Features and Columns — September, 2014

"Link Rot" and Legal Resources on the Web: A 2011 Analysis by the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group

Sarah Rhodes describes and documents the work of the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group's fourth annual investigation of link rot among the original URLs for online law and policy-related materials archived though the group's efforts. Link rot" is used to describe a URL that no longer provides direct access to files matching the content originally harvested from the URL. The Chesapeake Group focuses primarily on the preservation of Web-published legal materials, which often disappear as Web site content is rearranged or deleted over time. In the four years since the program began, the Chesapeake Group has built a digital archive collection comprising more than 7,400 digital items and 3,200 titles, all of which were originally posted to the Web. — Published May 19, 2011

Postcard from Vienna: The Vis Moot and the Triumph of Foreign and International Law

Nicholas Pengelley vibrantly documents, with accompanying photos, his latest experiences as evaluator of written memoranda, arbitrator at oral arguments, and sometime team coach at the Vis Moot, in which he has participated for a decade. The moot, which always takes place in the week leading up to Easter, is held in Vienna because of its associations with the Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods ("CISG"). This is the law of the contract for all of the moot problems, which always involve a contractual sale of goods dispute between parties from two different countries. — Published May 19, 2011

Commentary: Why we need two separate digital library systems - One for academics and another for the rest of America

In Mending Wall, a 1914 poem blessedly in the public domain, Robert Frost gives us a classic dictum for literature and life, and maybe for inter-organizational politics in particular: "Good fences make good neighbors." On the whole Frost is anti-fence. But he understands his neighbor's side; what's more, "Mending Wall" resonates even in this era of global networks and sharable digital files. Frost died at 88 on January 29, 1963, just a little over two years after his poetry recital in the chilly Washington air at John Fitzgerald Kennedy's inauguration; but on the Web you can still hear him reading Mending Wall and more.

— Published May 15, 2011

The Age of Innocence: Actual, Legal and Presumed

Ken Strutin reasons that any accounting of the justice system would put the presumption of innocence at the top of the ledger. The premise underlying this evidentiary rule is that no one should be found guilty of a crime unless the state has convinced a jury with proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The materials Ken has researched and documented for this guide focus on the drift from unitary innocence, which encompasses all possible claims to a wrongful conviction, to factual innocence rooted in exoneration jurisprudence. According to some scholars, factual exonerations may have confounded the wisdom behind the Blackstone Ratio and its overarching message, i.e., criminal law and procedure ought to be weighted in favor of innocence to avoid wrongful conviction, even if there is a chance that the guilty will benefit as well. In other words, a system of justice that is fair to all and seeks to protect the innocent from wrongful prosecutions must apply safeguards that will be over inclusive. The calculations of truth and fairness are rooted in a system of justice based on due process (or a presumption of due process). The scholarship collected here attempts to address questions of whether the concept of innocence is selective or categorical. — Published May 5, 2011

April, 2011

Researching Australian Law

Nicholas Pengelley and Sue Milne present a completely updated guide to researching law in Australia. The Commonwealth of Australia is a common law jurisdiction; a federation within the British Commonwealth, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The Queen is represented in Australia by a Governor-General at the national level, and in each of the six states by a Governor. The Australian Constitution, embodying the doctrine of separation of powers, prescribes the authority of the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government. It was enacted British Act of Parliament in 1901 and the then separate colonies were united as states of one country. As well as the six states there are three self-governing territories (one of them, the Australian Capital Territory, is the site of the federal seat of government, Canberra) and a number of external territories - islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and the Australian Antarctic Territory. — Published April 15, 2011

A Guide For the Perplexed Part IV: The Rejection of the Google Books Settlement

On March 22, 2011, Judge Denny Chin rejected the proposed settlement in copyright infringement litigation over the Google Library Project. Judge Chin found that the settlement was not "fair, reasonable, and adequate" as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Judge Chin issued the decision over a year after the fairness hearing he conducted. His opinion agrees in large measure with the objections to the settlement asserted by the U.S. Department of Justice at the hearing and in its written submissions. This paper by Jonathan Band continues the series in which he discusses the opinion and where it leaves Google Books Search. — Published April 11, 2011

A Proposal for Creating a National Digital Library System in the Public Mode

David H. Rothman contends that "education at all levels should be the main priority of a public national digital library system even though it should serve many purposes. How can we train Americans for more complicated jobs, in this high-tech, globalized era, if they lack knowledge of the fundamentals? Even the nontechnical would benefit as, for example, better corporate strategists or marketers with a superior understanding of cultures outside the United States, and of history, commerce, and life in general. And if we can elevate the quality of public schools, not just private ones, won't U.S. colleges and universities come out ahead with an enhanced pool of talent?" — Published April 9, 2011

