Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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February Link Roundup

Should the public pay a dime for access to court records?Linking to a Washington Post article, beSpacific provides information on a challenge to the search function paywall to PACER, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records.  
 Linda Tashbook forwarded information from the Allegheny County Law Library regarding a free CLE scheduled for Friday, March 13: legal research tips for new associates!  
 Debra Pfeifer emailed an invite to the February 2020 Monthly Meeting, to be held at noon on February 27th at Eckert Seamans.  
The Oldest Treasures From 12 Great LibrariesIn a thoughtful (and in the words of Frank Liu, “fascinating”) article linked from Atlas Obscura, twelve librarians identify the oldest books in their collections.  
Stanford scientist: 12 tiny habits that will instantly make you more productiveA Stanford University professor claims the key to developing successful habits “. . . is to think small when wanting to develop new behaviors or routines.” Suggestions include hiding programs or tabs when opening a new Word document or browser tab, or logging out of social media.  
 A request from Debra Pfeifer to RSVP to the upcoming monthly meeting.  
New Online Resource: War Powers and Presidential PracticeFrom beSpacific via Just Security, details on the new War Powers Resolution Reporting Project. This project is an “. . . expansive new resource that analyzes the war powers reporting practice of every president in the 45 years since the WPR was enacted.”  


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January Link Roundup

The Decade in Legal Tech: The 10 Most Significant DevelopmentsLawSites Blog’s take on the Top Ten biggest developments in legal tech of the past decade.  
The 100+ Best Websites on the InternetMakeUseOf compiled a list of 100 “. . .  genuinely useful, top-of-the-line websites (not apps) where you’ll find what you need.” Best part? The list is updated regularly!  
 Debra Pfeifer announced the January meeting:
A librarian roundtable on Contracts and Containing Spending (with a kickoff featuring ideas presented at last year’s AALL conference followed up by learning and discussion).
Meeting to take place at Reed Smith (225 Fifth Avenue), January 30th, 2019 – noon until 1 pm eastern. Please RSVP!  
Government Information Online serviceBarco Law Library’s very own Barco 3.0 blog posted information about the Government Information Online Service. It’s a “. . . a project of the Education Committee of GODORT, the government documents group of the Association of American Libraries” and built to handle the toughest reference questions and document requests. (Sounds like a service all WPLLA members would be interested in using!)  
Fastcase Brings Down the Legal News Paywall With Relaunch of Law Street Media – Market Disruption to Follow?Dewey B Strategic announces that Fastcase is relaunching Law Street Media. This business legal news site will compete directly with Lexis Nexis 360 and American Lawyer Media. The press release states it will be the “. . . first service [to] cover high tech” and will provide detailed analytics information, allowing user to generate new business.  
Using and formatting columns in Microsoft WordMicrosoft Word might be the industry standard, but it’s not without its quirks! Legal Office Guru posts hints about how to format tables while using the word processing software.  
 Ronda Fisch forwards the following (see her email for details or follow the below link):
The PLLIP Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for 2020, and it’s time to send us the names of your nominees!!  The deadline for nominations is February 22nd.
The 2020 PLLIP Award nomination form is available at https://www.aallnet.org/pllipsis/about-us/committees/awards-committee/  
GPO Digitizes Historical Editions of U.S. Government ManualThe U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) proudly announces it “. . . has digitized historical editions of the U.S. Government Manual (the Manual), the Government’s official handbook of agency organization for all three branches of Government.” Available for years 1935–1994, the links to the Manual are available in the announcement.  
Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal IssuesKeeping up with the current political landscape, EveryCRSReport highlights Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal Issues.  
2019 Year in ReviewHeinOnline Blog’s highlights of newsworthy events from 2019 (including global news and politics, celebrity deaths [!!!], and noteworthy new databases and research information).  
AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal are now true open accessAs of 2020, “. . . both AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal are now true open access and no longer require someone to create a free profile first in order to access them.”  
The Legal Research Tools Lawyers Are Using in 2020 and BeyondClick through to identify which “. . . free and fee-based legal research tools lawyers are using.”  
Who Owns the Law? Why We Must Restore Public Ownership of Legal PublishingbeSpacific links to a thought-provoking law review article detailing the means by which government ceded control over legal text to corporate publishing: “. . . publishers now use powerful legal tools to control who has access to the text of the law, how much they must pay, and under what terms.” A fascinating read!  
CRS – The Impeachment Process in the SenateImpeachment process details linked by beSpacific from EveryCRSReport.com.  
How to Be a Better Web Searcher: Secrets from Google ScientistsA link to a Scientific America article informs the reader how to better use search engines.  
 Debra Pfeifer sent an email invite to the January 2020 Monthly Meeting.  
 Linda Tashbook sent an email invite to the January 2020 Monthly Meeting.  
When a New Boss Comes to Town…On the RIPS Law Librarian Blog, Sarah Gotshall announced her library is getting a new director. She pivots into post about the plusses and minuses of a new boss (emphasis on the myriad of minuses).  
Bloomberg Law Expands Docket Key to All Federal CourtsJean O’Grady at Dewey B Strategic details the ways Bloomberg Law maintains the most sophisticated docket search feature available.  


