Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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April Link Roundup

All Microsoft’s PowerToys for Windows 10, ExplainedPowerToys is an “. . . open-source project [that] adds many powerful features to Windows.” This How-To Geek post explains how to download PowerToys from GitHub and then try out the different features and settings you find interesting. Best of all, it’s free and open-source!  
The Law Library of Congress and GPO Collaborate on Cataloging Historical Legal ReportsThe Federal Depository Library Program (“FDLP”) proudly announces a new “. . . multi-year project to catalog thousands of digitized and born-digital historical legal reports.” Per the announcement, “[t]he Law Library of Congress is digitizing the reports, and GPO’s Library Technical Services (LTS) is cataloging the reports that will be made available online.” The selected reports focus on foreign, comparative, and international law issues.  
Why law librarians are so important in a data-driven worldFemi Cadmus at OUPBlog pens a contemplative post about the “. . . dynamic role of law librarians,” especially given the ways innovation and entrepreneurship have permeated the field.  
 WPLLA President Rita Young sent an encouraging email about applying for a grant to attend the Summit (Transformation 2020: Instrumental Tools for the Future) and/or the Conference of Newer Law Librarians (CONELL). Although the deadline was 04/30, Rita graduated from the CONELL program and thought highly of it. Maybe something to think about for 2021?  
 Another grant opportunity for WPLLA Members! From President Rita Young:
This year for AALL we are eligible for one member to have a complimentary registration
The grant offers one Annual Meeting complimentary registration for the person the Chapter selects (this does not include housing, travel, or any related expenses).
If you are interested in being awarded this grant, please write a one-page letter of interest and reason for being chosen to the WPLLA Board (c/o Rita Young, rita.young@klgates.com)
On or before May 25, 2020 at 5 pm. The announcement of the winner will be made at our virtual closing banquet.
Best wishes to all who are interested.  
 Immediate Past President Melanie Cline invited all WPLLA members to vote for the openings in the 2020-2021 Board (Vice President / President Elect; Secretary; Board Member). Deadline May 1.  
How To Manage Your Career Through The Coronavirus Crisis: 6 Ways To Thrive When Nothing Is CertainIn an article for Forbes, author Tracy Bower suggests that, even in the face of all the current uncertainty and adversity, this might be an excellent time to “. . . build your career or find new opportunities.” Try finding ways to innovate and remaining flexible.  
Libraries Brace for Budget CutsBecause library budgets were deeply strained by the 2008 recession, it’s likely to happen again during this economic crisis (even if they never recovered to pre-2008 levels). This article suggests areas where libraries might be forced to cut back.  
 A reminder from Melanie Cline to vote in the WPLLA election. Open positions for the 2020-2021 Board include Vice President / President Elect; Secretary; and Board Member. Deadline May 1.  
How to Use Your iPhone as a Webcam: A Step-by-Step GuideClick through this beSpacific post to learn how to use specific apps to hack your iPhone as a webcam.  
Working from home and need a scanner? There’s a free one built into your iPhone.  Well, what do you know? When Apple released iOS 11 in 2017, it included a scanner in the Notes app!
Microsoft Word now flags double spaces as errors, ending the great space debateAnd so, it has been decreed! Two spaces are now flagged as an error on Microsoft Word. (Two space aficionados can ignore the suggestion or turn it off permanently.)  
 Simple and succinct from Joel Fishman: “Supreme Court rules against GA!”
Chief Justice Roberts writes, “The Copyright Act grants potent, decades-long monopoly
protection for ‘original works of authorship.’ 17 U. S. C. §102(a). The question in this case is whether that protection extends to the annotations contained in Georgia’s official annotated code. We hold that it does not.”
(Please see Joel’s email for the full Opinion.)  
 President Rita Young announced in an email:
As you may be aware, AALL has cancelled the in-person conference in July.
Also please see the attached about the AALL Grant status.
Please let me know if you have any questions.

Note: the AALL Grant status updates include info that WPLLA’s VIP guests can be comped to the virtual program.  


