Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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May Link Round Up

FDLP MODERNIZATION ACT OF 2018 WOULD ENSURE GREATER ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION The April 2018 AALL Washington EBulletin, forwarded by Joel Fishman, reviews the FLP Modernization Act of 2018 and provides a section-by-section analysis of the bill as well as information on how the GPO, Copyright Office, Congressional Research Service, and Library of Congress budgets will fare under the Omnibus spending bill.

 

Judge Declares Some PACER Fees Illegal but Does Not Go Far Enough On March 31, 2018, Judge Huvelle of the US District Court for the District of Columbia rules that approximately $200 million will likely be returned to people who paid PACER fees from 2010 to 2016. The author of the linked blog post believes that this is a first step towards determining that PACER fees are prohibitively expensive and/or unconstitutional – though Judge Huvelle does not approach that ideological decision in the opinion.

 

Can Law Librarian/Vendors Relations Ever Be a Win-Win Relationship Again? In a 3 Geeks and a Law Blog post forwarded by Joel Fishman (and linked within the email), the current AALL president muses on the current state of the relationship between “legal information providers (vendors) and legal information professionals (law librarians)” and how it’s going to change in the future.

 

Massive restructuring at the ABA will rehouse entities under 9 centers An announcement from the executive director of the ABA details a “major restructuring of the organization,” complete with the creation of nine new Centers falling under one of the four main goals of the ABA umbrella: “serving members; improving the profession; eliminating bias and enhancing diversity; and advancing the rule of law.” Read the article for a full list of the names and aims of the new Centers.

 

Why RSS Still Beats Facebook and Twitter for Tracking News RSS hasn’t gone away; according to a beSpacific link to a Gizmodo article, it’s “faster, more efficient, and you won’t have to worry as much about accidentally leaking your news reading habit to all your Facebook friends.”

 

“The Board will be gathering more facts in order to determine how to effectively respond” to LexisNexis’ tying ultimatum Read this post on the Law Librarian Blog for information on “recent LexisNexis tie-in attempts”: “the Company refuses to sell print or ancillary products in retaliation for cancelling Lexis Advance as if this may be a new company sales policy.”

 

CRS – Sexual Harassment and Title VII: Selected Legal Issues The CRS report, linked through beSpacific, to examine Supreme Court precedent addressing Title VII sexual harassment claims, the statutory interpretation and rationales reflected in these decisions, and examples of lower federal court decisions applying this precedent. The report also discusses various types of harassment recognized by the Supreme Court (such as “hostile work environment,” quid pro quo, constructive discharge, and same-sex harassment) as well as sexual harassment in the context of retaliation.

 

CRS – Statutory Interpretation: Theories, Tools, and Trends A link on beSpacific to a CRS paper explaining the tools judges use to gather evidence of statutory meaning.

 

An email forwarded by Cindy Cicco explains House Bill 1937: a proposal to divert court filing fees from funding the Jenkins Law Library to the First Judicial District’s general fund. The Philadelphia Bar Association is considering a resolution in support of this legislation. The message provides additional information to help concerned citizens oppose the Philadelphia Bar Associations potential resolution and the House Bill.

 

4 Ways to Deal With a Toxic Coworker If you’re having a rough day (or if someone in particular is really getting on your nerves), take a look at this Harvard Business Review study to identify toxic team members and come up with constructive ways to deal with him/her.

 

GPO COMPLETES DIGITIZING ALL ISSUES
OF THE FEDERAL REGISTER
In an April 11, 2018 Press Release, the U.S. Government Publishing Office announced it, along with the National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register have “digitized every issue of the Federal Register, dating back to the first one published in 1936. A total of 14,587 individual issues, which is nearly two million pages, has been digitized.” See the email forwarded by Joel Fishman for an attachment of the Press Release and the URL for the new home of the digitized works.

 

This is the new Gmail design Check out the new Gmail redesign before its implemented!

 

House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies A recently released CRS report “examines procedures and strategy related to committee markups and provides sample procedural scripts.”

