Features and Columns — April, 2014

DPLA Grant: Possible Synergy Between Libraries, Schools and Newspapers

David H. Rothman, a leading national digital library advocate, continues his series on the evolving framework for the Digital Public Library of America. In this column, he discusses the impact of new program funding from the Knight Foundation. Rothman believes the potential result could be the start of new synergies between libraries, schools, and newspapers - leading to more interest in civic participation, better monitoring of government at all levels, and maybe even a revival of many young people’s interest in newspapers. — Published October 30, 2012

Internet research tips and tricks for lawyers

This is attorney Nicole Black's review of The Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet, 12th edition, a book that helps lawyers learn how to use the Internet to conduct effective and free investigative and legal research. — Published October 21, 2012

Reference apps for the mobile lawyer

For mobile lawyers, tech savvy attorney Nicole Black recommends a range of topical, go-to reference apps that will save you time and effort while providing reliable, high quality information. Most of the apps are free or very low cost, and include Wolfram Alpha Lawyer’s Professional Assistant, iThesaurus, Recalls app, and the Wikipanion app. — Published October 21, 2012

Reliable Sites and Sources for Election Fact Checking

The event happens every four years in the U.S., but it consumes us for over 10 months, and takes perhaps 10 minutes to complete. The event is the U.S. Presidential Election. The action is voting. There are so many different points of view and so much news about the candidates and issues that is is often difficult to locate unbiased information and sort through the facts in the media. Barbara Fullerton highlights several sites to help voters review the issues and check the facts during this critical political process. — Published October 16, 2012

Statistics Resources and Big Data on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman has compiled a best practices bibliography of sites and reliable sources focused on the hot topic of statistics and big data. These sources are representative of multiple publishers, national and global - government, academia, NGOs, and industry, many of which leverage open source and collaborative applications. — Published October 7, 2012

September, 2012

Bluebook Technologies

The Bluebook is the standard citation guide for legal materials. There are now three format choices for the Bluebook: paper, online subscription (since 2008), and as of August 10, 2012 - iPad app. Law Librarian, author, research instructor and blogger Mary Whisner's guide discusses and illustrates the features and pricing of each. — Published September 18, 2012

The New Digital Public Library of America Board of Directors

David H. Rothman's current commentary highlights the composition of the new board of directors of the nonprofit DPLA, an organization that continues to grow and change, along with clarifying its goals and objectives. — Published September 18, 2012

Tutorial Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a wide ranging and immediately useful listing of tutorial resources and sites on the Internet. This guide will assist you to discover, review and select the most relevant and reliable sources for your requirements, on topics that include: e-training, health sciences and biomedical research, educational opportunities for unemployed workers, effective web searching, statistical data mining, free college and university courses, programming in various open source applications, and technical support, user guides and repair services too! — Published September 11, 2012

Privacy Resources and Sites on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive listing of both free and low cost privacy resources currently available on the Internet. It includes associations, indexes and search engines, as well as websites and programs that provide the latest technology and information on Web privacy. This guide will help facilitate a safer interactive environment for your email, your internet browsing, your health records, your data storage and file sharing exchanges, and internet telephony. — Published September 11, 2012

Mass Incarceration and the "Degree of Civilization"

Ken Strutin - law librarian, criminal defense attorney, and well-known writer and speaker, documents the preeminence of the United States as the world leader in incarceration. He states that incarceration is when a person loses their freedom pending trial or by serving a sentence - and mass incarceration is when millions of people are imprisoned and kept there based on a generation of tough on crime policies. The number of persons behind bars, which is higher in the United States than anywhere in the world, creates a ripple effect throughout the criminal justice system and society at large. This fact has inspired intense study of this punishment by many academic disciplines, public interest institutions and government agencies. His article focuses on selected recent and notable publications from these sources along with a list of current awareness sites. — Published September 4, 2012

August, 2012

Friends of Quinn and LD OnLine: Two good Web sites illustrate need for separate national digital library systems - public and academic

David H. Rothman highlights how two Web sites on learning disabilities demonstrate the need for separate but tightly intertwined national digital library systems - one system public, one academic. Collaborating with an academic system, a national digital public system could work with local library sites and public partners at different levels to provide the most trustworthy information available to all patrons. — Published August 29, 2012

