Features and Columns — June, 2016

Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government: Free, Educational Content from GPO for Children and Adults of all Ages

Kelly Seifert gives us a tour of Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government, a service of the U.S. Government Publishing Office that presents educational content for children and adults of all ages on the workings of the U.S. Government and U.S. history, with a focus on civics. Recently redesigned, the site features all new site content, a device-friendly infrastructure, and a modernized look and feel that has been optimized for an intuitive learning experience. — Published December 31, 2015

New Job De-/script/-ions for Attorneys with Coding and Tech Business Skills

Alan Rothman discusses the growing interest in and need for attorneys who have degrees and skills from another field that serves client requirements, previously focused on areas such as engineering, business and medicine. Already well established in professions that include journalism and economics, the legal arena is increasingly embracing the skills and value added work product associated with technical coding. This is reflected in new course offerings in advanced degree programs as well as in job positions that focus on data management and data analytics. — Published December 30, 2015

Deep Web Research and Discovery Resources 2016

Marcus Zillman has a longstanding and comprehensive expertise pertaining to the Deep Web. The Deep Web or Dark Web covers trillions of pages of information held in dynamically generated repositories throughout the global web that remain inaccessible through popular applications and search engines. Searching for this information using deeper search techniques and the latest algorithms allows researchers to obtain a vast amount of information that was previously unavailable or inaccessible, in fields that include the sciences and maths, corporate and financial data, and data only surfaced using file sharing applications. Zillman's new guide documents a wide range of sources to improve your research results, including articles and paper, cross database search services and tools, peer to peer and file sharing engines, and semantic web resources. — Published December 29, 2015

Competitive Intelligence - A Selective Resource Guide

Sabrina I. Pacifici's comprehensive current awareness guide focuses on leveraging a selected but wide range of reliable, topical, predominantly free websites and resources. The goal is to support an effective research process to search, discover, access, monitor, analyze and review current and historical data, news, reports, statistics and profiles on companies, markets, countries, people and issues, from a national and a global perspective. Sabrina’s guide is a “best of the Web” resource that encompasses search engines, portals, government sponsored open source databases, alerts, data archives, publisher specific services and applications. All of her recommendations are accompanied by links to trusted content targeted sources that are produced by top media and publishing companies, business, government, academe, IGOs and NGOs. — Published December 18, 2015

Solitary Confinement: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Ken Strutin's article surveys notable legal developments, new scholarship, and recent scientific research concerning the administration and effects of solitary confinement. Strutin describes solitary confinement as punishment's punishment. He states that solitary is where the mind is worn out by pacing the same floor, viewing the same walls, tuning in to the same sounds without relief. He documents how extreme isolation has devastating psychological and physical consequences, collectively described as "SHU syndrome." Strutin delivers illumination to the heart of legal challenges and legislative reforms now supported by an expanding body of research into the harmfulness of prolonged human isolation. — Published December 17, 2015

Academically Supporting Entering Freshmen: High School Graduates Unprepared to be College Freshmen

In Part 5 of her 5 part series, Lorette Weldon, Librarian and Educator discusses how high school students are not guaranteed success in college when they have completed college-preparatory courses. In high school English, mathematics and science courses, students have not consistently been taught how “to draw inferences, interpret results, analyze conflicting source documents, support arguments with evidence, solve complex problems that have no obvious answer, draw conclusions, offer explanations, conduct research, and generally think deeply about what they are being taught.” — Published December 17, 2015

November, 2015

Information Quality Resources and Expert Resources

Marcus Zillman's guide is a comprehensive and selective bibliography including search engines, world wide web resources, services and sites currently offering free, value added content on the web. As more and more of the global population is accessing the web, making informed choices about what content to use to obtain reliable, accurate, actionable information becomes more critical. This guide provides an extensive range of reliable, relevant information to leverage - whether you are an educator, a librarian, a researcher, a lawyer, a student, a professional working on mission critical organizational objectives, or in the interest of current awareness. Gaining insight into your resources can be a challenging process if undertaken without benchmarks and skillfully researched pathfinders. This guide comprises a wide range of resources for everyone who regularly engages with web content for knowledge discovery, producing work product, and creating value added content related to specific sectors, issues or topics. — Published November 30, 2015

Digital preservation is hard when older content can fall through cracks

Implementation of new content management systems that govern the web and often render older pages and sites inaccessible create access barriers for researchers seeking to access older content across subject areas. TeleRead Editor Chris Meadows describes the problem, the implications and a possible solution. — Published November 28, 2015

Summary of the Bitcoin Seminar Held at Kaye Scholer in New York on October 15, 2015

The market quote for Bitcoin on October 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm EST was $255.64 US according to CoinDesk.com on the site’s Price & Data page. At that same moment, Alan Rothman was attending a presentation entitled the Bitcoin Seminar. Rothman expertly documents the facets, vocabulary, instances and key components of the quickly emerging technologies that comprise bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency, and their impact on the financial sector. — Published November 24, 2015

