Features and Columns — October, 2014

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

Legal Loop: Lawyers, technology and a light at the end of the tunnel

Lawyer and legal tech expert Nicole Black highlights how federal court judges are leveraging research and current awareness sources and services provided to professionals and the public via their respective court websites, as well as actively using mobile tools and apps in their daily work flow. — Published November 13, 2013

Library Metrics

Attorney/Librarian Eve Ross demonstrates in a clear and actionable presentation how librarians can effectively leverage data-driven statistics to measure and document the work streams, processes and services they provide to respective organizations. Eve's emphasis is on accountability, transparency and helping to improve the organization's bottom line with expert, reliable and cost effective services. — Published November 11, 2013

ShoppingBots and Online Shopping Resources 2014

Marcus Zillman's timely and information packed guide to ShoppingBots and Online Shopping Resources is a comprehensive listing of shoppingbot and online shopping/coupon resources and sites on the Internet. Marcus also provides a value-added section of Notes and Suggestions for Virtual Shopping to assist you with safe, effective tools, techniques and sources to ensure your online shopping will be successful in all its facets! — Published November 11, 2013

Metrics 101: Proving Your Value

Bess Reynolds expertly documents the strategy, tools and techniques to implement effective metrics that clearly define and communicate to management your library's value added deliverables. — Published November 11, 2013

October, 2013

How to get the most out of library e-books via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise

Want to hear text to speech from free library books on your 50-mile commute? Even if you own an Android machine and the usual app can't do “read-aloud” unless audiobooks count? A new, expert and insightful report by David Rothman focuses on the new Kindle Fire HDXes. He recommends them to be among the top choices if you care more about reading than about tech and can accept Amazon's proprietary requirements. His article is written for both library staffers and patrons who are passionate about e-books. — Published October 26, 2013

First all-digital public library system a hit in Bexar County, Texas—with hundreds of e-reader gizmos and an eager young crew to explain them

David Rothman reports on the world's first all-digital public library system - a groundbreaking new book-less library in Texas. The library offers 600 e-readers, 200 preloaded tablets for children, 48 desktop computers, and 20 iPads and laptops; patrons can check out e-readers (and maybe other equipment?). The library also comes with eager young humans to help get people up to speed on the technology. — Published October 23, 2013

Family literacy and K-12 success: How a well-stocked public e-library system for the U.S. could help our students catch up with ‘The Smartest Kids in the World’

David Rothman advocates the position that family literacy and the related recreational reading count endlessly, whether books are paper and ink or swarms of electrons. And not just learning-to-read family literacy. Parents’ efforts should go on right up to the day students leave for college, and this is where public libraries, serving all ages, have a special role to play—being able to accommodate both adults and young people, even though we also need school libraries. — Published October 23, 2013

How to keep e-books on young cellphone users’ minds - and encourage their friends to join the fun

David Rothman reviews the positive and negative outcomes of the “Library Everywhere” project in Uganda. He urges organizations, libraries and public interest groups to be sure not to just hand out tablets and hope that low-income families and others will read e-books. Also keep library e-books on the minds of children and adults. — Published October 21, 2013

DNA Evidence: Brave New World, Same Old Problems

Criminal law expert Ken Strutin guides us through the critical facets that comprise the backbone of investigative forensics in the 21st Century - the database. Ken states that of all information gathering techniques, genetic databanking has become the holy grail of prosecutions and the last resort for exonerations. It is both the cause of and solution to many problems in the administration of justice. Thus, DNA forensics highlights the longstanding tension between scientific understanding and legal reasoning. While DNA's scientific reputation is very near to magic, its forensic applications are subject to the faults and limitations of every kind of evidence offered as proof in a court of law. Ken's article collects research on the law and science of genetic evidence at the pre-conviction stage. It focuses on the role of DNA in identification, investigation and prosecution of crime, social and privacy issues, and to some degree exculpation or evidence of third party culpability. — Published October 14, 2013

Education and Academic Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide links researchers to a wide range of reliable resources for all professions and skill levels. Marcus covers topics including: education, chemistry, economics, mathematics, philosophy, engineering, MBA and PhD/Dissertation/Thesis/Academic Writing resources, as well as increasingly popular MOOCS/Open Courseware (OCW) resources. — Published October 14, 2013

Shutdown Cuts Off Public Access to Government Information

Access to government information is important in the daily lives of the people of the United States. During the shutdown of the federal government, paper and digital versions of government publications are either not available at all or the web sites are not being updated. Bernadine Abbott Hoduski has documented the specific impact shared by Librarians around the nation who report that they are unable to help patrons find the information they need to do research, write articles for journals and newspapers, prepare class assignments, find laws and regulations relevant to the conduct of their businesses, find information needed to file law suits, complete mortgage applications, access weather information, do historical and genealogical research, and contact government officials through agency web sites. Professors teaching future librarians, teachers, geographers, scientists, and other user communities, are unable to access web sites needed for their classes. — Published October 14, 2013

September, 2013

The Humanities and Technology Camp (THATCamp): An "unconference" experience LLRX readers might enjoy

Archivist and Librarian Celia Caust-Ellenbogen writes: "if you read LLRX, it is probably because you are interested in various facets of a massive constellation of issues surrounding technology, legal research, jurisprudence, library and information science, and related subjects. You are probably also a curious, open-minded person, seeking to broaden your horizons and eager to try new applications and tools. If you appreciate the diverse, knowledgeable perspectives given voice on LLRX, the curated resource lists introduced here, and the forward-thinking embrace of technology on the site, you will probably enjoy THATCamp too! — Published September 29, 2013

