Features and Columns — July, 2014

Cell phone book clubs: A new way for libraries to promote literacy, technology, family and community

Young people are heavy users of cell phones, but most do not know they can read library e-books for free on their phones. In this cutting-edge essay, David Rothman tells how libraries could use "cell phone book clubs" to reach out both to young cell phone users and their families, including low-income people and members of racial and ethnic minorities. The clubs would not only foster literacy, but also leverage technology and strengthen the connections between families and communities. — Published July 27, 2014

What Does the Hathitrust Decision Mean For Libraries?

The library community welcomed the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust. The decision has implications for libraries that go far beyond the specific facts of the case. This paper by Jonathan Band offers some preliminary thoughts on what these implications may be. — Published July 27, 2014

Information Quality Resources

Marcus P. Zillman's guide focuses on the increasingly important topic of identifying reliable and actionable Information resources on the internet, a task specifically critical for researchers in all sectors. With the proliferation of non attributable, un-vetted, un-sourced information churning 24/7 through a spectrum of social media sites, getting it right takes time and skill, but is well worth the effort. — Published July 18, 2014

June, 2014

Fourteen LinkedIn Tips for (the Rest of) 2014

With over 300 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform for business and professional use, and attorneys Dennis Kennedy and Allison C. Shields clearly and concisely outline how to leverage this space with smart, targeted and effective ways that positively identify you in communities of best practice, proactively communicate with peers and potential clients, and expand your business reach. — Published June 29, 2014

Comforting Witnesses, Discomforting Due Process

Many of us are aware of, and have had contact with various types of therapy dogs, in places that range from the workplace to our public transportation systems. But we may not be aware of the growing use and integration into the legal system of therapeutic "comfort dogs" or therapy dogs in several aspects of criminal proceedings, including victim-offender mediation. Ken Strutin lays the groundwork for analysis of how "dog therapy" techniques are well suited to this type of mediation by discussing the psychological dynamics of victim-offender mediation, including how the mediator must confront and deal with them. Of special interest and importance is the changing role of the mediator, who is often called upon to wear different hats. Of importance in this article are the jobs of "therapist" and "magician." Strutin describes the "therapist" role as it focuses on the therapeutic effect that a dog's presence will have on victim-offender mediation, namely the psychological benefits for the participants. He explores the "magician" role through a discussion of how the mediator will use the dog's presence to aid in the process of discussing and resolving conflict, with both parties' emotional needs receiving equal attention. And finally, Strutin discusses the training required by mediators who wish to employ therapy dogs in their practice. These new "mediator-handlers," as these types of mediators are known, will have a challenging task in specializing in this type of mediation, but one that can be truly rewarding." The research and commentary provided here are seminal to understanding how dogs are engaged in increasingly critical roles in the lives of people in many facets of social and legal interaction with critical implications for all involved. — Published June 29, 2014

National Digital Library Endowment Plan Makes New York Times of Philanthropy

David Rothman encourages Librarians and friends to think like Willie Sutton, who supposedly said he robbed banks because "That's where the money is." Rothman is quick to say the quote in fact is iffy, but he wants us to focus on the logic behind supporting a national digital library endowment. — Published June 29, 2014

The sad reasons why Amazon's #1 reading city doesn't belong on the list

In this article David Rothman highlights the backstory on Amazon's new list of America's "Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities," based on its sales of  books, magazines and newspapers. As has been the case previously, the winner is Alexandria, Virginia, his hometown, which should be able to afford a book-rich public library system. This scenic Washington suburb on the Potomac River pays the city manager $245K a year. Yet the Alexandria library's budget for books and other materials is well below the national average despite the needs of the city's many African-Americans, Hispanics and and low-income people. Around half of Alexandria's students qualify for free school lunches. Simply put, we're talking about two different realities--Amazon's and the actual Alexandria's. — Published June 22, 2014

May, 2014

Gates Global Libraries Program is Winding Down: Time for a National Digital library Endowment to Fill the Vacuum

