Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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March Link Roundup

Updated reminder from Rita Young re: the WPLLA cruise!
ResearchGate Granted U.S. Patent 10,282,424: “Linking Documents Using Citations” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. Patent 10,282,424 “Linking Documents Using Citations” to ResearchGate. As the abstract states, “[a]spects of the present disclosure relate to linking documents using citations.” For a visual representation of the patent and the way the technology will access and link citations, please see the original blog post on InfoDocket.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Historical Overview, Funding, and Reauthorization beSpacific links to a recent CRS report, The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Historical Overview, Funding, and Reauthorization, April 23, 2019. The report review both the original legislation as well as the reauthorization act signed in 2013, and identified some of the main programs assisted by the act (which “. . . address domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking—crimes for which the risk of victimization is highest for women).”
The Sustainable History Monograph Pilot Per John Sherer of the Longleaf Services, Inc. blog, “[t]he Sustainable History Monograph Pilot (SHMP) is a Mellon-funded initiative to publish open digital editions of high-quality books from university presses in the field of history.” Check out the FAQ on the blog post for more info!
A lovely thank you from Rita Young for the wonderful Gateway Cruise experience with friends and family!
Casetext SmartCite Taking on Shepard’s, KeyCite, and BCite – Innovation With a Chance of Disruption Jean O’Grady of Dewey B Strategic presents a convincing argument that Casetext’s SmartCite is “. . . poised to disrupt the legal research market.” Tracing the Shepard’s citation system back to 1873, and KeyCite back to 1997, O’Grady discusses the difficulty in creating an accurate citation system and the innovative qualities of SmartCite.
Cindy Cicco invited WPLLA members to the ALCTS E-Forum on Changing Ideas, Roles, and Organizational Structures in Collection and Technical Services. Though the forum took place on 05/21-05/22/2019, contact the ALA for more info.
Chris Todd invited WPLLA members to volunteer at the 34th annual NASIG conference 06/05-06/08/2019, right here in Pittsburgh! More info at:
and https://nasig2019.sched.com/.
The Digital Public Library of America has re-released the Mueller Report as a well-formatted ebook instead of a crappy PDF Pretty self-explanatory! But click through the link to find out how to acquire the full (though redacted) report.
SECRETS OF THE SERIAL SET: THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION In an announcement forwarded by Joel Fishman, “HeinOnline is pleased to introduce Secrets of the Serial Set, a series of monthly blog posts dedicated to unveiling the wealth of American history found in the United States Congressional Serial Set.”
Donna Kielar is on the hunt for A Practical Guide to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Law Journal Press) – please reach out if you have a copy or know where she can get her hands on one!