March, 2011

Emerging Legal Issues in Social Media: Part II

This is the second installment of an examination of notable and new developments in social media and legal practice. Part One highlighted important statutes, case law, ethics opinions, along with extensive news media coverage of law-related social media issues. Part Two focuses on recent items that have appeared in professional journals and blogs, 1 law reviews, reports, books and secondary resources, along with references to current awareness sources. 2

— Published March 21, 2011

SharePoint, Training Not Required

Lorette Weldon's research has identified that librarians are using SharePoint in the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors. She expertly identifies and illustrates how to leverage the power of this application through an understanding of the site templates that Microsoft bundles in SharePoint "out-of-the-box". These templates are based on social networking abilities and not program coding. Through "plug and play" efforts librarians can find the features in SharePoint that will assist them in managing their multifaceted "collections." — Published March 20, 2011

FOIA Facts: Funding FOIA

Scott A. Hodes contends that reducing FOIA Operations any further is the wrong way to go if the objectives of increasing government transparency are to be pursued. The actual process of searching for records in response to FOIA requests and processing those requests requires human interaction - in other words, while the documents themselves can be digitized, a person will always be required to search for and process responsive records. — Published March 19, 2011

Knowledge Discovery Resources 2011 - An Internet MiniGuide Annotated Link Compilation

This new guide by Marcus P. Zillman focuses on the most current and reliable resources for knowledge discovery available on the Internet. With the constant addition of new and pertinent information to the web, it is very easy to experience information overload. A critical requirement for researchers is finding the best knowledge discovery resources and sites in both the visible and invisible World Wide Web. These carefully selected knowledge and information discovery sources will help you accomplish your research goals. — Published March 12, 2011

Breaking Down Link Rot: The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive's Examination of URL Stability*

This guide for researches by Sarah Rhodes focuses on the highly significant impact of "link rot", which refers to the loss or removal of content at a particular Uniform Resource Locator (URL) over time. When an attempt is made to open a documented link, either different or irrelevant information has replaced the expected content, or else the link is found to be broken, typically expressed by a 404 or "not found" error message. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Web-based materials often disappear as URLs change and web sites are changed, updated, or deleted. — Published March 1, 2011

February, 2011

Basic Search Set-up in "Out of the Box" SharePoint

IT Librarian and SharePoint expert Lorette Weldon provides guidance on requisite questions for staff and other users to ask for content in Microsoft SharePoint out of the box (OOTB). The research requires you to ask the four "W"'s: What; Who; Where; When. What type of SharePoint item do you wish to obtain? Who contributed and/or created the SharePoint item? Where did the SharePoint item come from (the source)? When was the SharePoint item created and/or modified? This would work for Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. WSS is the basic compilation of applications. — Published February 12, 2011

Emerging Legal Issues in Social Media: Part I

In Part 1 of his commentary, Ken Strutin discusses how the growth of social media and social networking applications has permeated and extended the range of legal investigation, discovery and litigation. The materials he highlights represent a current sampling of notable developments in law enforcement, law practice, civil and criminal litigation, and technology's influence on human behavior. — Published February 6, 2011

Deep Web Research 2011

Internet research guru Marcus P. Zillman's comprehensive, extensive guide focuses on how expert search engines have written algorithms to mine the deeper portions of the web by targeting file formats such as .pdf, .doc, .xls, ppt, .ps. and others.  These files are predominately used by businesses to communicate information both within their organization and to those outside enterprise systems. Searching for this information using deeper search techniques and the latest algorithms empowers researchers to obtain a vast amount of corporate information previously unavailable or inaccessible. 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 February 6, 2011

The Risky Business of Information Sharing: Why You Need to Care About Copyright

Copyright is an essential tool in the spread of new ideas, and the workplace has become ground zero for infringement. Ask employees up and down the corporate hierarchy, and they'll tell you that whisking information electronically to co-workers is integral to their jobs. Their employers will emphatically agree. But unauthorized swaps of information also carry enormous potential risk: Ordinary office exchanges, so natural to the digital world, can easily violate the copyright rights of others and bring costly lawsuits or settlements. Now the same technology that has dramatically defined the Internet age is drawing a new roadmap to compliance, with software tools that simplify adherence to copyright requirements. — Published February 1, 2011

December, 2010

Juror Behavior in the Information Age

Ken Strutin focuses on the impact of social media on jurors who increasingly try to stay connected to work and home while performing their civic duty, and the resulting impact of the power of individual jurors to virtualize a trial by going online. His article collects recent and notable examples of juror online misbehavior and highlights scholarship and practice resources concerning its implications for voir dire, trial management and the administration of justice. — Published December 26, 2010

Open Source Tools for Tutorials

Nicole C. Engard continues her series on best practices for libraries to leverage open source tools with a guide on publishing tutorials for using library resources. Rather than creating a printed pathfinder, she suggests creating a video tutorial instead, as the learning experience is often more engaging and has deeper impact when users see something done versus reading about it. — Published December 19, 2010

