Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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Link Roundup – November

Select Demographic and Other Characteristics of Recent U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominees This document provides information related to select demographic and other characteristics of U.S. circuit and district court nominees whose nominations were submitted to the Senate by President Trump prior to August 1, 2017 (of the 26 total nominations submitted). The stats are compared to those of the first 26 individuals nominated to U.S. circuit and district court judgeships during the Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton administrations.

 

Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of the U.S. Financial Regulatory Framework Discussion of the fragmented financial regulatory system; it was developed by “piecemeal” legislation following financial crisis. At the federal level, regulators can be clustered into specific review areas that control financial institutions, markets, and products using licensing, registration, rulemaking, supervisory, enforcement, and resolution powers.

 

GPO Launches New Federal Bookstore Website The U.S. Government Publishing Office’s (“GPO”) launched a newly designed, user-friendly U.S. Government Online Bookstore (https://bookstore.gpo.gov). The site features a simple, mobile-friendly navigation that connects the user to more than four thousand titles on topics from the Federal Government. Some of the new features include a mobile-friendly interface, improved search features, color book cover graphics, and product reviews.

 

We are Excited to Announce the Release of the Law Library of Congress Chatbot The Law Library of Congress is excited to announce the release of a new chatbot that can connect you to primary sources of law, Law Library research guides and foreign law reports. The chatbot has a clickable interface that will walk you through a basic reference interview.

 

Here’s How To Get Along With Your Most Annoying Coworker Though the article notes “… none of these suggestions are guaranteed to work,” the author offers a few mental and behavioral tricks to help improve interactions and reframe relationships with difficult co-workers.

 

New on LLRX – The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 Part One: The Landscape The Director of Information Technology at the New York Law Institute (and an award-winning editor and author of 36 books), Ellyssa Kroski hosts Part One of a three part series for LLRX. She describes the current landscape of eBooks relevant to the law library field, the benefits and challenges of offering eBooks in law libraries, the different ways to purchase law-related eBooks, and how to get started choosing a solution.

 

“What do you Actually Do?” 3 Analogies to Illustrate the Information Professional’s Work This humorous blog post asks, “Do you ever find it easier to explain your role by inventing parables or metaphors?” and provides cheeky examples of a few that seem to fit!

 

500 Free Online Programming & Computer Science Courses You Can Start in October Over 700 schools around the world offer thousands of free online courses. Dhawal Shah of Class-Central.com has compiled a list of 500 free online programming and computer science courses you can start this October.

 

The Blue Slip Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations Check out this CRS report, linked through beSpacific, to learn more about the blue slip process used by the Senate Judiciary Committee for U.S. circuit and district court nominations. Since the blue slip’s inception in 1917, different Committee chairmen have used it in different ways.

 

Guide on How to Transcribe YouTube Videos Automatically YouTube comes with many useful features, including translation for titles and description and YouTube keyboard shortcuts. Similarly, there are ways with which you can transcribe YouTube videos. Since speech recognition software has improve over the years, you can get a reliable automatic transcription that can be easily edited to perfection with little to no effort. Follow the links on the beSpacific post to Karrar Haider’s tutorial on Hongkiat to find out how!

 

Internet Archives Syncing Catalogs with thousands of Libraries in 120 Countries through OCLC The Internet Archive and OCLC have agreed to synchronize the metadata describing the Internet Archive’s digital books with OCLC’s WorldCat. When the synchronization work is complete, library patrons will be able to discover the Internet Archive’s collection of 2.5 million digitized monographs through the libraries around the world that use OCLC’s bibliographic services. OCLC databases will be enriched with records describing books that may not yet be represented in WorldCat.

 

The Preservation of Government Publications Roger C. Schonfeld recently testified before the House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration, as part of a hearing entitled “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond.” His blog post includes both video and transcripts of written testimony supplied by the speakers detailing the structural challenges facing the Federal Depository Library Program (“FDLP”) and other library issues.

 

Review of 5 free image compression tools Tom Demers of Search Engine Land tests the capabilities of five different free, standalone image compression tools that writers, designers or marketers can use to ensure that they’re keeping their image file size in check.

 

Report – Supreme Court Errors Aren’t Hard to Find A ProPublica review “… found seven errors in a modest sampling of Supreme Court opinions written from 2011 through 2015. In some cases, the errors were introduced by individual justices apparently doing their own research. In others, the errors resulted from false or deeply flawed submissions made to the court by people or organizations seeking to persuade the justices to rule one way or the other. Some of the mistakes were technical or arguably minor, and it is difficult to determine with certainty if they played a vital part in the court’s reasoning and final judgments. But the NASA case was not the only one where a mistake involved a core aspect of the court’s ruling on an issue with widespread ramifications.”

