Features and Columns — November, 2014

Conclusions from the National Inventory of Legal Materials

Hays Butler and Emily Feltren document the process and successful implementation of dynamic, extensive project conducted over the past three years by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) working with law librarian volunteers around the country to build the first-ever National Inventory of Legal Materials, an inventory of print and electronic legal materials at all levels of government. More than 350 volunteers have added nearly 8,000 legal titles to the inventory so far. — Published January 13, 2013

FOIA Facts - What I’ve Learned

Scott A. Hodes' New Year's commentary is both an overview and a roadmap to the FOIA process. Scott's experience has taught him that requesters do not realize that their biggest obstacle to having their requests processed in a timely manner is not usually FOIA offices. The biggest obstacles tend to be the program offices that have equity in the records sought and the agency executives who see FOIA offices as an expense they don’t want to fund. — Published January 13, 2013

Legal ethics and retention of electronic data

Lawyers are increasingly shifting their day to day operations to applications and operations that leverage the convenience and affordability offered by the concept of a paperless office. Attorney Nicole Black talks about how doing so can raise an assortment of ethical issues, since the confidentiality of client information must always be maintained, regardless of the format in which it is stored or distributed. — Published January 5, 2013

2012: The year of the mobile lawyer?

Attorney Nicole Black discusses the rise in the number of lawyers using mobile devices, the growing number of apps developed specifically for lawyers, and how these apps increasingly support lawyers at every stage of the litigation process. — Published January 5, 2013

Google’s powerful Nexus 10 Android tablet as a library patron’s delight: The hardware and the apps that shine on it

David H. Rothman reviews the Android Nexus 10, which he considers a standout from among the well known group of available e-book readers. David documents key reasons to choose this e-reading machine, including the 10-inch screen, which can easily display 500 or 600 words of text. He also highlights a wide range of essential apps available for researchers, librarians, knowledge managers and of course, book lovers. — Published January 5, 2013

December, 2012

The risks if the DPLA won’t create a full-strength national digital library system: Setbacks for K-12, family literacy, local libraries, preservation, digital divide efforts?

David H. Rothman maintains that the Harvard-originated national digital library initiative is an underachiever in K-12 matters and identifies other areas where the DPLA could better serve America's libraries and their users. These areas range from family literacy to the content creation needs of local libraries, preservation and digital divide efforts. Rothman details specific remedies to these challenges consistent with his strong advocacy on behalf of strengthening national digital library systems. — Published December 19, 2012

Deep Web Research and Discovery Resources 2013

Marcus P. Zillman's research reveals the facets of The Deep Web, comprising in the vicinity of 1 trillion pages of information located in various files and formats that the current search engines cannot find, or have difficulty accessing. Some of the more comprehensive search engines have written algorithms to search the deeper portions of the world wide web by attempting to find files such as .pdf, .docx, .xls, ppt, .ps. and others.  These files are predominately used by businesses to communicate within their organization or to disseminate topical information and work product to customers and potential clients. Searching for this information using deeper search techniques and the latest algorithms allows researchers access to a vast amount of actionable corporate information and intelligence. Research has also shown that even deeper information can be obtained from these files by searching and accessing the "properties" information on these files. — Published December 18, 2012

New Economy Web Guide 2013 Under Obama

Internet research guru Marcus P. Zillman's new guide is an essential resource for researchers in all sectors for whom identifying and leveraging economic data, news and scholarly publications is a requirement. It identifies comprehensive, accurate knowledge available through reliable and current sources from government, NGOs, advocacy groups and the private sector that is critical to effective and actionable work product. — Published December 2, 2012

November, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the national digital library issue: Could we have stopped or slowed down global warming?