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December Link Roundup

5 Ways to Pursue a Passion Project While Working a Full-time Job  Multi-hyphenate writer/artist/musician Danielle Sinay discusses ways to “find time for hobbies.”
 Debra Pfeifer sent a second announcement re: the WPLLA Holiday Party, sponsored by Lexis Nexis:
The Capital Grille
301 Fifth Avenue
December 11th, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm  
 Ann Unger asked about document/article delivery retrieval services, including those that are no longer active. Responses included:
Retrieve-It (aka “Magic” Steve Wasserman)
Reprints Desk
Wisconsin TechSearch  
GPO Completes Digitization of 1,300 Congressional HearingsAn email forwarded by Joel Fishman states that the “U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo.” Please be aware: links contained in the article are behind a paywall.  
The Constitution Annotated—Impeachment ClausesLinked from In Custodia Legis, beSpacific provides information in essays “pertaining to impeachment” and other resources. There are multiple links in the post – follow all for details!  
Writing Means RewritingA thoughtful essay from Professor William S. McFeely from The American Scholar, explaining how multiple drafts are integral to good writing.  
WPLLA: Google Drive DocBetty Ward provided a link to “The Tort Talk 2019 Civil Litigation Update;” a downloadable .pdf is included.  
How to Find Out When a Webpage Was PublishedA post from Make Tech Easier lists helpful tips for how to identify when a webpage was first published.  
An Impeachment Counterfactual: Could the Senate hold a trial even if the House does not transmit the Articles of Impeachment?  A detailed post (by a law professor!) explaining the intricate details and rules surrounding a presidential impeachment process.
The best free software for your PCA massive slide deck with information on “. . . Solid security tools, productivity software, and other programs.”  


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November Link Roundup

It’s not too late to apply for the AALL Leadership Academy – March 27-28, 2020WPLLA Member Krista Ford send a link to AALL’s 2020 Leadership Academy. This year’s theme is “Become an Effective Leader.” Hosted at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook, IL from March 27-28, participants will be treated to “. . . interactive discussions to explore core behaviors of exemplary leaders, ways to practice those key skills more frequently, leadership assessments that target your strengths and preferences, small and large group collaboration, focused development activities along with opportunities to network with your colleagues.” Open to all current AALL members, this program will “. . . expand your personal leadership style” whole giving you the opportunity to network with other law librarians from across the U.S.  
How To Find A Mentor And Make It WorkNPR provides some helpful hints for identifying a meaningful and long-term mentor/mentee relationship (given that finding a successful partnership is often an informal process).  
Blockchain: What Information Professionals Need to KnowbeSpacific links to an article from LLRX. It offers a “. . . comprehensive 64 page guide” for information professionals eager to learn more about blockchain and cybersecurity laws.  
GPO Completes Digitization of 1,300 Congressional HearingsThe Federal Depository Library Program announced that the “. . . U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo.” Spearheaded by the Kansas State University Libraries (a Federal Depository Library), this effort digitized “. . . nearly 15,000 Congressional Hearings.” To view, click here.  
 WPLLA Vice-President announced the November 2019 monthly WPLLA meeting: Tuesday, November 19 from 12:00-1:00pm and hosted by Melanie Cline of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. The November meeting will discuss Information Privacy, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, as well as vendor privacy policies. If you’re reading this after the event concluded, please reach out to an attendee for more information!  
Senate Hearing on Modernizing Library of CongressOriginally reported by C-SPAN, Carla Hayden (the head of the Library of Congress) “. . . testified before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on modernizing the library.” Click the link to watch the video!  
Law Review Articles Have Too Many FootnotesIf you need a good chuckle, read this short-but-sweet post gently mocking the overuse of lengthy, unnecessary footnotes in legal journal articles.  
 WPLLA Member Betty Ward notified the group that the Jenkins Law Library has again posted the Unofficial Purdon’s Westlaw site. It had been removed earlier this year due to funding issues. The Unofficial Purdon’s may also be reposted to the Pennsylvania General Assembly site and the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau site. 
Member Joel Fishman then followed with the additional note:
Please note that Westlaw has made an error under its Legal Notice. Smith’s Laws of Pennsylvania is NOT the official version of the early statutes from 1700 to 1810 in first five volumes. The official statutes is The Statutes at Large of PA (18 vols.) covering from 1682 to 1809, unannotated, but full text of public and private laws approved by legislature in late 19th century. All volumes available at [www.palrb.us]. Smith’s Laws is annotated, but only public laws. Act numbers are slightly off by five or six numbers. Smith’s Laws excellent source for some of its annotations up to 150 pages long (real property note in vol.2 p.109–1784 land office act).”  
Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Web Browser’s Password ManagerHow-To Geek recommends several different password management tools (including “. . . 1Password, LastPass, or Bitwarden”). But not your internet browser’s tool – read more to find out why.  
The Impeachment Process in the House of RepresentativesLinked information from the Congressional Research Service regarding the impeachment process in the U.S. House of Representatives – inquiring minds want to know!  
 Debra Pfeifer announces the time and location for the WPLLA Holiday Party, sponsored by Lexis Nexis:
The Capital Grille
301 Fifth Avenue
December 11th, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm  


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WPLLA Holiday Luncheon – December 11th at The Capital Grille

Please join us for the WPLLA Holiday Party, Wednesday, December 11th

Thank you to Lexis Nexis for hosting our holiday luncheon!

The Capital Grille

301 Fifth Avenue

December 11th, 2019 – noon until 1 pm eastern, but come early (11:30) for more festivity!

We’ll have:

  • A fantastic, festive lunch
  • Law Librarian insights
  • Legal Tech updates and sneak peeks on what’s coming next year
  • Prizes!

Come chat with our Lexis hostess team:

  • Breigh Marley
  • Gayle Lynn-Nelson
  • Brittany Miller
  • Danielle Bennett

Please RSVP to Debra Pfeifer, we hope to see you there!