Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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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!


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Link Roundup – November

Select Demographic and Other Characteristics of Recent U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominees This document provides information related to select demographic and other characteristics of U.S. circuit and district court nominees whose nominations were submitted to the Senate by President Trump prior to August 1, 2017 (of the 26 total nominations submitted). The stats are compared to those of the first 26 individuals nominated to U.S. circuit and district court judgeships during the Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton administrations.

 

Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of the U.S. Financial Regulatory Framework Discussion of the fragmented financial regulatory system; it was developed by “piecemeal” legislation following financial crisis. At the federal level, regulators can be clustered into specific review areas that control financial institutions, markets, and products using licensing, registration, rulemaking, supervisory, enforcement, and resolution powers.

 

GPO Launches New Federal Bookstore Website The U.S. Government Publishing Office’s (“GPO”) launched a newly designed, user-friendly U.S. Government Online Bookstore (https://bookstore.gpo.gov). The site features a simple, mobile-friendly navigation that connects the user to more than four thousand titles on topics from the Federal Government. Some of the new features include a mobile-friendly interface, improved search features, color book cover graphics, and product reviews.

 

We are Excited to Announce the Release of the Law Library of Congress Chatbot The Law Library of Congress is excited to announce the release of a new chatbot that can connect you to primary sources of law, Law Library research guides and foreign law reports. The chatbot has a clickable interface that will walk you through a basic reference interview.

 

Here’s How To Get Along With Your Most Annoying Coworker Though the article notes “… none of these suggestions are guaranteed to work,” the author offers a few mental and behavioral tricks to help improve interactions and reframe relationships with difficult co-workers.

 

New on LLRX – The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 Part One: The Landscape The Director of Information Technology at the New York Law Institute (and an award-winning editor and author of 36 books), Ellyssa Kroski hosts Part One of a three part series for LLRX. She describes the current landscape of eBooks relevant to the law library field, the benefits and challenges of offering eBooks in law libraries, the different ways to purchase law-related eBooks, and how to get started choosing a solution.

 

“What do you Actually Do?” 3 Analogies to Illustrate the Information Professional’s Work This humorous blog post asks, “Do you ever find it easier to explain your role by inventing parables or metaphors?” and provides cheeky examples of a few that seem to fit!

 

500 Free Online Programming & Computer Science Courses You Can Start in October Over 700 schools around the world offer thousands of free online courses. Dhawal Shah of Class-Central.com has compiled a list of 500 free online programming and computer science courses you can start this October.

 

The Blue Slip Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations Check out this CRS report, linked through beSpacific, to learn more about the blue slip process used by the Senate Judiciary Committee for U.S. circuit and district court nominations. Since the blue slip’s inception in 1917, different Committee chairmen have used it in different ways.

 

Guide on How to Transcribe YouTube Videos Automatically YouTube comes with many useful features, including translation for titles and description and YouTube keyboard shortcuts. Similarly, there are ways with which you can transcribe YouTube videos. Since speech recognition software has improve over the years, you can get a reliable automatic transcription that can be easily edited to perfection with little to no effort. Follow the links on the beSpacific post to Karrar Haider’s tutorial on Hongkiat to find out how!

 

Internet Archives Syncing Catalogs with thousands of Libraries in 120 Countries through OCLC The Internet Archive and OCLC have agreed to synchronize the metadata describing the Internet Archive’s digital books with OCLC’s WorldCat. When the synchronization work is complete, library patrons will be able to discover the Internet Archive’s collection of 2.5 million digitized monographs through the libraries around the world that use OCLC’s bibliographic services. OCLC databases will be enriched with records describing books that may not yet be represented in WorldCat.

 

The Preservation of Government Publications Roger C. Schonfeld recently testified before the House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration, as part of a hearing entitled “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond.” His blog post includes both video and transcripts of written testimony supplied by the speakers detailing the structural challenges facing the Federal Depository Library Program (“FDLP”) and other library issues.

 

Review of 5 free image compression tools Tom Demers of Search Engine Land tests the capabilities of five different free, standalone image compression tools that writers, designers or marketers can use to ensure that they’re keeping their image file size in check.

 

Report – Supreme Court Errors Aren’t Hard to Find A ProPublica review “… found seven errors in a modest sampling of Supreme Court opinions written from 2011 through 2015. In some cases, the errors were introduced by individual justices apparently doing their own research. In others, the errors resulted from false or deeply flawed submissions made to the court by people or organizations seeking to persuade the justices to rule one way or the other. Some of the mistakes were technical or arguably minor, and it is difficult to determine with certainty if they played a vital part in the court’s reasoning and final judgments. But the NASA case was not the only one where a mistake involved a core aspect of the court’s ruling on an issue with widespread ramifications.”

