Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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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!

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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.