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act: A Brief Legislative History with Links, Reports and Summaries

The "craft" of legislative history construction is practiced with unique and outstanding expertise by law librarian Rick McKinney. This history is designed in a streamlined fashion so as to allow users to more easily check when provisions in the law got into bill and then check for related remarks concerning those provisions. It also has links to earlier legislation related to different titles of the Act, to the Administration's proposed legislation in 2009, to related CRS reports, and to various summaries and commentaries of the law on the Web. — Published December 10, 2010

November, 2010

Actual Innocence and Freestanding Claims for Relief

Ken Strutin has written extensively for LLRX.com on criminal law issues. He argues that false confessions, bad eyewitness identifications, and faulty forensics, among other problems, have shown that seemingly iron clad adjudications can reach the wrong result. A 'guilty' verdict only indicates that the government has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed each and every element of the crime, and not that the defendant actually committed the crime. A freestanding claim of actual innocence is a potentially powerful tool to assail a verdict that points to the wrong person. Still, courts have made only small gains in recognizing actual innocence generally as a basis for contesting a wrongful conviction. This article collects selected scholarship on "actual innocence" and litigating post-conviction claims that go beyond the procedural metrics of the trial process. — Published November 25, 2010

“The FDsys”: the new GPO Access

"GPO Access will be going away soon as the U.S. Government Printing Office rolls out the Federal Digital System (FDsys), an advanced digital system that will enable GPO to manage Government information from all three branches of the U.S. Government. Learn about the new system and its features, what content is available through it, and search strategies. Not only is FDsys a powerful tool for the public to access online, authoritative Federal information, but it also serves as a preservation repository for the content and a content management system for Federal agencies." — Published November 17, 2010

FOIA Facts: High Profile FOIA Requests

Scott A. Hodes comments on recent reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) added a new layer of scrutiny for FOIA requests that came from what it considered high profile groups (basically political non-profits and media organizations). The argument is that this review did or could potentially deny these requesters material they should receive and these denials (or potential denials) were only for political purposes. — Published November 15, 2010

Using the Kindle in Library Settings - A Survey, Updated

Recently Montrese Hamilton wrote a summary of responses to her survey of three Special Libraries Association discussion lists about using the Kindle in library settings. The questions were well-received and more replies arrived after her wrap-up was published so she returns with the new comments plus insights gathered from her own Kindle-lending experiment. — Published November 10, 2010

October, 2010

The Way Forward

Economic conditions are still in flux and the employment outlook defies easy forecasting. Consequently, moving up Maslow's hierarchy toward greater job satisfaction may not include changing employers. To learn more about how information professionals can deepen contentment in-place, Montrese Hamilton contacted well-known career coach Marshall Brown for insight. See also The Way Forward: Part 2 and The Way Forward: Part 3. — Published October 18, 2010

The Way Forward: Part 2

While many of her colleagues packed their bags for the SLA 2010 Annual Conference in New Orleans last June, Montrese Hamilton traded her spot in the Big Easy for login credentials to the virtual conference offerings. Here she discusses the presentation, Negotiating Up. — Published October 18, 2010

The Way Forward: Part 3

Montrese Hamilton discusses tools and techniques available via the Internet that provide value, variety and substance in the areas of free professional development opportunities. — Published October 18, 2010

Using the Kindle in Library Settings - A Survey

Special Librarian Montrese Hamilton shares effective ways an electronic document reader may be used to provide customers on-demand access to new content. Beyond instant access to material, e-readers can: reduce the need for Interlibrary loans, help grow the collection without adding shelf space, and eliminate processing required for physical matter. — Published October 17, 2010

Blank on Blank - the nonprofit media partnering initiative preserves and shares interviews

Laura Soto-Barra introduces us to Blank on Blank, a nonprofit media partnering with journalists, publications and publishers to turn excerpts of unheard reporting into a living, audio archive of the American interview. — Published October 11, 2010

FOIA Facts - Mid-Term FOIA Grade for the Obama Administration

Scott A. Hodes provides perspective, and an overall grade, to how the administration has done during the first half of its first term in regard to FOIA. — Published October 10, 2010

September, 2010

Canine Detection Evidence

For nearly 15,000 years dogs have lived with and served humankind as companions, hunters, shepherds and most recently detectives. The average canine possesses hundreds of millions of receptors for odors, compared with a few million for humans. Their outstanding sensory endowment - olfaction - makes dogs sought after by law enforcement. And in the last century, the cultivation and harnessing of this ultra sensitive faculty has become a part of many facets of criminal investigation. Ken Strutin's article surveys select studies, standards and resources about canine scent detection evidence. — Published September 25, 2010