Features and Columns — September, 2014

OMB issues New Guidance for Meeting Attendance

Via the American Society of Access Professionals, of which he is President, attorney and FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes informs us about the new guidance to all federal agencies that acknowledges the need for federal employees to attend mission-related conferences and provides some best practices for approving travel and conference expenses. This new guidance adopts many of the best practices suggested in a meetings protocol that the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) provided to OMB at their request. — Published June 5, 2013

May, 2013

Job Swaps and Library Exchanges - 2013 update

This guide by Katie Thomas completely updates her previous article from 2006, and focuses on resources that promote and disseminate information about international visits and exchanges for librarian around the world. — Published May 30, 2013

Negotiating Justice: The New Constitutional Spectrum of Plea Bargaining

Ken Strutin focuses on the impact of the Supreme Court's decisions in Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, and the upcoming appeal in Burt v. Titlow in regard to placing plea bargaining front and center on the national stage. As a result, they have divided practitioners and scholars into two camps: (1) those who consider the rulings to be a new statement in the law of plea bargaining and right to effective assistance of counsel; and (2) those who believe they are only a restatement of established principles. These cases have generated interest in the centrality and regulation of plea bargaining, the ethics and effectiveness of defense counsel as negotiator, the oversight of prosecutors regarding charging decisions, sentence recommendations and pre-trial discovery, and the scope of federal habeas corpus review and remedies. Ken's article is a comprehensive annotated guide to high court opinions, scholarship and commentary regarding the themes addressed by the Supreme Court in Lafler and Frye as well as their implications for the administration of criminal justice. — Published May 19, 2013

Voice Dream e-reading app: Stellar for text to speech - and promising as a general reader

David H. Rothman reviews the Voice Dream Reader app for iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches. At $10 it is more expensive than the average app, but David's deep dive has resulted in a recommendation that there is enough value to justify the cost. — Published May 19, 2013

Promising DPLA debut--but please don't confuse with a full-fledged 'public library' demo

David H. Rothman discusses the strengths and gaps of the current site, which he notes is a demo project with which the DPLA hopes to raise money and attract more, and much needed volunteers. The organization also plans to use this iteration as an opportunity to apply lessons learned to future versions as the project navigates forward in a demonstrably challenging time for libraries. — Published May 4, 2013

Journalism Resources on the Internet

This guide by Marcus P. Zillman is a comprehensive listing of journalism resources and sites on the Internet. These sources provide researchers with a wealth of reliable, topical and comprehensive data, information, reports, images, bibliographies, style and writing guides, from a wide range of public, institutional, association, advocacy and news organizations. — Published May 4, 2013

April, 2013

Copyrights, Fundamental Rights, and the Constitution

The recent Supreme Court decision, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, addresses fair use and the “first sale” doctrine, upon whose protection libraries, used-book dealers, technology companies, consumer-goods retailers, and museums have long relied. Professor Annmarie Bridy's commentary focuses on the position that intellectual property rights in general and copyrights in particular are important, and when their scope is circumscribed to ensure the existence of a robust public domain, they benefit society. However important IP rights are, though – and reasonable people disagree pretty vigorously about that – they are not fundamental in the Constitutional sense. — Published April 28, 2013

DOE Launches New Database: SciTech Connect

Tim Byrne announced that the Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) launched a new database product called SciTech Connect that employs an innovative semantic search tool enabling users to retrieve more relevant information. Other features include faceting, in-document search, word clouds, and personalization. — Published April 18, 2013

Introducing the Central Library of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union and of the European Council

Carlo Marzocchi Head of Sector, Library & Information Service shared this announcement on the resources of Central Library Council of the European Union. The Council of the European Union is the European Union institution where the Member States' ministers responsible for specific areas (e.g. finance, health, education) meet to discuss issues of common concern within their countries. The European Council consists of the Heads of State, or Government, of the Member States, together with the President of the Council and the President of the Commission. The European Council provides the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and defines its general political directions and priorities. It does not exercise legislative functions. The administrative support to both institutions is ensured by the General Secretariat of the Council or GSC. The Central Library holds over 100,000 monographs and EU publications. Newspapers and periodicals from EU Member States are available in the reading room. The Official Journal of the European Communities is available on paper, on microfiche (until 1997), on CD-ROM (from 1998 on) and via internet. — Published April 13, 2013

