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Showing posts from 2015

2015 Year in Review

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As the end of 2015 nears, it's time to reflect on the year. To that end, please peruse the top posts from 2015. There's also a lot of other great content in the 176 total posts this year. 

The Bluebook 20th Edition is Available (June)Student Loan Tax Bomb: IBR, PSLF, PAYE (June)Intelligence Augmentation v. Artificial Intelligence (July)Experiential Legal Education (May)Bibliotech to Spawn a Library Revolution? (April)ABA Drops 20-Hour Work Limit (May)Law Librarian Conferences (August) LOC's In Custodia Legis Law Librarian Blog (August)Fastcase Acquires Loislaw (September)
Happy Holidays! See you in 2016!




LOC Acquires Portfolio of US Public Libraries

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The Library of Congress recently acquired 681 photos of public libraries in what equates to an interesting anthropological portrait of the space that libraries hold in American life.

There are over 16,000 public libraries in the United States, and although photographer Robert Dawson only visited a fraction — 526 over two decades — his series presents a diverse portrait of this community space. The Library of Congress announced the acquisition of 681 of Dawson’s library photographs, adding to their ongoing archive of American library documentation.

From 1994 to 2015, he journeyed from coast-to-coast, crossing 48 states, turning his lens on this ubiquitous — and rapidly changing — local resource. Libraries still center around books, yet are increasingly incorporating new technology to engage the current needs and interests of their communities. His photographs capture how libraries are architecturally amorphous, from one nestled in an Abilene, Texas, strip mall alongside a Family Dollar f…

Critical Librarianship or #Critlib

Because academic librarians provide services to a wide variety of faculty, many faculty members forget that librarianship is its own profession. Many times librarians get lumped together with other types of support staff (even if tenure track) without getting the deference and support that we need as a niche academic field.

But librarians study important factors that affect the search and retrieval of information. Part of the library profession is to look at librarianship with a critical eye, thus was born critical librarianship. So what is critical librarianship, you ask?

It places librarianship within a critical theorist framework that is epistemological, self-reflective, and activist in nature. According to Elaine Harger, librarians that practice critical librarianship strive to communicate the ways in which libraries and librarians consciously and unconsciously support systems of oppression. Critical librarianship seeks to be transformative, empowering, and a direct challenge to po…

The Art of Academic Book Reviews

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Like most other types of writing, there is an art to writing academic book reviews.

According to InsideHigherEdIn fact, like other genres of academic writing, such as journal articles and research proposals, academic book reviews tend to have a standard, even formulaic, structure. Although of course this may vary slightly by discipline and/or publication venue, my advice is, if in doubt, to use the following framework, with one paragraph for each of the following seven sections: Introduction. All good pieces of academic writing should have an introduction, and book reviews are no exception. Open with a general description of the topic and/or problem addressed by the work in question. Think, if possible, of a hook to draw your readers in.Summary of argument. Your review should, as concisely as possible, summarize the book’s argument. Even edited collections and textbooks will have particular features intended to make them distinctive in the proverbial marketplace of ideas. What, ultim…

United Smarts of America: The Continuing Need For Libraries

NPR posed the question, "do we really need libraries?" I bet you can guess the answer. 

For more than 100 years public libraries in this country have provided all members of the public with free access ... coveted access, to knowledge, information, and opportunity. Public libraries evened the playing field for all. All in all, [Andrew] Carnegie — in Johnny Appleseed fashion — planted 1,679 library buildings in communities throughout the nation between 1886 and 1919, according to the National Park Service. From Caribou, Maine, to Clarksdale, Miss; from Honolulu to Miles City, Mont. Many of the structures are grandiloquent cathedrals — edification edifices, little Louvres for the intellect — designed to send the message: Learning is everlasting.

They also gave us the sense that we lived in the United Smarts of America.

But with a world of information at our fingertips — virtually anytime, anywhere — do we still need physical book-and-mortar libraries? 

As a 1983 British conference…

Senior Partner Complaints Re: Associate Brief Writing

Thank you, FindLaw, for succinctly substantiating the things I try to teach my international LL.M. students regarding the pitfalls of brief writing.

Associates have spent years writing, from their undergrad thesis papers, to their torturous legal writing courses, to their summer internship memos. Writing is their strong point -- right?

Not if you ask partners, who can quickly rattle off a litany of problems with their associate writing. Here's a brief rundown of partners' biggest complaints.

