Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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February Link Roundup

  Info from current WPLLA Vice President about the upcoming 02/18/2019 Brown Bag lunch, featuring info on Dorothy, “. . . an Artificial Intelligence searching platform which simplifies Patent searching.”


  Karen Shephard sent out a lovely, thoughtful email to the entire WPLLA distribution list, informing members that Rita Young recently published a thought-provoking article, AI & the Practice of Law at the Crossroads: Where Are We Going?, on Evolve the Law (ATL’s Legal Innovation Center). Let’s all raise our glass and cheer Rita’s interesting and timely publication!


12 Ways Marketing & Business Development Can Leverage Library & Knowledge Management Teams With an endorsement from WPLLA member Cindy Cicco (“. . . a great library marketing piece if you haven’t already seen it”), On Firmer Ground reposted an article detailing meaningful ways for firms (and their marketing/business development teams) to leverage the knowledge and skills of their library professionals. Suggestions include assistance with copyright compliance and client communication support.


Dark Law: Published Michigan Precedents on Protection Orders Missing from Westlaw The Volokh Conspiracy blog brings an important freedom of speech issue to our collective attention: Westlaw deliberately neglects posting precedential case law from Michigan pertaining to First Amendment issues and personal protection orders. For more information, including a detailed analysis of labyrinthine statutory interpretation, please read the post in full!


NEW DATABASE: GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions HeinOnline recently announced its first new database of 2019: GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions. Free for subscribers, it includes more than 47,000 titles and nearly two million pages of “. . . reports on audits, surveys, investigations, and evaluations of federal programs conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).” All published reports, testimonies, correspondence, and special publications are included (except for restricted or classified documents). Also, “GAO Comptroller General Decisions contain decisions and opinions issued by the Comptroller General in areas of federal law such as appropriations, bid protests, and federal agency rulemaking.”


SCOTUSblog is partnering with Casetext SCOTUSblog is “. . . partnering with Casetext to help [its] readers access the court opinions, statutes and other primary legal content” cited in SCOTUSblog posts. SCOTUSblog positively notes that CaseText makes “. . . many court opinions free to the public, aligning their business instead around developing new and groundbreaking technology to help lawyers provide faster, better service for clients.”



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January Link Roundup

A Comprehensive Guide to the Entertainment Industry Michael C. Donaldson gives an A+ in his review of Entertainment Law: Fundamentals and Practice, a 400-some-odd page textbook by Corey Field of “. . . the most common questions you might have regarding the entertainment industry.” Field distills a complex area of law into “. . . a comprehensive and practical guide.” Click through to read the entire glowing review, published in the 01/01/2019 edition of the LA Review of Books.


After heartbreak, Evansville’s public law library writing next chapter A short, heartwarming story of a community that came together to save a local law library after the sole law librarian passed away. Read this when you need a little something to cheer you up.


The Most Popular Dewey B Strategic Posts of 2018 The Top 20 blog posts on Dewey B Strategic from 2018 include headlines like “Surprise -Your Expert Witness Has a Rapsheet – New Survey Examines the Sorry State of Expert Research Workflow in Law Firms” and “The Law Librarians Revolt: AALL Accuses LexisNexis of Engaging in Unfair Business Practices – Possible Antitrust Violations.” The links from this post highlight some of the buzziest legal research news from the past year.


Law Library of Congress FY2018 Annual Report The Law Library of Congress FY2018 Annual Report is available for download at this link, and provides data on “. . . collections, resources, and expertise, and how [it] serve[s] and engage[s] with a wide range of users.”


15 Bad Work Habits I’m Ditching This Year (and You Should, Too!) Need a work-related New Year’s Resolution to accompany your personal one? Check out this article for suggestions of bad habits to break in 2019!


My Year of Citation Studies, Parts 1-4 The author of the linked article, My Year of Citation Studies, Parts 1-4, researched “. . . different tools for tracking citations—HeinOnline, Shepard’s, KeyCite, and Web of Science.”
New Online: Congressional Web Archive Adds Content A new update to the United States Congressional Web Archive “. . . includes content for the 113th and 114th Congresses” as well as newly added subject facets for the 105th and 106th Congresses.


New Out-of-Copyright Works and Where to Find Them beSpacific links to a Fortune magazine article, as well as five additional sites (like Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain and Google Books), listing works newly released from copyright or offering those works for download.


Weekly Legal Education Roundup: Best Legal Education Articles Of 2018 Scott Fruehwald’s annual list of Best Legal Education articles for the TaxProf Blog includes titles like Silencing Discipline in Legal Education and The Uneasy History of Experiential Education in U.S. Law Schools. Each article is linked – so if you need a few longer reads to check out over a lunch break or before you drift off to sleep, click through!


7 Free Web Annotation and Markup Tools You Should Know Linked by beSpacific to a Hongkiat blog post, these seven collaborative tools “. . . help you to comment, discuss and collaborate right on web pages or screenshots or PDFs.”


  WPLLA President Melanie Cline reminds members to submit a nomination for the AALL Emerging Leader Award by the February 1, 2019 deadline.


