Features and Columns — November, 2015

Recent Visualization Projects Involving US Law and The Supreme Court

Examples of the use of visualizations and graphical representations of data and documents in the legal arena are increasing. Alan Rothman's article includes examples from the public and private sectors as well as academia. — Published May 22, 2015

Computer Savviness: Step 4 to Information Literacy

Lorette Weldon shares her roadmap to Computer Savviness - be flexible enough to learn new concepts, methods, and technology developed for different kinds of communities - and do not be not averse to discovering and trying new applications and tools to learn and discern what may work best for your specific environment. — Published May 22, 2015

IBM’s Watson is Now Data Mining TED Talks to Extract New Forms of Knowledge

Alan Rothman's commentary offers actionable information about a new technology from IBM called Watson that is a powerful tool for researchers whose work engages data mining, knowledge management and competitive intelligence. Rothman attended a recent presentation that demonstrated how Watson is deployed as a search and discovery tool whose object is the huge video archive of TED Talks content. — Published May 17, 2015

Creating the Information Literate Warrior: Step 6 to Information Literacy

In this part of her ongoing series, Lorette Weldon concentrates on successful methods for developing needed tools for kids’ study through demonstrations to show them how to find the information on their own. — Published May 17, 2015

Wikipedia and Information Literacy: Step 5 to Information Literacy

Lorette Weldon teaches her students to be critical and aware users of Wikipedia for research projects and assignments of any kind. Lorette provides specific criteria to benchmark content on Wikipedia for value, reliability, time frames when information has been posted and updated, as well as any evident bias. — Published May 17, 2015

Book Review - “The Age of Cryptocurrency”

Alan Rothman highlights the increasing impact of an online payment system that is immersed in finance and economics around the world - the expanding use of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. With actionable links to expert professional topical sources on these subjects, Alan's article will bring you up to speed on a bleeding edge cross border issue that impacts law, technology, e-commerce and the deep web. — Published May 17, 2015

April, 2015

How To Conduct Free Legal Research Using Google Scholar In 2015 (Part 2)

Nicole Black benchmarks how legal research is something lawyers do nearly every day and why convenient, affordable access to legal research materials is so important. Web-based legal research has truly provided solos and small firms the tools they need to compete - and at a price they could afford. The trick is to set aside time to learn the ins and outs of conducting legal research on Google Scholar. To make this process even easier for you, Nicole has provided Part 2 of her series on this topic. (Part 1 is here) — Published April 30, 2015

The Wealth Gap: A Tale of Two School Libraries

David Rothman provides critical insight into the inequities in the availability of public school library resources between different areas within DC, but which are not at all unique to this city. — Published April 26, 2015

Amicus Curiae: Information in the Service of Justice

From Ken Strutin's introduction to this guide: In the legal system, such intonements have taken on the form of specialized briefs called amicus curiae ("friend of the court"). And through extension and by complement they have appeared in the form of law reviews, media articles, exposes, and books. Indeed, there is an oscillating relationship between amici and law reviews, which has been beneficial for scholarship and public discourse. In the end, it is the passion for justice that drives individuals, governments, academics, lawyers, journalists and other interested groups to befriend the courts. The amicus has the power to speak to many audiences simultaneously. In the courtroom, it is the honest broker; in the public media, it is the educator; in academia, it is scholarly analysis and historical perspective. Bounded by common law, court rules, and the conventions of publishing (briefs, articles or books), the amicus can yet move knowledge into venues where it is most needed. An amicus can serve as an "oral shepardizer," expert witness, or quasi-litigant that extends the range of judicial notice and culls, concentrates and vets information into a case-specific resource. Still, there is a tension between the role of the amicus as independent expert offering facts and a party arguing an agenda, which can ultimately impact the quality and constitutionality of decision-making. Indeed, there are concerns that unregulated amicus practice can undermine development of case law by opening the door to issues and arguments beyond the threshold of standing and jurisdiction. Lastly, the free range of amicus briefs can exacerbate already problematic judicial information seeking behavior. Roman legal tradition fashioned the amicus into an interlocutor, an explainer in all kinds of cases. Today, their roles are circumscribed by court rule and common law. However, the scope of this article is confined to a discrete precinct of the amicus universe, criminal justice. — Published April 26, 2015

How To Conduct Free Legal Research Using Google Scholar In 2015 (Part 1)

Nicole Black surveys the new landscape for access to legal research databases, which previously cost a considerable sum - back in the day when Westlaw and Lexis had cornered the market. Today researchers have a range of reliable, affordable choices for legal research, such as Fastcase and CaseMaker, and even entirely free alternatives such as Google Scholar. — Published April 26, 2015