Canine Assisted Investigation in the Borderlands of Privacy

Ken Strutin brings attention and focus to the fact that dog detection at airports for contraband, in traffic stops for narcotics, at fire scenes for accelerants and at suspect lineups are playing an increasingly important role in criminal investigations. At the same time, Ken documents that the thresholds of olfactory detection continue to test the limits of privacy, probable cause and due process. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court decided two cases involving animal assisted investigation. The fallout from these decisions will add to the evolving body of case law in federal and state courts as they continue to sort out the constitutional limits of this type of investigation. — Published April 6, 2013

March, 2013

Statistics Resources and Big Data on the Internet 2013

Marcus P. Zillman has updated his 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 March 31, 2013

Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories

Perhaps there is a local historical society in the neighborhood where you live or work. Archivist and Librarian Celia Caust-Ellenbogen educates us about a project that seeks to uncover important archival resources held at small, primarily volunteer-run history organizations in the Philadelphia area. — Published March 30, 2013

February, 2013

LegalTech 2013: Old habits die hard, but die they do

Attorney Nicole Black's article on the LegalTech 2013 conference, sponsored every year by American Lawyer Media, updates all of us who could not attend on the latest legal technologies and innovations. — Published February 23, 2013

Another NY court on discovery of social media evidence

Attorney Nicole Black brings context to the impact of the proliferation of social media accounts among the majority of adults in the United States. The information from these accounts has become a prime source for lawyers to mine for evidence to support their clients' cases. — Published February 23, 2013

Poems by Brandon D. Johnson

LLRX is honored to publish two poems by Brandon D. Johnson, a colleague of several decades working in the legal and legislative arena in Washington, DC - providing expert services to law firms and government agencies. Brandon is an insightful and fluent poet, as well as an agile teacher of the craft. — Published February 23, 2013

New Economy Resources 2013

The world is rapidly changing as government data transparency, Big Data and the ability to access actionable information from institutional databases is increasingly released on the web without restrictive fees or subscriptions. This new guide by web research guru Marcus P. Zillman comprises the leading world wide web resources for discovering new knowledge and leveraging the latest reliable data on the New Economy. — Published February 23, 2013

Post-Conviction Representation, Pro Se Practice and Access to the Courts

After the first criminal appeal, there is no constitutional right to counsel. Thus, the convicted and imprisoned pursuing discretionary appeals and habeas corpus relief must research, investigate and litigate as their own attorney. Law librarian, criminal defense attorney, and well-known writer and speaker Ken Strutin's guide documents a body of law that has developed defining the spectrum between full-blown post-conviction representation and the impact of the conditions of confinement on pro se litigants. — Published February 19, 2013

When judges, jurors and the Internet collide

In the past, attorney Nicole L. Black has described misguided attempts by judges to excessively penalize jurors for using social media or the Internet during the pendency of trials. In fact, over the last year, judges have gone so far as to fine or jail jurors who have used social media during trial, and legislators have proposed laws that would criminalize such conduct. This despite the fact that jurors have been violating judges' orders not to research or discuss pending cases since the dawn of jury trials. — Published February 12, 2013

January, 2013

Knowledge Discovery Resources 2013 - An Internet Annotated Link Dataset Compilation

Marcus P. Zillman's current annotated link compilation encompasses top value-added resources for knowledge discovery available through the Internet. The selected resources and sites provide a wide range of actionable knowledge and avenues for information discovery to leverage as part of your overall research project strategy. — Published January 26, 2013

Conclusions from the National Inventory of Legal Materials

Hays Butler and Emily Feltren document the process and successful implementation of dynamic, extensive project conducted over the past three years by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) working with law librarian volunteers around the country to build the first-ever National Inventory of Legal Materials, an inventory of print and electronic legal materials at all levels of government. More than 350 volunteers have added nearly 8,000 legal titles to the inventory so far. — Published January 13, 2013

FOIA Facts - What I’ve Learned

Scott A. Hodes' New Year's commentary is both an overview and a roadmap to the FOIA process. Scott's experience has taught him that requesters do not realize that their biggest obstacle to having their requests processed in a timely manner is not usually FOIA offices. The biggest obstacles tend to be the program offices that have equity in the records sought and the agency executives who see FOIA offices as an expense they don’t want to fund. — Published January 13, 2013

Legal ethics and retention of electronic data

Lawyers are increasingly shifting their day to day operations to applications and operations that leverage the convenience and affordability offered by the concept of a paperless office. Attorney Nicole Black talks about how doing so can raise an assortment of ethical issues, since the confidentiality of client information must always be maintained, regardless of the format in which it is stored or distributed. — Published January 5, 2013

2012: The year of the mobile lawyer?

