Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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Postcard Collection

Where would we be without our daily beSpacific roundup?  On one hand, the latest news in cutting edge tech and legal information.  On the other, sending us to the delicate and lovely corners of the internet – encouraging us to look at something beautiful and gaze upon something charming before it’s lost to time.

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Springfield, Mass. Public Library –  Image Courtesy of the Sjoerd Koopman Library Postcard Collection at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University Archives 

A recent link sent readers to the Sjoerd Koopman Library Postcard Collection housed at the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  The collection contains approximately 535 different digitized pictures and postcards of both American and European libraries.

Clicking through the images sends an online visitor back in time.  The earliest images are from the beginning of the 20th century, and the color palette from that era evokes a sense of nostalgia.  Check out the bright blue skies, large expanses of verdant green lawns, elongated perspectives that focus on majestic columns and balustrades.  As you race headlong into the later decades, you’ll still see some bucolic images.  But the postcards from the 1960s have some definite “General Electric Theater,” “better living through chemistry” vibes.  And by the time you get to the 1970’s era images, things get pretty groovy: indoor arboretums and hippies lounging on lawns!

Regardless of the decade, exterior views definitely feature a lot of stone masonry and brick facades.  Academic and public libraries seem to occupy an architectural space that exemplify permanence, respect, and classicism.

A jaunt through the Koopman Collection may even inspire a new hobby: collecting antique postcards.  Check out Ebay or Etsy or any number of other websites that promote postcard trading and collecting, or sell rare, vintage, or antique postcards.

The Koopman Collection doesn’t feature any images of Pennsylvania libraries.  If any WPLLA members have antique postcards with Pennsylvania library representations, feel free to share with us or send to University Library!  We’d love to see the pictures and share it here on our website.  Or, if you have any interest in collecting, or have any tips or tricks for how to get started – drop us a line and we’ll do a follow-up blog post.


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Link Roundup – August

What the Declaration of Independence Said and Meant An explanation regarding how the Declaration of Independence encapsulated the political theory that lead to the writing of the Constitution eleven years later.

 

5 Powerful Books to Inspire Women Lawyers

 

A reading list with three core beliefs in mind: First, knowledge is power. Second, women face bias. And third, work can be tricky in this intersection.

 

How to Talk to Famous Professors A guide to networking at industry events.
Search SEC historical EDGAR filings The archive of historical EDGAR documents allows users to enter complex queries to retrieve all but the most recent day’s EDGAR filings (from 1994 through 2017).
The Exponential Growth of Data Articles that explore the intelligent use of big data on an industrial scale.
Internet tool that removes everything from a web page except for its text

 

Textise is an internet tool that removes everything from a web page except for its text.
LC Online Exhibition – Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration The exhibit showcases the Library’s extensive collections of original art by talented artists hired by both newspapers and television to capture the personal dynamics of legal trials.

 

Research – States with right-to-carry concealed handgun laws experience increases in violent crime

 

States that have enacted right-to-carry (RTC) concealed handgun laws have experienced higher rates of violent crime than states that did not adopt those laws, according to a Stanford scholar.

 

Does a presentation’s medium affect its message? PowerPoint, Prezi, and oral presentations

 

Are PowerPoint presentations better than purely oral presentations or presentations that use alternative software tools? To address this question researchers recreated a real-world business scenario in which individuals presented to a corporate board.

 

Here we go again: GPO wants to change Title 44 After the 2017 annual ALA meeting, GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks asked the Depository Library Council (DLC) to make recommendations for changes in Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code.

 

Hundreds of rules and proposed regs frozen or jettisoned by Trump administration The Trump administration said it was pulling or suspending 860 pending regulations. Of those, 469 were being completely withdrawn. Another 391 were being set aside or reevaluated. These proposed regulations could be revisited at some point or dropped altogether.

 

Science concurs with librarians about value of reading actual books Science has weighed in, and the studies are on the side of paper books. Reading in print helps with comprehension.

 

National Archives Begins Online Release of JFK Assassination Records

 

On July 24, 2017, the National Archives released a group of documents (the first of several expected releases), along with 17 audio files, previously withheld in accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The materials released are available online only.  Access to the original paper records will occur at a future date.

 

U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission Members The commission includes eight members from Pennsylvania.

Senate leaders appointed the following Pennsylvania Congressmen to the selection Commission as members: Senators Casey and Toomey, and Representatives Brady and Meehan.

In turn, they appointed the following Pennsylvanians:

–  Daniel DiLella (Principal, President and Chief Executive Officer at Equus Capital Partners, Ltd.)

–  Dr. Andrew Hohns (Chair of USA250 organization, Managing Director at Mariner Investment Group)

–  David Cohen (Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation)

–  Dr. Amy Gutmann (President, University of Pennsylvania)

 

Supreme Court launches redesigned website The U.S. Supreme Court released a new version of its website on July 28, 2017 (www.supremecourt.gov).  The site update includes “a more consistent menu structure, a more interactive calendar, faster access through Quick Links, improved page load times, and reduced page scrolling.”

 

New on LLRX – The Library of Congress opened its catalogs to the world. Here’s why it matters.