March, 2015

Emerging roles and possible futures for librarians and information professionals

Author, professor, editor, librarian - Bruce Rosenstein's article addresses the following critical questions - What professional roles do you play as a librarian/information professional? How have they changed during your career? And perhaps most important, how do you see them changing and evolving in the future? — Published March 15, 2015

Seven ways to grow the e-book business while helping libraries and readers: Ideas based on my two decades of writing about it

E-book sales are not posting impressive sales increases, at least not among big publishers. One major reason is that much of the technology is difficult to use. Even increased library statistics for e-loans are not resulting in corresponding increases in funding and support for libraries around the country. Based on more than two decades of writing about e-books, David Rothman suggests seven library-and-consumer friendly ways to boost e-book growth. — Published March 8, 2015

Book review: ‘Bexar BiblioTech: The Evolution of the Country’s First All-digital Public Library’

David Rothman describes why the BiblioTech library in Bexar County, Texas is a landmark achievement worthy of implementation and iteration in towns and cities throughout the US. His article describes the success of this variation on a library system detailed in a new book authored by Nelson Wolff, the visionary behind the country’s first all-digital public library system. Wolff is the judge of Bexar County, which includes the city of San Antonio. The title is roughly equivalent to the head of a county board. Judge Wolff and his wife, Tracy, are donors and fund-raisers for BiblioTech and other civic causes, and his book is a how-to pathfinder to “bridge the literacy and technology gaps.” — Published March 8, 2015

That’s Write: Putting Aside the Keyboard and Using a Pen or Pencil Can be Good for Your Brain

Alan Rothman, expert knowledge manager, content strategist and project manager, discusses valuable lessons learned throughout his education that he continues to practice today. Specifically, the importance of hand written notes and hand editing electronically prepared documents remains a key component of knowledge retention, organization, and connecting critical information to projects, plans, coordinating work assignments, and delivering work product to customers. Maintaining and improving cognitive skills through handwriting is well documented, and Rothman discusses the multiple ways that writing plays an integral role at work, at home, in education, and in personal development. — Published March 1, 2015

Archiving Transparency and Accountability: Step 3 to Information Literacy

In Part 3 of Lorette Weldon's series she discusses the virtual assistant she created to review with clients the search methods that were covered in face to face customer interactions. Weldon emphasizes that this methodology creates and maintains transparency, enhancing learning and sustaining relationships. Links to Part 1 and Part 2. — Published March 1, 2015

February, 2015

Shaken Baby Syndrome: A Differential Diagnosis of Justice

Ken Strutin's article is a comprehensive examination of how the concept of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) has become a battleground where medical evidence and legal presumptions clash, testing the limits of judicial wisdom. Strutin presents a collection of recent and select court decisions, law reviews and news articles that explore the ongoing scientific and legal arguments about the definition and exclusivity of shaken baby syndrome evidence. — Published February 21, 2015

No Paperwhite read-aloud for you! FCC again lets Amazon and friends diss people with disabilities

David Rothman continues his reporting on the status of Text to Speech applications that have yet to be added to E-Ink readers due to the FCC's extension of vendor exemptions from complying with a key benefit for the disabled that is part of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. — Published February 21, 2015

Step 2 to Information Literacy

In Part 2 of Lorette Weldon's series, she emphasizes that to promote information literacy you would have to practice what you preach. You must retain customer interaction information so that you may add to it in forthcoming interactions. Thus says Weldon, the patrons experience both familiarity and warmth when they return to the library because the librarian remembers who they are and what they had been looking for in previous visits. — Published February 16, 2015

January, 2015

Step 1 to Information Literacy

This is the first of a three part series by Lorette Weldon. She discusses the role of “The Three T’s” - talking, tinkering, and traveling, in relationship to building a bond between librarians and customers seeking reference and research services. — Published January 17, 2015

Tell the FCC to Require Read-Aloud for Future Kindles and Other E Ink Devices

Want read-aloud in Kindles and other readers? Use FCC's easy online form by January 9, 2015. David H. Rothman calls attention to a pivotal upcoming event for readers everywhere: On January 28, 2015 if the Federal Communications Commission makes the right choice, a regulatory waiver will expire. The waiver has exempted Amazon and other E Ink manufacturers from having to comply with rules based on the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act signed by President Obama in 2010. Last year, at the urging of the National Federation for the Blind, scores of blind people objected to the waiver. And the FCC listened. “We believe that, given the swift pace at which e-reader and tablet technologies are evolving and the expanding role of ACS in electronic devices, granting a waiver beyond this period is outweighed by the public interest and congressional intent to ensure that Americans with disabilities have access to advanced communications technologies.” — Published January 4, 2015