Ouch! Text to speech is also AWOL from THIS year's Paperwhite from Amazon

David Rothman's discussion of the newest Kindle Paperwhite E Ink reader from Amazon highlights that the device is still missing text to speech - among the very features Jeff Bezos touted when he unveiled the second Kindle in 2009. He advises that we refer to the Paperwhite users guide and see what's AWOL. — Published September 18, 2013

The DPLA and the risks of gentrifying America’s public libraries

David Rothman's commentary proposes that the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) should turn itself into the Digital Academic Library of America or something similar while encouraging public libraries to establish their own system, ideally through COSLA, a group of state library administrators. Both systems could share not just content but also a common catalog for patrons wanting it, an infrastructure and technical services organization, and overlapping board members—while hewing to the systems’ respective priorities. — Published September 14, 2013

Mandatory Facebook login for users trying to gain access to a third-party service

Professor Annemarie Bridy challenges the increasingly common use of mandatory Facebook login for Internet users trying to gain access to a third-party service - including posting comments to news stories, as well as viewing white papers, studies, reports and other documents. — Published September 14, 2013

My Two Cents on Two Years - Commentary on reducing JD curriculum from 3 to 2 years

David C. Walker provides professional perspective on President Obama's remark during a recent speech that the curriculum for a Juris Doctor should be reduced from two years to three years so as to keep costs associated with law school tuition down. David explains how and why both law school graduates and society would generally be at a loss as a result of such a reduction. — Published September 14, 2013

Will Data Analytics Allow Us to “Do Less Law?”

Ron Friedmann is an expert on the legal market, where hardly a day goes by without an article or blog post about alternative fee arrangements (AFA) or delivering more value. Yet both clients and law firms struggle to define value and adopt alternatives to the billable hour, so Ron proposes perhaps the time has come to re-think the question. — Published September 2, 2013

Can We Do Less Law? (ILTA Presentation)

At the International Legal Technology Association 2013 meeting in Las Vegas, Ron Friedmann was a panelist on a program, "Do Less Law". Ron has shared the outline of his speech, with links to sources he cited. — Published September 2, 2013

Free ePub book shows potential of local librarians as content-providers: Whale bombings, Pearl Harbor and other stories enliven Q & A with now-dead airman

David Rothman brings much needed attention to free ePub books, licensed under Creative Commons, offering free downloads that include transcripts of original content, such this one, that he highlights from the Veterans History Project Oral Histories. — Published September 2, 2013

E-Books and the Miami-Dade Library Crisis: One Way to Help Thwart the Misers

David Rothman makes a case that the time has come for a coherent national strategy to help speed up digitization of library systems like Miami’s and use the efficiencies of e-books and other digital items to squeeze more out of tax dollars—while also increasing the total amount of money for libraries and content. In other words, be more generous at all levels of government but at the same time expect more value. Avoid ever shutting down neighborhood branches, valuable in many ways beyond loaning bestsellers and other titles, and don’t get rid of all paper books, especially picture books for children. — Published September 2, 2013

August, 2013

A User Guide to the Marrakesh Treaty

Jonathan Band provides a comprehensive guide to the recent international adoption of the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.” The Treaty is intended to promote the making and distribution of copies of books and other published materials in formats accessible to people with print disabilities. The Treaty would achieve this objective by obligating signatory countries (referred to as Contracting Parties) to adopt exceptions in their copyright laws that permit the making of copies in accessible formats as well as the distribution of those copies both domestically and internationally. This memorandum explains the Treaty’s provisions. The memorandum concludes that Title 17 of the United States Code complies with the Treaty’s requirements, and thus that the United States could sign and ratify the Treaty without making any changes to domestic law. — Published August 13, 2013

Student Research Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's new guide is a comprehensive pathfinder that identifies reliable, actionable and high value research resources and sources on the Internet that will provide students with key benchmarks for their studies. — Published August 10, 2013

Rebooting Legal Research in a Digital Age

Steven A. Lastres writes that research has always been core to the practice of law. However, the results of a recent survey Steven has authored identified a “New Normal” in today’s business climate that has a profound effect in the delivery of legal services and impacts how research is conducted. — Published August 10, 2013

July, 2013

Collecting the History of Legal Technology

Sarah Glassmeyer, Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, is calling out for assistance with a project to collect our shared legal technology history before it all ends up in dumpsters! — Published July 29, 2013

Big Data, Little Privacy: Tracking the Usual Suspects

In his article, Ken Strutin examines how the 21st century use of watch lists might or might not resemble the labeling of the McCarthy period, and how the experience of that era might inform an evaluation of present-day designation of the dangerous. After first describing the two labeling mechanisms, it compares them along several axes, finding that watch listing has both repeated some 1950s failings and moved on to develop some new ones of its own. In particular, because they are compiled and used in an opaque and completely one-sided process, watch lists run a substantial risk of incorrectly including many people who pose no threat. — Published July 21, 2013

New Version of Voice Dream: first-rate program for reading e-books aloud

A new incarnation of the Voice Dream text-to-speech program--for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch--hit the Apple app store recently. David Rothman says that at $9.99 is it worth every penny. — Published July 21, 2013