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April Link Roundup

Our Search for the Best OCR Tool, and What We Found Many of us have come to expect that all documents are searchable, but some technologies that allow for digitization don’t possess that feature. Now there are web-based tools that use optical character recognition (“OCR”), which can “. . . transform a scan or photograph of a letter or court filing into searchable, sortable text.” Review this blog post for a “. . . comparison of the most accessible OCR options,” determined by running a “. . . handful of documents through seven different tools.”
Rita Young announced the final Lunch & Learn presentation for the 2018-2019 year: Gavelytics. It’s an “AI-powered algorithm to determine how a judge may treat your client’s case though -motion analysis, workload analysis, and a ruling database, along with biographical Information and A summary of a judge’s tendencies all in one place.” Justin Brownstone, SVP & General Counsel of the organization, plans to how they build the product and how the analytics product works, from 12:00-1:00pm on April 25th.
New Lawyers, Law Librarians Are Your Friends Let’s take a moment to toot our horns here: beSpacific links to an article discussing why attorneys should reach out to a law librarian (rather than assuming that aimless flailing on the internet will get them the research results they’re looking for).
Harvard Caselaw Access Project Search CAP Search, a major new data searching tool part of the Caselaw Access Project launched on 04/03/2019. It’s touted as a “. . . more human-friendly way to start working with this data,” so let’s take it for a spin and test it out!
How to deal with the top 3 causes of workplace stress If you stress out about (1) meeting deadlines, (2) your growth potential, or (3) interacting with the public, read this Fast Company article to identify a few ways to combat the frustration and anxiety.
here’s a real-life example of a fantastic cover letter In a recent Ask A Manager blog post, Alison Green provides a sample of a well-written, thoughtful cover letter. WPLLA member librarians who interface with anxious, job-seeking law students may want to give this one a read (or send it to the students in question)! WPLLA member Joel Fishman also included a note with his email alerting us to the article: check out the additional links at the end!
Fastcase Adds Expert Witness Content with JurisPro and Courtroom Insight Alliances Fastcase announced two new partnerships with “. . . Legal vendors in the expert witness space:” JurisPro and Courtroom Insight. Per a post by Jean O’Grady on Dewey B Strategic, “[t]he combined content from the two companies will provide over 100,000 expert witness profiles and integrate the Courtroom Insight expert witness knowledge management solution within the Fastcase platform.” Experts note these alliances will help Fastcase “. . . elbow its way into the full service legal research space” but at a much more palatable price point.
Review – ABA TechShow 2019 An interesting recap of the ABA TechShow 2019; it includes reviews of the programs associated with the “academic track” portion of the show, as well as opinions of a few AI and tech-related programs.
Law Library Lessons in Vendor Relations from the UC/Elsevier Split Republished from The Ginger (Law) Librarian, LLRX highlights the University of California’s goal of promoting open access. This post also reviews the amount public and nonprofit colleges spend on subscription services, and the constraints felt by law libraries across the U.S.
Where Have All the C.F.R.s Gone? Though the Code of Federal Regulations has traditionally been updated annually (“. . . the  updated Titles 1-16 are published on January 1 of every year, and the updated Titles 17-27 are published on April 1 of every year”), as of April 18, 2019, no titles have been updated. There has been no explanation for the holdup. This has resulted in “. . . a rather vast gap in federal regulatory information for the public.” Individuals or entities with any information on the delay can contact Matthew Timko of the Northern Illinois University College of Law (mtimko@niu.edu).
A “last call” from Rita Young regarding a “lunch & learn” presentation from Gavelytics, an AI-powered algorithm to determine how a judge may treat a case though -motion analysis, workload analysis, and a ruling database. Gavelytics also maintains biographical Information and a summary of a judge’s tendencies.
IS IT A “GOOD” CASE? CAN YOU RELY ON BCITE, KEYCITE, AND SHEPARD’S TO TELL YOU? Have you ever questioned the reliability of Shepard’s, KeyCite, or Bcite? Paul Hellyer, a Reference Librarian at William & Mary’s Law Library, “. . . looked at 357 citing relationships that one or more of these three citators labeled as negative.” He found that in 85% of those relationships, the services don’t agree on whether there was negative treatment. Kristina Niedringhaus, the Associate Dean of Library and Information Services and Associate Professor at Georgia State University’s College of Law, penned a thoughtful blog post on Jotwell detailing more information as well as repercussions.
Lawyers, law students’ signatures needed for SCOTUS amicus brief in favor of publishing the law Archivist Carl Malamud has both been sued as well as threatened with suit by four states and the District of Columbia for making state laws available on the internet (violating what states claim are copyright and paywalls). The “. . . State of Georgia wants to go to the Supreme Court to argue for its right to charge the people of Georgia to know which laws they are supposed to be following.” However, students and practitioners can sign an amicus brief by filling out a form.
From Joel Fishman: a link to the new Pa.R.A.P. (regarding citing authorities).
Rita Young sent out the first invite to WPLLA’s Closing Banquet: May 17th, we’re setting sail for a dinner cruise aboard one of the Gateway Clipper Fleet ships!
How to use Adobe Acrobat Pro’s character recognition to make a searchable PDF A quick, user-friendly blog post with detailed instructions on how to “. . . use Adobe Acrobat Pro’s optical character recognition to convert scanned documents into fully editable PDFs with searchable text.”

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EVENT: Closing Banquet, May 17th, 5:45 pm, Gateway Clipper Cruise

WHEN: May 17th, 2019, boarding commences at 5:45 PM

WHERE: Station Square, Gateway Clipper Entrance (far (west) side of the Sheraton Hotel)

Tickets: $20/person. Thanks to Lexis, we can offset the costs of the cruise a bit.

As this is coming up fast, I would like RSVPs as soon as possible.

WE are in open dining so I will set the deadline for RSVPs for May 10th but there are only 25 open slots beyond our


Payment can be made the day of the cruise.

Let’s make this a great time and fabulous closing banquet!

