Features and Columns — October, 2014

World leading online privacy law library gets big increase in capacity

The International Privacy Law Library on WorldLII has been expanded. The Library's 32 databases include about 3,600 decisions of 13 privacy and data protection authorities, from New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, Macau, Mauritius, the United States and the European Union. — Published May 28, 2014

Legal Loop: 8 handy gadgets for the mobile lawyer office

For the 21st century lawyer, mobility is key, since a mobile law practice makes it easier than ever for lawyers to practice law no matter where they happen to be. That's why, according to the American Bar Association's 2013 Legal Technology Survey, more lawyers are going mobile than ever before, with nearly 91 percent of lawyers surveyed reporting that they have used smartphones in their practices and 48 percent of lawyers surveyed reported using a tablet at work. Nicole Black explains why you need to have the right accessories to be effectively mobile. — Published May 18, 2014

Unwarranted DNA Sampling: The Legacy of Maryland v. King

Criminal law expert Ken Strutin's article addresses how DNA forensics is about information, privacy and the presumption of innocence. It has become the determinant for identification, solving cold cases and exonerating the innocent. Strutin describes that at its core, it is an inestimable library of personal data. Due to the increasingly important role of Personally identifiable information (PII), courts and legislatures have been attempting to balance the interests of the individual in protecting their genetic information with the usefulness and necessity of that same data for criminal investigation. Strutin notes clearly that any DNA or forensic database is a composite of intertwined informational and legal values that pose competing and conflicting questions about the analytics (accuracy, reliability and validity) of the data and the lawfulness (constitutionality) of its gathering. His article collects recent notable decisions and scholarship appearing in the aftermath of Maryland v. King. — Published May 11, 2014

April, 2014

Fargo Brings An Outliner to Your Browser

Elmer Masters explains the pragmatic as well as technological value of Dave Winer's new full featured outliner, Fargo. Fargo runs in your web browser and stores your data in your Dropbox folder. According to Masters, this combination of browser and cloud puts the outliner everywhere, making it a good choice for anyone looking for ubiquitous note taking and writing capabilities. That includes just about all of us! — Published April 30, 2014

Personal Task Management for Legal Professionals

Brad Edmondson searched for the right task management app throughout much of his time attending law school. He finally found and recommends in this article one that he chose for individual use: Todoist. The app - it’s really more of a service - operates on the “freemium” model, and Brad signed up for the premium version three months ago. He compares and contrasts this app to others for Mac and Android platforms in this best practices guide. — Published April 27, 2014

The limits of 'Hack the library': Don't aim for too much more with too much less--and try harder for more

David Rothman notes that less than 12 percent of U.S. public library spending goes for books and other items. So he is very much in favor of the "hack the library" movement reinventing libraries. At the same time, Rothman warns that all the technical ingenuity and creativity in the world is no substitute for sufficient funding in areas ranging from content to data security. The public's needs, not the interests of techie volunteers, should count most of all. — Published April 27, 2014

eCommerce Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive, diverse and wide ranging listing of eCommerce Resources on the Web. These resources include those in a wide range of areas such as: associations, indexes, search engines as well as individual websites. — Published April 13, 2014

March, 2014

3D Printing: The Manufactory of Knowledge

Ken Strutin's article addresses the increasing use and impact, social and legal, of the emerging and high visibility technology known as 3D printing. The technology's use in a wide range of sectors - including education, manufacturing, firearms, robotics and medical devices, as well as in the home - is raising a plethora of patent, trademark and intellectual property issues. In addition, libraries and museums are beginning to embrace 3D technologies for archiving and collection development. And the widespread ability to create three-dimensional objects via technology is transforming information collection, storage and communication across a spectrum of fields. — Published March 29, 2014

Using Raspberry Pi and Open Source to Understand Technology

Elmer Masters, Director of Internet Development at the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, has a new column which he had graciously agreed to share with LLRX readers. In this article he examines the concept of using the open nature of a Linux powered Raspberry Pi to better understand some of the tech tools we use all the time. He describes Raspberry Pi as an excellent little computer and a great tool for learning programming, learning about Linux, prototyping interesting things, and more. Thanks Elmer and Slaw! — Published March 23, 2014

Business Intelligence Online Resources: An Internet Annotated Link Dataset Compilation

Marcus P. Zillman's new, comprehensive guide comprises the most current and accurate business intelligence source available via the web, free and fee based. Zillman includes resources and sites mined from both the visible and invisible web. His carefully selected business intelligence resources and sites are described along with their current URL address, providing researchers with mission critical tools and techniques relevant to immediate and ongoing projects. — Published March 23, 2014

Costco stores as role models for Internet-era public libraries (caveats ahead)

David Rothman cautions that the rage is to compare everything in creation to a business. But he urges us to be careful when doing so with America's public libraries. They are civic and service institutions, not profit-making corporations. A major caveat! Public libraries need to serve everyone, especially the poor, a distinct and resonate differentiation with the market paradigm. Still, in in a library context, Rothman was intrigued when President Obama once again singled out Costco for its success. There are lessons to be learned here. — Published March 2, 2014

Constant Currents: Poems by Brooke Grasberger

From an emerging poet, LLRX is delighted to publish a new collection by Brooke Grasberger. — Published March 2, 2014

Does a Blended Learning, Flipped Classroom Pedagogy Help Information Literacy Students in the Long Term Adoption of Research Skills?