1. Typos and Grammatical Errors

Sure, there are some areas of ambiguity. Is it caselaw or case law? Do you Oxford comma or not? But aside from those, every typo or grammatical makes you look bad -- and lazy.

2. Too Many Abbreviations (TMA)

Use standard abbreviations and acronyms when appropriate. ERA, CERCLA, and IRS are all fine. Never abbreviate party names, avoid creating novel abbreviations, and for the sake of all that is good in writing, don't let the things like gov't, ass'n, …

A Child's Development From Books On Shelves

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There's something to the culture of records or books on shelves that piques a curiosity in children that is good for their intellect during their formative years.

A NYTimes article noted:
Perhaps the strongest case for a household full of print books came from a 2014 study published in the sociology journal Social Forces. Researchers measured the impact of the size of home libraries on the reading level of 15-year-old students across 42 nations, controlling for wealth, parents’ education and occupations, gender and the country’s gross national product.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size…

The Origins Of The Bluebook Revealed

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The things we spend our time on: Two librarians at Yale Law School have found that Yale Law School created The Bluebook, not The Harvard Law Review.

As noted in the NYTimes article:
Among the low points in an American legal education is the law student’s first encounter with The Bluebook, a 582-page style manual formally known as “A Uniform System of Citation.” It is a comically elaborate thicket of random and counterintuitive rules about how to cite judicial decisions, law review articles and the like. It is both grotesque and indispensable.

True, true, and true. And the creation of this behemoth was originally credited to The Harvard Law Review.

The Harvard Law Review has long claimed credit for creating The Bluebook. But a new article from two librarians at Yale Law School says its rival’s account is “wildly erroneous.” 

The standard account of the origins of The Bluebook is reflected in a 1987 speech by Erwin N. Griswold, who had been president of The Harvard Law Review, dean of Harva…

Libraries As Complicated Places

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Libraries are lovely, complicated places. We abandon and demolish libraries. But we also place them in odd places to make books and literacy more accessible.

The Mark Twain branch of the Detroit Public Library system was opened in 1940 and abandoned in the 1990s. Its tale follows the boom and bust of Detroit closely. Like any institution dependent on the public for funding, if the public is hurting, so too will the library.

And then there's the more deliberate demolition of libraries to make way for parking garages. The sad tale of the  Public Library of Cincinnati - once a magnificent structure:



Demolished for this:


The lyrics, "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot..." come to mind here. While these tales are not unique, there are also parts of the library world that make a librarian's heart swell. The unconventional libraries that pop up to help create an informed citizenry. This is my favorite example:


One of the things that I love about libraries is that t…

What Librarians From 1957 Have In Common With Librarians From 2015...

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A lot! But, more specifically, the notion that computers are about to replace us at any moment. Admittedly, I am way behind. I finally watched Desk Set last night. The movie was released in 1957 (*swoon worthy mid-century modern furnishings) and follows the Reference Department at the Federal Broadcasting Network through a scare that it will be replaced by a computer. I identified with the Reference Department in the movie as facing some of the same issues in 2015.

Bunny Watson (played by Katharine Hepburn) is head of Reference when an impending computer purchase is threatening to replace her and the rest of the Reference staff. The Reference Department is very busy with the phone ringing off the hook (when phones actually rested in a hook). The Reference Department's knowledge base is very impressive - using a stereotype of librarians that I can get behind.

It was plain to see that the types of questions the Ref Dept answered in 1957 could easily be answered with a simple Google …

Bias in Machine Reading & Artificial Intelligence

In August, The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on social bias in web technology (sub. req'd). The article noted that [w]hile automation is often thought to eliminate flaws in human judgment, bias—or the tendency to favor one outcome over another, in potentially unfair ways—can creep into complex computer code. Programmers may embed biases without realizing it, and they can be difficult to spot and root out. The results can alienate customers and expose companies to legal risk. Computer scientists are just starting to study the problem and devise ways to guard against it.

One common error is endemic to a popular software technique called machine learning, said Andrew Selbst, co-author of “Big Data’s Disparate Impact,” a paper to be published next year by the California Law Review. Programs that are designed to “learn” begin with a limited set of training data and then refine what they’ve learned based on data they encounter in the real world, such as on the Internet. …

Nextgen Wayback Machine Slated For 2017

As a big fan of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine (blogged here, here, and here), I was excited to hear that there is a nextgen Wayback Machine in the works.

The Wayback Machine, a service used by millions to access 19 years of the Web’s history, is about get an update.  When completed in 2017, the next generation Wayback Machine will have more and better webpages that are easier to find.

