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New Law Review format on display at Circ. Desk

The Case Western Reserve Law Review has put a lot of really solid work into the typesetting and page layout of their journal. Besides some real benefits for their operation in the pre-production process, this reformatting makes the Law Review uniquely well-suited to viewing on tablet and portable e-reading devices. Stop by the library’s circulation desk to see a demonstration of the Law Review on a Nook Color.

Articles are still distributed as a PDF document, rather than in a “reflowable” e-reader format, to retain the standard pagination and footnoting conventions required for citation. But the scale and dimensions of the PDF pages and the text block within them will now be very comfortable to read on major mobile devices without requiring awkward zooming and panning of the screen. A full-issue PDF, including all front-matter (masthead, table-of-contents, etc.) is now provided. Each article PDF now includes a full cover page the same as the one that would be included in the author’s reprint of that article. Both full-issue and individual-article PDFs can be retrieved from the Web: http://law.case.edu/journals/lawreview/CurrentIssue.aspx

The new “paper size” for digital devices is 6 by 9 ¼ inches. In the past, standard letter (8 ½ by 11 inch) PDF pages were far too wide for single column text of standard typeface size. To compensate for this excessive width the Law Review and other legal periodicals increased the size of the document margins. This created problems when the issues were read on digital devices, because the devices do not excise the extra white space (from PDFs) and as a result shrink the text block and make the pages far less readable. This effect is especially pronounced for the smaller text found in footnotes.

“Reflowable” e-book formats (like ePub and Kindle) solve the display-size problem but are not yet viable for law reviews, since none fully meets requirements such as enabling the capacity to display footnotes alongside main text, to display text in small capitals, and to retain absolutely fixed pagination for citation purposes.

The following is the text of an announcement from Law Review:

On November 5, 2012 the Case Western Reserve Law Review broke new ground in the digital pre-release of the first issue of Volume 63. The new volume is redesigned from the ground up to support tablet reading. This release is also notable for its timing. Print copies will arrive at the Law School in time for the Law Review’s annual symposium on November 16, an unprecedented logistical accomplishment. A digital edition of the entire issue is available at http://law.case.edu/journals/LawReview/Documents/63CaseWResLRev1.pdf

The Law Review also released the second episode of the first-of-its-kind podcast series Below the Line featuring articles published in the Law Review on iTunes. The Law Review created the student-produced series to showcase important legal scholarship published in the Law Review, to generate and disseminate commentary on articles, and to offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the research process. On each program the author offers a summary of the article and answers questions from the Law Review. In addition, the Law Review invites leading authorities in the relevant field of law to offer their commentary on the article. The second program, Below the Line 63:1, features Professor Clay Calvert (Florida) and his article To Defer or Not to Defer? Deference and Its Differential Impact on First Amendment Rights in the Roberts Court with commentary by Professor Mark Tushnet (Harvard) and Professor Steve Shiffrin (Cornell). The series is available on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/case-western-reserve-law-review/id566631010