 

GOODBYE FDSYS, HELLO GOVINFO This blog post notes (with unanticipated gusto, I might add) that sometime in late 2018, Fdsys will be officially and formally replaced by Govinfo. Read the full post to learn the differences and nuances between the two, and get ready for the switch.

 

New on LLRX – Can Legal Research Be Taught? Part 3: Pushing Ourselves Further Legal research experts conclude “to be the experts in legal research we must also be leaders in developing knowledge in our field, furthering the understanding of the legal domain and of our own place within it.”

 

Papers of Benjamin Franklin Now Online In an email forwarded by Joel Fishman, Benjamin Franklin’s papers are now posted online. Visit the Library of Congress’ website to peruse at your leisure!

 

First Draft and fake news Forwarded by Joel Fishman, this email links to a project from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center; it includes a PDF download of A Field Guide to Fake News and Other Information Disorders and a free online course to help readers better identify misinformation.

 

Navigating through Wikipedia articles on desktop just got a lot easier The new “page previews” feature allows users to get a quick grasp of what’s behind a link without committing to a click-through.

 

Five Books To Help You Be More Productive And Organized Tips, tricks, and newfangled apps only go so far. For more detailed info on organization and productivity, check out the books listed in this Fast Company article.

 

Points of Law Wins 2018 AALL New Product Award Excerpted from the beSpacific blog post:
“The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) has named Points of Law as its 2018 New Product Award winner. Introduced in 2016 using artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist in legal research, Points of Law is a product of Bloomberg Law. Points of Law allows users to quickly identify and analyze language in a judicial opinion. The product adds a layer of automated indexing to its 1 3 million—and counting—library of published and unpublished state and federal court opinions to provide users with a decision’s legal points and identify legal precedents. In addition, researchers can conduct keyword searches across all case law or specific jurisdictions within the content library.”
Library of Congress Posts U.S. Supreme Court Cases collection The Library of Congress has posted “more than 225 years of decisions” and this beSpacific blog post also links to other helpful sites where a reader can translate citations from a nominative reporter to a volume of the U.S. Report.

 

 


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March Link Roundup

Librarians digitally archive rare White House images According to news alerts from the ALA and CNN, a “team of librarians working for the White House Historical Association have been digitizing archives of uncatalogued slides from White House history, most of which haven’t been accessible by the public before now.” If you spot something you want for your home or office, you can buy high-resolution images or download them for free at a lower resolution.
Classified Presidential Library Records to be Moved to DC In a press release from the National Archives, approximately 75 million pages of classified records housed at presidential libraries across the U.S. will be gathered and moved to Washington, D.C. for declassification review.
Citizen Archivist Missions The National Archives has curated a list of transcription/tagging volunteer projects. See the post and follow the links to check out topics that interest you, and you can start helping ASAP!
  WPLLA member Joel Fishman forwarded an email and listpost describing a new infrastructure service being spearheaded by digital preservationists at Yale University Library; it will “resurrect thousands of obsolete software programs and ensure that the information produced on them will be kept intact and made easily available for future access, study, and use.”

For more info, see the blog post here.

