Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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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.

 


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Productivity Tools

Guest Post by Sarah Steers

With technology putting us on call 24/7 and the needs of family, friends, community, and work stretching us in about 187 different directions (combined with that nagging feeling we’re not enjoying the last few weeks of summer as much as we should), maybe a few new productivity tools would help us get a better handle on things?

The startup scene, blossoming here in Pittsburgh, is famous for waxing rhapsodic about the newest and latest productivity “hacks.”  I thought I’d steal a page from their book, and link to an article listing fifteen great new productivity tools: 15 Productivity Tools for Your Startup.  Published on TechDay, the article links to a host of new productive apps and tools meant to make your day easier.

For smaller firms or other law libraries trying to manage their social media accounts in-house, Buffer might be a way to post across a wide variety of platforms in one fell swoop; Buffer says it can mass- or bulk-post across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  It proclaims to provide web analytic information.  I don’t use Buffer and I don’t know if it does a better job than Google Analytics, but it might prove to be a worthy competitor.

For lawyers looking to establish a reputation as an authority in a specific practice area or give their firm a media boost, you might want to suggest that they try HARO (“Help a Reporter Out”).  HARO lets you list yourself as an industry insider; next time a journalist needs an expert, they consult the HARO list and know just who to call.  As online media and news outlets explode, new cub reporters are going to need to get their soundbites from somewhere and someone – this idea sounds promising!

If your firm permits internal messaging systems, I would be remiss not mention Slack.  It’s the current gold-standard of messaging tools. “Slack is so well-known and widely used…” that it almost wasn’t included on this list of new up-and-comers.  In the end, though, Slack is so good at what it does – and so ubiquitously used – that any firm looking to install a messaging app may want to give it a try (provided it meets the firms compliance standards, of course).

So readers – have you used any of the apps mentioned in this blog post or listed in the TechDay article?  If you have user feedback, we’d love to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Reach out to WPLLA and let us know what productivity tools you use to make your life a little easier.  Goodness knows we all deserve a bit of a break!

 


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Link Roundup – June

 

Copyright Office Releases Updated Draft of Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

 

First proposed updates to the Compendium since it was released in 2014
Give Philly libraries the resources they deserve

 

Philadelphia libraries need a larger operating budget
OCLC and Wikipedia Library link citations to millions of library materials

 

OCLC and the Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Library are working together to make it easy for editors to link citations in Wikipedia to millions of library materials represented in WorldCat
LexisNexis Legal & Professional Acquires Research Company Ravel Law LexisNexis Legal & Professional announced that it has acquired Ravel Law, the legal research, analytics and visualization platform
Harvard Obtains Continued support for the Caselaw Access Project LexisNexis affirmed its commitment to continuing Ravel Law’s support for and fulfillment of the objectives of the Caselaw Access Project
AALL Funding Research Opportunities Grant

 

On this date, Cindy Cicco emailed the article “TS/OBS FROF (Funding Research Opportunities Grant” Awarded” to the WPLLA Distribution List
New on LLRX – Competitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide – Updated June 2017 2017 annual update to the Competitive Intelligence guide now available
New on LLRX – New ABA Email Guidelines: How Can Lawyers Comply?

 

Advice for lawyers on a range of applications and technology from which they can choose to establish standardized secure, encrypted email communications

 

UN Digital Library On this date, Joel Fishman emailed the article “Virtual Meeting: Learn more about the UN Digital Library and Meet the New Chief Librarian of the Dag Hammarksjold Library” to the WPLLA Distribution List
CRS – Special Counsels, Independent Counsels, and Special Prosecutors: Options for Independent Executive Investigations CRS report on special investigative independent inquiries into executive branch actions
Availability of Legislative Measures in House of Representatives (The “Three-Day Rule”)

 

Legislative measures reported from House committees must be available for three calendar days, excluding weekends and legal holidays unless the House is in session on such days
Harnessing the Power of Google New book detailing tips and tricks to get better results from Internet search engines
How To Write A Work Email When You’re Really Pissed Off

 

Two general rules to help you write business emails
PA Election Archive

 

“Pennsylvania Perspectives on the 2016 U.S. Election”, a web and social media archive documenting diverse viewpoints from Pennsylvania on the 2016 elections.
TEN SITES THAT GIVE FREE ACCESS TO QUALITY EBOOKS LIBRARIANS AND PUBLISHERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT [READERS, TOO]

 

Ten sites noted by NSR for free ebooks and econtent
ABA’s Free Legal Answers Site

 

A virtual legal advice clinic funded in aprt by the ABA
GPO Issues Digital Release of Historical Congressional Record for the 1950s

 

Newly released digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1951-1960
Appropriations Bill May Finally Make Congressional Research Reports Public

 

EveryCRSReport

The House Appropriates Committee requested the Congressional Research Service make all non-confidential reports public in its proposed appropriations; other websites attempt to archive every CRS report