Features and Columns — August, 2014

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

Google Instant and Legal Search

Steve Matthews enumerates some of the issues that merit attention with respect to Google's recent implementation of this default setting search query application. — Published September 24, 2010

Open Source Tools for the Day-to-Day

Nicole C. Engard reviews several open source tools she recommends not only for their usability and reliability, but also for the cost to value ratio when compared to mainstream applications outside our ever narrowing budget requirements .

— Published September 18, 2010

The Online Oral Academic Learning Community

Lorette S.J. Weldon discusses innovative methods to use social networking and oral tradition to support the goals of sharing professional experiences and collaborating on best practices for past, current, and ongoing research. — Published September 12, 2010

Your Cheat Sheet for Local Rule Motion Practice Part Three: Eastern District of Texas

Wendy Schneider outlines what you really need to know about motion practice in the Eastern District of Texas. Her previous two guides, for the Southern District of New York and the Central District of California, are available here. — Published September 5, 2010

August, 2010

Hunting For A Job? Try the Internet

Barbara Fullerton is our guide to effectively engaging in an activity which has assumed increased importance in the face of the grim economy - searching for positions with a specific company, business or educational facility on the Internet. She details how webmasters have designed ways for prospective employees to sign-up on job-finding websites and create personal alerts concerning their job needs. In many cases, the job hunter can post a resume online, which can be utilized by prospective headhunters and company human resources personnel. Many of these job boards have added value to their websites with information including relocation surveys, job search tips, moving companies, salary comparisons, city data, Fortune 500 information, real estate companies, and assessment resources. — Published August 11, 2010

Solitary Confinement

Ken Strutin's selected guide represents current research and thinking about the physical, psychological and legal implications of isolation as punishment, and the policy issues behind continuing this practice in the light of national and international standards and human rights declaration. Ken engages us to consider the ramifications of solitary confinement, the most extreme penalty in the hierarchy of incarcerative punishment. Depending on the institution, length of detention and purpose, this "prison within prison" has been described in many ways: administrative segregation, communications management unit, control unit, disciplinary housing unit, the hole, intensive management unit, lockdown, punitive isolation, segregation, SHU (special housing unit, special handling unit, segregated housing unit, security housing unit), and Supermax (Super-Maximum Security Confinement). — Published August 10, 2010

Documentation Capturing

In the past, many of us have failed to document processes for ourselves or for our organizations. A good example of a professional arena where good documentation has the potential to have a positive impact is within the IT department. When a computer-related system blocks access to staff or fails to timely record updates, the IT staff has to respond accurately and effectively. Ulysses Weldon and Lorette S.J. Weldon focus on the importance of good documentation and how computer-related systems are installed, configured, customized and implemented. — Published August 9, 2010

July, 2010

Your Cheat Sheet for Local Rule Motion Practice Part Two: Central District of California

You know the Federal Rules backwards and forwards, but its compliance with the local rules that really makes a civil litigator look like a pro to colleagues and clients. In this ongoing LLRX series, the editorial team of SmartRules gives you the tools to navigate motion practice in these busy federal courts with ease and grace. We've outlined the key provisions and highlighted the pitfalls. Here's what you really need to know about motion practice in the Central District of California. — Published July 19, 2010

Development of a SharePoint Site

Lorette S.J. Weldon continues her series with a discussion on how to interpret and document the requirements of an organization or a specific department in order to develop a successful SharePoint site. — Published July 11, 2010