Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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October Link Roundup

Libraries as Student Success Hubs A link to an Inside Higher Education article identifying the library as the top destination for university students seeking a wide variety of services.  
Unhappy at Work? Persuade Your Boss to Redefine Your Job. Learn strategies that can help you make a “. . . compelling case for change” – perhaps just the jump start you need to feel more satisfied with your job.  
Caselaw Access Project Detailed information linked by beSpacific to define and explain the Caselaw Access Project. In short, it’s a coordinated effort between Ravel Law and the Harvard Law School Library to digitize and make “. . . all U.S. case law freely available online.”  
Impeachment Investigations: Law and Process beSpacific provides the nitty-gritty details about the mechanics of impeachment, via a CRS report.  
How to search within multiple PDF files at once TechBits provides the tricks and tips for searching multiple PDF files at once; read through for a step-by-step primer.  
Here’s how you make your Google Docs secure Many of us use Google Docs or Drive as our primary (or personal) cloud-based service. The Next Web explains how to make it more secure.  
  A reminder email from Linda Tashbook regarding the monthly WPLLA meeting on Monday, 10/28. This month, Pepper Hamilton has graciously offered to host and Lexis will provide a catered lunch.  
News from the Law Library of Congress Chatbot A brief article from In Custodia Legis discusses the Law Library of Congress Chatbot. Talk to it through Facebook Messenger, and watch it answer your questions in real time. Recent revisions have “. . . substantially improved” the user experience!  
  WPLLA President Rita Young asked reviewed an issue on a Council Chair discussion board and asked: “Should we as a chapter sign on to the amicus brief for the above-captioned case? (ASSUMING it is not too late).” The docket to the case can be found here. Oral argument is Dec. 2, 2019. Please contact Rita or reply to the distribution list with your thoughts.  
  WPLLA Member Linda Tashbook sent an alumni survey for graduates of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Library and Information Science. If you hold a degree from this institution, please take the survey here.  
BYU Law creates language database to help interpret Constitution The Daily Universe and beSpacific discuss BYU Law’s Constitutional language and terminology database: Corpus of Founding Era American English (“COFEA”). It helps individuals understand how a certain word or phrase was used in context after computer programs analyzed hundreds of millions of pieces of text from the era.  
A Checklist and Process to Create Daily Success at Work Government Executive contemplates fifteen different checklist questions and/or tasks to help guide you through a calming, genuine, productive workday.  
Is There a Better Way to Have an Argument? Published by Greater Good Magazine of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, Caroline Hopper and Laura Tavares identify “. . . five principles for more constructive and respectful disagreements.” They include “pay attention to context” and “be open to transformation.” Each one is a thoughtful proposal much-needed in our current climate.  
  WPLLA Member Linda Tashbook sent a brief email urging members to attend the October meeting at Pepper Hamilton. By the time you read this on the website, the date will have come and gone. But if you’d like info on Lexis Advance, please reach out to the distribution list and someone will happily fill you in! Brittany Miller, the new Pittsburgh Lexis rep, also attended.  
Congressional Access to Information in an Impeachment Investigation In a CRS Report posted by the Library of Congress, and picked up by beSpacific, experts review congressional committee investigations during an impeachment proceeding.  

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September Link Roundup

U.S. Government Information: Weekly Roundup Editors of this particular LibGuide anticipate weekly updates on the activities of the U.S. federal government, particularly reports and activities. There will be “. . . links to important, news-worthy, or interesting material published during the previous week.”  
The Constitution Annotated Is Now Easier to Search and Browse The latest version of The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (AKA the Constitution Annotated) is available as of September 17, 2019. Created by the Congressional Research Service for the U.S. Senate, the document makes the Constitution “. . . available to all Americans, regardless of their background in law.”  
The Law Prof Twittersphere 2019 In an artful infographic developed by Ryan Whalen for his eponymous website, the connections between law professors’ Twitter accounts is now available in visual format. Whalen identified several data sets, including: law profs by total followers, number of other law profs following, and schools based on the number of law prof follower sums.  
Research Tools: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Officially Launches New IP Portal Taken from a WIPO press release: “WIPO has launched its new IP Portal, a one-stop shop to the Organization’s full range of online intellectual property (IP) services. For users of WIPO’s IP services for patents, trademarks and industrial designs, the IP Portal will provide greater consistency in how they interact with WIPO, while maintaining the underlying business processes.”  
GPO Produces US Code with new XML based publishing technology The U.S. Government Publishing Office will publish the 2018 edition of the U.S. Code through XPub, “. . . the agency’s new digital technology for XML-based publishing.” XPub allows for new functionality, including the ability to “[a]ccept content in any form, including XML sources, as well as digital file formats and hard copy manuscript pages” and “[p]roduce PDF files and digital products that are Section 508-compliant, meaning they are accessible to people with disabilities.”  
How an Impeachment Process Inquiry Works beSpacific provided links with historical, political, policy, and legal information on impeachment process inquiries.  