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March Link Roundup

Rita Young announced an upcoming event by email: featuring Krista Ford, as well as Kristin Delwo (President & CEO of Stacks) and Leif Johnson (EBSCO Sales Executive), this program will present and demonstrate the new STACKS platform for EBSCO. It will be hosted at Pepper Hamilton at noon on March 21, 2019.
Joel Fishman sent the article, The Law Library of Congress: A Global Resource for Legal Education, by email on 03/06/2019 (his email contained both a link to the article as well as an attachment). Published in the Journal of Legal Education, authors Andrew Winston, Peter Roudik, Barbara Bavis, and Donna Sokol detail the history of the Law Library of Congress as well as the resources it contains (hard copy and digital) and the services it offers to researchers.
In an email chain initiated by WPLLA member Dr. Joel Fishman (and updated and corroborated by WPLLA members Ann Unger and Better Ward), we learned that the links to the unannotated Purdons Statutes on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s website have been removed as West dropped its sponsorship and the Legislative Reference Bureau declined to pay a fee to keep it available on the website for use by the public. Though many feel the Pennsylvania Legislature should pay to have it remain available, the Legislative Reference Bureaus simply does not have the funds to do so.
Dan Giancaterino, the Education Services Manager at the Jenkins Law Library, stated that he was contacted by a Thomson Reuters rep as he includes the Unofficial Purdon’s link on the law library’s website. The rep claimed that since the PaLRB chose to discontinue its contract for the Unofficial Purdon’s website, it will be removed in May 2019 and a warning note will be added to the website in April.
WPLLA Vice President Rita Young encourages members to attend an upcoming presentation hosted at Pepper Hamilton on the new STACKS platform for EBSCO. WPLLA member Krista Ford, along with Kristin Delwo, President & CEO of Stacks, and Leif Johnson, EBSCO Sales Executive, coordinated the event. A most appreciative Thank You to both Cindy Cicco for hosting, and to EBSCO for providing lunch!
WPLLA Vice President Rita Young announced the next presentation:  LexisNexis Librarian Relations Consultant, Gayle Lynn-Nelson, will provide an overview of the latest and greatest on Lexis Advance. A special thank you to Melanie Cline for hosting!
CRS – Congressional Access to the President’s Federal Tax Returns “By refusing to disclose his tax returns, President Trump has breached — and may have demolished — the longstanding norm under which sitting presidents and presidential candidates are expected to voluntarily disclose their federal tax returns.” But this CRS Report review the possibility of congressional committees requesting these tax returns (or the tax returns of future Presidents) under provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
CRS – Special Counsel Investigations: History, Authority, Appointment and Removal This report identifies “. . . the potential conflicts of interest that may arise when the executive branch investigates itself” and details the potential need for “. . . criminal investigations by prosecutors with independence from the executive branch.” It also reviews the response, from both Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice, to develop “. . . statutory and regulatory mechanisms to establish a process for such inquiries.”
Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for March 2019, Part 2 A blog post hosted on In Custodia Legis (the blog from and for the Law Librarians of Congress) listed the new updates for the new Congress.gov website, including the ability to filter by subcommittee or review a Committee Schedule by checking information posted daily and weekly.
The Evolution of Law Libraries Multiple links posted by beSpacific take the reader to articles published in the Harvard University Law School Center on the Legal Profession’s web journal, The Practice. Articles include topics such as how Perma.cc is trying to fix legal citations, and info on the recently introduced bill to eliminate PACER fees.

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EVENT: Final Lunch & Learn Presentation: Gavelytics – April 25th, 2019 noon – 1:30

Gavelytics: AI-powered algorithm to determine how a judge may treat your client’s case though -motion analysis, workload analysis, and a ruling database, along with biographical Information and A summary of a judge’s tendencies all in one place.


WHERE: Eckert Seamans, USX building, 600 Grant Street

WHEN: April 25, 2019, noon – 1:30 pm

Come meet Justin and learn what Gavelytics can do for your firm’s attorneys.

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February Link Roundup

  Info from current WPLLA Vice President about the upcoming 02/18/2019 Brown Bag lunch, featuring info on Dorothy, “. . . an Artificial Intelligence searching platform which simplifies Patent searching.”


  Karen Shephard sent out a lovely, thoughtful email to the entire WPLLA distribution list, informing members that Rita Young recently published a thought-provoking article, AI & the Practice of Law at the Crossroads: Where Are We Going?, on Evolve the Law (ATL’s Legal Innovation Center). Let’s all raise our glass and cheer Rita’s interesting and timely publication!


12 Ways Marketing & Business Development Can Leverage Library & Knowledge Management Teams With an endorsement from WPLLA member Cindy Cicco (“. . . a great library marketing piece if you haven’t already seen it”), On Firmer Ground reposted an article detailing meaningful ways for firms (and their marketing/business development teams) to leverage the knowledge and skills of their library professionals. Suggestions include assistance with copyright compliance and client communication support.


Dark Law: Published Michigan Precedents on Protection Orders Missing from Westlaw The Volokh Conspiracy blog brings an important freedom of speech issue to our collective attention: Westlaw deliberately neglects posting precedential case law from Michigan pertaining to First Amendment issues and personal protection orders. For more information, including a detailed analysis of labyrinthine statutory interpretation, please read the post in full!