 

Will Wikipedia exist in 20 years? Foundation Director discusses with Harvard Law Prof Follow the links provided by the beSpacific blog post to watch Katherine Maher (Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation) chat with Professor Yochai Benkler (Harvard Law School).

 

AALL Legal Website of the Month Click on this beSpacific link to engage with past winners of AALL’s “Website of the Month;” the file contains 218 MARC records and is current through the August of 2017 Website of the Month.  Going forward, it will be updated quarterly.

 

BeSpacific nominated as one of Best Legal Tech Blogs 2017 – please vote The link, sent with a message from Joel Fishman (“Congrats to one of the best.”):

BeSpacific has been nominated again this year in the The Expert Institute’s – Best Legal Tech Blogs category.

 

New on LLRX – Stay Up To Date With These Legal Technology Blogs Available through a link on beSpacific, noted attorney, legal tech expert, blogger and author Nicole Black suggests reading and subscribing to subject specific blogs to both stay abreast of growing changes in legal technology and to meet attorney ethical obligations specific to 28 jurisdictions.

 

GPO Issues Digital Release of Historical Congressional Record for 1911-1921 The U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) and the Library of Congress have released the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1911-1921 on GPO’s govinfo (see: https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/crecb_gpo/_crecb). This release covers the debates and proceedings of the 62nd through the 66th Congresses.  This era covers issues like the 18th Amendment (Prohibition), the election of the first female to the House of Representatives, and the sinking of the Lusitania.

 

One-Stop Resource for Federal and State Trade Secrets Research, Checklists and Forms In this edition of TL NewsWire, released October 18, 2017, editors cover a specialized legal research service for trade secrets, including coverage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and tools for comparing jurisdictions.

 

Signing Statements and Presidentializing Legislative History The National Bureau of Economic Research recently published a working paper by John M. de Figueiredo and Edward H. Stiglitz. It examines a novel dataset of judicial opinion citations to presidential signing statements in an effort to conduct the most comprehensive empirical examination of how courts have received presidential legislative history.

 

7 Ways to Use Your Spare Smartphone Time Productively What do you do when you look at your phone out of boredom?  As the article says: “Rather than browsing through a long list of inane tweets or matching jewel colors up against each other, you can actually be using that time productively.”

 

GOING DEEP: BASEBALL AND PHILOSOPHY Take a peek at this article if musings like this one interest you: “Baseball is the most philosophical of games because, like philosophy at its best, it harmonizes meaning with meticulous analysis.”

 

Here come the drones – by Executive Order! From the FAA’s Press Release: “President Donald J. Trump directed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today to launch an initiative to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments in select jurisdictions.” The results from the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Integration Pilot Program will be used to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace and to realize the benefits of unmanned technology in our economy.

 

FDLP webinar series “How Laws Are Made” The FDLP Academy recently hosted an excellent three-part series of webinars: How Laws are Made: The Legislature; How Laws are Made: The Administrative Agencies; and How Laws are Made: The Courts.  Check out the blog post for links to the webinars! Each lasts about 45 minutes and provides well-organized information about the law-making functions of each of the three branches of government.

 

New mobile app puts you in touch with legal help A new app out of Toronto, Canada called “DAABA” that connects people who cannot afford a lawyer with Legal Service Providers (“LSP”). LSPs can be law students, paralegals, or licensed attorneys, and they help DAABA app users by providing advice or pointing them in the right direction of legal services.

 

Step Back to Vintage Internet With New Search Engine Wiby From the article: “If you’d like to take a step back in Internet time, to when Web pages were smaller and less advanced, check out Wiby.me, a search engine that launched at the beginning of October. It’s designed to find only smaller Web pages (which usually means older Web pages.)”

 

Non partisan resources on tax code reform for researchers The Committee for a Responsible Budget has published several resources on recent tax reform plans, policies that may be included, gimmicks lawmakers may use, the status of the current tax code, and other tax issues. The publications will be updated as new analyses are published.

 

 


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Link Roundup – October

Bulk Downloads of Congressional Data Now Available At the ProPublica Data Store, users can download information on all of the bills introduced during each Congressional session in a single file. Twice a day, ProPublica generates this zip file containing metadata for every bill introduced in the current congress, including the sponsors and cosponsors the bill, actions taken by committees, votes on the floor, and a summary of what the bill would do. A download of the bulk bill information contains the complete, up-to-date data set as of that date. Users can also download archives of bill data for past congresses, going back to 1973.