Ambrogi – In New Ethics Ruling On Blogging, ABA Opines Like It’s 1999 The American Bar Association published Formal Opinion 480 regarding “the ethics obligations around the ‘newest format’ in online publishing by lawyers, blogs, as well as listservs, online articles, website postings, and ‘brief online statements or microblogs’ such as Twitter.” Does this opinion cement the ABA’s reputation as being “behind the curve on technology issues?”
Law Library of Congress digitally releases U.S. Reports from 1791 to 2004 “The Law Library of Congress . . . released digital copies of the printed bound volumes of the United States Reports from 1791 to 2004, making more than 35,000 Supreme Court cases available for the first time online as page images in a searchable format.”
Exploring Pennsylvania’s Gerrymandered Congressional Districts In an email from WPLLA member Pat Roncevich, a blog post with a more detailed “expert witness spatial analysis” about Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered election districts.
Introduced Legislation to Amend Title 44, U.S.C. In an email from WPLLA member Pat Roncevich, a link to the Federal Depository Library Program’s posting of the full text for the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 to amend Title 44 of the U.S. Code.
  In an email from WPLLA member Joel Fishman, govinfo.gov posted a new series of “Precedents of the U.S. House of Representatives (2017).
How to Locate the Bills and Amendments a Member of Congress has Sponsored or Cosponsored in Congress.gov Cross-posted from Custodia Legis – “One of the questions we are frequently asked is how to locate a bill or amendment that a member of Congress has sponsored or cosponsored. There are a few ways to do this on Congress.gov…”
The Academic Law Library in the Age of Affiliations: A Case Study of the University of New Hampshire Law Library beSpacific linked to an article published in the Law Library Journal, which studies the University of New Hampshire Law Library’s recent affiliation with another law school.
AALL partners with Perma.cc to ensure unbroken links to association publications AALL announced a partnership with Perma.cc; this will ensure AALL publications remain complete and maintain their longevity for the benefit of its more than 4,500 members.
GPO Statement On H.R. 5305, The FDLP Modernization Act Of 2018 Recently-introduced H.R. 5305 (the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018) is a bipartisan bill cosponsored by all other members of the Committee to reform the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). “The bill affirms the principle that the free flow of Government information is fundamental to the health of our democracy, and acknowledges the important role Federal depository libraries play in ensuring free public access to that information.”
New Linked Citations in the Congressional Record Index New editions of the Congressional Record Index will hyperlink citations in the text file for bills and pages in the Congressional Record to the  corresponding document in govinfo. This beSpacific blog post also links to the current and previous editions of the Congressional Record Index.
CRS Reports in Scope of the FDLP The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 includes a provision titled, “Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports,” which directs the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to make non-confidential CRS Reports freely-available to the public.

The Federal Depository Library Program notes “Historically, distribution of CRS Reports was limited to Members of Congress. They were not considered in the public domain, and therefore, CRS Reports were out of scope of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Once CRS Reports begin to be publicly-disseminated, these reports will be in scope of the FDLP. “

 


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February Link Roundup

Exclusive First Look: Ravel Law’s Integration with Lexis Advance Ravel’s data visualization technology and data analytics are on track to be fully integrated into Lexis Advance and other Lexis products by the first quarter of 2018.

 

Executive Orders Disposition Tables Index Via a beSpacific link, executive orders issued since 1994 are available as a single bulk download and as a bulk download by President. Users can also browse by President and year.

 

Lexis Re-imagines the Shepard’s Citator with Ravel Analytics: Adds 500,000 New Cases, 6 Million Images Review this blog post for a list of the ways Lexis is integrating Ravel Law into its platform, including enhanced Shepards citations, simplified search visualizations, and case law images from “Free the Law” archives (stemming from a 2015 collaboration between Harvard Law School and Ravel Law). Additional analytic tools will be integrated throughout 2018.

 

Supreme Court Won’t Let Pennsylvania GOP Delay Drawing New Congressional Map After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional map gave Republicans a political advantage such that it violated the state’s constitution, Republicans appealed the state court’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Its argument rested on the theory that the U.S. Constitution only granted legislatures, not state courts, the power to draw congressional districts. The appeal went before Justice Samuel Alito, who oversees the 3rd Circuit; Alito denied the request on Monday, February 5, without referring it to the whole court.

 

The Best Ergonomic Keyboards and Mouses to Prevent Wrist Pain Cut carpal tunnel syndrome off at the pass by integrating these ergonomic computer accessories into your work station!

 

Need some free images for your academic work / poster / presentation / website? Look no further A librarian from the University of York compiled the best sites for high quality, free public domain images.

 

Recommended Web Resources: Freely Available Digital Collections Of Presidential Documents Links provided in this article list freely available digital collections of presidential documents.

 

A Librarian By Any Other Name… In a 3 Geeks and a Law Blog post forwarded by email from WPLLA member Joel Fishman, the author muses about the change in the official titles of law librarians. See this link for more.