 

Will Wikipedia exist in 20 years? Foundation Director discusses with Harvard Law Prof Follow the links provided by the beSpacific blog post to watch Katherine Maher (Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation) chat with Professor Yochai Benkler (Harvard Law School).

 

AALL Legal Website of the Month Click on this beSpacific link to engage with past winners of AALL’s “Website of the Month;” the file contains 218 MARC records and is current through the August of 2017 Website of the Month.  Going forward, it will be updated quarterly.

 

BeSpacific nominated as one of Best Legal Tech Blogs 2017 – please vote The link, sent with a message from Joel Fishman (“Congrats to one of the best.”):

BeSpacific has been nominated again this year in the The Expert Institute’s – Best Legal Tech Blogs category.

 

New on LLRX – Stay Up To Date With These Legal Technology Blogs Available through a link on beSpacific, noted attorney, legal tech expert, blogger and author Nicole Black suggests reading and subscribing to subject specific blogs to both stay abreast of growing changes in legal technology and to meet attorney ethical obligations specific to 28 jurisdictions.

 

GPO Issues Digital Release of Historical Congressional Record for 1911-1921 The U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) and the Library of Congress have released the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1911-1921 on GPO’s govinfo (see: https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/crecb_gpo/_crecb). This release covers the debates and proceedings of the 62nd through the 66th Congresses.  This era covers issues like the 18th Amendment (Prohibition), the election of the first female to the House of Representatives, and the sinking of the Lusitania.

 

One-Stop Resource for Federal and State Trade Secrets Research, Checklists and Forms In this edition of TL NewsWire, released October 18, 2017, editors cover a specialized legal research service for trade secrets, including coverage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and tools for comparing jurisdictions.

 

   
Signing Statements and Presidentializing Legislative History The National Bureau of Economic Research recently published a working paper by John M. de Figueiredo and Edward H. Stiglitz. It examines a novel dataset of judicial opinion citations to presidential signing statements in an effort to conduct the most comprehensive empirical examination of how courts have received presidential legislative history.

 

7 Ways to Use Your Spare Smartphone Time Productively What do you do when you look at your phone out of boredom?  As the article says: “Rather than browsing through a long list of inane tweets or matching jewel colors up against each other, you can actually be using that time productively.”

 

GOING DEEP: BASEBALL AND PHILOSOPHY Take a peek at this article if musings like this one interest you: “Baseball is the most philosophical of games because, like philosophy at its best, it harmonizes meaning with meticulous analysis.”

 

Here come the drones – by Executive Order! From the FAA’s Press Release: “President Donald J. Trump directed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today to launch an initiative to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments in select jurisdictions.” The results from the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Integration Pilot Program will be used to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace and to realize the benefits of unmanned technology in our economy.

 

FDLP webinar series “How Laws Are Made” The FDLP Academy recently hosted an excellent three-part series of webinars: How Laws are Made: The Legislature; How Laws are Made: The Administrative Agencies; and How Laws are Made: The Courts.  Check out the blog post for links to the webinars! Each lasts about 45 minutes and provides well-organized information about the law-making functions of each of the three branches of government.

 

New mobile app puts you in touch with legal help A new app out of Toronto, Canada called “DAABA” that connects people who cannot afford a lawyer with Legal Service Providers (“LSP”). LSPs can be law students, paralegals, or licensed attorneys, and they help DAABA app users by providing advice or pointing them in the right direction of legal services.

 

Step Back to Vintage Internet With New Search Engine Wiby From the article: “If you’d like to take a step back in Internet time, to when Web pages were smaller and less advanced, check out Wiby.me, a search engine that launched at the beginning of October. It’s designed to find only smaller Web pages (which usually means older Web pages.)”

 

Non partisan resources on tax code reform for researchers The Committee for a Responsible Budget has published several resources on recent tax reform plans, policies that may be included, gimmicks lawmakers may use, the status of the current tax code, and other tax issues. The publications will be updated as new analyses are published.

 

 

 


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Will a Robot Take My Job? Study Predicts Increased Demand for Lawyers and Librarians Through 2030 | Dewey B Strategic

I am an optimist by nature and I have remained skeptical of  dark forecasts which predict the future based on one dominant trend  (AI comes to mind) while ignoring multiple factors that are likely to moderate or change an expected trajectory.  Imagine my surprise and delight to read about a  recent study on the future of work that predicted that both lawyers and librarians are two of the careers  which are expected to experience increased demand through 2030. The Future of Skills” Employment in 2030 was produced as the result of a collaboration by Pearson – the educational publisher, NESTA-  a global innovation foundation and the Oxford Martin School.

via Will a Robot Take My Job? Study Predicts Increased Demand for Lawyers and Librarians Through 2030 | Dewey B Strategic


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Will Bots Disrupt the Legal System?