David Rothman informs us that out of several billion a year in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, just tens of millions go for public libraries in the U.S. and overseas. But as all funding is critical, the news that the foundation is phasing out the Global Libraries program over the next three-five years brings libraries full circle, in search of new mentors and significant financial support. — Published May 28, 2014

Why the DPLA should focus on being a stellar ACADEMIC library: Check out these statistics

David Rothman acknowledges the attributes of the expanding DPLA program but highlights that it is lacking key components to make it a truly comprehensive academic digital library, including collection and business strategies. Rothman states that "DPLAers" keep insisting that the organization is a public library even though the academic and archival content in the catalog is just a subset of what a true general public library collection would offer. He recommends actionable next steps to widen the scope of access to digitized works. — Published May 28, 2014

Social Media #FTW!: The Influence of Social Media on American Politics

Thesis submitted to Johns Hopkins University in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Government by Kenneth Scott Ames

Abstract:

"Social media has transformed politics in America. Its effect has impacted the way candidates campaign for the presidency, Members of Congress operate their offices, and advocacy organizations communicate with policymakers and supporters. Social media allows politicians and organizations a method to connect directly and without filters with people across the country, assemble a constituency, and solicit their support at a reduced cost and greater reach than traditional media. Social media is not simply the next in a line of communications technologies: it has changed everyday activities and connected people in a manner never before possible. The rise of smartphone technology has enabled this trend since people can access the Internet almost anywhere making a mobile device a potential organizing and fundraising tool. Social media has transformed politics in America because it creates an instantaneous multi-directional public dialogue that offers the ability to rapidly analyze the data and learn from the findings on an unprecedented scope."

— Published May 28, 2014

World leading online privacy law library gets big increase in capacity

The International Privacy Law Library on WorldLII has been expanded. The Library's 32 databases include about 3,600 decisions of 13 privacy and data protection authorities, from New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, Macau, Mauritius, the United States and the European Union. — Published May 28, 2014

Legal Loop: 8 handy gadgets for the mobile lawyer office

For the 21st century lawyer, mobility is key, since a mobile law practice makes it easier than ever for lawyers to practice law no matter where they happen to be. That's why, according to the American Bar Association's 2013 Legal Technology Survey, more lawyers are going mobile than ever before, with nearly 91 percent of lawyers surveyed reporting that they have used smartphones in their practices and 48 percent of lawyers surveyed reported using a tablet at work. Nicole Black explains why you need to have the right accessories to be effectively mobile. — Published May 18, 2014

Unwarranted DNA Sampling: The Legacy of Maryland v. King

Criminal law expert Ken Strutin's article addresses how DNA forensics is about information, privacy and the presumption of innocence. It has become the determinant for identification, solving cold cases and exonerating the innocent. Strutin describes that at its core, it is an inestimable library of personal data. Due to the increasingly important role of Personally identifiable information (PII), courts and legislatures have been attempting to balance the interests of the individual in protecting their genetic information with the usefulness and necessity of that same data for criminal investigation. Strutin notes clearly that any DNA or forensic database is a composite of intertwined informational and legal values that pose competing and conflicting questions about the analytics (accuracy, reliability and validity) of the data and the lawfulness (constitutionality) of its gathering. His article collects recent notable decisions and scholarship appearing in the aftermath of Maryland v. King. — Published May 11, 2014

April, 2014

Fargo Brings An Outliner to Your Browser

Elmer Masters explains the pragmatic as well as technological value of Dave Winer's new full featured outliner, Fargo. Fargo runs in your web browser and stores your data in your Dropbox folder. According to Masters, this combination of browser and cloud puts the outliner everywhere, making it a good choice for anyone looking for ubiquitous note taking and writing capabilities. That includes just about all of us! — Published April 30, 2014

Personal Task Management for Legal Professionals

Brad Edmondson searched for the right task management app throughout much of his time attending law school. He finally found and recommends in this article one that he chose for individual use: Todoist. The app - it’s really more of a service - operates on the “freemium” model, and Brad signed up for the premium version three months ago. He compares and contrasts this app to others for Mac and Android platforms in this best practices guide. — Published April 27, 2014