Today, people’s work, and to some extent their lives, are conducted and shared largely online. That means a portion of the world’s cultural heritage now resides only on the Web. And we estimate the average life of a Web page is only one hundred days before it is either altered or deleted.  “The Internet Archive is helping to preserve the world’s digital history in a transformational way,” said Kelli Rhee, LJAF Vice President of Venture Development. “Taking the Wayback Machine to the next level will make the entire Web more reliable, transparent and accessible for everyone.”

Project goals includ…

A Little Thanksgiving Legal Humor

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Polish Copyright Law Accomplishes What US Is Trying To Do Via Litigation

The Polish have figured something out that the United States can't seem to get right. While the United States is slowly allowing digitization of print after long, drawn-out litigation, (i.e., HathiTrust & Google Books), the Polish have revised their copyright law to account for the digitization of materials.

The new Polish Copyright Act enters into force on 20th November 2015 bringing library services in Poland into the twenty-first century.

Major new provisions enabling digitization for socially beneficial purposes, such as education and preservation of cultural heritage, are the centrepiece for libraries of the new law.

The law also implements a European Directive enabling the use of orphan works (in-copyright works where the copyright holder cannot be identified or found to obtain permission), and an EU Memorandum of Understanding on the use of works that are no longer commercially available. In addition, the introduction of public lending right is limited to works in public l…

Libraries In The Year 2100

Libraries have been around for a very long time, and they will continue to be around for a lot longer, albeit in a different form that what we are used to seeing today.

So what will libraries look like in 85 years? Jim O'Donnell from Slate put it into perspective:
That’s not so very far away. The next time you see a tiny baby, bear in mind that she or he has a very good chance of living to see the 22nd century. What will the world of libraries look like then? Nobody can know—but perhaps we can talk about what libraries should be in that imaginable future.
O'Donnell posits three variations of libraries in the future:

1. One Global Library: 
Once an encyclopedia or a book or a journal or a database is in digital form, there is no good reason why it should not be made as universally and freely available as possible, and no good reason why it should not be centrally held and maintained. Right now, major university libraries harbor knowledge riches galore, astonishing things, really—a…

Google Truth Rankings: Vetting or Gatekeeping?

Salon is reporting about a proposed Knowledge-Based Trust score that Google might implement to keep "bad information" at bay.

Google could launch an effort to keep trolls and bad information at bay, with a program that would rank websites according to veracity, and sort results according to those rankings. Currently, the search engine ranks pages according to popularity, which means that pages containing unsubstantiated celebrity gossip or conspiracy theories, for example, show up very high.

New Scientist’s Hal Hodson reports on the proposed Knowledge-Based Trust score:

The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.

Vetting for truth is a good thing. It seems as though people will believe anything on the Internet so long as it gets enough views or …

AALL Rebranding Initiative

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is currently investigating rebranding the name of the Association.

AALL's comprehensive, Association-wide rebranding initiative is steadily moving forward. At its November 7 meeting, the AALL Executive Board voted unanimously to recommend to the membership a new name, "Association for Legal Information." This is our opportunity to redefine and reinvigorate the value of the law librarians and legal information professionals and to shape the brand to align with and support our strategic goals.

From the FAQs:

Why the name Association for Legal Information?

Association
An Association is an organization of people who work for a common purpose (legal information).

For
With the object or purpose of legal information.

Legal Information
Knowledge concerning a particular subject.

Why is AALL undertaking a branding project?

AALL, its members, and the legal profession have undergone significant changes in recent years. Rapid advances in techn…

NELLCO & MALLCO Webinars: Nerd Know How Series

NELLCO & MALLCO are hosing a "Nerd Know-How Series" with Beth Ziesenis.

Author Beth Ziesenis is a technology expert who speaks to 60-plus groups a year about the best free and bargain apps and online resources that will help you Release Your Inner Nerd to become more organized, efficient and awesome at work and home.

Each 90 minute webinar is based on one chapter of Beth's most-recent book, Nerd Know How: The 27+ Best Apps for Work and How to Use 'Em! In each session, attendees will learn about low- or no-cost technology tools to help you maximize your efficiency and effectives in each of the 8 areas. Attendees can register for one or all of the sessions by clicking on the register now button below.

The eight sessions are:
Webinar 1: Organize - Tuesday, December 1 - The webinar series kicks off with the building blocks of organization. Learn how to get your ducks in a row with in-depth looks at Dropbox, Evernote, IFTTT and LastPass.