 

CRS – Resolutions to Censure the President: Procedure and History This beSpacific link takes you to a CRS post discussing resolutions to censure the President for abuse of power, ethics violations, or other behavior.

 

Descriptive Metadata for Web Archiving The OCLC’s Web Archiving Metadata Working Group (“WAM”) has developed three publications that cover recommendations to help institutions improve the consistency and efficiency of their metadata practices, a literature review of user needs, and a review of web harvesting tools.

 

FDsys to retire From our very own University of Pittsburgh School of Law librarians: a post listing the retirement date of Fdsys (sometime in December 2018); govinfo will formally take its place.

 

CRS – Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends According to the CRS article: The Supreme Court “follows the principle that a statute be read as a harmonious whole whenever reasonable, with separate parts being interpreted within their broader statutory context. Still, the meaning of statutory language is not always evident. To help clarify uncertainty, judges have developed various interpretive tools in the form of canons of construction.”  Review the link for more details on the SCOTUS intrepretive tools.

 

16 Apps and Tools to Keep You Productive and Sane A fun read with suggestions for “work-related apps and tools” and “personal apps and tools.”

 

ABA resolution supporting work and funding of Library of Congress Both the ABA’s Proposed Resolution and Report and its Final Resolution are linked in this beSpacific post. The ABA “urges Congress to approve appropriations necessary to enable the Library of Congress to adequately staff, maintain, modernize, and enhance its services, collections, facilities, digital projects and outreach efforts.”

 

Free to Use and Reuse: Making Public Domain and Rights-Clear Content Easier to Find The Library of Congress acknowledges the challenges of letting the public “know about all of the content available at loc.gov” and letting the public know what it can do with that information. It is working to improve the visibility of public domain and rights-clear content.

 

GPO – Comments on Draft Legislation to Amend Title 44 USC beSpacific links to a recent LLRX blog post, informing readers of potential new (and “worrisome”) changes to government publications; it also links to the comments the GPO sent to the Committee on House Aministration on January 31, 2018.

 

3 Ways to Be a More Effective Ambivert The greatest advantages of being an ambivert is the ability to exhibit the strengths of an introvert and strengths of an extrovert at the appropriate times. This article developed tips to help ambiverts maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

 

GPO Issues Digital Release of Federal Register for the 1960s The U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) and the National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register (“OFR”) released historic issues of the Federal Register from 1960-1969 in digital format. These issues include a Proclamation by President Johnson for November 27, 2963 to be a national day of mourning following the assination of President Kennedy.

 

More Historical Statutes at Large Available Online The individual statutes for congresses 68 through 81 are now available on the Law Library of Congress website.

 

Where Old, Unreadable Documents Go to Be Understood Linda Watson and her company, Transcription Services, specializes in transcribing historical documents that prove unreadable to the average viewer.

 

Leonard Silverstein, Founder Of The BNA Tax Management Portfolio Series, Dies At 96 Linked from The Washington Post:
“Leonard L. Silverstein, a Washington lawyer and arts patron who started a series of prominent tax-law guidebooks and became a member of the city’s cultural and fundraising firmament, died Feb. 14 at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 96.”

 

  An email forwarded by Joel Fishman (and linked at “My legal tech invention: the Magic Money Machine“), the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog presents a funny and thought-provoking post about change in the legal profession – complete with charming anecdotes full of humanity.

 

GPO Handouts from ALA’s Midwinter Meeting Information on a variety of Federal Depository Library Program topics and related handouts are now available on FDLP.gov.

 

OCLC introduces Syndeo, a suite of services designed to facilitate national and regional library collaboration Syndeo (a flexible suite of services specifically designed to facilitate national and regional library collaboration) supports OCLC cooperative cataloging, resource sharing, and library management services necessary to run individual institutions along with the technology and infrastructure required of a national library.

 

U.S. Reports is the ONLY Official Edition of U.S. Supreme Court Opinions PDFs of the official U.S. Reports are available at the Library of Congress (LOC) website.