RobotThink the practice of law is insulated from economic disruption by artificial intelligence?  Check out the DoNotPay chatbot and – gulp! – think again.

A few years ago, a teenager in London racked up over 30 parking tickets. Rather than simply pay the tickets, Joshua Browder sat down, hammered out some programming code, and invented what many journalists are calling “the world’s first robot lawyer.”  Drafting a series of typical legal questions specific to London’s motor vehicle and traffic laws, DoNotPay automatically appealed Browder’s tickets and won 16 of his cases.  Browder expanded his chatbot to include tickets issued in New York City in May 2016.

Once debuted to the general public, roughly 250,000 people used DoNotPay by mid-2016 and the chatbot logged 160,000 successful appeals (including 9,000 in New York City) for a 64% success rate.  As a student at Stanford University, Browder then turned his sights on assisting Syrian refugees by “… producing English document based on Arabic text.”

By mid-2017, DoNotPay worked well for helping users fill out boilerplate legal forms like maternity leave and landlord-tenant contract violations.  Plus, it’s “disrupted” over 375,000 parking tickets.  Browder envisions the DoNotPay of the future to handle any complex litigation, like marriages, divorces, and bankruptcies.  Experts at TechCrunch (one of the world’s leading startup and technology news media sites) muse that new forms of artificial intelligence built on top of, or in conjunction with, already existing information systems will inevitably disrupt many staid industries – such as law.

Following the massive Equifax data breach first reported in September 2017, Browder built a chatbot aimed at assisting anyone affected by suing Equifax in small claims court.  As of October 2017, a link exists on DoNotPay’s home page to learn how to sue Equifax for up to $25,000.  Once clicked, the site will walk you through how to file a claim in New York or California – with more states to be added shortly.

Lawyers caution that DoNotPay isn’t a panacea – a professional’s expertise would likely be an asset when filing even a small claims lawsuit against Equifax.  As USA Today writes in Want Equifax to pay?, even authors of other do-it-yourself legal guides explain that a simple chatbot can’t print the documents, affix the plaintiff’s signature, send the documents to the correct court and correct Equifax registered agent, or pay any filing fees.  Then there’s proving the actual case: whether Equifax’s conduct was negligent, whether the plaintiff’s information was stolen through the Equifax breach (and not some other data breach), and whether the plaintiff suffered any harm. For more on why chatbots aren’t one-size-fits-all, see this Quartz article: The “world’s first robot lawyer” isn’t a damn lawyer

So what’s the truth?  Will innovative, state-of-the-art programming code toll the death knell for the legal industry?  Or will the combination of deft human touch and institutional knowledge stave off the infiltration of chatbots like DoNotPay?  Like many things in life, the truth is prone of the survivors.

Katherine Lowry, Baker Hostetler’s Director of Practice Services, won the 2017 AALL Innovation Tournament with an attorney-facing chatbot for legal information assistance.  AALL Members can watch the conference session here: Innovation Tournament recording.

What other questions might a law library chatbot answer? What opportunities might they create? See Greg Lambert’s 3 Geeks post Now I want a Chatbot!

WPLLA members: how are your employers reacting to artificial intelligence?  Do they see it as an opportunity or a scourge?  If you have any comments, reach out and let us know!  If you’ve used DoNotPay, we’d love to report on your experience!


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Link Roundup – October

Bulk Downloads of Congressional Data Now Available At the ProPublica Data Store, users can download information on all of the bills introduced during each Congressional session in a single file. Twice a day, ProPublica generates this zip file containing metadata for every bill introduced in the current congress, including the sponsors and cosponsors the bill, actions taken by committees, votes on the floor, and a summary of what the bill would do. A download of the bulk bill information contains the complete, up-to-date data set as of that date. Users can also download archives of bill data for past congresses, going back to 1973.

 

Sexual Harassment in the Library: When Patrons are the Perpetrators This informative blog post discusses a library employee’s rights if s/he is sexually harassed by a patron.

 

Technology is the Solution: What Law Firms Can Learn From LegalZoom This article posits: “If law firms used technology to automate tasks, lower prices and give personalized advice, they’d have an undeniable competitive advantage.”

 

*Note: Website requires registration to read full article

 

CLE Presentation Tips: Mastering Time Though you may not be the best public speaker (and as this article notes, great public speakers are rare), there are tips to help you manage your time – which is essential to flow and is a hallmark of a great presentation.

 

New on LLRX – The Fight to Bring Legal Research to the Front Law librarian and professor Brandon Adler identifies core issues to support educating third year law students in a wide range of reliable free and low cost legal resources. Many law librarians acknowledge that there is a lack of awareness and use of alternative legal resources, with the law student community as well across a large swath of attorneys in firms both large and small.

