Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health/medical, to name but a few. On a weekly basis, Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways our privacy and security is diminished, often without our situational awareness.
David Rothman’s commentary argues that “good libraries are all about content and community and the needs of local people.” The FY2019 Federal Budget proposes once again to eliminate Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to America’s libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Rothman identifies what is at stake if these cuts are approved, and how the ALA and others groups are on point to lead a bi-partisan effort to save this funding now and into the future.
Peggy Roebuck Jarrett writes about an issue that is significant to law librarians, federal documents librarians, and to the public. The subject is a draft House bill that proposes “to amend title 44, United States Code, to reform the organization, authorities, and programs relating to public printing and documents, including the Federal Depository Program.” Jarrett shares why this bill could fundamentally change the publication and distribution of official print and digital government information. In addition, Jarrett describes how the future of no-fee public access to reliable government information – which includes the very laws that govern us – is at stake.
Deans of Virginia University Libraries to Chairman Goodlatte: First Do No Harm in Copyright Revision
UVA Director of Information Policy Brandon Butler explains the implications of the Copyright Office plan to to issue a total rewrite of Section 108 of the Copyright Act and provides context on such a decision, which protects library and archives’ copying for preservation and research. Libraries and archives have said they do not want this, but the Office seems to be determined to do it. So, a group of Deans and Directors of Virginia university libraries has sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to ensure he realizes the controversy and context that surrounds the Office’s proposed changes. If you are a concerned library or librarian, consider writing your representative, especially if they sit on the Judiciary Committee.
Jeff Roberts of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition raises the question of expanding free public access to court documents in Colorado. Specifically, he identifies the only location where a non-lawyer can view and request copies of all civil court documents from ICCES, the Integrated Colorado Courts E-Filing System. This location is the Colorado Supreme Court’s law library in the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center in downtown Denver. Fees and access to PACER have been the topic of discussion in the legal community for many years. The urgency of this discussion and a resolution that ensures free public access to court filings is critically dependent upon the future of court law libraries.
Bitcoin is a significant disruptive technology with a growing impact on the financial sector and legal sectors, around the world. Alan Rothman expertly educates us on new legislation from Vermont that is intended to move the state towards using blockchain technology for “records, smart contracts and other applications”. One of the key distinctions Rothman highlights is that Vermont is not in any manner approving or adopting Bitcoin, but rather, the state is diversifying and adapting the underlying blockchain technology that supports it.
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.
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.
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.
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.