Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life Without Google Reader

The Goodson Blogson strongly approves of any technology which allows our readers to see new postings, so the announcement of Google Reader's July 1 demise hit us especially hard. With only a few days left to export your existing RSS subscriptions to a replacement service, advice is flying from all directions of the blogosphere.

But which option should you choose? The service which has benefited the most from Google's decision to retire Reader is certainly Feedly, which has ballooned in size since Google's March announcement. Feedly allows quick import of existing Google Reader subscriptions and also exports any categorized blogs or starred items (features not available in many competitors). It's been recommended by respected law bloggers Bob Ambrogi and Jeffrey Taylor of The Droid Lawyer, as well as a popular unofficial Google tips & tricks blog.

But for a fuller range of options, check out Lifehacker's extensive guide to Google Reader alternatives, which weighs the pros and cons of Feedly, NewsBlur, The Old Reader, NewsVibe, and the soon-to-be-released Digg Reader, among others. Lifehacker also includes handy step-by-step instructions for exporting your existing RSS subscriptions. Google warns that users will be unable to export their Reader data after July 1, so undecided RSS users should export their data as soon as possible while they weigh their options.

New to RSS and not sure what all the fuss is about? Check out Common Craft's 2011 video explanation of RSS in Plain English.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Closing Out the SCOTUS Term

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its opinion in six cases, including the highly-anticipated affirmative action ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas (opinion PDF). Seasoned Court-watchers expect at least two more days of announcements, with several high-profile cases left still pending. Yesterday's New York Times outlined the issues in Fisher as well as the topics of other key remaining cases, including same-sex marriage (considered in two separate legal challenges: one to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and one to a California state law) and section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Another remaining case is not getting as much national attention, but its subject matter is likely quite familiar to many LARW alumni at Duke: whether the Indian Child Welfare Act can be used to revoke the adoption of a Cherokee child to non-native parents by the child's estranged biological father (prior N.Y. Times coverage of the case).

How can a researcher keep up with the latest news as the Court marches toward adjourning its October Term 2012? SCOTUSblog features a daily liveblog of these final announcements. The site also includes a fascinating "Stat Pack" feature, which includes useful data on vote splits, justice agreement/disagreement rates, and the length of time between argument and decision. The New York Times Supreme Court topic page is another good place to gather the latest news from the Court this week, as is the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog.

For assistance locating more information about the nation's highest court, consult our research guide to the U.S. Supreme Court or Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lexis Advance: The Final Countdown

After some time running parallel login systems for its original and next-generation interfaces, Lexis Advance will become the default way to access LexisNexis research tools beginning on or around June 22nd. At that time, usernames and passwords will be deactivated, and the single Lexis Advance ID will be used to access both research systems.

The research interface will still be accessible from within Lexis Advance. However, alerts which were set up in will need to be migrated over to Lexis Advance in order to continue operating. To create new versions of your existing alerts in Lexis Advance, run a search for the same content in Advance and select the gold bell icon to create a new search alert. To review or edit your Advance alerts, select My Workspace > Alerts at the top of any screen.

If you do not have a Lexis Advance ID or need assistance setting up your Alerts on Lexis Advance, please contact Duke Law Lexis representative Marva Woods at, or call LexisNexis Customer Service (800-45-LEXIS).

Lexis Advance and are available by individual password only to current members of the Duke Law community. The Duke University community has access to a campus-wide version called LexisNexis Academic, which includes state and federal case law, codes, and regulations; a number of treatises and secondary sources, including the full text of law reviews and the legal encyclopedia American Jurisprudence 2d; and access to Shepard’s citation service for case law and selected secondary sources.

For assistance with using either the Law School or campus versions of LexisNexis, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You Got Served?

Over the weekend, singer Ciara accepted an unusual gift from a front-row concert attendee – legal papers. Hollywood gossip site TMZ shared a video of the Grammy nominee's performance at a Los Angeles Pride week event, during which she reaches to greet an audience member who hands her several pages of paper. Ciara scans the material briefly before tossing it back to the crowd, never interrupting her performance. The apparent process server picks up the discarded papers and places them back on the stage, reassuring the camera operator, "She got served," with a wide smile.

The lawsuit stems from a dispute over an appearance at an earlier Los Angeles Pride event, at West Hollywood bar called The Factory. Club owners maintain that the singer backed out of an agreement to visit the club on the day before her concert performance, but Ciara's management denies that she was ever officially scheduled to appear at the earlier event. The full complaint is available to Duke Law students, faculty and staff through Bloomberg Law. The case docket is also available for tracking through Bloomberg's docket search and updates feature.

While service of process by interrupting a singer mid-performance is unusual, the video presents an interesting potential piece of evidence that the documents were received (however briefly) by the defendant. Service of process is a critical part of any lawsuit, and improper service can result in a quick dismissal. Each jurisdiction has its own rules governing service of process, including who may serve, who may be served, and the preferred methods of service. These can generally be found in state and federal codes, with further explanations available in secondary sources like legal encyclopedias. 

For help tracking dockets in pending lawsuits like Ciara's, consult our research guide to Court Records and Briefs. For assistance with locating the service of process rules in a particular jurisdiction, be sure to Ask a Librarian.