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March Link Roundup

Hein Has Acquired the Current Index to Legal Periodicals!HeinOnline “. . . acquired the rights to the University of Washington Gallagher Law Library’s Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP).”  
Why law librarians are so important in a data-driven worldFemi Cadmus at OUPBlog pens a contemplative post about the “. . . dynamic role of law librarians,” especially given the ways innovation and entrepreneurship have permeated the field.  
 Debra Pfeifer emailed an announcement for the March 2020 Monthly Meeting on March 26 at noon at Buchanan Ingersoll.  
Citation Data Gets RicherAs reported by the Free Law Project, “. . . CourtListener is now calculating and making available a much richer metric of inter-opinion connectedness” (AKA citation data). It now includes a metric for “. . . citation depth to indicate how many times every opinion cites another.”  
8 great free web tools you didn’t know you neededEight helpful sites that can help you organize, streamline, and send! (For what it’s worth, this author uses #8 on the list, Hemingway, all the time. Eliminate passive voice!)  
ABA TECHSHOW 2017: 60 tips in 60 minutesSixty slides for technology-oriented “lifehacks” – info everyone should know, especially librarians interested in efficiency!  
About this CollectionThe Library of Congress provides an online, “. . . historical collections of the Code of Federal Regulations dating from 1938 – 1995.”  
 An announcement from WPLLA Member Linda Tashbook:
The Barco Law Library at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law will be closed from Friday March 13 through Monday March 16.
From Tuesday March 17 through Friday March 20, we will be open from 8:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. for Pitt faculty, staff, and students only.
The Barco Law Library will not be available for in-person service to the public until further notice.  
 An announcement from WPLLA Member Lori Hagen informed those on the email list that certain CLEs were cancelled at the request of the instructors. Updates to the Allegheny County Law Library’s hours, CLEs, available services are posted to acllib.org.  
 An announcement from WPLLA VP Debra Pfeifer:
In light of the uncertainty and the rapidly evolving situation around the COVID-19 virus we are canceling the Thursday, March 26th meeting but hope to reschedule for April. Thank you for all the RSVPs and interest in the topic.  Our speaker has indicated that she is would like to present when the meeting is rescheduled.  
Fastcase and American Bar Association Announce Library of Leading Section Titles Now AvailableA PR announcement from fastcase proudly states that “. . . select titles from the ABA’s leading sections are now available in the Fastcase legal research platform.” These 87 titles are available by à la carte annual subscriptions, and updates will be free and unlimited as they become available.  
 A proud announcement from longtime WPLLA Member (and prolific author) Joel Fishman:
HeinOnline presents a new volume in Legal Research Guides
Judicial Ethics and Discipline: A Legal Research Guide
Legal Research Guides Series, Volume 80
By: Joel Fishman
Check out the Table of Contents or buy a copy!
CONGRATULATIONS, JOEL!  
Coronavirus: How to protect your mental healthThe unrelenting COVID-19 news is “. . . taking its toll on people’s mental health, particularly those already living with conditions like anxiety and OCD.” Actions like curating the type and amount of news you consume, or forging human connections where and when you can, are helpful. Please, read this article for more.  
The History of the URLPosted to beSpacific from Cloudflare Blog, colorful details on the history of the URL! (The title really does say it all!)  
CRS – National Emergency PowersLinking from EveryCRSReport, beSpacific offers information on the Executive Branch’s authority under emergency circumstances.  
Free Webinar Thursday: Business Sources from the Federal GovernmentA consultant from Georgetown University presents info on why “. . . Government Information is sometimes better than commercially-available business information.”  
USA: UCLA Law librarian crafts extensive guide on coronavirus and the lawA special thank you to Lynn McClelland of the UCLA School of Law, for so quickly and thoroughly putting together a catalogue of “. . . state and federal statutes, rules and orders related to COVID-19 for students, attorneys and academics.” See also Legal Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19).  
Hospital Liability for Ventilator ShortagesPosted by The Volokh Conspiracy on Reason.com, author Michael Abramowicz asks, “If a hospital runs out of ventilators to treat its patients, will it be liable when patients die as a result?” The answer, like most legal questions, is more nuanced than you think.  
Update: Webinar on the 19th AmendmentAn invitation to join Colorado Law remotely on Friday, 04/03 from 8:30am-5:00pm MT, for the 28th Annual Ira C. Rothgerber Conference, “Women’s Enfranchisement: Beyond the 19th Amendment.” If by the time you’re reading this it’s too late to register, click the link for more info or to check out future events.  
Law Journal Library Reaches 2,800 Journals! (and 10 Other Things You Might Not Know)Congratulations to the Law Library Journal, which will turn 20 years old this May 2020! “At its launch, the resource contained just 25 law journals and approximately 250,000 pages.” It recently added ten new journals for a whopping total of “. . . 2,800 journals spanning more than 38 million pages and more than 100 topics.” Wow! Click the link for more tidbits!  