 

Latest Congress.gov Search Tip, Enhancements, and Most-Viewed Bills Congress.gov homepage recently received a new search form for the House Communications Collection. Click through for the latest search tips, site enhancements, and a list of the most-viewed bills.

 

New LibGuide – Prices and Wages by Decade The University of Missouri Library has added LibGuide on Prices and Wages by Decade. It points to government publications listing retail prices for common items or “necessities of life.”

 

New on LLRX – The Library – An Indispensable Resource for the Entire Law Firm Diana Koppang writes that small and midsize law firms are benefiting from a range of agile, expert, value added services increasingly provided by Library team members – in collaboration with colleagues in Conflicts, Finance and Marketing.

 

 


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January Link Round-Up

GPO Completes Digitization of Historical Congressional Record 1873-1890 The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) partnered with the Library of Congress to complete the digitization of all historical issues of the Congressional Record; this update completes the period from 1873-1890. It is available on GPO govinfo(https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/crecb_gpo/_crecb). This release covers the debates and proceedings of the 43rd through the 51st Congresses and includes issues like the Battle of Little Bighorn (Custer’s Last Stand), the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act.

 

The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 Part Three: What Law Libraries are Doing Review this blog post to understand the new hybrid model at NYLI and how utilizing aggregators and individual publisher platforms as well as subscription models and patron-driven acquisitions will create the largest and most comprehensive eBook collection of any membership law library in the US.

 

Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress The report, linked by beSpacific, “introduces the main steps through which a bill (or other item of business) may travel in the legislative process—from introduction to committee and floor consideration to possible presidential consideration.” It seeks to describe not only these traditional steps, but also the various “complications and variations” that can arise during the process as well.

 

Supreme Court Opinion on Election Map WPLLA member Joel Fishman sent a link to a .pdf of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s official Opinion of the gerrymandering / election map issue. The Court held “that the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 clearly, plainly and palpably violates the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” and struck it down as unconstitutional. It gave the Pennsylvania General Assembly until February 9, 2018 to develop a new plan for the Governor’s consideration.

 

The Best Laptop Stands and Ergonomic Desk Accessories, According to Chiropractors and Physical Therapists

 

Because “stress on the low back, shoulders, and neck and can lead to low back pain,” check out this article to find ergonomic accessories to lessen the blow!
The Survey of American Lawyers at Major Law Firms: View of the Law Firm Library The study presents data from a representative sample of 225 lawyers at more than 100 major law firms. Interesting takeaways include:

“Men in the sample were slightly more likely than women to ask for help from a law librarian: 66.67% of men sampled and 61.9% of women had asked for help from law library personnel in the past year.”

 

“More than twice as high a percentage of associates than partners wanted to hire additional librarians for the law firm library.”

“Legal research accounted for 15.65% of the overall work time of the lawyers in the sample.”

 

New 508 requirements now live The federal government’s new Section 508 standards took effect in January 2018, requiring compliance from agencies, and any state or locality that accepts federal funding, to ensure their digital services are accessible to people with physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities. As part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the guidelines are aimed at helping seeing- and hearing-impaired users’ access information on government websites, apps and other digital media. The revised rules include fewer compliance exemptions for hardware and software. This means a broader range of technologies and more states and localities are likely to be affected by the requirements.

 

Search Tips by Category – Congress.gov Click the link posted at beSpacific to review search tips provided by experts and congress.gov.

 

  WPLLA member Cindy Cicco forwarded an email detailing the Thomson Reuters/CRIV Biannual Call, which occurred on 12/19/2017. The call’s description explains why Thomson Reuters changed Federal Practice & Procedure v.30B from an interim edition to a permanent bound volume.

 

BLUEBOOK ODDITIES: 10 UNLIKELY CITATIONS Take a peek at this blog post if you need a chuckle: ten arcane formatting rules from The Bluebook!

 

The legal difference between sexual misconduct, assault, and harassment, explained This timely article examines the new social awareness around sex and power, and attempts to define the different types of transgressions discussed in the news.