The limits of 'Hack the library': Don't aim for too much more with too much less--and try harder for more

David Rothman notes that less than 12 percent of U.S. public library spending goes for books and other items. So he is very much in favor of the "hack the library" movement reinventing libraries. At the same time, Rothman warns that all the technical ingenuity and creativity in the world is no substitute for sufficient funding in areas ranging from content to data security. The public's needs, not the interests of techie volunteers, should count most of all. — Published April 27, 2014

eCommerce Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive, diverse and wide ranging listing of eCommerce Resources on the Web. These resources include those in a wide range of areas such as: associations, indexes, search engines as well as individual websites. — Published April 13, 2014

March, 2014

3D Printing: The Manufactory of Knowledge

Ken Strutin's article addresses the increasing use and impact, social and legal, of the emerging and high visibility technology known as 3D printing. The technology's use in a wide range of sectors - including education, manufacturing, firearms, robotics and medical devices, as well as in the home - is raising a plethora of patent, trademark and intellectual property issues. In addition, libraries and museums are beginning to embrace 3D technologies for archiving and collection development. And the widespread ability to create three-dimensional objects via technology is transforming information collection, storage and communication across a spectrum of fields. — Published March 29, 2014

Using Raspberry Pi and Open Source to Understand Technology

Elmer Masters, Director of Internet Development at the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, has a new column which he had graciously agreed to share with LLRX readers. In this article he examines the concept of using the open nature of a Linux powered Raspberry Pi to better understand some of the tech tools we use all the time. He describes Raspberry Pi as an excellent little computer and a great tool for learning programming, learning about Linux, prototyping interesting things, and more. Thanks Elmer and Slaw! — Published March 23, 2014

Business Intelligence Online Resources: An Internet Annotated Link Dataset Compilation

Marcus P. Zillman's new, comprehensive guide comprises the most current and accurate business intelligence source available via the web, free and fee based. Zillman includes resources and sites mined from both the visible and invisible web. His carefully selected business intelligence resources and sites are described along with their current URL address, providing researchers with mission critical tools and techniques relevant to immediate and ongoing projects. — Published March 23, 2014

Costco stores as role models for Internet-era public libraries (caveats ahead)

David Rothman cautions that the rage is to compare everything in creation to a business. But he urges us to be careful when doing so with America's public libraries. They are civic and service institutions, not profit-making corporations. A major caveat! Public libraries need to serve everyone, especially the poor, a distinct and resonate differentiation with the market paradigm. Still, in in a library context, Rothman was intrigued when President Obama once again singled out Costco for its success. There are lessons to be learned here. — Published March 2, 2014

Constant Currents: Poems by Brooke Grasberger

From an emerging poet, LLRX is delighted to publish a new collection by Brooke Grasberger. — Published March 2, 2014

Does a Blended Learning, Flipped Classroom Pedagogy Help Information Literacy Students in the Long Term Adoption of Research Skills?

Rich McCue discusses and documents how Research of Information Literacy and Blended Learning (BL) is in an early stage with the current body of knowledge consisting of case studies and small action based research projects. BL offers the promise of higher scores on summative assessments and lower requirements for physical space and instructor time if implemented using best practices. Some BL best practices include a significant investment of time and effort in course redesign, and close collaboration between library and faculty instructors during the redesign. — Published March 2, 2014

$38 Datawind UbiSlate 7Ci tablet as an e-reader: Avoid this adware trap despite its many positives!