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February Link Roundup

Should the public pay a dime for access to court records?Linking to a Washington Post article, beSpacific provides information on a challenge to the search function paywall to PACER, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records.  
 Linda Tashbook forwarded information from the Allegheny County Law Library regarding a free CLE scheduled for Friday, March 13: legal research tips for new associates!  
 Debra Pfeifer emailed an invite to the February 2020 Monthly Meeting, to be held at noon on February 27th at Eckert Seamans.  
The Oldest Treasures From 12 Great LibrariesIn a thoughtful (and in the words of Frank Liu, “fascinating”) article linked from Atlas Obscura, twelve librarians identify the oldest books in their collections.  
Stanford scientist: 12 tiny habits that will instantly make you more productiveA Stanford University professor claims the key to developing successful habits “. . . is to think small when wanting to develop new behaviors or routines.” Suggestions include hiding programs or tabs when opening a new Word document or browser tab, or logging out of social media.  
 A request from Debra Pfeifer to RSVP to the upcoming monthly meeting.  
New Online Resource: War Powers and Presidential PracticeFrom beSpacific via Just Security, details on the new War Powers Resolution Reporting Project. This project is an “. . . expansive new resource that analyzes the war powers reporting practice of every president in the 45 years since the WPR was enacted.”  


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January Link Roundup

The Decade in Legal Tech: The 10 Most Significant DevelopmentsLawSites Blog’s take on the Top Ten biggest developments in legal tech of the past decade.  
The 100+ Best Websites on the InternetMakeUseOf compiled a list of 100 “. . .  genuinely useful, top-of-the-line websites (not apps) where you’ll find what you need.” Best part? The list is updated regularly!  
 Debra Pfeifer announced the January meeting:
A librarian roundtable on Contracts and Containing Spending (with a kickoff featuring ideas presented at last year’s AALL conference followed up by learning and discussion).
Meeting to take place at Reed Smith (225 Fifth Avenue), January 30th, 2019 – noon until 1 pm eastern. Please RSVP!  
Government Information Online serviceBarco Law Library’s very own Barco 3.0 blog posted information about the Government Information Online Service. It’s a “. . . a project of the Education Committee of GODORT, the government documents group of the Association of American Libraries” and built to handle the toughest reference questions and document requests. (Sounds like a service all WPLLA members would be interested in using!)  
Fastcase Brings Down the Legal News Paywall With Relaunch of Law Street Media – Market Disruption to Follow?Dewey B Strategic announces that Fastcase is relaunching Law Street Media. This business legal news site will compete directly with Lexis Nexis 360 and American Lawyer Media. The press release states it will be the “. . . first service [to] cover high tech” and will provide detailed analytics information, allowing user to generate new business.  
Using and formatting columns in Microsoft WordMicrosoft Word might be the industry standard, but it’s not without its quirks! Legal Office Guru posts hints about how to format tables while using the word processing software.  
 Ronda Fisch forwards the following (see her email for details or follow the below link):
The PLLIP Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for 2020, and it’s time to send us the names of your nominees!!  The deadline for nominations is February 22nd.
The 2020 PLLIP Award nomination form is available at https://www.aallnet.org/pllipsis/about-us/committees/awards-committee/  
GPO Digitizes Historical Editions of U.S. Government ManualThe U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) proudly announces it “. . . has digitized historical editions of the U.S. Government Manual (the Manual), the Government’s official handbook of agency organization for all three branches of Government.” Available for years 1935–1994, the links to the Manual are available in the announcement.  
Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal IssuesKeeping up with the current political landscape, EveryCRSReport highlights Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal Issues.  
2019 Year in ReviewHeinOnline Blog’s highlights of newsworthy events from 2019 (including global news and politics, celebrity deaths [!!!], and noteworthy new databases and research information).  
AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal are now true open accessAs of 2020, “. . . both AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal are now true open access and no longer require someone to create a free profile first in order to access them.”  
The Legal Research Tools Lawyers Are Using in 2020 and BeyondClick through to identify which “. . . free and fee-based legal research tools lawyers are using.”  
Who Owns the Law? Why We Must Restore Public Ownership of Legal PublishingbeSpacific links to a thought-provoking law review article detailing the means by which government ceded control over legal text to corporate publishing: “. . . publishers now use powerful legal tools to control who has access to the text of the law, how much they must pay, and under what terms.” A fascinating read!  
CRS – The Impeachment Process in the SenateImpeachment process details linked by beSpacific from EveryCRSReport.com.  
How to Be a Better Web Searcher: Secrets from Google ScientistsA link to a Scientific America article informs the reader how to better use search engines.  
 Debra Pfeifer sent an email invite to the January 2020 Monthly Meeting.  
 Linda Tashbook sent an email invite to the January 2020 Monthly Meeting.  
When a New Boss Comes to Town…On the RIPS Law Librarian Blog, Sarah Gotshall announced her library is getting a new director. She pivots into post about the plusses and minuses of a new boss (emphasis on the myriad of minuses).  
Bloomberg Law Expands Docket Key to All Federal CourtsJean O’Grady at Dewey B Strategic details the ways Bloomberg Law maintains the most sophisticated docket search feature available.  


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December Link Roundup

5 Ways to Pursue a Passion Project While Working a Full-time Job  Multi-hyphenate writer/artist/musician Danielle Sinay discusses ways to “find time for hobbies.”
 Debra Pfeifer sent a second announcement re: the WPLLA Holiday Party, sponsored by Lexis Nexis:
The Capital Grille
301 Fifth Avenue
December 11th, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm  
 Ann Unger asked about document/article delivery retrieval services, including those that are no longer active. Responses included:
Retrieve-It (aka “Magic” Steve Wasserman)
Reprints Desk
Wisconsin TechSearch  
GPO Completes Digitization of 1,300 Congressional HearingsAn email forwarded by Joel Fishman states that the “U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo.” Please be aware: links contained in the article are behind a paywall.  
The Constitution Annotated—Impeachment ClausesLinked from In Custodia Legis, beSpacific provides information in essays “pertaining to impeachment” and other resources. There are multiple links in the post – follow all for details!  
Writing Means RewritingA thoughtful essay from Professor William S. McFeely from The American Scholar, explaining how multiple drafts are integral to good writing.  
WPLLA: Google Drive DocBetty Ward provided a link to “The Tort Talk 2019 Civil Litigation Update;” a downloadable .pdf is included.  
How to Find Out When a Webpage Was PublishedA post from Make Tech Easier lists helpful tips for how to identify when a webpage was first published.  
An Impeachment Counterfactual: Could the Senate hold a trial even if the House does not transmit the Articles of Impeachment?  A detailed post (by a law professor!) explaining the intricate details and rules surrounding a presidential impeachment process.
The best free software for your PCA massive slide deck with information on “. . . Solid security tools, productivity software, and other programs.”  