Rich McCue discusses and documents how Research of Information Literacy and Blended Learning (BL) is in an early stage with the current body of knowledge consisting of case studies and small action based research projects. BL offers the promise of higher scores on summative assessments and lower requirements for physical space and instructor time if implemented using best practices. Some BL best practices include a significant investment of time and effort in course redesign, and close collaboration between library and faculty instructors during the redesign. — Published March 2, 2014

$38 Datawind UbiSlate 7Ci tablet as an e-reader: Avoid this adware trap despite its many positives!

David Rothman is spearheading chronicling the progress of expanding low cost access to e-readers as libraries engage in mission critical outreach efforts to reach underserved communities. In this article, Rothman asks: Suppose you could buy an iPad for $38, read OverDrive library books, even hear text to speech from them, and enjoy Kindle books, too. And how about social media, photos, basic video chat, and production of low-res videos? What if you could even use voice recognition to dictate e-mail or other documents for work or school? Programs to loan out low-cost e-readers are on the horizon, but David cautions there are indeed impediments, including operating system security and lack of now ubiquitous high-end audio/video performance. — Published March 2, 2014

February, 2014

My Avatar Teacher

Lorette Weldon discusses how busy business professionals determined to make the time to share and learn best practices from colleagues use a range of methods to accomplish this goal. But professionals seeking to talk to, travel and engage with experts in the skills that they wish to obtain and/or develop may be stymied in their efforts. In the late 1980’s, these Three T’s were formalized as a teaching method for the "tight time" individual. It was initially a method to help unite parent and child as they worked together on educational needs. Taking this further along, Weldon brings us forward through the dynamics of ELA, my Electronic Library Assistant, used to could build skills by taking the experts or teachers on the road. In order to use ELA as a training process, the Three T’s approach allows professionals to employ the skills of talking, traveling and tinkering with devices that they used daily in personal and work life. — Published February 18, 2014

January, 2014

Knowledge Discovery Resources 2014 - An Internet Annotated Link Dataset Compilation

Marcus P. Zillman's new guide focuses on a comprehensive, reliable and actionable group of the most current resources for knowledge discovery available on the Web. The sources that Zillman highlights range from academe to non-profits, advocacy groups and the corporate sector. This guide covers topics that include: Data Mining, Web Mining, Knowledge Discovery, Data Analysis, Data Management, Big Data, Open Source and Curation, and P2P knowledge management. — Published January 26, 2014

Clemency and The Vanishing Point of Decision Making

Ken Strutin begins his article stating that for the most part, the decision of whether to grant a pardon or commutation rests on the discretion of the executive. He continues, it is a constitutional authority that leaves little recourse if the President or a governor chooses not to act or to do so parsimoniously. He notes the downward trend in the granting of clemency begs the question of whether this is due to some fault in the process or in the decider or some other aggregation of factors. And he takes up the challenge of legal scholars and petitioners to speculate on whether there is any relief for a petrified constitutional remedy. Ken's article highlights some notable decisions and scholarship about clemency practices and the legal theories underlying a mandate for its application. It is an important resource on a significant issue by a subject matter expert whose work continuously expands our understanding of complex issues related to civil liberties and the law. — Published January 20, 2014

Should public libraries give away e-book-friendly tablets to poor people? $38 tablet hints of possibilities

David Rothman proposes that e-book-capable tablets, especially with national digital library systems in place, could multiply the number of books matching students' precise needs. Paper books could serve as gateways to E, and then children and parents could digitally follow their passions to the max, whether for spaceships, basketball, or knitting. A "quiet" feature could turn off Facebook-style distractions when tablet users wanted to focus on books. Protective rubber cases could guard against drops. Learning, independent of income - access to knowledge regardless of often round-the clock-work schedules for increasing numbers of parents and young people who are struggling to get by - this is a cause around which many communities of best practice can rally. — Published January 18, 2014

Researching Australian Law

Nicholas Pengelley and Sue Milne have revised, updated and expanded their guide which covers a comprehensive range of sources on topics that include: Parliaments and Laws; Finding Australian Legislation; Courts and Judgments; Finding Australian Cases; Treaties; Journal Literature; Legal Encyclopedias; Law Reform; Government Information; Dictionaries; Directories; Legal Research Guides; Publishers; Current Awareness; Discussion Lists; and Major Texts. — Published January 18, 2014

E-Government Information and Public Access: Online electronic government information and the impact of the government shutdown on public access