 

Sexual Harassment in the Library: When Patrons are the Perpetrators This informative blog post discusses a library employee’s rights if s/he is sexually harassed by a patron.

 

Technology is the Solution: What Law Firms Can Learn From LegalZoom This article posits: “If law firms used technology to automate tasks, lower prices and give personalized advice, they’d have an undeniable competitive advantage.”

 

*Note: Website requires registration to read full article

 

CLE Presentation Tips: Mastering Time Though you may not be the best public speaker (and as this article notes, great public speakers are rare), there are tips to help you manage your time – which is essential to flow and is a hallmark of a great presentation.

 

New on LLRX – The Fight to Bring Legal Research to the Front Law librarian and professor Brandon Adler identifies core issues to support educating third year law students in a wide range of reliable free and low cost legal resources. Many law librarians acknowledge that there is a lack of awareness and use of alternative legal resources, with the law student community as well across a large swath of attorneys in firms both large and small.

 

NJIT Launches Annotated Patent History Archive The Federated History Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University-Newark has launched the Annotated Patent History Digital Archive. Funded by a faculty seed grant from NJIT, this project makes use of undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research to explore the history of patents in the United States.

 

New Google search feature links to local libraries to borrow ebooks From @Google on Twitter: “Calling all U.S. bookworms! Now you can take a look at what e-books are available to borrow at your local library, right in Search.”

 

Upcoming Webcast: Getting What You Want for Your Legal Tech Budget On 09/20/2017, Cindy Cicco sent an email to the WPLLA Distribution List alerting its members to a Thursday, October 5, 2017 webcast panel hosted by Lex Machina featuring speakers Greg Lambert (AALL President and CKO of Jackson Walker) and Josh Becker (CEO of Lex Machina). The two will discuss budgeting strategies, tools, and techniques. It will begin at 12:00pm EST. Registration for the event can be found at: http://pages.lexmachina.com/Webcast_The-Future-of-Law-6_FoL-LP-Social.html

 

LC – An App to Answer Your Questions about the Constitution Links to the online version of the publication, “Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation” as well as information on an app called “Constitution Annotated” (which originally debuted in 2013 and has since been updated).

 

Know Your Rights: Whistleblower Protections for Federal Sector Employees A web resource for federal sector employees, the Project on Government Oversight (“POGO”) put together a “starting point” on whistleblower rights.

 

New Title 34 in United States Code Empty since 1956, Title 34 of the United States Code has been updated as of September 1, 2017. New Title 34, called “Crime Control and Law Enforcement”, contains editorially reclassified sections of Title 18 (“Crimes and Criminal Procedure”), Title 28 (“Judiciary and Judicial Procedure”), and Title 42 (“The Public Health and Welfare”). No statutory text was repealed or amended through this reorganization.

 

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do Information on the steps people who may have been victims of the Equifax Data Breach can take to protect their vulnerable private information and identity.

 

How To Use Google Feed For News And Replace Facebook With the complete rollout of Google Feed, users have more control over what they can read about in Feed. Now, right from the search results, one can choose which topics to follow. In some cases, users will see a new Follow button, which can be used to add topics to their Feed. After that, based on search history and engagement with Google products, users will be served news stories. Right from the Feed, users can also unfollow the topics.

 

These To-Do List Methods Will Help You Finally Get Organized Nine different ways to organize a To-Do List that will actually help you complete your tasks!

 

GPO and LC release digital Congressional Record 1921-1930 The U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) has partnered with the Library of Congress to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1921-1930 on GPO’s govinfo. This release covers the debates and proceedings of the 67th through the 71st Congresses.

 

Hearing: Transforming GPO for 21st Century and Beyond: FDLP Held at the Longworth House Office Building, five experts discussed the topic, “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond.”

 

GOP 9 page tax plan framework and corporate impact This beSpacific blog post links to multiple reputable news outlets with stories detailing the first iteration of the Republican Party’s tax overhaul.

 

Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Preview of Select Cases The 2017 SCOTUS term has the potential to be one of the most consequential in years. Though a full discussion of every case that the Court will hear during the upcoming term is beyond the scope of the report linked by this beSpacific blog post, the included information provides brief summaries of the cases the Court has thus far agreed to hear.