How to redact a PDF and protect your clients The failure to redact confidential documents can lead to embarrassing details made public (not to mention greater legal headaches in the long run). The ABA Journal details various methods to redact PDFs.


  WPLLA President Melanie Cline sent an email out to all members encouraging them to submit a nomination for the New Kid on the AALL Awards Block before the February 1, 2019 deadline.


  In a “Save the Date” sent by WPLLA Vice President Rita Young, a program on the new STACKS platform for EBSCO is slated for March 21, 2019.


  Information on additional upcoming programs from WPLLA Vice President Rita Young:
Meet Dorothy, a patent searching platform (February 19, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm);
EBSCO team and the new STACKS platform (March 21, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm);
Lexis Advance updates (April 2, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm); and
Gavelytics presentation (April 25, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm).



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EVENT: STACKS platform for EBSCO

Our very own Krista Ford, along with

•       Kristin Delwo, President & CEO of Stacks

•       Leif Johnson, EBSCO Sales Executive

Will present and demonstrate the new STACKS platform for EBSCO. Krista designed her firm’s  library Knowledge Management tool in STACKS and I found it to be a very effective solution for aggregating the firm’s knowledge tools into a central platform.

WHERE: This to be hosted at Pepper Hamilton 501 Grant Street–the Union Trust Building– and EBSCO has graciously agreed to provide lunch.

(Present to the Guard on the main floor who will key you up to Pepper Hamilton’s offices)

WHEN: March 21, 2019 noon – 1:30

PLEASE RSVP with Cindy Cicco so our vendor knows how many lunches and also if you have any food restrictions.

Thanks for your interest and continued participation in this event!


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EVENT: Brown Bag presentation: Meet Dorothy

Three10 Solutions has built Dorothy. An Artificial Intelligence searching platform which simplifies Patent searching.

Dorothy was developed to improve an attorney’s practice by making relevant prior art easily accessible, reducing the time necessary to perform an adequate search and giving them time to focus on what’s really important:  The Clients.

Developed by local attorney Curtis Wadsworth along with a team from the Language Technology Institute at CMU, Dorothy is on the cutting edge of using AI technology to parse a full sentence search and find and match key elements.

WHERE: K&L Gates LLP, 210 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, Conference Room 28-D

WHEN: February 18, 2019, Noon – 1:30

WHAT: Bring a lunch, come see Dorothy in action and hear Curt talk about patent searching and the frustrations that led him to develop Dorothy.


Refreshments will be made available.

Please RSVP by the 18th of February.

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EVENT: JAN 29, 2019 Roundtable Discussion on Succession Planning and New Employee Orientation

This is just an informal gathering for librarians to talk about what they do or ask what TO DO to build a succession plan.

Additionally we can segue in what library orientation is done to on-ramp new staff (library)

And we will leave time open for an open floor discussion of new tools, discoveries, tips, complaints.

This will be hosted at the K&L Gates LLP Offices, 210 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Room TBD)

From: Noon to 1 (ish)

Lunch: BYO

All are welcome.

Please RSVP

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December Link Roundup

GPO Makes Documents Easy to Download and Repurpose in New XML Format A press release for the U.S. Government Printing Office (“GPO”) explains that a “. . . subset of enrolled bills, public and private laws, and the Statutes at Large” are now available in “. . . Beta United States Legislative Markup (USLM) XML, a format that makes documents easier to download and repurpose.” The GPO hopes that “[t]he conversion of legacy formats into Beta USLM XML will provide a uniform set of laws for the public to download.” Documents “. . . available in the Beta USLM XML format include enrolled bills and public laws beginning with the 113th Congress (2013) and the Statutes at Large beginning with the 108th Congress (2003).”


LexisNexis Relaunches Ravel Law as Context: Analytics on Judges and Expert Witnesses With Daubert Scorecard LexisNexis has moved forward with integrating Ravel into the LexisAdvance research platform; however, it will be re-branded as Context. “The Ravel citation analysis features will live on linked to Shepard’s citation data as a feature called ‘Ravel View.'” Be aware: “[c]urrent Ravel Subscribers will get access to the Judge’s analytics from Ravel in an enhanced form on the Lexis Advance platform,” and “Ravel’s Court and Firm analytics will remain available on the Ravellaw.com platform until they are completely transitioned to LexisAdvance in 2019.”


LinkedIn Asked 2,000 People What Makes Them Happiest at Work. 1 Answer Stood Out. It seems pretty simple when you see it spelled out for you: the number one way that people find true happiness is to make time to learn on the job. Click through this article on Inc.com to find out more about what satisfied employees do, and the mindset they strive for, in order to stay so content!


Nearly a century of W&M scholarship now openly accessible online William & Mary’s university libraries began “. . . its project to digitize the entire print archive of W&M master’s theses and doctoral dissertations” nearly two years ago. “Although the university’s theses and dissertations have previously been available in ProQuest’s Dissertations Theses Global database, these materials were not freely accessible.”  Over 5,000 master’s theses and dissertations, from 1920 to 2015, are now available on W&M ScholarWorks.


