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Showing posts from May, 2016

Oyez Finds A New Home at Cornell's LII

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The National Law Journal (sub req'd) is reporting that Oyez has found a new home at Cornell's Legal Information Institute.

Oyez will move to the LII as its new home, with infrastructure and technical support from Justia, which had already been quietly supporting the Oyez site for several years.

Launched in 1993, Oyez.org boasts nearly 9 million visits annually, ranging from students doing term papers to Supreme Court practitioners rehearsing upcoming arguments.

The project is now housed at Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago under an agreement that expires soon. By the time the new term of the Supreme Court begins in October its home will be Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, though Chicago-Kent may stay involved.

What Librarians Do - In Pictures

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I ran across a recent BuzzFeed called "18 Cats Who Think They're Librarians." While it's amusing (especially for the cat-owning, sweater-wearing librarians), it also gives a good idea of what a librarian does on a day-to-day basis.


I also ran across a blog from Mr. Library Dude that discusses a librarian "career day" presentation. This presentation engages the students by discussion librarian stereotypes (cat-owning, sweater-wearing, anyone?). Mr. Library Dude uses the presentation to debunk some of the more popular stereotypes (he does not shush, his student workers are the ones who check books in and out, and he definitely does not read on the job).

And then he provides context for what a librarian actually does like:
Teaching and research assistanceCollection developmentHelping with technologyRunning events This is a good way to get students interested in a library career while refuting deeply ingrained librarian stereotypes.

A Friendly Reminder Re: Email Etiquette

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According to Inc., the average US employee spends about a quarter of the work week combing through the hundreds of emails we all send and receive every day.

That sounds about right.

As we send and receive these hundreds of emails, we might get into bad habits that could cost us professionally. For a reminder on email etiquette, see the following list of 15 email etiquette best practices.

1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
2. Use a professional email address.
3. Think twice before hitting 'reply all.'
4. Include a signature block.
5. Use professional salutations.
6. Use exclamation points sparingly.
7. Be cautious with humor.
8. Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.
9. Reply to your emails--even if the email wasn't intended for you.
10. Proofread every message.
11. Add the email address last.
12. Double-check that you've selected the correct recipient.
13. Keep your fonts classic.
14. Keep tabs on your tone.
15. Nothing is confidential--so write a…

Publishers Propose Costly Injunction in Year 8 of Georgia State Copyright Case

The Chronicle of Higher Education posted commentary about the ongoing Georgia State Case.

A short overview of the long history of the lawsuit is as follows:
The lawsuit, now in its eighth year, challenged GSU’s policy that allowed faculty members to upload excerpts (mainly chapters) of in-copyright books for students to read and download from online course repositories. Four years ago, a trial court held that 70 of the 75 challenged uses were fair uses. Two years ago, an appellate court sent the case back for a reassessment under a revised fair-use standard. The trial court has just recently ruled that of the 48 claims remaining in the case, only four uses, each involving multiple chapters, infringed.

In the recent trial court ruling, Sage was the only publisher that prevailed at all, and it lost more infringement claims than it won. Cambridge and Oxford came away empty-handed. 

Given that Georgia State is considered to be the prevailing party in the suit, it's just a tad surprisin…

Elsevier Acquires SSRN

When news first broke that Elsevier acquired SSRN, my initial thoughts, given Elsevier's reputation, were:
This is a way for Elsevier to shed its bad reputation for sharingElsevier could use SSRN to make money through advertisementsElsevier could use SSRN’s scholarship network to distribute announcements about all of its articles (paid or otherwise)Elsevier could use SSRN to keep a better eye on authors who might be breaking publication agreements Elsevier could start charging for access to otherwise open articles According to Gregg Gordon, president of SSRN, Jan Reichelt, co-founder of Mendeley, and Tom Reller, a senior Elsevier executive, Elsevier has been pursuing a strategy of reducing the share of its revenues coming from content and increasing the share coming from analytics and other services. Among other things, the SSRN acquisition is another step in Elsevier’s path towards data and analytics.
Elsevier has committed that the use of SSRN as a hub for content discovery and d…

Using Artificial Intelligence to Answer Questions

IBM's Watson is being used in a variety of arenas to test AI in different capacities. We know that ROSS (a Watson progeny) is currently in development for legal research, and Watson has been used in medicine and cooking, for example.

