Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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December Link Roundup

  WPLLA member Cindy Cicco sent an invitation to join the weekly ALCTS e-Forum; specifically on called “eBook Management: What Works, What Doesn’t.” The event takes place on 11/13-11/14, so if you’re hearing about this for the first time on the WPLLA website, you’re out of luck. Perhaps one of our members who attended can fill us in on the details? Connect with any one of WPLLA’s board members and we’ll get a write-up on the site. If you’re interested in receiving information on upcoming ALCTS e-forums, check out the events website.


Fastcase Bulks Up on Treatises and Practice Guides From James Publishing On November 8, 2018, Fastcase announced a new partnership with James Publishing. James Publishing releases “. . . legal practice materials  including model pleadings, client letters, and step-by-step procedural checklists, pattern arguments, model questions,  and practice tips.” This move helps position Fastcase as a “. . .  full service legal research and analytics platform.”


Corbin on Pennsylvania Contracts The text, Corbin on Pennsylvania Contracts, is available for sale at the LexisNexis store. It covers Commonwealth-specific topics like the Uniform Written Obligations Act, the evidence of fraud needed to invalidate a contract, and the “four corners” approach to contract interpretation and construction (among many others).


How to Be a More Patient Person Experts have “. . . found that patience as a personality trait is modifiable.” Read through this article for info on how to control your temper and increase your patience.


The Essential Ebook Converter Guide For a discussion on the 12+ common file types associated with e-books (and the compatibility with different e-readers), check out this article!
PaperShip: Access Your Zotero-Stored Sources on your Phone The Harvard Law School Library’s Blog, Et Seq., recently posted information about Zotero, a citation management software. The post includes a Zotero training PowerPoint slide deck and information on PaperShip, an app available through Apple’s app store to that allows users to “. . . get immediate access to the sources you have stored in your Zotero account.”


The GovLab Launches The Living Library – A New Resource on Technology, Innovation and Governance The GovLab at NYU Tandon School of Engineering recently launched The Living Library. This is “. . . A new resource that seeks to inform those interested in and working at the intersection of technology, innovation, and governance.” Review, search, and filter by categories like “. . .  geography, topic, governance level, or sector.”


When Microsoft’s Word Count feature goes to court The Legal Office Guru explains how to set the Word Count feature to include footnotes for Microsoft Word users. (HINT: there’s a checkbox to “include textboxes, footnotes and endnotes.) Read through the post for detailed instructions!


You Spin Me Right Round… A good lesson on the people (” . . . In house or outside counsel, senior partner or fresh faced associate, law clerk or technologist”) “. . . grappling with what to do and how to make sense of all of the changes happening in the industry.” Many of these changes are related to tech – either direct changes because of it, or ancillary changes by adapting to it. Please read the entire thoughtful post to gain more insights into the changes, and potential ways to combat resistance to and/or pivot with them.


CRS Report – Types of Committee Hearings Another interesting CRS report (made available on Every CRS Report, obviously) on the four types of Congressional committee hearings: “. . . legislative, oversight, investigative, and confirmation.”


Here’s What It’s Actually Like To Be A Librarian A “human interest” news story from BuzzFeedNews: a tally of the 1,400 responses to an informal survey of public sector librarians (including details on projects they’re working on, their pet peeves, and more).


Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress From the website Every CRS Report comes a link to a CRS report which details “. . . the main steps through which a bill (or other item of business) may travel in the legislative process—from introduction to committee and floor consideration to possible presidential consideration.” And take note – this CRS report identifies multiple other CRS reports that detail the many other ” . . . specific elements of congressional procedure” (check out this link for more titles).


As Federal Courts Urge Caution On Docket Services, Vendors Respond After many federal courts sent “. . . notices to attorneys urging them to exercise caution” when using companies that provide federal docket access services, many of these vendors began taking steps to remedy the concerns – though others proclaimed loudly that the caution should not apply to them. Click the link to learn more about the issues and the PR responses.


Download 569 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Culture links to MetPublications, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website “. . . offering ‘five decades of Met Museum publications on art history available to read, download, and/or search for free.'”


Exonerees Racing Against a Tax Clock Defense attorneys and anyone working with populations of exonerees should know that the filing deadline for a special exoneree tax refund under the Wrongful Conviction Tax Relief Act is December 17, 2018.


THE LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE PUBLISHES ENHANCED CONSTITUTION ANNOTATED Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute has published “. . . the first publicly-available web version of the Congressional Research Service’s Constitution Annotated, a non-partisan publication that helps readers appreciate how Americans’ collective understanding of our governing principles has changed throughout our history on timely issues such as the scope of presidential power, limits on free speech, or the right to bear arms.”


Opinion: Inside Bloomberg BNA’s Fall Pricing Surprise Linked from Legaltechnews, author Michael Feit “. . . examines recent price increases for Bloomberg BNA and what it means for the company’s market positioning.”