 

NJIT Launches Annotated Patent History Archive The Federated History Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University-Newark has launched the Annotated Patent History Digital Archive. Funded by a faculty seed grant from NJIT, this project makes use of undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research to explore the history of patents in the United States.

 

New Google search feature links to local libraries to borrow ebooks From @Google on Twitter: “Calling all U.S. bookworms! Now you can take a look at what e-books are available to borrow at your local library, right in Search.”

 

Upcoming Webcast: Getting What You Want for Your Legal Tech Budget On 09/20/2017, Cindy Cicco sent an email to the WPLLA Distribution List alerting its members to a Thursday, October 5, 2017 webcast panel hosted by Lex Machina featuring speakers Greg Lambert (AALL President and CKO of Jackson Walker) and Josh Becker (CEO of Lex Machina). The two will discuss budgeting strategies, tools, and techniques. It will begin at 12:00pm EST. Registration for the event can be found at: http://pages.lexmachina.com/Webcast_The-Future-of-Law-6_FoL-LP-Social.html

 

LC – An App to Answer Your Questions about the Constitution Links to the online version of the publication, “Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation” as well as information on an app called “Constitution Annotated” (which originally debuted in 2013 and has since been updated).

 

Know Your Rights: Whistleblower Protections for Federal Sector Employees A web resource for federal sector employees, the Project on Government Oversight (“POGO”) put together a “starting point” on whistleblower rights.

 

New Title 34 in United States Code Empty since 1956, Title 34 of the United States Code has been updated as of September 1, 2017. New Title 34, called “Crime Control and Law Enforcement”, contains editorially reclassified sections of Title 18 (“Crimes and Criminal Procedure”), Title 28 (“Judiciary and Judicial Procedure”), and Title 42 (“The Public Health and Welfare”). No statutory text was repealed or amended through this reorganization.

 

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do Information on the steps people who may have been victims of the Equifax Data Breach can take to protect their vulnerable private information and identity.

 

How To Use Google Feed For News And Replace Facebook With the complete rollout of Google Feed, users have more control over what they can read about in Feed. Now, right from the search results, one can choose which topics to follow. In some cases, users will see a new Follow button, which can be used to add topics to their Feed. After that, based on search history and engagement with Google products, users will be served news stories. Right from the Feed, users can also unfollow the topics.

 

These To-Do List Methods Will Help You Finally Get Organized Nine different ways to organize a To-Do List that will actually help you complete your tasks!

 

GPO and LC release digital Congressional Record 1921-1930 The U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) has partnered with the Library of Congress to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1921-1930 on GPO’s govinfo. This release covers the debates and proceedings of the 67th through the 71st Congresses.

 

Hearing: Transforming GPO for 21st Century and Beyond: FDLP Held at the Longworth House Office Building, five experts discussed the topic, “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond.”

 

GOP 9 page tax plan framework and corporate impact This beSpacific blog post links to multiple reputable news outlets with stories detailing the first iteration of the Republican Party’s tax overhaul.

 

Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Preview of Select Cases The 2017 SCOTUS term has the potential to be one of the most consequential in years. Though a full discussion of every case that the Court will hear during the upcoming term is beyond the scope of the report linked by this beSpacific blog post, the included information provides brief summaries of the cases the Court has thus far agreed to hear.

 

 


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OCLC and Wikipedia Content

Guest post by Sarah Steers, WPLLA Treasurer

WikipediaLike most WPLLA members, I remember a world before Wikipedia – a world before a web-based encyclopedia with articles on every conceivable subject, updated in real time, by hyper-focused lay experts devoted to their niche obsessions. As Wikipedia grew in popularity, it quickly became the first stop on a research expedition (or even just the go-to website to settle a debate amongst friends). But experts warned against using the site as an academic resource; after all, if anyone could edit a Wikipedia page, who knew what sort of unverifiable chaos was being presented as undeniable fact?

The OCLC Online Computer Library Center  recently announced that it has paired withOCLC World Cat the Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Library. Now, when Wikipedia editors identify a citation within a Wikipedia article, and that citation is represented by library material held in WorldCat, the editor can link the citation to WorldCat material. WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services.

The partnership between the OCLC and Wikipedia Library allows editors to generate a full, official citation for the cited material in the individual Wikipedia article. With formal citations, Wikipedia articles gain more clout in professional and academic circles. OCLC also hopes that the links to library materials from Wikipedia articles will encourage Wikipedia users to more fully utilize in-person library services.

The partnership announcement on the Wikimedia blog includes detailed, step-by-step instructions for how to use the newly developed citation tool.

If any WPLLA members are active Wikipedia editors, we’d love to know if you’ve used this tool yet.  Any feedback would be fantastic – drop us a line and tell us all about your user experience!