 

Discover 20,771,524 images, texts, videos, and sounds from across the US The Digital Public Library of America dropped a new “beta” site to explore its content, and includes a focus on tools, resources, and info to better serve its users.

 

New Congress.gov Search Box, Search Form, and Streamlined Header New enhancements for http://www.congress.gov are up and running – review the full list of improvements!

 

Updated: Legalweek New York 2018: What’s hot and what’s not News and updates from bloggers at the 2018 Legalweek New York, including chats with vendors and law firms about what to expect in the legal world this calendar year.

 

 


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December Link Roundup

New Way to Browse the Federal Courts Web Archive The Law Library and the Library of Congress Web Archiving team have new methods for users to browse the Federal Courts Web Archive. When a user heads to the browse page, the Federal courts are now arranged in a list; by clicking on a court in the table of contents at the top of the screen, the user will be taken to a link for the archive for that court.

 

26th Annual RIPS-SIS Legal Research Teach-In Kit From an email forwarded by Joel Fishman on 12/08/2017:
The RIPS-SIS Legal Research Teach-In Kit Committee is now accepting submissions for the 26th Annual Teach-In Kit.  We have an outrageous goal to have EVERY law library and information professional community (academic, firm, government) who is involved in providing any kind of legal research instruction to contribute to the Teach-In Kit.  We have set this goal because the Teach-In Kit and the instruction and information our members provide is so valuable to our profession and the diverse communities we serve.
Submissions should be sent to Gail Mathapo at “gmathapo@law.ufl.edu” by January 22, 2018.

 

New on LLRX – Virtual Chat Reference Services Research librarians would receive more reference questions from library patrons if the library linked to a virtual chat service; see this article for chatbot service recommendations.

 

University of Pennsylvania: Online Books Page The University of Pennsylvania maintains an Online Books page, which detailed a list of titles freely readable over the Internet.

 

POGO – Revealing the Lost World of Government Reports Recently introduced to Congress, a new bill would require a one-stop, easy-to-use, online location for all congressionally mandated reports. This may put an end to the world of lost and hidden government reports.

 

Congress’ Impeachment Power and the Case of Presidential Obstruction In multiple posts available as links through beSpacific, experts have developed rationale that a president firing an FBI director or other senior law enforcement official may not subject to impeachment for obstruction of justice.

 

Historical Versions of the United States Code Now Online After being acquired by the Library of Congress, the U.S. Code from 1925 through 1988 is available to the public online for free, in a searchable format.

 

KnowItAALL: Readers’ Picks 2017 In an email forwarded by Joel Fishman on 12/22/2017, AALL’s KnowItAALL e-newsletter details the Readers’ Picks for 2017.

 

New on LLRX – Legislation Alert: Worrisome Changes to Government Publications Are Possible In a thought-provoking post, Peggy Roebuck Jarrett writes about an issue that is significant to law librarians, federal documents librarians, and to the public: a proposed bill that proposes “to amend title 44, United States Code, to reform the organization, authorities, and programs relating to public printing and documents, including the Federal Depository Program.” Changes could alter the publication and distribution of official print and digital government information.

 

Paper – Failure, Risk, and the Entrepreneurial Library A blog post by Tom Wall (a University Librarian at Boston College) addresses the inspiring belief that “without a culture that accepts the inevitability of failure, and learns from it, innovation will remain elusive and/or nonexistent.”

 

Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Library of Congress will acquire tweets on a selective basis—similar to its collections of web sites.  This is a change from its previous endeavor to document all tweets from 2006 through 2010, and continuing with all public tweet text going forward.

 

Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals This paper, covering 203 different law reviews and last updated in July 2017, contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration.

 

 


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December Link Roundup

CRS – The Vacancies Act: A Legal Overview This CRS report first describes how the Vacancies Act operates and outlines its scope, identifying when the Vacancies Act applies to a given office, how it is enforced, and which offices are exempt from its provisions. It also discusses who may serve as an acting officer and for how long, focusing on the limitations the Vacancies Act places on acting service, and includes issues of particular Congressional relevance (primarily highlighting the Vacancies Act’s enforcement mechanisms).