David Rothman's commentary maintains it is imperative that civic matters, including those that resulted in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, not become lost opportunities to find and share information, and to make best use of lessons learned. Accountability, effective communications, access to actionable information, building reliable infrastructures, and providing dynamic access to agile solutions during times of national crisis provide opportunities to leverage the evolving Digital Public Library of America. — Published November 18, 2012

Arson and the Science of Fire

Ken Strutin's expert commentary focuses on the duality of fire as both a science and a set of actions and behaviors initiated by individuals and groups. Strutin documents how these factors relate to the complexities of criminal prosecutions in this arena, and how assumptions about the former have led to misjudgments about the latter. Further, he examines how progress in the understanding of how fires begin and spread has called into question the integrity of arson convictions. His guide is a collection of selected research publications, web resources and case studies as well as scholarly legal articles and scientific reports on arson investigation and fire science. — Published November 12, 2012

Litigation, trial and pre-trail iPad apps for lawyers

One of the most popular and rapidly growing categories of apps for lawyers are those developed for litigation, during trials and during the pretrial discovery phase. In this article, attorney, legal blogger and legal tech expert Nicole Black recommends more than a dozen affordable, flexible and innovative iPad apps to assist attorneys in their work to develop, streamline, simplify and track critical litigation processes. — Published November 11, 2012

Employment Resources on the Internet

Web research guru Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive listing of employment resources available on the Internet. Zillman identifies links, search engines and resume writing sources from across many professional sectors which will help you discover, review, leverage and incorporate actionable information into a successful job search strategy. — Published November 4, 2012

Kirtsaeng v. Wiley

What if you had to ask permission before selling, lending, or even giving away your books? On October 29, 2012 the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, a case that could change the way we own everything from books to watches. Brandon Butler and Jonathan Band discuss how libraries, who own books, movies and other copyrighted works on behalf of the public could be hit especially hard by this decision. — Published November 4, 2012

October, 2012

DPLA Grant: Possible Synergy Between Libraries, Schools and Newspapers

David H. Rothman, a leading national digital library advocate, continues his series on the evolving framework for the Digital Public Library of America. In this column, he discusses the impact of new program funding from the Knight Foundation. Rothman believes the potential result could be the start of new synergies between libraries, schools, and newspapers - leading to more interest in civic participation, better monitoring of government at all levels, and maybe even a revival of many young people’s interest in newspapers. — Published October 30, 2012

Internet research tips and tricks for lawyers

This is attorney Nicole Black's review of The Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet, 12th edition, a book that helps lawyers learn how to use the Internet to conduct effective and free investigative and legal research. — Published October 21, 2012

Reference apps for the mobile lawyer

For mobile lawyers, tech savvy attorney Nicole Black recommends a range of topical, go-to reference apps that will save you time and effort while providing reliable, high quality information. Most of the apps are free or very low cost, and include Wolfram Alpha Lawyer’s Professional Assistant, iThesaurus, Recalls app, and the Wikipanion app. — Published October 21, 2012

Reliable Sites and Sources for Election Fact Checking

The event happens every four years in the U.S., but it consumes us for over 10 months, and takes perhaps 10 minutes to complete. The event is the U.S. Presidential Election. The action is voting. There are so many different points of view and so much news about the candidates and issues that is is often difficult to locate unbiased information and sort through the facts in the media. Barbara Fullerton highlights several sites to help voters review the issues and check the facts during this critical political process. — Published October 16, 2012

Statistics Resources and Big Data on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman has compiled a best practices bibliography of sites and reliable sources focused on the hot topic of statistics and big data. These sources are representative of multiple publishers, national and global - government, academia, NGOs, and industry, many of which leverage open source and collaborative applications. — Published October 7, 2012

September, 2012

Bluebook Technologies

The Bluebook is the standard citation guide for legal materials. There are now three format choices for the Bluebook: paper, online subscription (since 2008), and as of August 10, 2012 - iPad app. Law Librarian, author, research instructor and blogger Mary Whisner's guide discusses and illustrates the features and pricing of each. — Published September 18, 2012

The New Digital Public Library of America Board of Directors

David H. Rothman's current commentary highlights the composition of the new board of directors of the nonprofit DPLA, an organization that continues to grow and change, along with clarifying its goals and objectives. — Published September 18, 2012

Tutorial Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a wide ranging and immediately useful listing of tutorial resources and sites on the Internet. This guide will assist you to discover, review and select the most relevant and reliable sources for your requirements, on topics that include: e-training, health sciences and biomedical research, educational opportunities for unemployed workers, effective web searching, statistical data mining, free college and university courses, programming in various open source applications, and technical support, user guides and repair services too! — Published September 11, 2012

