“AI” has become an ever-present marketing buzzword in many sectors, not least of which in the legal arena. Machine learning applications are promising to deliver remarkably accurate software and data solutions while downplaying the critical intersection with the human component. Itai Gurari discusses and illustrates his approach for applying AI to the delivery of accurate legal research by having a human in the loop who is continuously iterating on the technology. In this scenario, the users can rely on a person whenever the problem gets too hard and the technology starts to fail, rather than on an overarching one-size-fits-all machine learning solution.
This commentary by attorney Nicolle Schippers offers insight and perspective on how technology has changed the paradigm of legal services and client communications in 2017. Looking forward to 2018, Schippers calls upon her colleagues to engage in a continuing dialogue to collectively deliver more consumer-focused and service-oriented services that leverage actionable technology solutions applied in the interest of best serving the legal needs of consumers.
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.
If our library had a virtual chat service linked to our website, would our reference librarians receive more questions? Brandon Wright Adler answers this question in the affirmative and shares her recommendations for services that merit your review and consideration.
Ken Strutin’s exemplary research once again advances our understanding of critical issues pertaining to our justice system in the United States. According to Strutin: ‘the number of innocent people in post-conviction confinement is counted in the thousands, the pre-trial population of the unconvicted is in the millions. Every accused has constitutional rights to liberty, dignity and innocence, and yet, confinement often arrives before conviction. Money bail has the unfortunate effect of monetizing personal liberty and alchemizing human beings into negotiable instruments. This is the slippery slope of criminal justice, the erosion of liberty and due process. So it is that excessive bail bars the way to fully realize constitutional rights and increases the risk of wrongful conviction. Present efforts to improve pretrial release and detention practices have inspired some legislative and policy changes as well as bail funds and advocacy programs. This guide and annotated bibliography covers noteworthy legislation, court decisions, reports and guides, news articles and other sources concerning bail reforms and practices.”
Marcus Zillman’s guide is a comprehensive link dataset toolkit of electronic reference resources and services currently available on the Internet. Zillman provides researchers with a wide ranging A-Z pathfinder of subject matter specific sources, sites and services that provide researchers with actionable information on topical issues including: business, dictionaries and digital archives, the economy, education, energy, governance, law and legislation, news, online services provided by librarians, information maintained by US and global organizations (public, private, industry, news, academic/scholarly, government), sciences, and more.
Law librarian and adjunct professor Paul Gatz provides important guidance on social media discourse and information literacy that is especially timely and instructive as we are experiencing an escalating wave of highly questionable news and data through sites such as Facebook.
In anticipation of the incorporation of Ravel Law visualization technology into an upcoming iteration of LexisAdvance, Reference Librarian and Professor Sarah Gotcshall shows us examples of how Ravel Law and Shepard’s graphical view work now.
Ellyssa Kroski discusses the range of eBook pricing models that are currently available along with the pros and cons respective to each. Kroski’s article also addresses other critical issues relevant to managing subscription-based, patron-driven acquisitions, short term loans, access-to-own, as well as strategies for controlling costs, and questions to ask before choosing an eBook solution. Also see Kroski’s The State of Law Library eBooks 2017-18 Part One: The Landscape.
Dhawal Shah, Founder of the online course search engine – https://www.class-central.com/ – identifies free online courses in a dozen disciplines: Computer Science, Mathematics, Programming, Data Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Education & Teaching, Health & Medicine, Business, Personal Development, Engineering, Art & Design, and Science. You are certain to find a few if not many self-paced courses to leverage for continuing education, professional development, as well as just for the fun of learning and applying new subject matter expertise.