David Rothman is spearheading chronicling the progress of expanding low cost access to e-readers as libraries engage in mission critical outreach efforts to reach underserved communities. In this article, Rothman asks: Suppose you could buy an iPad for $38, read OverDrive library books, even hear text to speech from them, and enjoy Kindle books, too. And how about social media, photos, basic video chat, and production of low-res videos? What if you could even use voice recognition to dictate e-mail or other documents for work or school? Programs to loan out low-cost e-readers are on the horizon, but David cautions there are indeed impediments, including operating system security and lack of now ubiquitous high-end audio/video performance. — Published March 2, 2014

February, 2014

My Avatar Teacher

Lorette Weldon discusses how busy business professionals determined to make the time to share and learn best practices from colleagues use a range of methods to accomplish this goal. But professionals seeking to talk to, travel and engage with experts in the skills that they wish to obtain and/or develop may be stymied in their efforts. In the late 1980’s, these Three T’s were formalized as a teaching method for the "tight time" individual. It was initially a method to help unite parent and child as they worked together on educational needs. Taking this further along, Weldon brings us forward through the dynamics of ELA, my Electronic Library Assistant, used to could build skills by taking the experts or teachers on the road. In order to use ELA as a training process, the Three T’s approach allows professionals to employ the skills of talking, traveling and tinkering with devices that they used daily in personal and work life. — Published February 18, 2014

January, 2014

Knowledge Discovery Resources 2014 - An Internet Annotated Link Dataset Compilation

Marcus P. Zillman's new guide focuses on a comprehensive, reliable and actionable group of the most current resources for knowledge discovery available on the Web. The sources that Zillman highlights range from academe to non-profits, advocacy groups and the corporate sector. This guide covers topics that include: Data Mining, Web Mining, Knowledge Discovery, Data Analysis, Data Management, Big Data, Open Source and Curation, and P2P knowledge management. — Published January 26, 2014

Clemency and The Vanishing Point of Decision Making

Ken Strutin begins his article stating that for the most part, the decision of whether to grant a pardon or commutation rests on the discretion of the executive. He continues, it is a constitutional authority that leaves little recourse if the President or a governor chooses not to act or to do so parsimoniously. He notes the downward trend in the granting of clemency begs the question of whether this is due to some fault in the process or in the decider or some other aggregation of factors. And he takes up the challenge of legal scholars and petitioners to speculate on whether there is any relief for a petrified constitutional remedy. Ken's article highlights some notable decisions and scholarship about clemency practices and the legal theories underlying a mandate for its application. It is an important resource on a significant issue by a subject matter expert whose work continuously expands our understanding of complex issues related to civil liberties and the law. — Published January 20, 2014

Should public libraries give away e-book-friendly tablets to poor people? $38 tablet hints of possibilities

David Rothman proposes that e-book-capable tablets, especially with national digital library systems in place, could multiply the number of books matching students' precise needs. Paper books could serve as gateways to E, and then children and parents could digitally follow their passions to the max, whether for spaceships, basketball, or knitting. A "quiet" feature could turn off Facebook-style distractions when tablet users wanted to focus on books. Protective rubber cases could guard against drops. Learning, independent of income - access to knowledge regardless of often round-the clock-work schedules for increasing numbers of parents and young people who are struggling to get by - this is a cause around which many communities of best practice can rally. — Published January 18, 2014

Researching Australian Law

Nicholas Pengelley and Sue Milne have revised, updated and expanded their guide which covers a comprehensive range of sources on topics that include: Parliaments and Laws; Finding Australian Legislation; Courts and Judgments; Finding Australian Cases; Treaties; Journal Literature; Legal Encyclopedias; Law Reform; Government Information; Dictionaries; Directories; Legal Research Guides; Publishers; Current Awareness; Discussion Lists; and Major Texts. — Published January 18, 2014

E-Government Information and Public Access: Online electronic government information and the impact of the government shutdown on public access

Crystal Vicente's paper focuses on the impact of the dramatic termination of e-government access during the October 2013 federal funding gap that resulted in a shutdown of government processes. As she documents, the public's access to government information was severely limited, and in some cases prohibited entirely. We now widely expect that an advanced technological society will make information available via Internet anytime and from anywhere. However, when access is eliminated, the resulting information crisis cripples the public's interaction with the federal government. Vicente states that the shutdown and the subsequent lack of access to government information is an indicator that the information dissemination model is faulty, and reliance on a single point of access is a mistake. As a result, libraries, long charged with protecting the public's access to information, are challenged to find a viable solution to protecting free permanent public access. — Published January 12, 2014