Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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White Paper: Taking a Closer Look at the Changing Role of Today’s Law Librarian

Thomson Reuters just released a white paper discussing the evolution of the role of the law librarian:

The legal profession has undergone nearly a decade of fundamental change, and perhaps no single role has seen greater impact than the law firm librarian. Budget pressures, shrinking law library footprints, a decreasing reliance on print, a greater push for online resources, and the advent of new job responsibilities are just a few of the factors that have combined to push law librarians into new territory.

To read more about the survey results, check out the full white paper here: Taking a Closer Look at the Changing Role of Today’s Law Librarian


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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!