The True Measure of Bitcoin's Success

This commentary by financial analyst Ryan Davis supports the position that the price of Bitcoin should not be the primary measure of the state of Bitcoin, nor should any one metric be the primary measure of the state of Bitcoin. The true measure of the state of Bitcoin is a combination of everything from activity in GitHub repositories to the number of daily bitcoin transactions. — Published November 15, 2015

Bitcoin Derivatives - Independent Study Report

Financial analyst Ryan Davis describes the landscape of exchanges based in and outside of the U.S. that have begun to offer trading in bitcoin derivatives. TeraExchange completed the first bitcoin derivative trade on a regulated exchange in the U.S. on October 8, 2014 with its Bitcoin Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) contracts. More recently, LedgerX has submitted applications to become the first regulated bitcoin options exchange in the U.S. Additionally, some exchanges are based outside of the U.S. but may have significant customer bases in the U.S. Bitcoin derivatives offered on these exchanges include futures, forwards, and options. — Published November 15, 2015

The Support from Standardized Tests: High School Graduates Unprepared to be College Freshmen

In Part 4 of a 5 Part series, Librarian and Educator Lorette Weldon focuses on a core issue related to STEM education - high school students are not guaranteed success in college when they have completed college-preparatory courses. Weldon outlines the curriculum requirements that substantiate a progression to higher education. — Published November 15, 2015

October, 2015

Unpacking and overcoming “edutainment” in library instruction

Within our field, and more widely, there is a way of thinking that equates effective teaching with effective entertaining. This way of thinking can be referred to as a “discourse of edutainment.” It underpins some of the publications and conversations that encourage librarians to make their teaching more entertaining, for example by playing improv games or adding humour. In this article, Sarah Polkinghorne examines the edutainment discourse in three ways. First, she identifies and analyses it. Next, she connect it to larger concerns, such as creating significant learning experiences and wrestling with public speaking fear. To conclude she describe several concepts from the performing arts that could better support librarians working to teach in ways that are as engaging, significant, and enjoyable as possible. — Published October 30, 2015

Google’s A/B Testing Method is Being Applied to Improve Government Operations

Alan Rothman discusses and documents a method of testing used in the private sector that also has significant in public sector applications - the process called “A/B testing." Users are shown two nearly identical versions of something with one of them containing some slight variation. They are then asked to choose which one they prefer between the two. Rothman references how Google makes extensive use of this testing and design methodology, and also provides insight into how the federal government is implementing the tactics and strategies of this testing to provide more agile and actionable citizen and business related services. — Published October 30, 2015

A Matter of Trust: Why the Time is Right to Adopt the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) in Florida

In this article, Law Librarian Patricia Morgan brings our attention to a group of prominently related issues on electronic legal research whose application are critical for attorneys, librarians and courts. In an era where cost-cutting has become increasingly important, there already exists an untapped resource related to legal research. More and more resources exist online (some exclusively). It has been a long time since the introduction of the Internet, but it is finally going to prove instrumental in reducing the cost of legal research. It is time to come to terms with the fact that most legal material should be readily available electronically and that there must be a way to verify that the material is authentic. As Morgan queries and answers - Uniform Law, Anyone? — Published October 25, 2015

How Can Lawyers Use Social Media to Their Advantage?

Lawyers are no strangers to social media, but that doesn’t mean that everyone in the legal arena is familiar with how to use it effectively, proactively and consistently. If you are a lawyer who has not yet launched a social media presence, Mike Wallagher's article provides actionable ways that document how social media can benefit you and your career. — Published October 23, 2015

Unprepared Colleges and Universities Need A Self-Evaluation (Part 3 of 5: The Beginning of Information Illiteracy)

In Part 3 of a 5 Part series, Librarian and Educator Lorette Weldon focuses on a challenging issue - data, placement tests and student records should provide school administrators with the history of courses students have taken and what credit they received. Yet despite this information, every year there between 16% and 40% of entering freshmen are unprepared for college level courses. — Published October 18, 2015

September, 2015

Animal Rights on the Road to Personhood

Ken Strutin's paper addresses a seminal issue that has been an integral part of the personal and collective ethic of diverse peoples around the world. As Strutin states, when life is classified biologically, it is also defined legally. Thus is formed the tension between the natural and juridical worlds. Whether animal rights can ever fall within the ambit of personhood will depend as much on the findings of cognitive science as on the evolution of legal remedies. Indeed, the foundations for nonhuman personhood are being laid in a growing body of litigation and scholarship at the borderlands of science and civil justice. — Published September 23, 2015

The Next Librarian of Congress - What to do about the Internet Archive and Google Books’ scanning project?