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November Link Roundup

It’s not too late to apply for the AALL Leadership Academy – March 27-28, 2020WPLLA Member Krista Ford send a link to AALL’s 2020 Leadership Academy. This year’s theme is “Become an Effective Leader.” Hosted at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook, IL from March 27-28, participants will be treated to “. . . interactive discussions to explore core behaviors of exemplary leaders, ways to practice those key skills more frequently, leadership assessments that target your strengths and preferences, small and large group collaboration, focused development activities along with opportunities to network with your colleagues.” Open to all current AALL members, this program will “. . . expand your personal leadership style” whole giving you the opportunity to network with other law librarians from across the U.S.  
How To Find A Mentor And Make It WorkNPR provides some helpful hints for identifying a meaningful and long-term mentor/mentee relationship (given that finding a successful partnership is often an informal process).  
Blockchain: What Information Professionals Need to KnowbeSpacific links to an article from LLRX. It offers a “. . . comprehensive 64 page guide” for information professionals eager to learn more about blockchain and cybersecurity laws.  
GPO Completes Digitization of 1,300 Congressional HearingsThe Federal Depository Library Program announced that the “. . . U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo.” Spearheaded by the Kansas State University Libraries (a Federal Depository Library), this effort digitized “. . . nearly 15,000 Congressional Hearings.” To view, click here.  
 WPLLA Vice-President announced the November 2019 monthly WPLLA meeting: Tuesday, November 19 from 12:00-1:00pm and hosted by Melanie Cline of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. The November meeting will discuss Information Privacy, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, as well as vendor privacy policies. If you’re reading this after the event concluded, please reach out to an attendee for more information!  
Senate Hearing on Modernizing Library of CongressOriginally reported by C-SPAN, Carla Hayden (the head of the Library of Congress) “. . . testified before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on modernizing the library.” Click the link to watch the video!  
Law Review Articles Have Too Many FootnotesIf you need a good chuckle, read this short-but-sweet post gently mocking the overuse of lengthy, unnecessary footnotes in legal journal articles.  
 WPLLA Member Betty Ward notified the group that the Jenkins Law Library has again posted the Unofficial Purdon’s Westlaw site. It had been removed earlier this year due to funding issues. The Unofficial Purdon’s may also be reposted to the Pennsylvania General Assembly site and the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau site. 
Member Joel Fishman then followed with the additional note:
Please note that Westlaw has made an error under its Legal Notice. Smith’s Laws of Pennsylvania is NOT the official version of the early statutes from 1700 to 1810 in first five volumes. The official statutes is The Statutes at Large of PA (18 vols.) covering from 1682 to 1809, unannotated, but full text of public and private laws approved by legislature in late 19th century. All volumes available at [www.palrb.us]. Smith’s Laws is annotated, but only public laws. Act numbers are slightly off by five or six numbers. Smith’s Laws excellent source for some of its annotations up to 150 pages long (real property note in vol.2 p.109–1784 land office act).”  
Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Web Browser’s Password ManagerHow-To Geek recommends several different password management tools (including “. . . 1Password, LastPass, or Bitwarden”). But not your internet browser’s tool – read more to find out why.  
The Impeachment Process in the House of RepresentativesLinked information from the Congressional Research Service regarding the impeachment process in the U.S. House of Representatives – inquiring minds want to know!  
 Debra Pfeifer announces the time and location for the WPLLA Holiday Party, sponsored by Lexis Nexis:
The Capital Grille
301 Fifth Avenue
December 11th, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm  


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WPLLA Holiday Luncheon – December 11th at The Capital Grille

Please join us for the WPLLA Holiday Party, Wednesday, December 11th

Thank you to Lexis Nexis for hosting our holiday luncheon!

The Capital Grille

301 Fifth Avenue

December 11th, 2019 – noon until 1 pm eastern, but come early (11:30) for more festivity!

We’ll have:

  • A fantastic, festive lunch
  • Law Librarian insights
  • Legal Tech updates and sneak peeks on what’s coming next year
  • Prizes!

Come chat with our Lexis hostess team:

  • Breigh Marley
  • Gayle Lynn-Nelson
  • Brittany Miller
  • Danielle Bennett

Please RSVP to Debra Pfeifer, we hope to see you there!