 

This article articulates the historic significance and professional impact of the recent announcement by the Library of Congress that 25 million digital catalog records are now available to the public, at no cost.

 

New on LLRX – The Confusion Of Legal Education

 

This article identifies the significant disruptive reasons why undergraduate students are veering away from choosing law school for other types of graduate educations.

 


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Productivity Tools

Guest Post by Sarah Steers

With technology putting us on call 24/7 and the needs of family, friends, community, and work stretching us in about 187 different directions (combined with that nagging feeling we’re not enjoying the last few weeks of summer as much as we should), maybe a few new productivity tools would help us get a better handle on things?

The startup scene, blossoming here in Pittsburgh, is famous for waxing rhapsodic about the newest and latest productivity “hacks.”  I thought I’d steal a page from their book, and link to an article listing fifteen great new productivity tools: 15 Productivity Tools for Your Startup.  Published on TechDay, the article links to a host of new productive apps and tools meant to make your day easier.

For smaller firms or other law libraries trying to manage their social media accounts in-house, Buffer might be a way to post across a wide variety of platforms in one fell swoop; Buffer says it can mass- or bulk-post across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  It proclaims to provide web analytic information.  I don’t use Buffer and I don’t know if it does a better job than Google Analytics, but it might prove to be a worthy competitor.

For lawyers looking to establish a reputation as an authority in a specific practice area or give their firm a media boost, you might want to suggest that they try HARO (“Help a Reporter Out”).  HARO lets you list yourself as an industry insider; next time a journalist needs an expert, they consult the HARO list and know just who to call.  As online media and news outlets explode, new cub reporters are going to need to get their soundbites from somewhere and someone – this idea sounds promising!

If your firm permits internal messaging systems, I would be remiss not mention Slack.  It’s the current gold-standard of messaging tools. “Slack is so well-known and widely used…” that it almost wasn’t included on this list of new up-and-comers.  In the end, though, Slack is so good at what it does – and so ubiquitously used – that any firm looking to install a messaging app may want to give it a try (provided it meets the firms compliance standards, of course).

So readers – have you used any of the apps mentioned in this blog post or listed in the TechDay article?  If you have user feedback, we’d love to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Reach out to WPLLA and let us know what productivity tools you use to make your life a little easier.  Goodness knows we all deserve a bit of a break!

 


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Link Roundup – June

 

Copyright Office Releases Updated Draft of Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

 

First proposed updates to the Compendium since it was released in 2014
Give Philly libraries the resources they deserve

 

Philadelphia libraries need a larger operating budget
OCLC and Wikipedia Library link citations to millions of library materials

 

OCLC and the Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Library are working together to make it easy for editors to link citations in Wikipedia to millions of library materials represented in WorldCat
LexisNexis Legal & Professional Acquires Research Company Ravel Law LexisNexis Legal & Professional announced that it has acquired Ravel Law, the legal research, analytics and visualization platform
Harvard Obtains Continued support for the Caselaw Access Project LexisNexis affirmed its commitment to continuing Ravel Law’s support for and fulfillment of the objectives of the Caselaw Access Project
AALL Funding Research Opportunities Grant

 

On this date, Cindy Cicco emailed the article “TS/OBS FROF (Funding Research Opportunities Grant” Awarded” to the WPLLA Distribution List
New on LLRX – Competitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide – Updated June 2017 2017 annual update to the Competitive Intelligence guide now available
New on LLRX – New ABA Email Guidelines: How Can Lawyers Comply?

 

Advice for lawyers on a range of applications and technology from which they can choose to establish standardized secure, encrypted email communications

 

UN Digital Library On this date, Joel Fishman emailed the article “Virtual Meeting: Learn more about the UN Digital Library and Meet the New Chief Librarian of the Dag Hammarksjold Library” to the WPLLA Distribution List
CRS – Special Counsels, Independent Counsels, and Special Prosecutors: Options for Independent Executive Investigations CRS report on special investigative independent inquiries into executive branch actions
Availability of Legislative Measures in House of Representatives (The “Three-Day Rule”)

 

Legislative measures reported from House committees must be available for three calendar days, excluding weekends and legal holidays unless the House is in session on such days
Harnessing the Power of Google New book detailing tips and tricks to get better results from Internet search engines
How To Write A Work Email When You’re Really Pissed Off

 

Two general rules to help you write business emails
PA Election Archive

 

“Pennsylvania Perspectives on the 2016 U.S. Election”, a web and social media archive documenting diverse viewpoints from Pennsylvania on the 2016 elections.
TEN SITES THAT GIVE FREE ACCESS TO QUALITY EBOOKS LIBRARIANS AND PUBLISHERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT [READERS, TOO]

 

Ten sites noted by NSR for free ebooks and econtent
ABA’s Free Legal Answers Site

 

A virtual legal advice clinic funded in aprt by the ABA
GPO Issues Digital Release of Historical Congressional Record for the 1950s

 

Newly released digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1951-1960
Appropriations Bill May Finally Make Congressional Research Reports Public

 

EveryCRSReport

The House Appropriates Committee requested the Congressional Research Service make all non-confidential reports public in its proposed appropriations; other websites attempt to archive every CRS report


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Pew Report: Lifelong Learning and Technology

Guest post by Sarah Steers

Lifelong learners, personal and professional learners, major technology adopters: regular library users can be identified in a myriad of ways, according to the April 2016 Pew Research Center report Lifelong Learning and Technology.

