Posts

Showing posts from July, 2015

New Book Titles For Collection Development

LOC's Twitter Archive In Limbo

In a perfect example of where libraries generally find themselves in the era of fast-paced technological innovation and Big Data, the Library of Congress is having some trouble transitioning.

In the spring of 2010, the Library of Congress announced it was taking a big stride toward preserving the nation’s increasingly digital heritage — by acquiring Twitter’s entire archive of tweets and planning to make it all available to researchers. But more than five years later, the project is in limbo. The library is still grappling with how to manage an archive that amounts to something like half a trillion tweets. And the researchers are still waiting.

The archive’s fate is yet another example of the difficulty of safeguarding the historical records of an era when people communicate using easily deletable emails, websites that can be taken down in seconds and transient tweets, Vines and Snaps. But the library’s critics also see it as a cautionary tale from the 28-year tenure of retiring Librari…

New Repository For Dark Data

Do you ever wonder what happens to the vast treasure trove of data on which researchers rely for some of their most startling discoveries? Most of it goes "dark" and is never seen again after a research project is over.

CHE is reporting that Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are leading an effort to create a one-stop shop for data sets that would otherwise be lost to the public after the papers they were produced for are published. The goal of the project, called DataBridge, is to expand the life cycle of so-called dark data. It will serve as an archive for data sets and metadata, and will group them into clusters of information to make relevant data easier to find.

The hope is that eventually researchers from around the country will submit their data after publishing their findings.

Ideally, this is a great way to share data that is often very time consuming and expensive to extract.

Ultimately, The researchers are also interested in including ano…

Disruptive Technologies & Libraries

Image
Continuing with the theme of technology, in 2013, McKinsey released a report on the 12 disruptive technologies that have the greatest potential to drive substantial economic impact and disruption by 2025.

Important technologies can come in any field or emerge from any scientific discipline, but they share four characteristics: high rate of technology change, broad potential scope of impact, large economic value that could be affected, and substantial potential for disruptive economic impact. Many technologies have the potential to meet these criteria eventually, but leaders need to focus on technologies with potential impact that is near enough at hand to be meaningfully anticipated and prepared for. Therefore, we focused on technologies that we believe have significant potential to drive economic impact and disruption by 2025. 
Here is the list of 12: 

And here is the projected impact:
































Quite a few of the forecasted disruptive technologies will have a large impact on the way that peopl…

Innovation & Jobs

With so much chatter recently about technology killing jobs, it's hard not to notice.

A 2014 NYTimes article reviewed books with competing outlooks. One camp is optimistic about technology and jobs, while the other is much more pessimistic.

As noted, in looking at the effect technology can have on jobs, look no further than Kodak. "At its peak, Kodak employed 140,000 people; Instagram had only 13 employees when it was bought by Facebook (for $1 billion!) in 2012." This is the pessimistic view.

In addition, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, two economists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, note that “[r]apid and accelerating digitization is likely to bring economic rather than environmental disruption, stemming from the fact that as computers get more powerful, companies have less need for some kinds of workers.” They believe that we are at a moment when technological innovation is about to accelerate, and make the world much wealthier, just as the Industri…

Intelligence Augmentation (IA) v. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

While at AALL, I watched Kyla Moran present on IBM's Watson. One thing struck me: the big difference between intelligence augmentation (IA) and artificial intelligence (AI). Kyla likened it to Ironman's JARVIS v. Terminator.

It's a long-running "joke" of sorts within the librarian profession that "they've" been predicting our demise in favor of artificial intelligence for at least 30 years. And it's gotten louder recently with books like Rise of the Robots.

Kyla commented that Watson is augmented intelligence. He makes us smarter. And IBM is not trying to overtake humans with machines.

According to Wikipedia:
Intelligence amplification (IA) (also referred to as cognitive augmentation and machine augmented intelligence) refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human intelligence. The idea was first proposed in the 1950s and 1960s by cybernetics and early computer pioneers.

IA is sometimes contrasted with AI (Artificial In…

Google Fares Better Than Proprietary Plagiarism Software

Expensive plagiarism detection software from vendors such as Turnitin and SafeAssign proves to be no better than Google at detecting plagiarism. In fact, in past studies, Google has done a better job.

InsideHigherEd recently reported on a study by Susan E. Schorn from the University of Texas at Austin. The data come from Susan E. Schorn, a writing coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin. Schorn first ran a test to determine Turnitin’s efficacy back in 2007, when the university was considering paying for an institutionwide license. Her results initially dissuaded the university from paying a five-figure sum to license the software, she said. A follow-up test, conducted this March, produced similar results. For the 2007 test, Schorn created six essays that copied and pasted text from 23 different sources, which were chosen after asking librarians and faculty members to give examples of commonly cited works. Examples included textbooks and syllabi, as well as websites such as Wik…

AALL Annual Conference 2015

The AALL Annual Conference 2015 is currently underway. Follow me on Twitter @gngrlibrarian for updates, or go to #AALL15 to see updates from all attendees.

.Law Domain Names Available Oct. 12

Last April, the ABA Journal reported on a new .law domain. Minds + Machines has the exclusive license to operate the new .law domain from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Minds + Machines said in a press release that it was partnering with the Legal Marketing Association to allow its members to submit an expression of early interest in .law domain names.

But that doesn’t mean others can’t submit their own expressions of interest, Andreozzi says. Those who submit an expression of interest aren’t obligated to buy the domain, but they will be allowed to purchase it when .law becomes generally available, if no one else expresses an interest. When more than one person is interested, an auction is held.

Standard names such as johnsmith.law will cost $200, while premium names such as ohiodivorce.law will start at $500. The cost will be based on factors such as the number of characters, and the value of certain practice areas.