Webinar 2: Collaborate - Thursda…

Legal Writing Institute: Program On Teaching International Law Students

As my first semester teaching legal research and writing to international LL.M. students comes to a close, I am excited to review my course materials to improve for the next go-round.

The Global Legal Writing Skills Committee of the Legal Writing Institute provides invaluable resources for teaching research and writing to international law students.

In addition to their bibliography of resources, they also have a video series on Teaching International Law Students that is hosted by Michigan State College of Law.

At the website you will find presentations such as:

Adapting Classroom Techniques & Materials for International LL.M. StudentsIntegrated International Writing and Oral Presentation AssignmentBeyond Contrastive Rhetoric: Helping International Graduate Students and Legal Professionals Use Cohesive Devices to Support Coherence in U.S. Legal WritingUnderstanding the Needs and Abilities of International Law StudentsTeaching International Graduate Students at U.S. Law SchoolsTeac…

New RIPS Post - LMAs Are Too Restrictive

Show Love On 'Love Your Lawyer Day'

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Lawyers throughout the nation are urged to celebrate ‘Love Your Lawyer Day’ to help promote a positive and more respected image of lawyers and their contributions to society.

It's interesting that the public perception of lawyers seems to be making a positive change.

According to the WSJ, a recent Gallup poll found that the percentage of Americans who think lawyers have high ethical standards is greater than it has been in more than two decades—21%. Interestingly, public opinion has improved at a time when fewer young people are deciding to become lawyers.

As noted:
Friday is also national Nacho Day and national Saxophone Day so sharing some nachos with a lawyer while listening to some Coltrane or Charlie Parker sounds like a good time.

Learners Need To Consider Value Over Use

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A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article got me thinking about students taking responsibility for their learning. 
The author of the article laments the questions, "When am I going to use this?" There’s one question that we should all put down immediately, and rage against with the last shreds of our academic freedom: the old refrain, "When am I going to use this?"
This question, I think, manages to embody the worst of our cultural situation. It is a complaint, a subterfuge, an insult, a lazy way out. And before you think I am simply railing against the generational deficiencies in our current crop of students, I’m not. I’ve heard versions of the theme from parents, administrators, politicians, and even, I am chagrined to add, esteemed colleagues. We must put an end to it all. Our obsession with utility — and our childish demands for it to reveal itself immediately lest we "waste" a precious second of our time that could be better spent watching Netfl…

Librarian Cultural Representation

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American Libraries Magazine ran a wonderful work outlining the rise of the librarian stereotype.
There are numerous librarian stereotypes, with the most recognizable being the middle-aged, bun-wearing, comfortably shod, shushing librarian. Others include the sexy librarian, the superhero librarian, and the hipster or tattooed librarian. These stereotypes are all characterized predominantly as feminine, white women. Newer librarian stereotypes, particularly those proffered by librarians themselves, tend to be depicted as younger white women. The original librarian stereotype, which was superseded by the introduction of his prudish sister, was that of the fussy (white) male curmudgeon.

As noted in the article, the stereotypes do not fall far from history.
Early American librarians almost exclusively came from New England gentility or, by virtue of their educational background and politics, became accepted as part of that class. They believed in the possibilities of moral uplift for the po…

Nearly 1/3 Of Adults Didn't Read A Book Last Year

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A new survey on American reading habits reveals a statistic that's all too real: 27 percent of U.S. adults didn't read a single book within the last 12 months.

The survey, which was conducted by Pew Research, asked adults if they had read a book in any format. The number of people who answered "yes" has fallen in recent years, from 79 percent in 2011 to 72 percent in 2015.

Though the survey reports that the average American adult read 12 books in the last year — a number that seems to be skewed high by book lovers, as the median is only 4.

The news comes on the heels of mixed information about the book publishing industry. While print seems to be enjoying a resurgence, ebook sales are waning. That’s reflected in the survey data, too: 63 percent of respondents said they read a print book during the last 12 months, but ebook readership flattened during the same period.

In all honesty, I would've expected the percentage of non-readers to be higher. And it could be hi…

Harvard Law Library Sets Out To Digitize Decisions Going Back To Colonial Times

The NYTimes ran an article yesterday about Harvard Law Library working to digitize a vast trove of cases.

Shelves of law books are an august symbol of legal practice, and no place, save the Library of Congress, can match the collection at Harvard’s Law School Library. Its trove includes nearly every state, federal, territorial and tribal judicial decision since colonial times — a priceless potential resource for everyone from legal scholars to defense lawyers trying to challenge a criminal conviction.