You Think Legal Education Can’t Change? 8 Innovative Ideas from Law Schools Innovation is everywhere – even the ivory tower. Click through for eight new legal education ideas that could revamp the student experience and the profession itself.
Legal Research Companies Post Laws Online, but Do They Own the Data? If laws, regulations, and judicial opinions aren’t copyrightable, what to do about private companies who format, upload, and otherwise make this information available?


Top 10 Tips for Solos and Young Lawyers Collected by beSpacific from two different ABA articles, anyone new to the practice of law should click through for a series of thoughtful tips for solo practitioners and young attorneys.


Assessing Academic Law Libraries’ Performance And Implementing Change While Reducing Budget Paul Caron of the TaxProf Blog highlights a recent law review article by Linda Kawaguchi. Kawaguchi worked to re-orient the Chapman University Law Library; she documented results that included adding new staff and purchasing new database while decreasing total library expenditures “. . . 16% from fiscal year 2010-11 to 2015-16.”


How To Grow A Lawyer: A Guide For Law Schools, Law Professors, And Law Students Paul Caron of the TaxProf Blog thoughtfully reviews Fruehwald’s text, How to Grow a Lawyer. Fruehwald argues for a radical transformation to legal education, and advocates for a rejection of “. . . everything from the past that does not grow effective lawyers.”


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AALL Emerging Leader Nominations

AALL is now accepting nominations for the Emerging Leader Award. This award recognizes newer members who have made significant contributions to the profession and have demonstrated the potential for leadership and continuing excellence.

Selection criteria include:
· The nominee must be a member in good standing of AALL
· The nominee must be in his/her first 10 years of law library experience
· The nominee must not have previously received an Emerging Leader Award
· The nominee must have made a significant contribution to the Association and/or the profession.
· The nominee must have shown outstanding promise for continuing service and leadership. Specific examples of his/her continuing activities must be provided.

Self-nominations are accepted and encouraged.

The nomination deadline is February 1. Letters of recommendation can take some time to gather and holidays are approaching, so we encourage you to begin the process as soon as possible in order to meet the deadline.

More details on the award, including a link to the Nomination Form, can be found here: Emerging Leader Award

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November Link Roundup

FDsys Website to be Retired This December Links to additional info on the transition from the GPO’s Federal Digital System (“FDsys”) to Gov Info. FYI (for those of you who’ve somehow made it this far without hearing the news): FDsys will be fully retired this December!


The FY2019-2023 Strategic Plan of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress announced exciting new changes to put “. . . users first.” Click the link to learn more about plans for “. . . expanding access and enhancing services, while applying data and optimizing resources.”


Try the New Experimental Congress.gov Chrome Browser Extension A new open source Google Chrome browser extension (available for download at the link) offers the ability to help ” . . . quickly discover the primary source” of legislation discussed in news stories. By highlighting a bill’s citation on a webpage, the extension will bring a user to the bill summary’s landing page on Congress.gov. Because the extension is still in beta, it’s not yet available on the Google Chrome Web store (hence the download).


In an email sent by Rita Young (and initially spotted by Karen Shepherd), the SLA Solo Librarians Division & Route 66 Chapter presented a session called, “Challenges of Being an Embedded Librarian.” If you’re reading about this for the first time in the Monthly Recap posted on the wplla.org website, you’ve missed it. But if any WPLLA member attended, please reach out to let us know what you thought!


5 Free JPG to PDF Converters: Combine Images Easily Into PDFs If you need to convert an image file to a .pdf, try one of these free websites or services that can help you with the task! Options include JPG2pdf.com, iLovePDF.com, JPG to PDF converter for Mac & Windows, SmallPDF.com, and PDFCandy.com. Click the link for more info on each one.


Harvard Political Review – The 21st Century Library Comparing the traditional memory (or misconception) of the library to the contemporary version (one filled with “. . . students consumed by laptops” and librarians helping patrons “. . . access databases, not . . . retrieve documents”), this Harvard Political Review article, linked by beSpacific, denounces the perceived obsolescence of libraries and instead explains how they’ve evolved to become important in our modern and ever-changing world.


How to Set Follow-up Reminders for Email in Outlook If your Outlook 2016 email account “. . . is set up with the IMAP protocol rather than POP3 or Exchange Server,” you may have difficulty flagging a message for follow-up or setting an email reminder for yourself. Review this blog post at Attorney at Work for a step-by-step instruction on how to set reminders by turning Outlook emails into tasks.


WPLLA member Dr. Joel Fishman forwarded an important announcement from HeinOnline: the U.S. Congressional Serial Set is now available. Any subscriber to the U.S. Academic Core+ package has access to this content at no extra charge, courtesy of the subscription.


