IALL Recap: Legal Blogs as a Means to alter Scientific Communication Structures and Legal Research: Insights from Verfassungsblog’s Research Project

By Teresa Miguel-Stearns

Humbolt University Berlin, Faculty of Law

Humbolt University Berlin, Faculty of Law

Researcher Hannah Birkenkotter, of Humboldt University Berlin, gave a fascinating presentation on the various types of German legal blogs and their effects on German society. She acknowledged that she and her fellow researchers do not know exactly who is reading the blogs, and that although blogs are not yet firmly entrenched in the establishment, they are genre that provides a valuable space for experimentation and the exchange of ideas. Birkenkotter described two types of blogs:

  1. External alteration blogs: to spread ideas and alter scientific discussion
  2. Internal alteration blogs: to shake up academic institutions and structure

In 2009, legal journalist Maximillian Steinbeis, started blogging to report on constitutional law developments in Germany. The intended audience of Verfassungsblog is the general public and the desired outcome is to shape and affect policy. The blog is primarily in English in an effort to reach a broad audience. Although Steinbeis is the solo owner and moderator of this “external alteration” blog, he has a long list of guest contributors including several U.S. law professors.

Humboldt University Berlin, Main Campus

Humboldt University Berlin, Main Campus

Several years ago Andreas Palos, then a practicing attorney, started a popular international law blog. It was short and informative with a clear opinion. Palos is now a sitting judge on the Federal Constitution Court and, therefore, no longer maintains this solo blog, but at the time it was a primary means of sharing developments in international law with the public who would not otherwise have timely, in depth, and easy access to such developments.

Several popular blogs are group projects where there is a pre-publishing peer review process allowing for a less formal forum for publishing one’s scholarship. One such blog is a group of young researcher in German public law who run Junge Wissenschaft im Offentlichen Recht, an “internal alteration” blog. This blog provides ample opportunity for up-and-coming scholars to express their ideas and get feedback from their peers through posted comments and responses.

Some of the most popular legal blogs in Germany are the following:

In sum, blogs in Germany, though not as prolific as in the United States, provide an important tool for scholars and experts to share developments in the law, exchange novel ideas and receive instant feedback, and educate the public in a timely, open fashion. Not so different from DipLawMatics Dialogues!

Humboldt University of Berlin, Main Campus

Humboldt University of Berlin, Main Campus

Schedule of FCIL Events in Philadelphia

Blog Postcards 2015Hello FCIL-SIS!  Are you ready for Philly?  We at the publicity committee certainly are!  We have swag for the exhibit hall ready to go, and we’re looking forward to seeing all of our SIS friends again next week!

As we approach the 2015 AALL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, we encourage you to keep an eye on the blog and to follow us on Twitter for coverage of FCIL-SIS programming both during and after the conferenceIf you are interested in covering any of the events listed below, please contact blog administrators Susan Gualtier (susan.gualtier@law.lsu.edu) or Loren Turner (lturner@law.ufl.edu).  Finally, remember to send us your original photos from the Philadelphia conference so that we can share them with our readers who were unable to attend!

FCIL-SIS EVENTS

2015 AALL ANNUAL MEETING, PHILADELPHIA

Saturday, July 18

9:30am – 4:45 pm

Researching the European Union (University of Pennsylvania Law School)

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Exhibit Hall Ribbon-Cutting/Opening Reception. Stop by the FCIL-SIS table!

Sunday, July 19

11:30 am – 12:45 pm

AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers: Researching International Agreements other than Article II

Treaties (PCC-Room 104A)

FCIL-SIS Jurisdictions Interest Groups Joint Meeting (Marriott-Grand Ballroom Salon C)

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Cross-Border Disputes: Dissecting the International Investment Arbitration (PCC-Room

201BC)

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Designers’ Workshop: Subject Guides that Create the Effect You Want (PCC-Room 103BC)

5:15 pm – 6:00 pm

FCIL-SIS Foreign Selectors Interest Group (Marriott-Room 306)

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

FCIL-SIS Internships and International Exchanges Committee (Marriott-Room 310)

FCIL-SIS Publicity Committee (Marriott-Room 308)

Monday, July 20

7:15 am – 8:30 am

FCIL-SIS Business Meeting and Breakfast (PCC-Room 110AB)

3:15 pm – 4:25 pm

FCIL-SIS Teaching Foreign and International Legal Research Interest Group (PCC-Room

112A)

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians Fundraising Committee (Marriott-

Conference Suite 2)

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians Recipient Presentation (Marriott-Grand

Ballroom Salon D)

5:45 pm – 6:45 pm

International Attendees Joint Reception (AALL/FCIL/IALL) (Marriott-Grand Ballroom Salon

