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The AALL Spectrum® blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.

The AALL Spectrum blog is no longer published. Previous posts are archived on this page.
7/6/2012 10:39:42 AM

New Issue of the Technical Services Law Librarian is Available

I admit that I had never read an issue of Technical Services Law Librarian before reading the latest issue in order to summarize it here.  I now realize the error of my ways.  It's full of interesting and relevant articles that are well written.  For example, George Prager explains how he assisted with the expansion of the KZ classification schedule to accommodate international criminal law.  It's a fascinating essay about how these schedules are kept up to date.  Ashley Moye gives advice for communicating about RDA with non-catalogers.  I can imagine this also being good advice for library administrators talking with stakeholders from outside the library.  Mary Lippold has some great tips about meetings that all librarians should take to heart.  Aaron Wolfe Kuperman's discussion of the subject heading -Cases is a review of how this subject heading has been used.  

Posted By Sara Sampson at 7/6/2012 10:39:42 AM  0 Comments
7/5/2012 9:38:09 AM

Book Review--Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement: New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law

McMahon, Joseph A. and Melauku Geboye Desta. Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement: New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2012, 336 pages inclusive of index.  Hardcover, $195.00, ISBN 978-1848441163

I grew up on a farm in Iowa and have lived in several states in which agriculture is a major industry and agribusiness and trade are vital to the state’s economy.  When I saw the title “Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement:  New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law,” I jumped at the chance to check it out.  This title, part of the Edgar Elgar series of research handbooks on the World Trade Organization, would be an excellent addition to law libraries that have an interest in international law, agricultural law, international trade, or intellectual property, to name but a few.

The book is a collaborative effort with a multi-disciplinary group of experts from several countries contributing to each of the book’s chapters.  The book is arranged in a logical, orderly format.  The first chapter sets the scene, providing much needed context behind the Agreement on Agriculture.  Other topics discussed in the book include food security, plant intellectual property, genetically modified organisms, biofuels, and climate change.  These are all issues that, according to the editors, have either been lacking in coverage in the rules of the Agreement on Agriculture or have received scant notice in the existing scholarly literature.  The editors have done a commendable job of ensuring that each chapter builds upon the information presented in the previous chapters.  One thing to keep in mind is that each of these topics contains a dizzying array of acronyms.  The editors have included a quick reference section at the beginning of the book containing all of these abbreviations, and each group of authors has included the meanings of the abbreviations within the text of their articles.  I found myself having to refer to the chart at the beginning quite frequently.  While I could figure out that WTO stands for World Trade Organization, I wasn't as adept at always remembering that ASSINEL stands for the International Association of Plant Breeders. 

Each chapter includes a complete bibliography of sources, ranging from scholarly articles to official government publications.  The sources are current (through early 2012) and reputable. 

Of course, I found some topics more interesting than others.  I was particularly interested in plant intellectual property, genetically modified organisms, and biofuels, and those chapters were a fascinating read.  The authors present the facts, scenarios, and then recommend possible solutions to problems.  The issue of food security runs through virtually every chapter.  This is a topic to which many of us give little thought, but is one that is of critical importance in many lesser developed nations.  I found the international focus of the book to be refreshing, as there is not an American-based perspective on the issues.  I appreciated reading the points of view of individuals from other nations.  The cost of the book ($195 USD) can be a bit daunting, but for law libraries with a special interest in agriculture, international law, or any of the topics contained within the book, it would be well worth the purchase.

Timothy Gatton is Reference Librarian for Public, Clinical, and Student Services at Oklahoma City University Law Library.


Posted By Timothy Gatton at 7/5/2012 9:38:09 AM  0 Comments
TOPICS: book reviews
7/3/2012 4:42:02 PM

Book Review - Procedural Law and Economics

Procedural Law and Economics, edited by Chris William Sanchirico. Edward Elgar Publishing Company, 2012. 531 pages. $245.00, hardcover edition.

Procedural Law and Economics is a collection of information detailing the effect of economics on the areas of litigation, legal procedure, and evidence. In this, the second edition of this volume, the authors analyze some important aspects of the law and how monetary issues insert themselves in a variety of ways. The authors look at some of the more mundane aspects of the law (e.g., the economics of class actions and fee-shifting) but also some apparent aberrations (e.g., “negative-expected-value suits,” where the final expected judgment is actually less than the cost of litigation).

This volume begins at the very basics, analyzing the economic benefits of both the adversarial and inquisitorial systems. From this basic analysis, the book sets forth its attempt to deal with theoretical issues (e.g., which system should be instituted to make the most economic sense) as much as practical issues (e.g., the actual costs of each system). The authors of this section, and throughout, justify their conclusions through the use of many equations, some of which are beyond this reviewer’s capacity to fully comprehend. But still, even with limited understanding of these equations, one can follow the thought process of the authors through the detailed narrative analysis.

While the authors analyze the economics of such items as appeals, class actions, evidence, and fee shifting, one of the more interesting chapters (at least to this reviewer) was the chapter on “negative-expected-value suits.” As previously stated, this chapter analyzes suits where the cost of litigation is expected to outweigh the expected judgment. Even with the expected costs outweighing the potential judgment, many Defendants still agree to settle such suits in a manner which makes these negative suits result in a positive gain for the Plaintiff; the authors take an economic approach to this puzzle to determine why Defendants would agree to such settlements.

Procedural Law and Economics is written in manner that is suitable for both economists and lawyers.  Each chapter gives a basic introduction to the area of law in a manner that provides a basic understanding of the area of litigation being discussed; economic formulas are discussed sufficiently in detail to allow lawyers to grasp the concepts that are being discussed.

This volume is a valuable tool for those interested in procedural law, economics, and the convergence of the two. While much of the volume is theoretical, much of Procedural Law and Economics provides tools to understand why parties act certain ways when litigating. Still, a reader of this item must remember at all times while reviewing these chapters that Procedural Law and Economics only analyzes these topics based on financial incentives and disincentives; there may be many other non-economic reasons affecting how parties act throughout litigation, but Procedural Law and Economics leaves these justifications for other authors to analyze.

Posted By Paul Venard at 7/3/2012 4:42:02 PM  0 Comments
TOPICS: book reviews