Crystal Vicente's paper focuses on the impact of the dramatic termination of e-government access during the October 2013 federal funding gap that resulted in a shutdown of government processes. As she documents, the public's access to government information was severely limited, and in some cases prohibited entirely. We now widely expect that an advanced technological society will make information available via Internet anytime and from anywhere. However, when access is eliminated, the resulting information crisis cripples the public's interaction with the federal government. Vicente states that the shutdown and the subsequent lack of access to government information is an indicator that the information dissemination model is faulty, and reliance on a single point of access is a mistake. As a result, libraries, long charged with protecting the public's access to information, are challenged to find a viable solution to protecting free permanent public access. — Published January 12, 2014

December, 2013

Making the national digital library dream come true for the Hernandezes--not just the American elite: Strategies for librarians and public officials

This is the last article David Rothman's in the current series mapping out a path for planners of America's digital libraries. Part One encouraged librarians to be open to new ideas like BiblioTech, especially from friends outside the profession. Part Two featured the Hernandez family in a 2020 scenario telling how national digital libraries could benefit the non elite.

— Published December 29, 2013

How the Hernandez family will benefit from two well-stocked national digital library systems and a digital library endowment

This is Part Two of LibraryCity's series, by David Rothman, mapping out a digital future for U.S. libraries to better our lives. Part One is on the need for librarians to open their minds to innovations like the BiblioTech digital library. Part Three is on strategies to make well-stocked national digital libraries a reality and help the Hernandezes, not just the American elite.

— Published December 29, 2013

Beware, public libraries: You'll go the way of print newspapers if you automatically diss nonlibrarians' gutsy ideas

This is the first article in a three-part series by David Rothman, all three of which are published here at LLRX.com. Part Two is about Carmela Hernandez and family. Set in the San Antonio area, a future scenario shows how a national digital library initiative could help turn their lives around. Part Three tells how librarians and policymakers can make the initiative happen and benefit the Hernandezes, not just the American elite.

— Published December 29, 2013

Voice Dream text-to-speech app can now play audiobooks, too, and soon you may be able to hear audios of PDFs while seeing the original layouts

David Rothman gives kudos to the latest version of the Voice Dream text-to-speech app that can now play audiobooks. David also let's us know that soon you may be able to hear audios of PDFs while seeing the original layouts. The new version of Voice Dream, a superb iOS text-to-speech app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, can now play audiobooks, too. — Published December 29, 2013

FOIA Frustration

Attorney and FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes discusses how requestors' experience in obtaining results from the FOIA process can in large measure be mitigated by two key factors - FOIA Offices must have the ability to follow the law, and top agency management must allow the professionals within the agency to do this. — Published December 18, 2013

Give Open a Chance in Law

Sarah Glassmeyer's commentary challenges us to consider a Venn Diagram comprising the current state of legal education; the systematic failures surrounding issues of Access to Justice; and in the third circle is the Reinvent/Innovate/New Law world of individuals attempting to make the practice of law more efficient using technological solutions. Sarah then asks - What lies smack in the center of these circles? The answer - Legal Information. Read on. — Published December 16, 2013

Calculating Justice: Mathematics and Criminal Law

Ken Strutin's new guide on criminal justice illuminates the growing importance of math in the administration of justice, with an emphasis on the areas of proof and judgment. Ken raises the examples of how statistics (evidence) and probability (analytics) have been used and challenged in many criminal cases to match people to events through such means as: DNA, soil samples, eyewitness descriptions, firearm purchase records, typewritten documents, clothes fibers, footprints, hair follicles, blood types, sperm, teeth marks, and conviction rates. Indeed, everything from traffic tickets to predictive policing draws on math in some way. Ken's analysis and through documentation of case law adds a critical perspective on the manner in which "numbers are used, and abused" in court. — Published December 8, 2013

Deep Web Research and Discovery Resources 2014

Marcus P. Zillman's updated guide is a keynote presentation he has been delivering and fine tuning with his tremendous acumen to include evolving content pertinent to researchers in all arenas. As the virtual territory addressed by this topic covers trillions of pages of information located throughout the world wide web in various files and formats, this guide is a critical resource for professionals seeking to effectively leverage searching for specific data. — Published December 1, 2013

November, 2013

UsBook: Toward a family-friendly Facebook alternative to preserve your memories and help future historians--while respecting privacy

David Rothman's commentary focuses on how the Digital Public Library of America is still on track to be a mostly academic creature despite the P word in its name. David supports and documents innovative, creative and value-added goals that with proper focus, can bolster the DPLA onto the level of a world-class academic digital library system, as opposed to siphoning off badly needed resources and other forms of support from public librarians who should be forming their own e-system. At the same time, Rothman believes that the DPLA and public libraries should work closely on joint projects, including an alternative to Facebook--not a clone but a different kind of social network. — Published November 30, 2013

A Good Day at the Googleplex

Prof. Annemarie Bridy reviews the facts related to fair use and copyright in the long awaited decision delivered in the Google Book Search case on November 14, 2013 by Judge Chin. She focuses on the court's deliberation of statutory requirements for the fair use defense to a claim of infringement based on weighing four critical factors. In sum, Bridy believes the opinion is an efficient and complete analysis of the required factors, and thinks that it will hold up well on appeal. — Published November 16, 2013