IJ)

Tuesday, July 21

8:30 am – 9:30 am

Mighty MT: Enhancing the Value of Machine Translation Tools for FCIL Reference and

Collection Services (PCC-Room 103BC)

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

LHRB/FCIL-SIS Roman Law Interest Group: Researching the Corpus Juris Civilis (PCC-Room

105A)

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

FCIL-SIS Education Committee (Marriott-Grand Ballroom Salon B)

FCIL-SIS Electronic Research Interest Group (PCC-Room 104B)

Philadelphia_skyline_sunset

Follow Up: Changes to EU Case Publishing Not Included in 20th Edition of Bluebook

by Alison Shea

Last summer I wrote a short pbluebook 20ost for this blog detailing the changes to official reporting of cases from the Court of Justice of the European Union, and asked the question of how librarians would deal with this while waiting for the 20th edition of the Bluebook (BB) to be published.

Now that we have received our shiny new copies of the 20th edition, it would appear that there have been no changes to rule 21.5.2(a) that would indicate to the reader that the Reports of cases before the Court of Justice and the General Court, aka the ECR, has ceased publication in print as of January 1, 2012. Not only is the wording of this rule almost verbatim to what appeared in the 19th edition, but “Reports of cases before the Court of Justice” in T3.3 lists the coverage as 1973-date [n.b. not to nitpick even further, but this is technically incorrect, as cases decided before the English-language countries joined the EU in 1973 were translated into English and printed in special retrospective editions of the English-language ECR]; with the recent changes, the most correct coverage date range should instead read 1973-2011. Although the Court’s website indicates that the “Reports of Cases” are now published exclusively online, for BB purposes these Reports should not be cited in a similar fashion, as they obviously lack both a volume number (I for Court of Justice cases, II for General Court cases) and consecutive pagination.

The lack of direct guidance on this format change is disappointing because although rule 21.5.2(a) includes a secondary preference for citing to an electronic source “if an official reporter is not available in print”, for journal students and other users who are unaware that the ECR is simply no longer published, I can imagine that much time will be wasted searching for an ECR cite first instead of realizing that anything decided 2012-date will not have an ECR cite.

Going further, I was also disappointed to see that in this secondary preference paragraph, the BB editors have added new guidance for finding ECJ cases online outside of Curia: “for cases before June, 1997: http://old.eur-lex.europa.eu”.  This is unhelpful on a number of counts, most notably because it implies that cases decided before June 1997 cannot be located and retrieved on Curia (incorrect) and that to find cases before June 1997 one would have to use the “old” version of Eur-lex (also incorrect), which is no longer being updated and currently exists for archival purposes only. One theory as to why the BB editors would direct users to an archival site is that on the old Eur-lex one was able to go to the “Access by year” feature at the bottom of the Case-law page and select any year from 1954-onwards. In the “new” Eur-lex, under “Direct access to case law”, one can only select back until 1973. This again is not a correct assumption of coverage, as case law going back to the beginning can be retrieved via full text search, document number or CELEX number in the “new” Eur-lex.

So what is to be done? Even without any guidance in the BB, the sun will still rise in the East and law students will still come to ask for help at the reference desk. My simple solution will be to instruct law review editors and other users to cite the ECR for judgments issued from 1954-2011, and to use the electronic version via Curia for everything 2012-date. Also, let me make a small plug here for the Fordham International Law Journal’s EU Citation Manual which, although they have only made the 2010-11 version publicly available and thus this version does not address the ECR issue, goes into far greater detail on standardizing citations for EU documentation than the BB does and can be quite useful to students writing an EU-source heavy note. The further question of whether to adopt the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) is still unresolved, but so long as the BB is fine with citations to the URL of Curia, the issue of whether to include the ECLI can wait for another day!

Anna Wiberg of Lund University on the Introduction to European Business Law MOOC

By Anna Wiberg

Anna WibergSome weeks ago, Lund University’s first MOOC, Introduction to European Business Law, started.  It is an introductory course that teaches students the essentials of European Business Law. For some students it may also be followed by studies at the Master’s Programme in European Business Law at Lund University in Sweden.

Members of Lund University’s law faculty were chosen to create the MOOC because of their previous experience in making films for online courses.  I am one of the librarians on the faculty that helped create the course.  I appear on films throughout the course that focus on how to find and use European Union materials.  My colleague, Annika Hellbring, and I created the PowerPoint slides and talking points that appear on these films. The aim of these films is to support students taking the course; to make it easier to find and read the documents you need during the course or when practicing European Union law.

The faculty is often involved in new areas and projects and for many years I was part of a project that the faculty had together with the law faculties in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This included many discussions and teaching sessions in both Lund and Vietnam. It was therefore natural for the law faculty and the library to collaborate in a MOOC.