David Rothman offers his insights and perspective on the work and challenges that await the next Librarian of Congress. He calls for an individual who is not only steeped in the requisite expertise of research, technology, learning, teaching and freedom of information, but in following with a cause he has long championed he states "we need someone with “a love of reading—including the e-book variety.” — Published September 23, 2015

Wearable tech data as evidence in the courtroom

Nicole Black discusses how data downloaded from wearable technology has entered into the discovery phase of personal injury cases. A wealth of data can be collected about the direct activities of individuals who are using wearable devices while exercising, as well as conducting routine and regular activities such as walking. The implications of this concept may have considerable implications on par with those pertaining to the use of social media. — Published September 23, 2015

Vermont’s Legislature is Considering Support for Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts

Bitcoin is a significant disruptive technology with a growing impact on the financial sector and legal sectors, around the world. Alan Rothman expertly educates us on new legislation from Vermont that is intended to move the state towards using blockchain technology for “records, smart contracts and other applications”. One of the key distinctions Rothman highlights is that Vermont is not in any manner approving or adopting Bitcoin, but rather, the state is diversifying and adapting the underlying blockchain technology that supports it. — Published September 23, 2015

Information Illiteracy Stopped through the Developmental Education Program

In Part 2 of her 5 part series, Lorette Weldon, Librarian and Educator, shares insightful and actionable research on why high school students are not guaranteed success in college when they have completed college-preparatory courses, and methods to overcome these challenges. — Published September 23, 2015

August, 2015

In Warren Buffett’s own backyard: Underfunded Omaha libraries. National digital library endowment, anyone?

David Rothman calls out an increasingly pervasive dichotomy of action by some of America's wealthiest corporate philanthropists in regard to supporting libraries, literacy and equal access to comprehensive public library collections. As Rothman documents, Omaha Public Libraries' spending per capita is substantially below that of surrounding communities and the current national average on library content spending is $4 per capita - or less than the price of a Big Mac. The National digital library endowment is certainly in need of public and private support on a significant and transparent level, and Rothman continues to advocate for progress to achieve this goal. — Published August 28, 2015

The Beginning of Information Illiteracy (Part 1 of 5)

In Part 1 of her 5 part series, Lorette Weldon, Librarian and Adjunct Professor in Developmental Reading, discusses the reasons for and challenges of entering college freshmen who cannot read or write. Her emphasis is on the value of implementing developmental reading programs. — Published August 23, 2015

Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go”: Still Rings True Today

Cheryl Niemeier answers the questions many members have following the decision to change the name of the Private Law Libraries-Special Interest Section (PLL-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) to the Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals-Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS). — Published August 23, 2015

Watson, is That You? Yes, and I’ve Just Demo-ed My Analytics Skills at IBM’s New York Office

Alan Rothman attended a demo of IBM's Watson Technology, and the shares insights about the core components of this high profile new analytical tool. The technology holds potential value for multiple sectors and cross functional work streams, and as Alan notes, is still under development with additional applications forthcoming. — Published August 16, 2015

Finding People Resources and Sites on the Internet

People centric resources and sites on the Internet allow you to find individuals based on a range of objectives: personal (family, medical, genealogy); business (legal, corporate, financial); academic; government and career. Web search guru Marcus P. Zillman's new guide highlights selected sources to add to or supplement your current tools to focus research and retrieve information for actionable results. — Published August 16, 2015

July, 2015

Book-starved Utah boy begs postman for junk mail to read: How to respond?

David Rothman shares a recent story about a boy whose quest to read in spite of even minimal resources was captured and shared around the world, resulting in a flood of free books, thanks to the mail carrier who took the time to listen, and the initiative to help. At the heart of this example of action is David's continuous work promoting a national digital library endowment and well-stocked national digital library systems. — Published July 31, 2015

Cut and Paste Opinions: A Turing Test for Judicial Decision-Making

Ken Strutin argues that cut-and-paste is a laudable method for reducing transcription errors in copying citations and quotations. However, he identifies that a problem arises when it is used to lift verbatim sections of a party's arguments into a case decision. Stipulations and proposed orders from counsel for both parties might be enviable and practicable, but judgment and fact-finding are solely in the province of the court. This has been a long standing issue that has spanned technologies from shears and paste-pot to typewriters and computers, and which might culminate in a Turing Test for case law. — Published July 25, 2015

Library Research Guides: Best Practices

Many librarians have a set of research guides that they are responsible for keeping up to date, but finding time to devote to this important task can be extremely difficult. As libraries migrate to LibGuides 2.0, many are using this opportunity to study their users’ preferences, implement new policies, and completely refresh their research guide collection. If your library is going through this process, or you are simply planning on using the (relatively) calm summer months to update your research guides, here are ten best practice tips to keep in mind - by Kara Dunn, D`Angelo Law Library. — Published July 25, 2015