Features and Columns — November, 2014

Ingenious Beta Catalog Interface - Good for Academics and Other Serious Users - in Newest Beta Sprint Video from DPLA

In his continuing review of the evolving Harvard-based Digital Public Library of America, David H. Rothman highlights the online demonstration of an ingenious catalog interface that he believes should please many an academic. — Published September 13, 2011

August, 2011

Ghost in the Machine: Managing the Information Afterlife

Ken Strutin addresses how the scope of digital estates is growing by leaps and bounds. Parents are registering domain names for their unborn children and social media sites are creating cyber cemeteries where friends and family can visit the last online impression of the dearly departed. The majority of transactions in modern society are created and deposited in digital environments operated by third parties on remote sites. Yet, the rights of users and their inheritors to that content are not clearly spelled out in statutes or court decisions. Ken's guide gathers current research about digital content ownership and disposition rights at the points where the life cycle has been interrupted or concluded. — Published August 24, 2011

The Growing Legal Implications of Tasers: A primer on the development, uses, and consequences of Tasers

Maureen Moran addresses research associated with the civil liberties, legal and law enforcement issues involving widespread availability - approximately 11,500 law enforcement agencies have acquired CEDs, or conducted energy devices. Tasers are the most common electronic control device used by law enforcement today. — Published August 18, 2011

FOIA Facts: Information is not Free

Scott A. Hodes explains how the spending reductions mandated by the recent Debt Ceiling bill will have tremendous impacts on citizen's accessing government information on a number of fronts. While most in Congress will tell you they are in favor of various access laws, paying for them is another matter. — Published August 6, 2011

2011 Sparky Award Winners Announced, People's Choice Contest Now Open

"Four new student films on the importance of Open Access to research and data have been voted the best by a panel of new media experts, students, and librarians in "Open Up!", the fourth annual Sparky Awards. Calling on students to articulate their support in a two-minute video, the contest has been embraced by campuses all over the world and has inspired imaginative expressions of student support for the potential of Open Access to foster creativity, innovation, and problem solving." — Published August 3, 2011

July, 2011

A Compilation of State Lawyer Licensing Databases

Trevor Rosen and Andrew Zimmerman's updated guide focuses on websites that will help you determine whether a lawyer is currently licensed to practice in a particular state. — Published July 24, 2011

Pretrial Detention, Bail and Due Process

Ken Strutin's guide comprises recent publications and other notable resources concerning the relationship between the administration of bail and the requirements of due process. Pretrial detention of suspects directly impacts the presumption of innocence. The cornerstone of the justice system is that no one will be punished without the benefit of due process. Incarceration before trial, when the outcome of the case is yet to be determined, cuts against this principle. The Founders were aware of the dangers inherent in indiscriminate imprisonment, which is one of the main reasons behind the inclusion of the Eighth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, prohibiting excessive bail. — Published July 2, 2011

June, 2011

SharePoint and the Law Library

Lorette S.J. Weldon highlights the challenges her organization has encountered in its use of SharePoint to manage information through a client-matter-based-interface for attorneys, product management marketing and the library. — Published June 23, 2011

Hunting For A Job? Try the Internet

Acknowledging the economy in the past several years has made the job search process even more challenging, Rhonda Keaton and Barbara Fullerton provide proactive suggestions and a guide to a wide range of sources to support and leverage a multifaceted search effort within the competitive job arena. — Published June 18, 2011

FOIA Facts: The Most Transparent Administration in History?

Scott A. Hodes argues that we have no real benchmark to determine executive branch success in fulfilling Presidential promises about openness and transparency. Rather he contends that the measure is not each time the administration doesn’t release something in a timely fashion to say it has failed the test. — Published June 19, 2011

Commentary - Digital Public Library of America - can it live up to its huge potential?

David Rothman continues his commentary on the challenges faced by the Digital Public Library of America. He suggests the DPLA help state, local and federal governments create a companion digital public library system that would focus on the provision of urgently needed content and services, and share some but not all resources with an academic effort and even offer a common catalogue for those wanting it. — Published June 16, 2011

May, 2011

"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