State Small Business Development Centers

George Bergstrom's guide helps to identify resources to research how to start a small business in each of the 50 states. He suggests the first place to start may be the Small Business Administration's district offices. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development Disadvantaged Business Utilization Program has state level resources. Another resource for many states are LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups of entrepreneurs and small business persons. In addition, George recommends checking with the local Chamber of Commerce for the area in which you plan to operate your business. — Published August 21, 2012

OverDrive, safeguarding classics, the Jane Austen-'Hunger Games' connection, and a few other priorities for the DPLA to ponder

David H. Rothman's current commentary on the Harvard-hosted Digital Public Library of America highlights successful components of the project and prospective concepts that would support attaining the goal of a national digital library system. — Published August 12, 2012

Did the British burn all the books? Remembering the war of 1812 and the first Library of Congress

Nicholas Pengelley has once again contributed his expertise as a historian, librarian, writer, and scholar with his article on the War of 1812, from the Canadian perspective. This month marks the anniversary of events that are largely overlooked on our Nation's Capital, yet had an overarching impact on many aspects of our lives as librarians, researchers, students and citizens. The Library of Congress was at the time of the British invasion in the summer of 1814 a solid working collection, with an emphasis on law and parliamentary history, but with a smattering of works considered as entertainment. If it still existed, a number of the works on its shelves would be counted as great rarities and doubtless displayed in glass cases. This library perished in the flames of war, but it was created anew the following year - arising phoenix-like from the ashes on the foundation of Thomas Jefferson's personal library of nearly 7,000 volumes, which he sold to the nation for $23,950. Nick offers us many lessons and food for thought - not the least that the rush into the embrace of technology's myriad applications should be complemented by acknowledging how the deliberation and actions of individuals 200 years ago continues to enrich our society, and our lives. — Published August 3, 2012

July, 2012

The Decline of DVD-by-Mail, or Further Thoughts on the Digital Death of Copyright’s First Sale Doctrine

Prof. Annemarie Bridy comments on a dynamic new area of online copyright and licensing as she focuses on how Netflix is transitioning from an operating model that is clearly covered by an exception to copyright law to one that (very probably) requires permission for every content delivery. — Published July 31, 2012

Company Research - Access Through State Sponsored Portals

Librarian George Bergstrom has identified and links to 45 states that provide their respective residents with access to company related information, and 4 others that help individual libraries negotiate with the companies that own these resources to then provide access to their communities. — Published July 27, 2012

ChatterBots Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive listing of resources on increasingly popular computer projects and programs used to simulate human conversation using "intelligent" agents and text based applications, called chatterbots. — Published July 6, 2012

June, 2012

Clemency Clinics: A Blueprint for Justice

Ken Strutin's article presents a significant collection of expertly selected resources on clemency and other established post-conviction projects. It also includes general resources that can be used in the process of starting up a clemency clinic or a project in a law school, bar association, law firm, university, college or any entity interested in undertaking a role in arena of work. Ken documents how innocence projects and law clinics are good models for clemency projects because they pursue claims frequently raised in pardons. He also identifies how schools of journalism, paralegal and legal assistant programs, and private law firms, defense providers, individual attorneys and not-for-profits spearheaded by those directly affected, have embraced a mission to address injustice in their particular ways. — Published June 17, 2012

May, 2012

Academic and Scholar Search Engines and Sources - An Annotated Link Compilation

This new guide by research guru Marcus P. Zillman focuses on the latest and most significant academic and scholar search engines and sources. With the addition of new and pertinent information continually released online from every sector, it is very easy to experience information overload. A real asset in responding to the challenges of so much data is to apply techniques to identify and locate significant, reliable academic and scholarly information that resides in both the visible and invisible web. The following selected academic and scholar search engines and sources offer a wide range of actionable information retrieval and extraction sources to help you accomplish your research goals. — Published May 30, 2012

