Happy 25th Anniversary WWW!

On March 12, 1989 Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s wrote a paper proposing an “information management” system “based on a distributed hypertext.” This later became known as the World Wide Web. The WWW is, of course, one of the most important services using the Internet.

The impact of the WWW on the law and legal research is too big to summarize in a single blog post. Suffice it to say here that there are few lawyers, and probably no law students, who could imagine conducting legal research without accessing information using the Web:  Shepard’s by hand, reading cases only in reporters, compiling legislative using only books —unthinkable! (and some undoable since most libraries have discarded the necessary resources in print).

Want more information about the WWW’s History? Check out these resources…. online of course:

Important ExamSoft Information for Upperclass Students

Message from Pat Hupalo:

It has come to our attention that many of our upperclass students have had difficulty registering to use ExamSoft for this semester’s exams.

When attempting to register, students are getting error messages and are prevented from establishing their accounts and downloading their exam templates. This problem appears to only affect students who have used ExamSoft in a previous semester. ExamSoft administrators have determined that the remedy for this semester is for students to use a different username and password than those used in previous semesters. For example, if your previous username was “jdoe”, then changing your username to “jdoe2″ and changing your password should allow you to register and use ExamSoft for your Fall semester exams.

Please contact my office (703-993-8015) or Computing Services (703-993-4855) if you need assistance with your ExamSoft registration. Keep in mind that the Law School will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday beginning tomorrow afternoon. Since the exam period begins on Monday, December 2, you may want to give your ExamSoft registration your immediate attention.


Library Will Close Early Saturday

Due to the inclement weather, the Law Library will close at 6pm on Saturday, August 27. Check here for information on Library hours for Sunday, August 28.

The Law School’s homepage is your official source of information for updates about Law School events, schedule, and cancellations. In the event of power outage, you can call (703) 993-8000 for Law School emergency announcements.

University-wide announcements will be posted here. You may also wish to consult the Arlington County website for local hurricane-related information.

FBI Warning: Computer Virus

The FBI has issued a press release warning computer users not to open emails “that purport to show photos or videos of Usama bin Laden’s recent death.”  According to the FBI, these emails may contain a malicious computer virus (malware).

 Hat tip to  Barco 2.0:  Law Library Reference Blog.

“Intelligent” computers perform discovery

Do your eyes glaze over when you think of e-discovery and e-records management? Mine do. But we better all perk up. This NYTimes story reports on how computer programs have been used to handle large discovery jobs in record time, and how computer surveillance programs can detect “digital anomolies” that may reveal white collar crime. We are all going to have to be tech savvy to best handle our cases, advise our clients, and stay out of trouble.

Can You Trust Your Google Search Result?

Using Google as an easy way to access known information sources makes good sense.  Type the name, click on the result, and review the content.  But blindly browsing on Google in the hopes of finding reliable information requires extreme caution. 

Unlike subscription databases that are evaluated by information professionals, Google’s content is malleable by profit-seekers skilled at search engine optimization (SEO).  They seek to capitalize on the exploding e-commerce market with no regard for accuracy or reliability.  As a recent article in the New York Times reveals, Google faces a huge challenge to remain impartial.  

The bottom line: always consider the reliability of each source of information.  Ranking on Google is not indictive of trustworthiness.


Computer Lab Improvements

Lab 211 with 33 computers in Founders Hall is now open and available for use by GMU law students. Hours will be 9AM to 10 PM, M-Th, 9AM to 6PM, Friday, and 9AM to 5PM, Saturday & Sunday. The easiest way to access Lab 211 from the law school is to walk through the double-doors connecting Hazel and Founders Hall on the second floor. The lab is on the right-hand side of the hallway on the Founders side.

Lab 350 in the Library is being downsized, and a part of it will be renovated for videoconferencing. A wall will be constructed sometime in the next month to divide the room into two sections. One section will be an open lab for law students that will house 6 computers and the Lexis and Westlaw printers. (The Pay-for-Print workstation has been moved to just outside of Lab 350.) The videoconferencing portion of the room and its equipment will be available to law students to use for job interviews that can be scheduled through the Career Services office.

Law students can continue to use the 10 computers in Lab 342 whenever this room is not being used for training.  Generally, there are only a few training classes scheduled during the course of a week, and the schedule is posted on the door to this lab and on the Law School’s online Events Calendar. Lab 342 has a Pay-for-Print workstation.

Finally, the second set of Lexis and Westlaw printers are located at the back of the first floor of the library in the Microforms Room.