In what some librarians may see as a controversial move, the Harvard librarians are slicing off the spines of all but the rarest volumes and feeding some 40 million pages through a high-speed scanner. They are taking this once unthinkable step to create a complete, searchable database of American case law that will be offered free on the Internet, allowing instant retrieval of vital records that usually must be paid for.

“You can imagine the way your heart skips a small beat when you put a…

Plain Language For Academics

The Atlantic ran an article recently that is near and dear to the heart of Scribes --The American Society of Legal Writers' mission (disclosure: I am executive director of the organization). The article works to promote plain language.

As noted, the problem of needlessly complex writing—sometimes referred to as an “opaque writing style”—has been explored in fields ranging from law to science. Yet in academia, unwieldy writing has become something of a protected tradition.

Take this example:
The work of the text is to literalize the signifiers of the first encounter, dismantling the ideal as an idol. In this literalization, the idolatrous deception of the first moment becomes readable. The ideal will reveal itself to be an idol. Step by step, the ideal is pursued by a devouring doppelganger, tearing apart all transcendence. This de-idealization follows the path of reification, or, to invoke Augustine, the path of carnalization of the spiritual. Rhetorically, this is effected throug…

Library As "Clinic Of The Soul"

The NYTimes ran an interesting piece over the weekend discussing the reinvention of libraries.

[T]he principal danger facing libraries comes ... from ill-considered changes that may cause libraries to lose their defining triple role: as preservers of the memory of our society, as providers of the accounts of our experience and the tools to navigate them — and as symbols of our identity. In the United States, while the number of libraries that have disappeared is not remarkably high, public libraries have seen their budgets cut, their stocks culled, their staffs reduced and their opening hours shortened.

Librarians today are forced to take on a variety of functions that their society is too miserly or contemptuous to fulfill, and the use of their scant resources to meet those essential social obligations diminishes their funds for buying new books and other materials. All these activities are good and useful, and may grant libraries a central role in society once again, but we must be pr…

The Library - A New Short Film

The Library from Jason LaMotte on Vimeo.
The backdrop of this story takes place in a beautiful library that invokes the idealized view of libraries that most librarians hold dear.

From the director: The story told in The Library initially came from wanting to explore the relationship between memory and place. I have strong recollections of my neighbourhood library in Houston, Texas in the US. I can recall the layout, where certain sections of books were, the smells, and the sounds.

Enjoy!

Google Books Sufficiently Transforms To Be Deemed Fair Use

Many outlets, including The Chronicle of Higher Ed, note that Google Books recently received another big win in favor of fair use. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit handed Google another victory on Friday in a high-profile case about copyright infringement, declaring that its scanning of books as part of the Google Books project constitutes fair use. In its ruling, a unanimous three-judge panel of the court upheld a federal judge’s 2013 ruling against the Authors Guild, which sued the tech giant in 2005.

As The Atlantic notes, "the Google Books case had seemed to drag on forever: The Authors Guild first filed suit 10 years ago. But the theory behind the eventual ruling was a quarter-century in the making."

In 2004, Google began scanning books—copyrighted and non-copyrighted alike—in academic libraries with the plan of making portions of that material available online for free. Users of Google Books now know how this works: You can search Google’s scanned-book da…

Interactive US Map Showcasing Copyright Laws

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Harvard Library has created an interactive map of the copyright policies in all 50 states. The map is color coded for openness.

Federal copyright law says that “Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government.” 17 U.S.C. § 105. This is a broad and clear statement that works of the federal government are in the public domain and are free for use by all, but by specifying works of the United States Government, the statute fails to address the copyright status of any works of state governments, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. It turns out that figuring out whether state documents are copyrighted is a tricky question, and we’ve created this website to help identify the relevant laws in each state.

If you click on the individual states, along with the openness score, you will find:
The copyright status (red for copyrightable, green for presumptively public domain)Binding lawAdvisory sourcesRelated lawSpecific examples of what the…

How To Ask For Feedback On Writing

A post over at Vitae, a Chronicle of Higher Education blog, gives pointers to academic writers on getting a useful critique. 
In anticipation of the first draft conferences with my international LL.M. students, I couldn't help but wish that they knew this information. The writing coach noted that the writer should reflect on what he or she really wants to know about specific aspects of the piece. 
In short, the first step to getting helpful feedback is to define your reader’s job. For example, are you wondering how you might expand the discussion section of your draft? Are you uncertain whether its current organization logically supports your thesis? Are you thinking you need more context to set up your argument? Do you suspect a certain point needs further explication?
Many students come to draft conferences with the notion that they did their (half-hearted) part; now it's the professors turn to tell them how to completely improve their paper to get an A. And when that doesn&#…

Library Maintenance Agreements

There is an interesting thread running on the AALL My Communities email list regarding West Library Maintenance Agreements (LMA).