The actual filming process for the MOOC occurred in August 2014. It was both scary and interesting to be in the studio, to use a teleprompter and to act in front of the camera for the very first time. When sound, picture and speech were put together by the production team and when I finally saw the films, I was impressed by the construction, even though it is hard to ignore the somewhat odd feeling of watching myself on the screen.

I began my employment at Lund University in 2003.  There are six librarians on the Lund University faculty with me, all specialists in different areas. An extensive part of our work is to support our researchers, to educate the students in information skills, to handle the European Documentation Center and of course, to build excellent printed and digital collections. Besides many other things, I mainly work with teaching the students how to search, find and evaluate legal documents. I enjoy working closely with the students and I find it challenging to support the students to develop their information literacy. The library is well integrated in the law faculty and has an ongoing discussion with the teachers about the learning outcomes in the area of information skills.

I am sure that the faculty will produce more courses and more films, and I would not hesitate to be involved again.

In the meantime, for a refresher on European Business Law research, join the MOOC for free!

FCIL Internships and International Exchanges Committee Report

By David McFaddenexchanges

The FCIL Internships and International Exchanges Committee met on 14 July in San Antonio.  David McFadden (Chair), Jim Hart, Jootaek Lee, Andrew “Tig” Wartluft, and Hunter Whaley attended.

There were no known requests or known use of committee services.  There was a question as to whether the committee could get a report of traffic and activity on its website.  The survey and committee handout were distributed by Sally Holterhoff at IFLA in August 2013, and at the ASIL meeting in Spring 2014 by Marty Witt.  Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match: The Internships & Exchanges Committee, an article by James W. Hart and David McFadden highlighting the committee’s work, appeared in the October 2013 issue of the FCIL Newsletter.  Peter Roudik and Marty Witt worked on a program proposal for San Antonio entitled Between School and Employment: Best Practices in Accommodating and Managing Interns and Conducting Internships for Law Librarians.  Unfortunately, the program was not accepted.  Marty Witt worked on updating the survey instrument and results report.

There was a discussion about updating the FCIL Internship and International Exchanges website.  It was reported that Marty Witt is finishing up work on the survey instrument and results report.  There was a suggestion to use a LibGuides format for the results.  More reports of visits and exchanges will be solicited in the coming year.  Also, the resources page will be restored to the website.

Those present at the meeting agreed to assignments for updating the current survey results and soliciting new participants.  Those assigned in earlier years will be contacted to see about their progress and continued interest in helping the committee.

Different ways of publicizing and promoting the committee’s work were discussed.  Attendees of the upcoming IFLA meeting will be contacted again this year.

Marty Witt agreed to take over as chair for the 2014-2015 term.

Upcoming MOOCs on Foreign, Comparative, and International Law

By Loren Turner

A MOOC is a massive, open, online course offered by premier universities to students around the world without charge. Anyone with an internet connection can enroll in a MOOC course and pursue their studies on a variety of educational topics.

The three most popular platforms offering MOOC courses are: edX, Coursera, and Udacity. EdX provides MOOCs created by Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, and is the only not-for-profit MOOC provider. Coursera and Udacity are for-profit providers and competitors that offer MOOCs from other premier institutions. Despite for-profit status, Coursera and Udacity do not charge students for MOOC courses unless students opt to join the “signature track,” which verifies student identity for current and future employers.

Initially, law schools were hesitant to offer MOOC courses in legal studies. But, within the last year, law schools have begun to embrace the idea as a way of exporting their brands, programs, and faculty to a global audience.

Last month, I, along with 7 other faculty members of UF Law (including Claire Germain, FCIL librarian, Associate Dean for Legal Information, and Clarence J. TeSelle, Professor of Law), completed the MOOC we launched in partnership with Coursera, titled The Global Student’s Introduction to U.S. Law. Although our MOOC focused on U.S. Law, comparative and international perspectives were encouraged in the video lectures, discussion forum prompts/posts, and research assignments. For example, Claire Germain recorded a video comparing the French and American jury systems. Also, Professor Sharon Rush prompted students to write discussion forum posts comparing the U.S. Constitution with the constitution of students’ home countries, which sparked a fascinating conversational thread for the benefit of all. Lastly, one of the three research assignments embedded in the course required students to explore the CISG database hosted by Pace Law School as part of their introduction to contract law.