Anyone who applies for a .law domain will …

Libraries Matter More Than Ever

Salon had it right when it stated that libraries are more important than ever.
In our heartfelt but naïve fondness for “quiet, inviting spaces” full of books and nothing else, we fail to realize that libraries are becoming more important, not less, to our communities and our democracy.

One of the main reasons that libraries are more important than ever is because libraries and librarians help sift through the mountains of data that humans are currently producing.
Humans are producing such quantities of data—2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, to be precise—and on such a steep curve, that 90 percent of all existing data is less than two years old. An overwhelming amount of information, access to which is marked by the same stark inequality that exists between economic classes, demands to be moderated for the public good, and libraries are the institutions that do that.

The risk of a small number of technically savvy, for-profit companies determining the bulk of what we read and how we re…

LSAT Takers Up

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that "[t]he number of LSAT takers released by the Law School Admission Council now suggest strongly that law schools are starting to pull themselves back up."

A total of 23,238 people took the test last month, up 6.6% from the year before, according to new LSAC data. The figures represented the first growth in the June crop of test-takers since 2010 and extend an upswing that began in December when the numbers inched up by 0.8% and accelerated in February with a 4.4% increase. The bump follows a 2014-2015 cycle in which the number of test-takers over the year nearly slipped below 100,000, down 40% from a peak high of 171,514 six years ago.

While LSAT test takers are up, "[t]he latest applicant figures give law schools a bit less to cheer. The number of people that applied to law school is down 2% from 2014, according to LSAC. And the total number of applications submitted is 4.2% below last year’s total."

This may signal that the…

Scribes Awards Luncheon 2015

Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers--will hold an award luncheon in Chicago during the ABA Annual Meeting.  Awards will be presented for the best new book in legal writing and for the best student-written briefs from moot court competitions.

The luncheon will feature a special presentation of the Scribes Lifetime-Achievement Award to The Right Honorable, the Lord Woolf, with comments by Lord Woolf.  Lord Woolf was Master of the Rolls from 1996 until 2000 and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 2000 until 2005. The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 made him the first Lord Chief Justice to be President of the Courts of England and Wales. He has also been a non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong since 2003.

Also during the luncheon, keynote speaker Bryan A. Garner will share The Biggest Secret for Clear and Persuasive Writing at the 2015 Scribes Awards Luncheon in Chicago. Bryan Garner has written several books about English usage and style, includ…

Librarians Stuck Between A Book & A Hard Pixel

Libraries and librarians are being pulled in seemingly opposite directions. As the Washington Post states, "[a]round the country, libraries are slashing their print collections in favor of e-books, prompting battles between library systems and print purists, including not only the pre-pixel generation but digital natives who represent a sizable portion of the 1.5 billion library visits a year and prefer print for serious reading."

And librarians are feeling the heat. “'We’re caught between two worlds,' said Darrell Batson, director of the Frederick County Public Libraries system. 'But libraries have to evolve or die. We’re probably the classic example of Darwinism.'”

In the process of evolving from print to digital collections, centuries-old library traditions have been abandoned. To library futurists, this is progress. “For a lot of people, libraries represent a certain kind of quiet, a certain kind of place, a certain kind of book in large numbers,' sai…

Casetext Adds Writing Tool

The ABA Journal reports that Casetext, the free legal research website that uses crowdsourcing to annotate cases, has launched a new writing tool called LegalPad that publishes lawyers’ articles and links them to cases they cite.

LegalPad has a lot of great functionality. When an article writer types in a case name, it is supplied in correct Bluebook form with a hyperlink to the case. A writer can select text from the case, and it will be inserted in the article. Writers will also be able to choose the Casetext communities where their articles will appear.

LegalPad users can also write articles that are shared with like-minded Casetext community groups based on practice areas and interests. There are links to cases discussed in the articles, and the cases will in turn link to articles.

Casetext founder Jake Heller tells LawSites that his goal is for Casetext to become a place to build legal commentary as well as a tool for legal research. A Casetext press release points out that lawye…

Recent Westlaw Announcements

A few recent announcements from Westlaw:

Goodbye Classic For All Segments:

Westlaw Classic will officially be sunsetted in all segments nationwide on July 31, 2015. Westlaw Classic was discontinued in the Academic segment on July 1, 2014. Is there a feature that you will miss from Westlaw Classic that you don’t have on WestlawNext? If so, let me know. We love feedback!

Cloud Delivery Now Available With Dropbox
WestlawNext now allows you to save your files directly into your personal or business Dropbox accounts while researching. You will find Dropbox as an option when you use the document delivery at the top of the legal document you are viewing. Dropbox is a private, cloud storage service offering free and pay subscriptions. A separate subscription is required. 
West Academic Online Study Aids
Effective July 1st, the first time a student clicks on the Online Study Aids (SAS) link they will be prompted to setup a West Academic account (example below) and sign in.  The account creation p…

The Benefits Of Metasearch Engines

The use of metasearch engines hasn't caught on with the general population. Most everyone still defaults to one of the major search engines - most often Google.

But we should be aware of metasearch engines and the benefits of using them. From Wikipedia: A metasearch engine (or aggregator) is a search tool that uses another search engine's data to produce their own results from the Internet.[1][2] Metasearch engines take input from a user and simultaneously send out queries to third party search engines for results. Sufficient data is gathered, formatted by their ranks and presented to the users.
Information stored on the World Wide Web is constantly expanding, making it increasingly impossible for a single search engine to index the entire web for resources. A metasearch engine is a solution to overcome this limitation. By combining multiple results from different search engines, a metasearch engine is able to enhance the user’s experience for retrieving information, as less eff…