From the email list:

Responses to Leaving Your LMA “Survey”

This posting appears to have hit a raw nerve in the US law librarian community. I received approximately seventeen responses from law firm, court/government, and academic law librarians. Out of the seventeen, two law libraries have already left their LMA contracts. But, many of you have contemplated doing so. Several of you mentioned that they decided not to cancel their LMA because they received as much as a fifty percent discount on their contract, or they did not cancel because they were concerned about the extra paperwork and hassle of reconciling invoices and monthly statements if they did NOT keep their LMA intact.

The common concerns I saw threading through the attached comments were these:

LMA is not flexible enough for me.We need to reduce as much print as possible, but if we reduce any fur…

Proposed Legislation Regarding Librarian of Congress

With the recent retirement of James Billington as the Librarian of Congress, the United States is set to get its first new Librarian in nearly three decades.

The current librarian, James Billington, has held the title since his appointment by President Reagan in 1987. Though named by the president and confirmed by the Senate, the Librarian doesn’t change with every new White House. After being appointed, Librarians are free to serve as long as they want—that’s why there have been only 13 of them since 1802.

In other words, this will be the first time a new Librarian has been appointed since the invention of the web.

Some interesting facts about the Librarian of Congress:
The Librarian of Congress doesn’t need vocational experience as a librarian or a library science degree to hold the position. He—every Librarian since the position was created in 1802 has been male—is appointed by the President of the United States, must be approved by the Senate, and is responsible for the world’s larges…

Library 2.015 All Day 10/20

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Library 2.015 is all day on Tuesday, October 20th. Anyone from anywhere in the world can participate for free (as long as they have an Internet connection)! Links for the conference are below. There are 50 sessions and 3 keynotes, and the schedule with connecting information is listed for time zones throughout the world.

The fifth annual Library 2.015 Worldwide Virtual Conference will be held on October 20th, 2015 from 7am - 8pm US Pacific / 10am - 11pm US Eastern.

Everyone is invited to participate in the conference, designed to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among information professionals worldwide.

The School of Information at San José State University is the founding conference sponsor. Register as a member of the Library 2.0 network to be kept informed of future events!

Quick Links:
ScheduleStrandsPromotion All of the session and keynote recordings from previous years are available under the Archives tab above and the Library 2.0 YouTube channel has the past four year…

SCOTUS Addresses Opinion Editing & Link Rot

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In May 2014, the NYTimes wrote about the Supreme Court continuing to edit opinions after release. Earlier this week, a NYTimes article noted that SCOTUS is now disclosing after-the-fact changes to its opinions.

The move on editing is a major development. Though changes in the court’s opinions after they are issued are common, the court has only very seldom acknowledged them. Many of the changes fix spelling or factual errors. Others are more substantial, amending or withdrawing legal conclusions.

Starting this term, a court statement said, “post-release edits to slip opinions on the court’s website will be highlighted and the date they occur will be noted.” The court’s website includes sample opinions to show how all of this will work. “The location of a revision will be highlighted in the opinion,” the statement said. “When a cursor is placed over a highlighted section, a dialogue box will open to show both old and new text.”

And in other wonderful news, SCOTUS is also addressing the p…

New RIPS Post - Ebooks in Law Libraries

Check out my latest post on the RIPS Law Librarian Blog discussing issues surrounding e-book collections in law libraries.

Attorneys Respond To AI

The ABA's new Law Technology Today series kicked off with a series of questions about artificial intelligence in the legal profession.

In the inaugural roundtable of a Law Technology Today series, we asked the LTRC Board, and other lawyers and legal professionals, five questions about AI and lawyers. Their answers range from skeptical to optimistic.

What does artificial intelligence mean to you?

To me, as a full-time practicing lawyer, artificial intelligence is sophisticated computer programming that allows your smart devices to provide more relevant responses to your inquiries. This could include narrowly tailored legal research results or more accurate search capabilities in document management programs. Artificial intelligence also means smart devices that learn more as you use them more.

What area of your practice, or of the law, has benefited the most (or could benefit) from artificial intelligence?

In my experience, legal research has benefited the most from artificial intellige…