December, 2014

Cameras in the Streets: Focus on Justice

2014 has been a watershed for the national and international role of citizen photo journalists who have impacted in myriad ways events which have in turn sparked debate, protests, and legal action - increasing the scrutiny of activity conducted by groups including law enforcement. Ken Strutin's timely, informative and significant article collects noteworthy news, litigation, and legal analyses concerning civilians and journalists photo-documenting the activities of law enforcement as well as police use of cameras to record their work. — Published December 31, 2014

New Economy Resources 2015

Marcus P. Zillman helps LLRX end 2014 and begin 2015 with a set of powerhouse guides for researchers. The New Economy is steeped in the mantra of transparency and big data, and Marcus provides us with critical resources to respond to the challenges we face as researchers to stay ahead of the curve and serve our clients and customers accurately, reliably and comprehensively. — Published December 31, 2014

Deep Web Research and Discovery Resources 2015

Web search expert Marcus P. Zillman delves into the The Deep Web, comprising somewhere in the vicinity of trillions upon trillions of pages of information posted in various files and formats not surfaced by using the two or three major search engines. The rapidly expanding areas of business and competitive intelligence, data mining, and the significance of metadata in national and international surveillance make this guide especially significant for researchers. — Published December 31, 2014

November, 2014

U.K. vocabulary study shows long-term benefits of reading for fun: Lower nursing home bills, not just better K-12 scores?

David Rothman cites and discusses two British research studies that conclude “reading for pleasure puts children ahead in the classroom” and "those who had regularly read for pleasure at 10 scored 67 per cent in the age 42 vocabulary test, whereas infrequent childhood readers scored only 51 per cent.” Other recent studies support the positive impact of life long reading, including that reading narrative fiction helps us to develop empathy and and social skills. — Published November 30, 2014

Guide To Privacy Resources 2015

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive listing of privacy resources currently available on the Internet that impact your email, smartphones, websites, hard drives, files and data. Sources include associations, indexes, search engines as well as individual websites and organizations that provide the latest technology and information to raise awareness of privacy and security as you interact with others using the internet. — Published November 16, 2014

NY bar on ethics of cloud computing – again

Nicole Black lauds the the leading edge role taken by the New York State Bar in determining issues related to lawyer use of cloud computing and client confidential data. In two different opinions handed down in the latter half of this year, the New York Bar committee reaffirmed the applicability of the longstanding duty of due diligence when assessing the security of third party service providers, explaining that a lawyer must assess whether the technology offers reasonable protections against disclosure and must also take reasonable precautions when using technology. — Published November 10, 2014

Criminal, privacy implications of drones

Nicole Black discusses a recent NJ case that raises significant questions about the future of privacy and the use of drones for surveillance purposes by both private individuals and governmental entities. Cases such as this one involving the discharge of a weapon to destroy a privately owned drone used to surveil a neighbor's property will impact interpretations of privacy laws in New Jersey, New York and around the country as well. — Published November 10, 2014

October, 2014

Turning Challenges into Opportunities: New Directions for Legal Information Professionals

Attorney, journalist, author, legal tech expert, speaker and blogger Robert Ambrogi made a presentation recently at the fall meeting of the Law Librarians of New England and the Association of Boston Law Librarians. He addressed the pivotal ways in which law librarians remain critical contributors to the work product of law firms, professors and researchers in the academic arena, and change agents within the overall professional communities whose work places are increasingly dominated by Big Data, business intelligence and complex analytical tools. — Published October 31, 2014

Looking back, leaping forward, leveraging crisis, and freeing the law: A lawyer story

Thomas R. Bruce, Director of the Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute discusses how Google Scholar's caselaw collection is a victory for open access to legal information and the democratization of law. He strongly acknowledges the fifth anniversary of this open­ access legal web site, but goes further to focus on the importance of this benchmark to the expanding value of freely accessible legal information combined with technically advanced search features available to diverse user communities outside the scope of the legal profession, for free. From caselaw to the rapidly expanding regulatory arena, fed by rules created by over 400 federal agencies that have enormous and multifaceted impact on our lives, the potential for search, discovery, education, empowerment and citizen engagement remains under development. Thank you Tom and all the experts at LII for blazing, maintaining and pioneering the next wave of critical paths to enable access to free legal research. — Published October 31, 2014

Adobe’s laxness with e-book data shows the need for a library-controlled ecosystem for library e-books

David Rothman highlights the recent revelation of an Adobe e-book reader data collection privacy issue, and suggests this security vulnerability offers a key opportunity for libraries to collaborate with other organizations to diminish data breaches, increase reader privacy, and empower libraries as stakeholders in a new relationship with vendors and customers. — Published October 31, 2014