If you are curious about MOOCs and would like to join one for fun (or for serious study), consider the following MOOCs directly related to foreign, comparative, and international law topics:

  • English Common Law: Structure and Principles (Available on the Coursera platform. Taught by Adam Gearey, Professor at the School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London. Class is currently ongoing.)
  • International Human Rights (Available on the edX platform. Taught by Olivier De Schutter, Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and at the College of Europe (Natolin). Class has ended, but students can still register and view class archives.
  • Introduction to European Business Law (Will be available on the Coursera platform on January 5, 2015. Will be taught by a variety of faculty at Lund University. If you enroll in the course now, you’ll receive notice via email when class begins.)

Or, visit the edX, Coursera, and Udacity platforms for a full list of MOOCs in any topic area of your choice. Keep in mind that many MOOCs, like ours at UF Law, may initiate and encourage FCIL conversations even when the MOOC focuses on domestic law.

Have fun MOOCing! And please consider sharing your MOOC experiences (for better or worse) with the rest of us by commenting on this post or by volunteering to write a blog post about the MOOC course(s) you joined.

Changes in ECJ Case Publishing and Citation Methods

By Alison Shea

Many of us have a nice splash of color in our stacks thanks to the purple European Union case law reporters, known to our students as the ECR but to our catalogs as “Reports of cases before the Court of Justice and the General Court…” However, unbeknownst (or unremembered) to many, as of April 2014 this print reporter has ceased publication – see here, here, and here for more information.  The last volumes issued were 2011 v.12C for Series I and 2011 v.11/12 for Series II.

One thing we might consider doing to help alert users to this change is to ask our catalogers to include some type of link to the electronic databases – either Curia or Eur-Lex – from our current ECR records, similar to what IALS in London has done.  But what does this mean for FCIL reference services, and especially for all of the journal students who are going to come asking for citation help once school is back in session?  It’s hard to tell.

Bluebook (19th edition) Rule 21.5.2 states that European Union case law citations should include a reference to the official reporter, which is defined in 21.5.2(a) as the ECR.  Subsection (a) does go on to state that if an official report is not available in print, one should cite to the Curia website, an electronic database, or a private service.  So, one might assume that from 2012 onwards we should instruct students to provide a citation to the HTML version of the case (which are considered official per the court’s own website) using rule 18.1.

But there’s a twist!  In announcing the cessation of the ECR in print, the Court also announced a new citation method for ECJ cases.  As stated on the Curia website:

I. The context of the alteration of the method of citing the case-law

As part of an initiative taken by the Council, a European Case-Law Identifier (ECLI) has recently been created.  That identifier is intended to provide an unambiguous reference both to national and European case-law and to define a minimum set of uniform metadata for the case-law.  It thus facilitates the consultation and citation of case-law in the European Union.

The ECLI is composed of the following four mandatory sections, in addition to the prefix ‘ECLI’:

  • The code corresponding to the Member State of the court or tribunal concerned or to the European Union where it is an EU Court;
  • The abbreviation corresponding to the court which gave the decision;
  • The year of the decision;
  • An order number of a maximum of 25 alphanumeric characters, in a format decided by each Member State or supranational court or tribunal concerned. The order number may not contain any punctuation sign other than full stops (‘.’) or colons (‘:’), the latter separating the sections of an ECLI.

Following the recommendation of the Council that the Court of Justice of the European Union adopt the European Case-Law Identifier system, the Court has assigned an ECLI to all decisions delivered by the European Union Courts since 1954 and to the Opinions and Views of the Advocates General.

For example, the ECLI of the judgment of the Court of Justice of 12 July 2005 in Case C-403/03 Schempp is the following: ‘EU:C:2005:446′. 

It is broken down as follows:

  • ‘EU’ indicates that it is a decision delivered by an EU Court or Tribunal (if the decision were one of a national court, the code corresponding to the relevant Member State would appear in the place of ‘EU’);
  • ‘C’ indicates that this decision was delivered by the Court of Justice. If the decision were delivered by the General Court or by the Civil Service Tribunal, the indicator would be ‘T’ or ‘F’ respectively;
  • ‘2005′ indicates that the decision was delivered during 2005;
  • ‘446′ indicates that it is the 446th ECLI attributed in respect of that year.

It is interesting to examine some of the cases that are being published online using this new method – see, e.g. Minister Finansów v Kraft Foods Polska SA, available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:62010CJ0588&rid=1.  It “feels” similar to what the ECR looked like in PDF, but again, it is important to note that it is not consecutively paginated as part of an official reporter and instead carries the new ECLI citation.

So the big question is…how do we advise our students to cite ECJ cases until the new Bluebook comes out?  Also, how can we go about ensuring the editors of the Bluebook are aware of this change?  Please leave your comments/thoughts/questions below, and do be sure to stop by the European Law Interest Group Meeting in San Antonio, to be held on Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 7:00 AM in Marriott Rivercenter-Salon C (as part of the FCIL-SIS Subject Groups meetings) to continue the discussion there!