 

 


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Link Roundup – September

Digitized Bound Congressional Record 1941-1950 Now Available The U.S. Government Publishing Office, in partnership with the Library of Congress, has made digitized versions of the Congressional Record (Bound Edition) from 1941-1950 available on govinfo. This release covers debates and proceedings of the 77th through the 81st Congresses.

 

JSTOR launches updated design and navigation JSTOR has a new look, and the logo has also been modernized to better suit the variety of digital environments in which users interact with the service.

 

Elsevier acquires bepress – leading showcase of academic research Elsevier, the global information analytics business specializing in science and health, acquired bepress on August 2, 2017, a Berkeley, California-based business that helps academic libraries showcase and share their institutions’ research by allowing institutions to collect, organize, preserve and disseminate their intellectual output.

 

JournalTOCs current awareness service for updates on latest subject matter specific articles JournalTOCs is a Current Awareness Service (CAS) where users can discover the newest papers coming directly from the publishers as soon as they have been published online. Useful for researchers, librarians, and students, it highlights papers published in the scholarly literature with international coverage and is free for individual users.

 

School property tax elimination doesn’t mean it’s over If a planned voter referendum passes this fall and the Pennsylvania Legislature does away with school taxes, it doesn’t mean property owners would stop paying all school taxes immediately. And a pending Pennsylvania Senate bill — The Property Tax Independence Act — calls for increasing personal income and sales taxes as replacement revenue for school districts.

 

Can Law Librarians Help Law Become More Data Driven? An online presentation describing new innovations in legal research, with an emphasis on data collection and analytics.

 

Free Law Project details vulnerability and possible exploits of PACER PACER/ECF is a system of 204 websites that is run by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO) for the management of federal court documents.  In February 2017, the Free Law Project reported a major vulnerability in PACER/ECF to the AO. This issue has been properly addressed, and  the Free Law Project’s investigative report has more more details about the issues.

 

ALCTS e-Forum: The State of eBooks in Libraries An email from Cindy Cicco directed WPLLA’s attention to an e-forum held on August 15-16, 2017 discussing the complexities of e-books and the requirements of new workflows. While the date(s) for this forum have passed, a recap of the presentation may be available through ALCTS.

 

Another view on the Google book scanning project New information on the “Google Books corpus” and how to conduct computational analysis (e.g., looking for patterns in large amounts of text, etc.) without breaching copyright.

 

Report – Disruptive innovation in the courts A new paper, recognizing courts will not remain untouched by disruptive innovation, advocates for embracing (rather than resisting) the opportunities to improve business processes and make justice more readily available to a wider audience.

 

Massive new searchable database of federal court opinions, including ones that haven’t been formally published The Free Law Project, famous for its RECAP browser extension for PACER users, has now scraped all the federal court opinions available for free on PACER, and put them in a free database with a fairly powerful search engine: https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/

 

GPO and LC partner on release of digitized Congressional Record 1931-1940 The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has partnered with the Library of Congress to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1931-1940 on GPO’s govinfo. This release covers debates and proceedings of the 72nd thru the 76th Congresses.

 

“Vroom” Is Researchers’ Answer To ‘Blazing Fast Internet’, Loads Pages 50% Faster Vroom, new software developed at the University of Michigan and MIT, is designed to reduce the time required for mobile devices to load web pages.  During tests, researchers have observed pages loading almost two times faster.

 

Podcast – Interview with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden An interview with Carla Hayden, the 14th librarian of Congress.  She is the first African American and first woman to hold the position.

 

CRS – Presidential Pardons: Frequently Asked Questions – Along with news updates Legal Sidebar, published by the Congressional Research Service, states in part: “… The Framers did not debate this question at the Convention, and it unclear whether they considered whether the pardon power could be applied in this manner. No President has attempted to pardon himself…Accordingly, this is an unsettled constitutional question, unlikely to be resolved unless a President acts to pardon himself for a criminal offense.”

 

Fisher on the Supreme Court’s Expansion of Presidential Power Professor, scholar, and prolific author Louis Fisher’s latest book analyzes Supreme Court decisions from 1936 to the present time, helping the reader understand how the Court  has greatly expanded independent executive power in external affairs.  Fisher posits that the result is a weakening of the basic system of checks and balances, and damage to the principle of self-government.

 

GPO issues digital release of Federal Register for 1980s The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register (OFR) has released digital issues of the Federal Register from 1980-1989. The complete collection of issues of the Federal Registers from 1980 to present is now available digitally on GPO’s govinfo.

 


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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.