NEW DATABASE: GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions HeinOnline recently announced its first new database of 2019: GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions. Free for subscribers, it includes more than 47,000 titles and nearly two million pages of “. . . reports on audits, surveys, investigations, and evaluations of federal programs conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).” All published reports, testimonies, correspondence, and special publications are included (except for restricted or classified documents). Also, “GAO Comptroller General Decisions contain decisions and opinions issued by the Comptroller General in areas of federal law such as appropriations, bid protests, and federal agency rulemaking.”


SCOTUSblog is partnering with Casetext SCOTUSblog is “. . . partnering with Casetext to help [its] readers access the court opinions, statutes and other primary legal content” cited in SCOTUSblog posts. SCOTUSblog positively notes that CaseText makes “. . . many court opinions free to the public, aligning their business instead around developing new and groundbreaking technology to help lawyers provide faster, better service for clients.”



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January Link Roundup

A Comprehensive Guide to the Entertainment Industry Michael C. Donaldson gives an A+ in his review of Entertainment Law: Fundamentals and Practice, a 400-some-odd page textbook by Corey Field of “. . . the most common questions you might have regarding the entertainment industry.” Field distills a complex area of law into “. . . a comprehensive and practical guide.” Click through to read the entire glowing review, published in the 01/01/2019 edition of the LA Review of Books.


After heartbreak, Evansville’s public law library writing next chapter A short, heartwarming story of a community that came together to save a local law library after the sole law librarian passed away. Read this when you need a little something to cheer you up.


The Most Popular Dewey B Strategic Posts of 2018 The Top 20 blog posts on Dewey B Strategic from 2018 include headlines like “Surprise -Your Expert Witness Has a Rapsheet – New Survey Examines the Sorry State of Expert Research Workflow in Law Firms” and “The Law Librarians Revolt: AALL Accuses LexisNexis of Engaging in Unfair Business Practices – Possible Antitrust Violations.” The links from this post highlight some of the buzziest legal research news from the past year.


Law Library of Congress FY2018 Annual Report The Law Library of Congress FY2018 Annual Report is available for download at this link, and provides data on “. . . collections, resources, and expertise, and how [it] serve[s] and engage[s] with a wide range of users.”


15 Bad Work Habits I’m Ditching This Year (and You Should, Too!) Need a work-related New Year’s Resolution to accompany your personal one? Check out this article for suggestions of bad habits to break in 2019!


My Year of Citation Studies, Parts 1-4 The author of the linked article, My Year of Citation Studies, Parts 1-4, researched “. . . different tools for tracking citations—HeinOnline, Shepard’s, KeyCite, and Web of Science.”
New Online: Congressional Web Archive Adds Content A new update to the United States Congressional Web Archive “. . . includes content for the 113th and 114th Congresses” as well as newly added subject facets for the 105th and 106th Congresses.


New Out-of-Copyright Works and Where to Find Them beSpacific links to a Fortune magazine article, as well as five additional sites (like Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain and Google Books), listing works newly released from copyright or offering those works for download.


Weekly Legal Education Roundup: Best Legal Education Articles Of 2018 Scott Fruehwald’s annual list of Best Legal Education articles for the TaxProf Blog includes titles like Silencing Discipline in Legal Education and The Uneasy History of Experiential Education in U.S. Law Schools. Each article is linked – so if you need a few longer reads to check out over a lunch break or before you drift off to sleep, click through!


7 Free Web Annotation and Markup Tools You Should Know Linked by beSpacific to a Hongkiat blog post, these seven collaborative tools “. . . help you to comment, discuss and collaborate right on web pages or screenshots or PDFs.”


  WPLLA President Melanie Cline reminds members to submit a nomination for the AALL Emerging Leader Award by the February 1, 2019 deadline.


How to redact a PDF and protect your clients The failure to redact confidential documents can lead to embarrassing details made public (not to mention greater legal headaches in the long run). The ABA Journal details various methods to redact PDFs.


  WPLLA President Melanie Cline sent an email out to all members encouraging them to submit a nomination for the New Kid on the AALL Awards Block before the February 1, 2019 deadline.


  In a “Save the Date” sent by WPLLA Vice President Rita Young, a program on the new STACKS platform for EBSCO is slated for March 21, 2019.


  Information on additional upcoming programs from WPLLA Vice President Rita Young:
Meet Dorothy, a patent searching platform (February 19, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm);
EBSCO team and the new STACKS platform (March 21, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm);
Lexis Advance updates (April 2, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm); and
Gavelytics presentation (April 25, 2019 from 12:00-1:00pm).