Attorney Nicole Black discusses the rise in the number of lawyers using mobile devices, the growing number of apps developed specifically for lawyers, and how these apps increasingly support lawyers at every stage of the litigation process. — Published January 5, 2013

Google’s powerful Nexus 10 Android tablet as a library patron’s delight: The hardware and the apps that shine on it

David H. Rothman reviews the Android Nexus 10, which he considers a standout from among the well known group of available e-book readers. David documents key reasons to choose this e-reading machine, including the 10-inch screen, which can easily display 500 or 600 words of text. He also highlights a wide range of essential apps available for researchers, librarians, knowledge managers and of course, book lovers. — Published January 5, 2013

December, 2012

The risks if the DPLA won’t create a full-strength national digital library system: Setbacks for K-12, family literacy, local libraries, preservation, digital divide efforts?

David H. Rothman maintains that the Harvard-originated national digital library initiative is an underachiever in K-12 matters and identifies other areas where the DPLA could better serve America's libraries and their users. These areas range from family literacy to the content creation needs of local libraries, preservation and digital divide efforts. Rothman details specific remedies to these challenges consistent with his strong advocacy on behalf of strengthening national digital library systems. — Published December 19, 2012

Deep Web Research and Discovery Resources 2013

Marcus P. Zillman's research reveals the facets of The Deep Web, comprising in the vicinity of 1 trillion pages of information located in various files and formats that the current search engines cannot find, or have difficulty accessing. Some of the more comprehensive search engines have written algorithms to search the deeper portions of the world wide web by attempting to find files such as .pdf, .docx, .xls, ppt, .ps. and others.  These files are predominately used by businesses to communicate within their organization or to disseminate topical information and work product to customers and potential clients. Searching for this information using deeper search techniques and the latest algorithms allows researchers access to a vast amount of actionable corporate information and intelligence. Research has also shown that even deeper information can be obtained from these files by searching and accessing the "properties" information on these files. — Published December 18, 2012

New Economy Web Guide 2013 Under Obama

Internet research guru Marcus P. Zillman's new guide is an essential resource for researchers in all sectors for whom identifying and leveraging economic data, news and scholarly publications is a requirement. It identifies comprehensive, accurate knowledge available through reliable and current sources from government, NGOs, advocacy groups and the private sector that is critical to effective and actionable work product. — Published December 2, 2012

November, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the national digital library issue: Could we have stopped or slowed down global warming?

David Rothman's commentary maintains it is imperative that civic matters, including those that resulted in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, not become lost opportunities to find and share information, and to make best use of lessons learned. Accountability, effective communications, access to actionable information, building reliable infrastructures, and providing dynamic access to agile solutions during times of national crisis provide opportunities to leverage the evolving Digital Public Library of America. — Published November 18, 2012

Arson and the Science of Fire

Ken Strutin's expert commentary focuses on the duality of fire as both a science and a set of actions and behaviors initiated by individuals and groups. Strutin documents how these factors relate to the complexities of criminal prosecutions in this arena, and how assumptions about the former have led to misjudgments about the latter. Further, he examines how progress in the understanding of how fires begin and spread has called into question the integrity of arson convictions. His guide is a collection of selected research publications, web resources and case studies as well as scholarly legal articles and scientific reports on arson investigation and fire science. — Published November 12, 2012

Litigation, trial and pre-trail iPad apps for lawyers

One of the most popular and rapidly growing categories of apps for lawyers are those developed for litigation, during trials and during the pretrial discovery phase. In this article, attorney, legal blogger and legal tech expert Nicole Black recommends more than a dozen affordable, flexible and innovative iPad apps to assist attorneys in their work to develop, streamline, simplify and track critical litigation processes. — Published November 11, 2012