The Library of Congress’ Policy and Standards Division (PSD) announces the cancellation of “multiple” subdivisions “Beginning December 2018, the Library of Congress’ PSD announced the cancellation of “multiple” subdivisions from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH).” For a full list and more information, please click here.


Thomson Reuters to Layoff 3,200 Staff Through 2020, Close Offices and Eliminate Products – Which Legal Products Might Die? In the wake of a recent Thomson Reuters statement indicating that layoffs are imminent for nearly 3,200 employees, legal experts are unsure of “. . . what this means for the legal market.” Some believe that “[c]lient support could decline,” while others suggest that “[p]roducts could shrink but costs will not.” Expect this story to become more noteworthy in 2019 and 2020.


9 Ways to Improve Employee Retention With ‘Stay Interviews’ As opposed to the “exit interview” (a brief survey conducted between an individual and a company, when the individual already has one foot out the door), a “stay interview” allows a company to “. . . pick the brains of those employees that are not leaving.” These interviews help companies become aware of employee interests and challenges, and learn more about what keeps employees engaged. The author, Dom Nicastro of CMS Wire, even suggests could be used in lieu of exit interviews as “[d]ata gathered through stay interviews is highly valuable and offers companies the opportunities to recognize patterns or themes that have emerged strongly within employee experience.”


New Digital Access Partnership with the Library of Congress The Federal Depository Library Program announced that a “. . . new partnership between the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Library of Congress ensures permanent public access to born digital and digitized publications within scope of the FDLP on the Library of Congress’s websites, including congress.gov and law.gov.”


In UC’s battle with the world’s largest scientific publisher, the future of information is at stake The University of California system is threatening to leave the entire Reed Elsevier system when its contact expires on 12/31/2018. Even though the cost seems minimal ($11 million per calendar year for access to 1,500 journals), it’s beginning to add up – and the University is fighting with the publisher over its reluctance to embrace “open access.” The subscription-based publisher is obviously balking – so who will win the negotiation as the hourglass empties?


UC Berkeley Law Migrates to TIND ILS UC Berkeley claims that its former ILS, Sierra, “. . . felt like a tank – a specialized but rigid vehicle well suited to doing our work.” Its new ILS, TIND, “. . . is more like a Toyota – light, flexible, and more fuel efficient.” It’s web-based and facilitates quick export of lists or records to Excel. Though there are some drawbacks (lack of a browse feature), things seem to be working well thus far!


In an email from WPLLA President Melanie Cline, a reminder that AALL is “. . . accepting nominations for the Emerging Leader Award.” 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.
The nomination deadline is February 1, 2019. 
LSAT will be administered on Microsoft Surface Go tablets in 2019 From the Law School Admission Council (“LSAC”): “[w]hen the Law School Admission Test is given digitally starting in July 2019, it will be on a Microsoft Surface Go tablet, a device known for its smaller size and adjustable kickstand.” Accessibility is an issue, but the tablet comes with built-in assistive technology. Additionally, LSAC now offers free LSAT test prep via Khan Academy. Test security is still a concern among some, and the writing portion will be administered using an online platform than the rest of the exam – but “. . . repeat LSAT takers don’t have to complete the essay each time they take the exam.”


The United States Congressional Web Archive now includes content for the 113th and 114th Congresses. In a PR statement released on December 12, 2018, the Library of Congress noted that it released an update to the U.S. Congressional Web Archive. It now includes “. . . content for the 113th and 114th Congresses.”


Evisort’s New Document Analyzer Offers Out-of-the-Box AI to Mine All A Company’s Contracts Evisort might just be the hottest legal tech and AI company you’ve never heard of.” Its main product, called Document Analyzer, is a cloud-based AI and text-mining application that helps users (usually companies) mine contracts for data. “The idea behind Evisort is to automatically turn the unstructured text of a company’s contracts into structured data useful to the company’s legal, finance and business operations.”


Library of Congress pushing digitization over next 5 years Click through and listen to an 18 minute podcast explaining how the Library of Congress is pivoting for the digital age.


Why the US Needs a National AI Strategy and What It Should Look Like Joshua New, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation argues that “[t]he United States is the global leader in developing and using artificial intelligence (AI), but it may not be for long.” The U.S. needs a “healthy ecosystem” to allow AI to flourish, but the government refuses to take proactive steps.


Melanie Cline forwarded an email from AALL, announcing the following:
The AALL Government Relations Committee (GRC) is seeking nominations for the 2019 Robert L Oakley Advocacy Award and for the Public Access to Government Information (PAGI) Award. 
Melanie Cline forwarded an email from AALL, announcing the following:
The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Excellence in Community Engagement Jury is excited to announce a brand-new addition to the existing AALL awards: the Excellence in Community Engagement (ECE) Award! 
2018’s most important legal tech stories The biggest tech news in 2018 included “. . .  Facebook’s never-ending missteps, the creation of new data privacy standards and the destruction of federal net neutrality.” Check out this round-up for more cutting-edge news.


Top 10 most-read legal news stories of 2018 The ABA Journal notes that its most popular stories of 2018 “. . . tend toward water-cooler topics.” Click through for ten juicy, attention-grabbing stories.