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August Link Roundup

Millions of Books Are Secretly in the Public Domain. You Can Download Them Free For the book-loving members of WPLLA (LOL! That’s all of us!) – a beSpacific link to a Vice article lauding the efforts of the New York Public Library, which has made hundreds, if not thousands of public domain books available for download.  
Demystifying Blockchain: Katherine Lowry Invites You to Build a Blockchain at ILTA The International Legal Technology Association’s Annual Conference (or ILTACON) will be in Orlando from 08/18-08/22. By concentrating on a single theme (blockchain), the conference aims to educate knowledge professionals about the tech as it’s used now and how it could advance in the near future.  
NYU DC presents “In Conversation: Dr. Carla Hayden and Ray Suarez.”   A YouTube video about public access to some of the most storied works at the Library of Congress.

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July Link Roundup

  A thoughtful email from Cindy Cicco to all WPLLA members:

A hearty CONGRATULATIONS to Lori Hagen for being appointed as Reference Librarian at the Allegheny County Law Library!  
  An equally thoughtful email from Lori Hagen describing changes to the Allegheny County Law Library’s website, including:
– a redesigned site available at http://www.acllib.org (now available on Google Chrome and Safari; kinks still being worked out for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge), and
– a job opening at the ACLL for full-time employment (please follow the link).  
So, Gutenberg Didn’t Actually Invent the Printing Press: On the Unsung Chinese and Korean History of Movable Type Acclaim for Margaret Leslie Davis’ recent book (The Lost Gutenberg: The Astounding Story of One Book’s Five-Hundred-Year Odyssey) notwithstanding, M. Sophia Newman describes other printing innovations from Asia that were developed years before the Gutenberg press. A thoughtful piece on LitHub!  
  In an update provided to WPLLA from member Betty Ward, Vince Deliberato of the Legislative Reference Bureau secured funding so that the Purdon’s site will be up and running again by January. Great news!  
Compiling a Federal Legislative History: A Beginner’s Guide beSpacific links to an Barbara Bavis and Robert Brammer’s’ research guide, A comprehensive research guide on finding federal legislative history documents, including congressional committee reports and hearings, presidential signing statements, and the debates of Congress. Ms. Bavis is a Bibliographic and Research Instruction Librarian and Robert Brammer is a Senior Legal Information Specialist (both at the Law Library of Congress).  
  WPLLA member Ann Unger thoughtfully provided details regarding Christine Silver’s memorial service, to be held in Philadelphia on July 23rd. For those unable to attend, donations in her memory may be made to:
Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111 (Note in Memory of Christine Silver on your check or electronic payment. FCCC Secure Online Donation)
Scleroderma Research Foundation, 220 Montgomery St, Suite 484, San Francisco, CA 94104 (Note in Memory of Christine Silver on your check or electronic payment. https://srfcure.org)  
The Essential Guide to Legislation This informative beSpacific post identifies how to track proposed legislation as it moves through Congress. Originally available on PoliticoPro, it even has a detailed resource guide available for download!

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June Link Roundup

The benefits of 21st-century word processing tools for lawyers As author Nicole Black emphatically states, “[l]awyers create documents—a lot of them.” Read through this post for a curated list of updated, contemporary word processing software.  
  Rita Young forwarded an invite from Thomson Reuters: for those attending AALL, check out the Customer Appreciation Event on Monday, July 15th from 7:00-9:30pm at the Library of Congress. Click here to register.  
Congress.gov New, Tip and Top for May 2019, Part 2 A full list of enhancements to Congress.gov is available through links on this beSpacific blog post.  
Why Word’s Word Count is unreliable In a video post to the Legal Office Guru, the author discusses ways to better understand and utilize Microsoft Word’s Word Count feature.  
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Law Journal Library Now Holds More Than 2,700 Journals!   HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library now “. . . contains more than 2,700 journals, 64,000 volumes, and 36 million pages.” Impressive!  
NEW EDITION: BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY   The 11th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary is out and available for purchase!
Law Students Press SCOTUS to Make Legal Tools Free Nationwide As Marcia Coyle details in her article for The National Law Journal “[m]ore than 100 law students, along with nearly 100 solo and small-firm practitioners and legal educators” have sent petitions and signatures to SCOTUS in an effort to “. . . to eliminate copyright protection for state annotated codes of law and certain other state and local legal materials.”  
The Beginner’s Guide to Google Docs A How-to-Geek article cross-posted to beSpacific provides some tips, tricks, and details on how to start rocking and rolling with Google Docs.  
  In an email forwarded by WPLLA member Amy Lovell, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association will host its annual meeting on Sunday, 10/06/2019 in Durham, NC. Keynote speakers include Dr. William Bynum (Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine) with a discussion on “. . . recovering from mistakes and dealing with shame” and Sara Garrington (Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager) with a talk on “. . . resiliency and recovery following disasters.”  
6 Windows Apps That Automatically Organize Files for You   This articles reviews different file organizer apps and extensions (for multiple file types); helpful for users of Windows 10.
Law Libraries Embracing AI Abstract of a forthcoming paper to be published by the University of Utah College of Law regarding artificial intelligence and law libraries.  
  Joel Fishman forwarded an email informing members that “Creative Commons Officially Launches a Search Engine That Indexes 300+ Million Public Domain Images.”  
Justices to Decide if States Can Copyright Laws Linked from Courthouse News Service by beSpacific, the U.S. Supreme Court will determine whether states have the right to copyright their own annotated codes, “. . . after an appeals court panel ruled Georgia could not.”  

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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.