The Pew Research Center offered a good synopsis of the report on March 22, 2016.  Pew found that:

  • 73% of adults consider themselves lifelong learners
  • 74% of adults are “personal learners” – people who have “participated in at least one” activity in the past year about something that interests them or something that they care about (like reading, taking a course, or attending an event).
  • 63% of working adults (which equates to 36% of all adult Americans) are professional learners – people who have taken a course or gotten some sort of training to advance their career or improve their job skills.

The report notes that many people weren’t aware if their local library offered “key learning and educational resources”:

  • 22% didn’t know if their library offered e-books for download;
  • 38% didn’t know if their library offered career resources;
  • 47% didn’t know if their library offered GED or high school equivalency courses;
  • 47% didn’t know if their library offered help for starting a new business;
  • and 49% didn’t know if their library offered online certification programs.

Pew’s “Libraries and Learning” report noted a few other community concerns.  For example, it’s more likely for women, parents of minors, people under age 50, and people with more education to use libraries and digital library resources.  Satisfied library users and those happy with available learning opportunities tend to be female, black or Hispanic, aged 30 or over, and/or from lower-income households.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Offerings

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers downloadable e-book services for cardholders, career and resume help for those in the workforce and help for recent high school grads  wondering about next-steps (students can also find practice exams and scholarship info), and multiple resources for new entrepreneurs. Check out CLP’s website for more info on the great services and events hosted by the Library.

Drop WPLLA a line if you have any comments or concerns about this report or any of its takeaways.  Or, let us know how you feel about your local library and some of the creative or helpful resources it offers!  We’d love to hear from you!


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Academic Library Study Released

Guest post by Sarah Steers, WPLLA Treasurer

I’m willing to bet that every person reading this post has, at one point in his or her adult life, used the phrase “eds and meds” to describe Pittsburgh’s economic comeback story.  We live in a city with a number of amazing colleges and universities, expanding the minds of tens of thousands of students and encouraging academic breakthroughs and technological innovation.  In fact, many of WPLLA’s members are academic law librarians, working at the Barco Law Library at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the Center for Legal Information at the Duquesne University School of Law.

While some of our law librarians are familiar with life behind-the-scenes at academic libraries, other members might be interested to find out a bit more.  A recently released study sheds some light on the major issues.

In the fall of 2016, Ithaka S+R  sent emails to 1,488 library deans and directors at non-for-profit four-year academic institutions in the United States looking for some answers.

Ithaka S+R is a not-for-profit company that specifically collaborates with and consults for the academic community, offering guidance on a wide range of economic and technological topics.  According to its website, library surveys are among its core competencies.

 

After sending out those 1,488 survey emails, they received 722 responses; the final report is available here: US Library Survey 2016.

The study compares the 2016 responses against responses received for previous studies completed in 2010 and 2013.   It asked questions related to:

  • Leadership, Management, and Organizational Direction;
  • Discovery;
  • Collections;
  • and Services.

At the very least, however, the “Key Findings” of the report articulated many of the thoughts, hopes, and fears felt within our own law librarian community:

  • Nearly 80% of respondents stated that the “most important priority” for their library is student success – but only half of the respondents could “clearly articulate” how the library itself contributes to that goal.
  • Respondents also discussed digital media versus print materials.  Academic library directors agree that the trend towards e-resources isn’t slowing down (meaning that libraries will continue to increase spending on digital formats while decreasing spending on print materials).  But is that “market” saturated?  Some academic library deans suggested that “dependence on e-resources has potentially peaked” – because libraries and its users are already so dependent of those types of resources.  Beyond traditional print materials and electronic media, academic library directors are working to identify new learning materials.
  • Only 20% of the respondent academic library directors felt that the annual budget allocation “demonstrate[d] recognition of the value of the library.”  There was an overall downward trend in feelings of satisfaction, value, or appreciation, especially by other academic leadership in the university system.

I’m personally choosing not to think of that last item as a reason to get upset.  Rather, it’s a reason to strongly advocate for libraries (public, academic, law, whatever – take your pick).  We can’t just sit back and assume that the powers-that-be understand how valuable libraries are and how much they give back to our communities, schools, other academic institutions, or even workplaces.  We have to show, with incontrovertible numbers and a few adorable, folksy anecdotes, what libraries mean to the people who use them (and what they could mean to people who have yet to discover the library).

We’re also lucky to have WPLLA.  It’s a strong professional organizations made up of dozens of librarians with decades of institutional knowledge.  We have an avenue to reach out to others in the same predicament; we can learn from each other, share what works, make changes, adapt.

If you have any thoughts on the full study, or think WPLLA should present these findings in a program next fall, feel free to write us an email and let WPLLA know what you think!