 

How Lawyers Should Use Spreadsheets Here’s a podcast from Law Technology Today – the official technology blog of the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center. In this episode of Digital Detectives, hosts S          haron Nelson and John Simek talk to Ben Kusmin about the proper handling and format of spreadsheets, including a thorough review of all content before sending it.

 

Mindfulness in the Library A recent student of “Mindfulness for Librarians” shares her experiences with targeted, helpful, and calming mindfulness techniques.

 

Books from 1923 to 1941 Now Liberated! In Joel Fishman’s email, sent November 4, 2017, he sent a link with information that the Internet Archive is relying on Section 108h to now provide materials published from 1923-1941 if they are not being actively sold. Take a look at the links either in Joel’s email, or reproduced at Humanities and Social Sciences Online (must have user account to view)
GPO Audit on FDPL BeSpacific links to the US Government Publishing Office’s (“GPO”) report on the Federal Depository Library Program (“FDLP”). A selection from the report:
“The transition to digital information raises a number of issues resulting in more diverse responsibilities for GPO. In that context, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a review to determine the steps GPO took for ensuring information developed at the expense of taxpayers was made available to the public through the FDLP. To address our objective, in general, we tested compliance with select sections of Title 44, reviewed program goals and achievements, and tested processes used to capture Government publications at a select agency—the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).” 
New on LLRX – The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 Part Two: Brass Tacks Ellyssa Kroski discusses the range of eBook pricing models that are currently available along with the pros and cons respective to each.

 

On Trial: GRE v. LSAT Some law schools are experimenting with using GRE scores for admission rather than LSAT scores; follow the link to try sample questions from both!

 

Some “Acting” Officials in the Federal Government Will Authority Some government officials who have been serving on an “acting” basis because a permanent replacement has not yet been named will lose their ability to function in November 2017 when their legal authority is nullified under the terms of the Vacancies Act; the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 specifies that “acting” officers can fill positions requiring confirmation for no more than 210 days. If the position is vacant at the start of a new Administration, an extension of 90 days is allowed, for a total of 300 days – this 300 day period for “acting” officials designated by the Trump Administration will thus end on November 16, 2017.

 

GPO and LC release digitized version of Congressional Record 1891-1911 The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) partners with the Library of Congress to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1891-1911 on GPO’s govinfo. This release covers the debates and proceedings of the 52nd through the 61st Congresses. This era of covers issues like the Spanish-American War, the first flight by the Wright Brothers, and the Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act.

 

The Magical Law Library Staff Fun link sent by Cindy Cicco: In a tongue-in-cheek guest post by a UK law librarian on the blog, Vable, the author asks the questions, “Did you know that law firm librarians are magicians?”

 

Things I would tell my younger self In an email forwarded by Joel Fishman, a veteran attorney gives advice to some new kids on the block, including “dream big,” “save money,” and “no regrets.”

 

Building for the future of free knowledge – Keynote by Wikipedia CEO at OCLC Meeting “Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, provided information on in-depth research into the future of literacy and learning and shared insights into how we can apply these principles to the current trends in technology.

 

Dr. Carla D. Hayden, Librarian of Congress: Featured Keynote at OCLC ARC17 Dr. Carla D. Hayden, the United States Librarian of Congress, served as the keynote speaker at the inaugural OCLC Americas Regional Council (“ARC”) meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on 30 October 2017 and discussed the history of library innovation and the role that libraries can play as trusted, smart sources in the information ecosystem.

 

U.S. Web Design Standards + DigitalGov The U.S. Web Design Standards moved to the Office of Products and Platforms (“OPP”) and joined the new DigitalGov team (effective October 1, 2017). Digital.gov has become an authoritative destination to learn about the methods, practices, policies, and tools needed to create effective digital services in government. It helps users deliver smart, effective digital services in the government, and seeks to set an example for how government learns, builds, delivers, and measures digital services in the 21st century.

