Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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Roundtable – Thursday 3/22/18

Please join us for a roundtable where we will discuss technology for libraries and law firms.

Are there resources that you love and want to talk about?  Are there products you have just started using or want to try and want advice from others?  Are there technologies you wish existed?

Email MelaniedotCline at bipc to RSVP.

Let Melanie know if you have specific questions you would like to see addressed or if you would like to speak about your favorite technology.

Where: K&L Gates, 210 Sixth Avenue
When: Thursday March 22nd from 12-1 pm – BRING YOUR LUNCH!

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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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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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Announcement: Roundtable 1/24/18

Please join WPLLA members for a roundtable event where we will discuss problems/solutions/experiences during Lexis/Westlaw/Bloomberg Law trials/negotiations/switches.

We will also discuss problems/solutions/experiences involving library moves/reorganizations.

It is being hosted by the Allegheny County Law Library in their conference room on Wednesday, January 24 from 12-1 pm.

Please feel free to bring your lunch.

Please let Melanie Cline know if you will attend and if you have any specific questions that you would like to see addressed.

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ACLL 150th Anniversary Celebration

ACLL 150th Anniversary

Photo courtesy of Pat Roncevich. L. to R.: George and Louise Beswick, Barbara Alexander-Klein, Melanie Cline, Karen Eriksen, Cindy Cicco, Karen Shephard, Ann Unger, Rita Young,  Joel Fishman, Tsegayue Beru,  Frank Liu, Paul Recht, and  Marc Silverman.

In November, WPLLA Members joined others from the Pittsburgh legal community to see the ACLL’s recent upgrades and renovations in honor of ACLL’s 150th Anniversary. Speakers included: Duquesne University President Ken Gormley, and Duquesne Law School Associate Dean/ACLL Director Frank Liu.


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Green Revolution in libraries?

If asked how libraries – public or academic – contribute to society, every librarian likely has a mental list available at the ready: libraries stimulate our children; libraries provide valuable public services, like resume-building or ESL classes; libraries bring people together, by hosting poetry readings or ex-pat societies or after-school clubs; libraries, by the nature of the very resources they house and supply, educate those who use them. Would you have thought to include “save the environment” on that list?

In “Leading the Green Revolution,” an article published by American Libraries magazine on November 1, 2017, author Liz Granger introduces the reader to eco-friendly programs instituted at the Michigan State University library, the Austin Public LibraryTwin Oaks branch, the Berkeley Public LibraryWest branch, and the Mason City (Iowa) Public Library.

The Twin Oaks branch of the Austin Public Library changed its water-thirsty landscaping over to more drought-friendly native xeriscaping, sunk cisterns to collect rainwater, and installed a computer system to help monitor weather patterns and conserve every last drop of available water – even condensation off the HVAC units! Berkeley, in what can only be described as “typical” given the reputation of the city and its inhabitants, went whole hog; the library is a “net zero energy” building and contributes to the energy grid, rather than draw off it, through the use of solar panels, a wind chamber, and other eco-friendly additions. Even Mason City, Iowa (population 28,079) worked installed solar panels. Though prompted by budget concerns, and aided by a private investor to help the city qualify for tax rebates, the panels were fully on board by 2016 and the city reduced its oil and gas energy dependence by 38% from 2008 levels.

Over the past few years, WPLLA’s academic law library members have described significant reductions to bound-volume collections. Though the Michigan State libraries described a number of innovative environmental practices, their sustainability measures regarding deaccessioning books stood out in light of recent WPLLA conversations. Specifically, the MSU library partnered with the University’s “surplus store” and offered the volumes available for sale to the public. The article notes that the Surplus Store has sold $150,000 of deaccessioned books, and the library and store work together to recycle any unsold texts.

Check out the “Green Your Library” section towards the end of the article. It offers several talking points to help librarians interested in pursuing eco-friendly programs for their libraries make a sound case to administrators or boards of directors.

Have any WPLLA members initiated “green” or “eco” programs with their libraries? Feel free to share your experience in the comments or email a WPLLA board member. We’d love to write a follow-up post!