Features and Columns — July, 2014

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

Testing the Accuracy of Database Information Produced in Civil Discovery

Conrad J. Jacoby identifies the trend that increasingly electronically stored information ("ESI") requested in litigation discovery originates in databases or other structured data repositories. Previously, this data was stored in discrete e-mail messages, spreadsheets, and word processing files that have long made up the bulk of most ESI document productions. Businesses creating and managing their accumulated information have discovered that they are able to extract far more utility if they store their data in a single repository and in a standardized format. — Published July 5, 2010

Law Libraries Transformed

Not long ago, the law library was "a place". It housed printed materials and staff and provided work space for research. Lawyers went there to use books and consult librarians to locate and complete assignments. Today Eleanor Windsor and Ron Friedmann report that the notion of a modern law library is very different, shaped by the skills of specialized researchers and information managers rather than by bookshelves and bound volumes. — Published July 4, 2010

June, 2010

Employment Online Resources

This guide for researchers by Marcus P. Zillman is a comprehensive bibliography of resources and sites comprising the latest and most comprehensive, reliable content and value added information currently available on this subject via the Internet. — Published June 24, 2010

Basic Legal Research on the Internet

This article explores the corner of the Internet landscape that concentrates on legal research. For the most part, these databases and search tools are free, although some might require a library card. Essentially, this is a short list of "go to" sites that most researchers will find useful. Before delving in, author Ken Strutin also examines a few time tested research concepts for the Internet age. — Published June 24, 2010

Problems with Creating a Course to Help Colleagues

How many times have you wondered how to do a task or work with software? You feel wonderful once you have found a colleague who could share their "know-how" about how to complete that task more efficiently or how to implement an applications that does not have a manual that makes sense to you. Lorette S.J. Weldon focuses on four factors to consider when you want to share your knowledge on your own: cost; timing; equipment and global presentation. — Published June 20, 2010

FOIA Facts - Ideas for Faster FOIA Processing

Scott A. Hodes notes that in the current Congress there are bills pending that would create a commission to come up with ideas for faster FOIA processing. He contends that by taking those ideas, along with a few days of congressional oversight hearings to solicit other opinions, Congress would have ample information to create an actual bill that would implement faster FOIA processing now rather than wait for a "commission" to come up with these same ideas. — Published June 13, 2010

What is Open Source?

In the past few years, the term open source has been bandied about not just in library-land, but in every industry. When a term is talked about this much, some would say to the point of overuse, people start to think it's a fad. In this and upcoming articles, Nicole C. Engard is here on LLRX to tell you that open source is no fad, and why. — Published June 12, 2010

May, 2010

Your Cheat Sheet for Local Rule Motion Practice - Part One: Southern District of New York

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 column, Wendy Schneider provides professionals with the tools to navigate motion practice in these busy federal courts by outlining the key provisions and highlighting the pitfalls. — Published May 18, 2010

Forensic Evidence and the CSI Effect

The media's popularization of certain types of evidence may be inspiring a "CSI effect" on decision makers according to Ken Strutin. There is a question about whether impressions created by the media in its treatment and portrayal of forensic proof as either irrefutable or absolutely necessary for conviction is truly impacting the outcome of criminal cases. Ken's guide is a collection of select legal scholarship and media studies that illuminates the extent of the phenomenon and whether it needs to be addressed and how. — Published May 9, 2010