 

EASILY DISTRACTED? HARNESS TECH TO BE MORE EFFICIENT Cindy Cicco forwarded information and a link to an AALL webinar scheduled for 12/13.  Check out the email for more information!

 

One More Time: Law Firm Libraries Are Not About the Space 3 Geeks and a Law Blog muses on the difference between a law library as a physical space versus a law library as an ephemeral institution of information and knowledge.

 

A Growing Open Access Toolbox Legal methods to retrieve paywalled articles for free are on the rise, but better self-archiving practices could help improve accessibility.

 

Congress.gov Tip, Top, and New for November 2017, Part 2 New enhancements to http://www.congress.gov during November 2017 include a variety of search upgrades. The Advanced Search Legislation page was updated during the release, the default sort for House Communications for a blank search was switched to be newest to oldest, and a developer researched ways to enhance our email alerts.

 

How to Deal With a Negative Co-worker Who Can’t Stop (Won’t Stop) Venting This article provides a list of helpful tricks to assist a negative co-worker.

 

 

 

 

 


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Detecting Fake News

Invasion of Fake News Graphic by Free Press Action Fund

Invasion of Fake News by Free Press/ Free Press Action Fund – Licensed under Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA 2.0

The American Association of Law Libraries provides a down’n’dirty description of what a law librarian does, not the least of which is “… researching, analyzing, and evaluating the quality, accuracy, and validity of sources.”

In a world where it seems like even people who should know better are screaming #fakenews, it seems fairly intuitive that law librarians would want to seek out fair, unbiased, and professional news sources.

In “The Fate of Online Trust in the Next Decade,” a report released by the Pew Research Center on August 10, 2017, researchers tallied 1,233 responses to a nonscientific survey about future online capabilities and its effects on society and economics. Surveys were sent to a wide variety of expert engineers, scientists, policy experts, academics, technologists, and futurists – and invitees were encouraged to share to survey with fellow experts.

In the end, 48% believed that trust will be strengthened, but 28% believe that it will stay the same, and 24% believe that trust in online interactions and opportunities will be weakened in the next few years. Some respondents expressed hope in online security, like encryption and identity-verification systems.

Pew researchers identified six major themes from the respondents’ answers:

  • Trust will strengthen because systems will improve and people will adapt to them and more broadly embrace them;
  • The nature of trust will become more fluid as technology embeds itself into human and organizational relationships;
  • Trust will not grow, but technology usage will continue to rise, as a “new normal” sets in;
  • Some say blockchain could help; some expect its value might be limited;
  • The less-than-satisfying current situation will not change much in the next decade; and
  • Trust will diminish because the internet is not secure, and powerful forces threaten individuals’ rights.

Half of those themes are resoundingly negative (“trust will not grow;” “less-than-satisfying current situation;” “trust will diminish”). The blockchain theme could go either way.

If the experts are expressing reticence about the future of online opportunities, we need people capable of reviewing resources and disseminating accurate information. Law librarians can certainly be on the front lines.

Cross-posted on LLRX and the beSpacific blog, author Jenny Zook crafted a thoughtful article defining “fake news” and providing valuable fact-checking resources. Zook emphasizes the need to check sources, and offers thoughtful questions to ask yourself when reviewing a questionable online source:

When was it published? Who published it? Is this a primary or secondary source of law? Who is the author and what are his or her qualifications?

Zook cautions that even the best news source can post a story with “…sloppy reporting, misquoting of a source, or wrong attribution of a primary source.”

But all is not lost – Zook urges librarians to develop library research guides and to continue posting information on fake news and authentic resources.

BeSpecific posted Zook’s list of  Library Guides for Detecting Fake News, pulled from July 2017’s AALL Spectrum.

WPLLA members – have you developed a library guide to help thwart fake news? Have you used or forwarded any of the existing guides? If you’ve had to help verify resources or combat fake news in any way, we’d love to hear your story! Send us an email with your experience, or any tips and tricks you’d like to share as we work to combat #fakenews!