Privacy Resources and Sites on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive listing of both free and low cost privacy resources currently available on the Internet. It includes associations, indexes and search engines, as well as websites and programs that provide the latest technology and information on Web privacy. This guide will help facilitate a safer interactive environment for your email, your internet browsing, your health records, your data storage and file sharing exchanges, and internet telephony. — Published September 11, 2012

Mass Incarceration and the "Degree of Civilization"

Ken Strutin - law librarian, criminal defense attorney, and well-known writer and speaker, documents the preeminence of the United States as the world leader in incarceration. He states that incarceration is when a person loses their freedom pending trial or by serving a sentence - and mass incarceration is when millions of people are imprisoned and kept there based on a generation of tough on crime policies. The number of persons behind bars, which is higher in the United States than anywhere in the world, creates a ripple effect throughout the criminal justice system and society at large. This fact has inspired intense study of this punishment by many academic disciplines, public interest institutions and government agencies. His article focuses on selected recent and notable publications from these sources along with a list of current awareness sites. — Published September 4, 2012

August, 2012

Friends of Quinn and LD OnLine: Two good Web sites illustrate need for separate national digital library systems - public and academic

David H. Rothman highlights how two Web sites on learning disabilities demonstrate the need for separate but tightly intertwined national digital library systems - one system public, one academic. Collaborating with an academic system, a national digital public system could work with local library sites and public partners at different levels to provide the most trustworthy information available to all patrons. — Published August 29, 2012

State Small Business Development Centers

George Bergstrom's guide helps to identify resources to research how to start a small business in each of the 50 states. He suggests the first place to start may be the Small Business Administration's district offices. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development Disadvantaged Business Utilization Program has state level resources. Another resource for many states are LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups of entrepreneurs and small business persons. In addition, George recommends checking with the local Chamber of Commerce for the area in which you plan to operate your business. — Published August 21, 2012

OverDrive, safeguarding classics, the Jane Austen-'Hunger Games' connection, and a few other priorities for the DPLA to ponder

David H. Rothman's current commentary on the Harvard-hosted Digital Public Library of America highlights successful components of the project and prospective concepts that would support attaining the goal of a national digital library system. — Published August 12, 2012

Did the British burn all the books? Remembering the war of 1812 and the first Library of Congress

Nicholas Pengelley has once again contributed his expertise as a historian, librarian, writer, and scholar with his article on the War of 1812, from the Canadian perspective. This month marks the anniversary of events that are largely overlooked on our Nation's Capital, yet had an overarching impact on many aspects of our lives as librarians, researchers, students and citizens. The Library of Congress was at the time of the British invasion in the summer of 1814 a solid working collection, with an emphasis on law and parliamentary history, but with a smattering of works considered as entertainment. If it still existed, a number of the works on its shelves would be counted as great rarities and doubtless displayed in glass cases. This library perished in the flames of war, but it was created anew the following year - arising phoenix-like from the ashes on the foundation of Thomas Jefferson's personal library of nearly 7,000 volumes, which he sold to the nation for $23,950. Nick offers us many lessons and food for thought - not the least that the rush into the embrace of technology's myriad applications should be complemented by acknowledging how the deliberation and actions of individuals 200 years ago continues to enrich our society, and our lives. — Published August 3, 2012

July, 2012

The Decline of DVD-by-Mail, or Further Thoughts on the Digital Death of Copyright’s First Sale Doctrine

Prof. Annemarie Bridy comments on a dynamic new area of online copyright and licensing as she focuses on how Netflix is transitioning from an operating model that is clearly covered by an exception to copyright law to one that (very probably) requires permission for every content delivery. — Published July 31, 2012

Company Research - Access Through State Sponsored Portals

Librarian George Bergstrom has identified and links to 45 states that provide their respective residents with access to company related information, and 4 others that help individual libraries negotiate with the companies that own these resources to then provide access to their communities. — Published July 27, 2012

ChatterBots Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive listing of resources on increasingly popular computer projects and programs used to simulate human conversation using "intelligent" agents and text based applications, called chatterbots. — Published July 6, 2012