FOIA Facts: Things Requesters Should Know

FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes shares his professional experience working with FOIA Analysts, and their perspective on how they make the FOIA process smoother in regard to their relationships with requesters. This however is a double edged coin – FOIA requesters can also take specific steps and make efforts to assist with the satisfactory and timely completion of a request when communicating with government FOIA personnel. — Published May 19, 2012

Pet Overpopulation Infographic

Spencer Belkofer's Infographic documents the critical importance of spaying and neutering cats and dogs to saves lives, promote health and to facilitate adoption. For all the readers who are involved in "rescue", and those who are considering this option, Spencer brings us key facts to help support our decision to become involved in making a difference in the lives of companion animals. — Published May 6, 2012

April, 2012

Opening Government: On the Limits of FOIA and the Metaphor of Transparency

Professor Annmarie Bridy discusses the use of “transparency” as a metaphor for openness in government, the use of FOIA as a mechanism for ensuring such openness, and the ways in which proponents of greater public involvement in policy-making may disserve the cause by focusing too single-mindedly on access to information and the right to know, both of which are operationalized through FOIA. — Published April 29, 2012

A Technical Examination of SOPA and PIPA

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are the subject of this Infographic, by Spencer Belkofer, Lumin Consulting. See also his related Infographic on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). — Published April 29, 2012

Veterans in the Criminal Justice System: Defending Conditions of the Mind

Ken Strutin's guide includes key recent and notable cases, surveys, studies, guides, web resources and directories for legal research specific to veterans' deployed to war who subsequently developed mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). — Published April 20, 2012

SOPA’s Evil Twin Sister – CISPA

Well known graphic artists Jake O'Neil and Spencer Belkofer created this infographic out of a sense of urgency to visualize the salient information with as many communities as possible. This bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, has not garnered the media coverage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but its high impact implications target key legal issues involving privacy and intellectual property. — Published April 14, 2012

March, 2012

Fiction is harder than fact, but the Web helps

Nicholas Pengelley's wide ranging global career spans law librarian, lawyer, law professor and analyst for a major international NGO. Now as the author of a new political thriller he explains why writing fiction is much harder to write than fact, based on comparison to work accomplished to publish academic articles in his fields of expertise, and opinion pieces on political issues. He attributes the success of aspects of this project to effective and expansive Web research for sources and information to facilitate fact checking and information gathering, as well as to the use of a manuscript editing software, AutoCrit. — Published March 24, 2012

New Economy Resources

Marcus P. Zillman's guide is focused on current web sites, blogs and database sources targeted to researchers whose goal is the discovery and effective use of specific, reliable resources to track the New Economy. These sources assume added importance with the expansion in U.S. government transparency, the rise in prominence of "big data" and the public release by agencies, NGOs, public interest groups and media, of diverse databases of analytics, reports, statistical releases, and customized charts. — Published March 9, 2012

FOIA Facts: FOIA as Golf

Recent reports of both the Department of Justice and others about the administrations FOIA overall program have led FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes to imagine FOIA as golf. President Obama is currently on the fairway of the ninth hole. Voters will let him know in November if he gets to play the back nine. — Published March 9, 2012

February, 2012

Animal Rights in the Human Legal System

The struggle for human rights has gone on for ages, but the story of animal rights has only begun to be told. Ken Strutin's guide is a compilation of new and notable legal resources on animal rights and welfare. Its jurisprudence takes into account the various roles that society has assigned to animals, e.g., companion, servant or object, as well the implications of their participation or use in different sectors of modern life. Some of the key legal areas of confluence include: (1) animal rescue; (2) protective legislation; (3) law enforcement and forensics; (4) elder care and end of life issues; (5) abuse registries; (6) environmental hazards; (7) witness assistants; and (8) development of advanced degrees and specialization in animal law. — Published February 20, 2012

Help with SharePoint is on the way in The Adventures of SharePoint Reading Bee© Animated Series

Microsoft SharePoint expert Lorette S.J. Weldon asks us to imagine walking into the library without worrying about file compatibilities and adjustments of applications to do what you want when you want. All you would see is a library with your workstation. When SharePoint is properly implemented, it could blend into the background. You would never know that it was there. Lorette created an animated series to assist librarians to leverage this application, and has included a very short survey to offer suggestions for future episodes. — Published February 20, 2012