I guess when we bloggers get interested in a subject, we do it at the same time. Back on the e-book tip, I found this article at seattlepi.com about efforts by law school representatives, e-book publishers and e-book device makers to come up with an alternative to the thousands of dollars and thousands of pounds of textbooks that law students are forced to lug around. These groups are scheduled to meet on September 27 in Seattle. Representatives from Amazon, Sony, Seattle University, Stanford, Vanderbilt, NYU, Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, St. Louis University, Elon University, Florida State, Rutgers – Camden, Washburn University, the National Conference of Bar Examiners, LexisNexis, Carolina Academic Press, Oxford University Press, Adobe Systems and Microsoft are expected to attend.
Aside from the obvious physical benefits of lifting those pounds from young shoulders, the article highlights faster access to information and the potential for professors to custom-craft their own course books:
One idea for a new product, Collins said, would be to give law professors the ability to create their own electronic books in less than 45 minutes, picking specific cases, theories and lectures.
While there currently are recognized limitations with the readers, Ronald Collins from the First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C. is confident these technical issues can be worked out.
The textbook world is indeed changing. Can legal reference books be far behind?
Just a couple of days ago, I posted about the tension between maintaining a traditional ink and paper library and pushing the evolution of the eBook and reader for lawyers on the go. I found this older post from Will Sherman over at DegreeTutor addressing whether librarians (or rather libraries and ink and paper books) are obsolete. He lists 33 reasons why the question should be answered in the negative and I like most of his list.
Bottom line for me is that there are some aspects of the analog, ink and paper world that can’t really be duplicated or replaced by 1s and 0s. But that shouldn’t stop us from seeking out the best delivery format for the most efficient and effective result in any given situation!
Don’t worry books! Just like my old vinyl albums, you will always have a place in my heart and on my shelf.
Not my usual fodder for discussion, but it caught my eye today. Insurance giant American International Group (“AIG”) lost more than 50% of its stock value after Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway backed away from investment talks over the weekend. Thanks to the New York State insurance regulators, AIG was able to raise $20 billion from its subsidiaries to forestall a drastic downgrade of its debt by the credit rating agencies. CNBC is reporting that AIG’s failure could become reality as early as tomorrow morning, while AIG believes it has until Wednesday to patch the Titanic-sized leak.
The federal government is stepping in and seeking the assistance of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan in arranging financing that will keep AIG afloat until it can divest itself of assets and raise capital.
Berkshire Hathaway has been involved in insurance companies with which I have worked. Obviously, Buffett saw something attractive in those investments that just aren’t present in the AIG package.
Where is this all going? With Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy and Bank of America gobbling up Merrill Lynch at a fire sale, our economic outlook is looking dimmer and dimmer. Hard to keep my eyes on legal research, writing and technology with that mushroom cloud smoldering over the horizon.