or Qatar for breach of contract. Fox may also try to renegotiate the contract price, claiming reduction in expected revenues from a winter Cup as opposed to a summer Cup.

Soccer players:  
Will players prefer a winter Cup?
Most soccer league seasons (with the exception of the United States) start in the fall and end in the spring. Holding a World Cup in November or December would disrupt those schedules, could mess with the timing of player contracts, and may wreak havoc on leagues that could take years to sort out. Wilder predictions of the consequences of a winter 2022 World Cup include the end of international soccer, the creation of a super league outside the auspices of FIFA, or the only chance for England to actually win a World Cup. As far as getting any traction on a legal claim, it is doubtful that any of the players have a significant enough interest in the timing of the Cup to overcome a 12(b)(6) motion or its foreign equivalent.

Countries that lost the bid for the 2022 Cup: The group of countries that bid for the 2022 World Cup (which includes the United States, Russia, and South Korea) and lost to Qatar may also have a claim against Qatar or FIFA. The losing bidders protest the change on the grounds that they submitted their bids on the premise that the Cup would be held in the summer. Australia in particular has vocalized its concerns about the legal and financial consequences of moving the Cup to the winter, 
Australia's bid loss was a great disappointment.
even to the point of asking FIFA to compensate Australia for the costs of its bid and threatening to sue if FIFA does not do so. While Australia may have a legitimate legal argument, this fact only raises additional questions: what court has jurisdiction -- an international court or a domestic court?  Which international/domestic court? What law would Australia cite – FIFA regulations, international law, domestic law?  Would any court in which Australia sues accept the case? 

Other countries: Other countries that did not submit a bid have also expressed anger with the proposed change: had they known that there was a possibility that the Cup could have been held in the winter, they would have submitted a bid.  Middle Eastern countries and countries in which June and July are the middle of winter in particular indicated an interest in submitting a bid for a winter Cup. 

Ultimately, it is unlikely that legal action will result, regardless of FIFA moving the Cup to the winter: international diplomacy and interest in preserving long-term relationships will likely mean Fox and FIFA will find a solution. But it is interesting to think about the potential legal consequences of FIFA's decision, however remote they might be.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Human Rights Search Engine

HuriSearch is a specialized search engine that covers over 5,000 human rights websites, including international governmental organizations (e.g., UNICEF), nongovernmental organizations (e.g., Amnesty International), academic centers (e.g., Duke Human Rights Center), and National Human Rights Institutions (e.g., Irish Human Rights Commission).

screen snip of HuriSearch search box

Advanced search lets you restrict by country, issuing organization, and type of document (e.g., HTML or PDF).

You can also run a search and then filter. For instance, when I searched for "reproductive health" and Indonesia, I found 96 documents—91 from NGOs, 5 from IGOs; 69 in HTML, 23 in PDF, and 4 in Microsoft Word. The source organization with the most documents was Indonesia's NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy (HRWG) (70).

Friday, January 10, 2014

UN Calendar App

Don't you hate it when an event like World Poetry Day or World Meteorological Day slips past before you've had a chance to celebrate properly?

Now the United Nations offers a free app for its Calendar of Observances.
This free iOS app features official United Nations observances and links to related videos and further information. It also illustrates how the UN makes a difference in tackling global challenges. The UN Calendar can store UN observances in the native calendar, or it can be used independently. The app functions in Chinese, Spanish and English. Arabic, French and Russian will be available in early 2014.

image shows iPhone with two views of the calendar - text about human rights and a calendar page

Be ready for World Day of Social Justice on February 20!

If you don't want to use the app, you can always visit this list of United Nations observances.

And it you do like iOS apps, you don't have to stop with the calendar. In the App Store you'll also find UN CountryStats ("a data visualization tool to compare key economic, social, environmental, trade, and area & population indicators for 216 countries and territories") and the UN News Reader ("for quick and easy access to all stories from the UN News Centre"). More UN apps are listed here.

Graphic from UN calendar app page.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Quick Summaries of Complex Projects

Procrastinating from work on her thesis (about zebrafish embryonic cardiogenesis as a way to assess how a particular gene regulates a group of progenitor cells that exist in normal heart development), a Harvard senior started a Tumblr blog with this quick summary:
"I have killed so many fish."
That was a month ago. Now the blog (lol my thesis) has summaries from hundreds of other young scholars about their work, and the student (Angela Frankel) has been profiled in USA Today.

It's entertaining to browse through the posts. And here's a challenge: how would you summarize your seminar paper, note, comment, or other project? If you feel inspired, put your summary in the Comments to this post.

screen snips from lol my thesis: "Someone studying atoms is really just a bunch of atoms trying to understand themselves" -- Neurobiology, Harvard. "Bush's War on Terror angered quite a few people." -- Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, Oxford University. "Sometimes Asian people are exoticized in the media, and sometimes they aren't. But mostly, they are." American Studies, Wellesley College. "Botticelli painted a lot of babes, and they all pretty much look the same." Art History, Rutgers University