The WSJ is reporting that Watson, "Jill Watson" as it were, has been a TA in an online course at Georgia Tech since January 2016. “Jill,” as she was known to the artificial-intelligence class, had been helping graduate students design programs that allow computers to solve certain problems, like choosing an image to complete a logical sequence.

And how exactly did "Jill" work?
Last year, a team of Georgia Tech researchers began creating Ms. Watson by poring through nearly 40,000 postings on a discussion forum known as “Piazza” and training her to answer related questions based on prior responses. By late March, she began posting responses live. She answers only if she has a confidence rate of at least 97%.

“She was the person—well, th…

ROSS Intelligence Partners With Big Law

Cognitive computing is very close to reality in the legal research realm.

Recently, BakerHostetler, an AMLaw100 firm, released a joint press release with ROSS Intelligence announcing a partnership.

ROSS Intelligence is proud to announce that AmLaw100 law firm BakerHostetler has agreed to retain use of ROSS Intelligence's artificial intelligence legal research product, ROSS.

The ROSS platform is built upon Watson, IBM's cognitive computer. With the support of Watson's cognitive computing and natural language processing capabilities, lawyers ask ROSS their research question in natural language, as they would a person, then ROSS reads through the law, gathers evidence, draws inferences and returns highly relevant, evidence-based candidate answers. ROSS also monitors the law around the clock to notify users of new court decisions that can affect a case. The program continually learns from the lawyers who use it to bring back better results each time.

ROSS Intelligence began out o…

Vetting Reliable Research The John Oliver Way

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HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver had a wonderful segment about the skewing of scientific research and how information is ultimately shared. 

Librarians would do well to incorporate this segment into a session on information literacy.

Librarians at Forefront of Preserving Collective Knowledge

The Chronicle of Higher Ed ran an article written by a historian about the ever-increasing need to preserve our vast amounts of data.

As the historian notes, the radical reduction of barriers to reading and publishing online has resulted in an abundance of cultural expression in audio, video, textual, and numeric formats. Yet paradoxically, in this age of digital abundance it is harder, not easier, to secure knowledge for future generations. How much will future generations know about today’s online culture when the average webpage lasts just 100 days? 

One of the biggest challenges of our time is to find a way to archive material. If we learn to manage the abundance of digital information as quickly as we learned to manage print, solutions will come within several generations, approximately when the first few cohorts of digital natives mature, age, and begin to reckon with their own legacies. By that time, though, much will be lost, not by choice but by default. Preserving data, craf…

Law Student Summer Access to Legal Databases

This is a question that inevitably comes up around this time every year. A student asks, "can I use my Westlaw, Lexis, and/or Bloomberg account for my summer internship?"

The Harvard Law School Library Blog has put together a wonderful post about using the various legal databases during the summer. 
BLOOMBERG LAW
If your workplace has a Bloomberg Law account, you are expected to use that, but there are no restrictions on your Bloomberg accounts over the summer. Need an account? If you law school has a subscription, just sign up with your law school email address. 
LEXIS 
Your law school ID will let you access Lexis Advance all summer for: Academic, professional, and non-profit research (note: some employers may give you an ID to use for work purposes)All legal content and news you have as a law studentUnlimited hours per week You do not have to register for this access. Your law school ID will remain active all summer for the above purposes and you will continue earning points a…

Libraries as Early Model for Sharing Economy

It was refreshing to read an article on HuffPost about the increased use of public libraries now that the sharing economy is a "thing."

As noted in the article, public libraries were sharing before sharing was cool, lending books and other goods to people who, in some sense, collectively own them.

“We’re the original sharing economy,” Rivkah Sass, executive director of the Sacramento Public Library in California. “Libraries have been doing this for a really long time — lending art, cooking utensils, tools."

The "library of things" is starting to take hold stronger than ever before. Public libraries across the country are housing so-called “libraries of things,” from which people can borrow useful items for a short time instead of buying them outright. This is a largely hidden feature of the growing “sharing economy,” but it may be poised to take off as many Americans become increasingly concerned about waste and environmental sustainability. 

“We were looking at…