New Bots From DoNotPay Includes One That Lets You Sue In Any Small Claims Court At The Press Of A Button DoNotPay (discussed in an October 18, 2018 blog post on the WPLLA.org website) has launched several new “. . . legal and consumer-protection bots, including one “. . . that will enable individuals to file an action in any small claims court in the United States.”


TECH THURSDAY: PASSWORD MANAGERS The Cleveland Law Library links to PCMag.com to identify the best free password managers.


American democracy is fracturing. Libraries say they know how to help Defenders of U.S. public libraries claim that “. . . in a fractured society, libraries are a crucial way to fight the ravages of scorched earth partisanship, rising social discord, and educational inequalities.”


What’s new to Congress.gov in October? There are several new enhancements to Congress.gov, including an Advanced Legislation Search which allows users to see all names associated with a Committee and a Search Results Navigation improvement that lists all amendments for a specific bill.


New GODORT website Though the GODORT wiki is no longer being updated, the main GODORT website just got a new makeover! More pages will be added in the upcoming weeks, but feel free to click through to get a feel for the new experience.


Appeals Court Says Georgia’s Laws (Including Annotations) Are Not Protected By Copyright And Free To Share Quoting a post from techdirt, beSpacific notes that “[t]he 11th Circuit appeals court has just overturned a lower court ruling and said that Georgia’s laws, including annotations, are not covered by copyright, and it is not infringing to post them online.” This in-depth post gives a thoughtful backstory to the saga, complete with multiple links.


100 Websites That Shaped The Internet As We Know It beSpacific links to a Gizmodo article that attempts to define “. . . a canon of the most significant websites of all time.” Some of the sites on the list are “cesspools” and the authors don’t include apps or services; however, this list serves as a pretty good “. . . evaluation of power and who has seized it.”


12 Authors Write About the Libraries They Love “The New York Times asked 12 authors to describe their local public libraries or share a memory of a library from their past.”


LC – Foreign Law Web Archives In a significant compilation first identified at The Signal and later defined in this beSpacific post, experts discuss significant Library of Congress collections, including the Foreign Law Web Archive (“. . . comprised of foreign legal materials, including online gazettes and judicial websites”).


ABA ethics opinion offers guidance on data breaches “Lawyers have to safeguard client data and notify clients of a data breach, and the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued a formal opinion that reaffirms that duty.” This beSpacific post links to Formal Opinion 483, as well as several other opinions and posts to provide background information and bolster the framework of the new opinion.


US midterm elections: A guide to everything you need to know Linking to multiple articles posted by CNN, beSpacific provides information on the upcoming midterm elections.



WIPO Lex provides free of charge access to legal information on intellectual property WIPO Lex, is a “. . . a global database that provides free of charge access to legal information on intellectual property (IP) such as treaties administered by WIPO.” Because WIPO is a specialized Agency of the United Nations, it is required to make intellectual property information available to the public. WIPO Lex “. . . also covers IP legal information of the Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO).”


GPO issues digital release of statue compilations The U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) recently released 40 statute compilations as part of a pilot program on the website govinfo; “[t]hese publications are compilations of public laws that either do not appear in the U.S. Code or that have been classified to a title of the U.S. Code that has not been enacted into positive law.” Expect additional statute compilations on the site in the next few months. Later, the GPO will “. . . convert legacy Statute Compilations file formats into United States Legislative Markup (USLM) XML and provide access to those files as bulk data.”


Navigating Law Librarianship While Black: A Week in the Life of a Black Female Law Librarian In a short yet poignant paper, three law librarians discuss a myriad of micro-aggressions that people of color, and specifically law librarians, suffer due to pervasive implicit biases. WPLLA member Joel Fishman also thoughtfully provided the paper as a /pdf attachment to the email, for those unable to visit the website.


Statistics and Academic Law Library Survival Cross-posted from The RIPS Law Librarian Blog, beSpacific posts inspirational words from a law librarian about the future of law and new opportunities for reinvention.


The Caselaw Access Project expands public access to US law Per beSpacific, the Caselaw Access Project (“CAP”) makes “. . . all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online.” The decisions are digitized from a collection housed at the Harvard Law Library. The information discussed on the blog post links to the scope and limits of the project, digitization specs, and usage and access rules, among others.



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AI and the Legal Professional at the Crossroads: Where are we going?


During this program,  a panel of representatives from 3 of the current advanced analytics programs available to the legal profession will demo their program followed by a discussion that considers if we are in danger of violating RPC Rules 1.1 (understanding the law and the technology used) and 5.5 (Unauthorized practice of law) and a look at the Work-Product doctrine.


Angela Chmielewski (Lexis Nexis), Phil Rosenthal (Fastcase), and Anand Upadhye (Casetext)


November 15, 2018, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.


Pepper Hamilton’s new location: 501 Grant St. Suite 300 (Union Trust Building, 3rd floor, Boardroom 1