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Features and Columns — July, 2015

Book-starved Utah boy begs postman for junk mail to read: How to respond?

David Rothman shares a recent story about a boy whose quest to read in spite of even minimal resources was captured and shared around the world, resulting in a flood of free books, thanks to the mail carrier who took the time to listen, and the initiative to help. At the heart of this example of action is David's continuous work promoting a national digital library endowment and well-stocked national digital library systems. — Published July 31, 2015

Cut and Paste Opinions: A Turing Test for Judicial Decision-Making

Ken Strutin argues that cut-and-paste is a laudable method for reducing transcription errors in copying citations and quotations. However, he identifies that a problem arises when it is used to lift verbatim sections of a party's arguments into a case decision. Stipulations and proposed orders from counsel for both parties might be enviable and practicable, but judgment and fact-finding are solely in the province of the court. This has been a long standing issue that has spanned technologies from shears and paste-pot to typewriters and computers, and which might culminate in a Turing Test for case law. — Published July 25, 2015

Library Research Guides: Best Practices

Many librarians have a set of research guides that they are responsible for keeping up to date, but finding time to devote to this important task can be extremely difficult. As libraries migrate to LibGuides 2.0, many are using this opportunity to study their users’ preferences, implement new policies, and completely refresh their research guide collection. If your library is going through this process, or you are simply planning on using the (relatively) calm summer months to update your research guides, here are ten best practice tips to keep in mind - by Kara Dunn, D`Angelo Law Library. — Published July 25, 2015

Human Resources Management Meets Big Data in Devising Systems to Identify Star Employees

Alan Rothman provides much needed insight and perspective regarding the role of employee performance and productivity metrics, big data, and identifying future leaders within an organization. Although HR professionals and software applications have been engaged to deliver results that yield this knowledge, both are lacking in effectively leveraging and delivering processes to drive future success. — Published July 4, 2015

June, 2015

Communication Problems through SharePoint

Lorette Weldon's article is a gateway to training about how SharePoint uses a technology of programming without coding. Her pathfinder empowers librarians not familiar with database management to create a web part from within SharePoint that does not require any programming knowledge. As Weldon teaches us, the end-user does not have to code to put a fully functional SharePoint site together. — Published June 30, 2015

Voice Dream text-to-speech reader to appear for Android in August

David Rothman writes that the Voice Dream Reader comes with wonderful navigational and annotative capabilities as well as a rich assortment of voices. It is integrated with DropBox, Google Drive and EverNotes, and you can even download it directly from Project Gutenberg. — Published June 19, 2015

The Case for Natural Language Processing in Economics

Economist Ayeh Bandeh Ahmadi outlines a case for incorporating more natural language processing into economics as a tool to invigorate and provide additional critical facets and perspective to study, as well as adding a large volume of data for research to explore and analyze. — Published June 14, 2015

How Robots and Computer Algorithms are Challenging Jobs and the Economy

Alan Rothman casts an expert eye onto the landscape of an growing phenomenon - the rise of robotic technologies and their current and forthcoming impact on our workforce and on the economy. This review was sparked by a new book authored by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford titled Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. The depth and significance of the critical issues the book raises is the focus of Rothman's insightful and engrossing commentary. — Published June 6, 2015

New Chips are Using Deep Learning to Enhance Mobile, Camera and Auto Image Processing Capabilities

Alan Rothman takes a look at the expanding experience of how we interface with our devices’ screens for inputs and outputs nearly all day and everyday. He explains how what many of the gadgets will soon be able to display and, moreover, understand about digital imagery is about to take a significant leap forward. This is a result of the pending arrival of new chips embedded into their circuitry that are enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. — Published June 6, 2015

Journalism Resources on the Internet

Marcus P. Zillman's new guide is a selective, comprehensive bibliography of reliable, subject specific and actionable sources of journalism resources and sites for researchers in all sectors. This guide will support your goal to discover new sources, refresh your acquaintance with sources you know but that have evolved, and provide additional strategic methods to locate and leverage information in your work. — Published June 6, 2015

May, 2015

Recent Visualization Projects Involving US Law and The Supreme Court

Examples of the use of visualizations and graphical representations of data and documents in the legal arena are increasing. Alan Rothman's article includes examples from the public and private sectors as well as academia. — Published May 22, 2015

Computer Savviness: Step 4 to Information Literacy

Lorette Weldon shares her roadmap to Computer Savviness - be flexible enough to learn new concepts, methods, and technology developed for different kinds of communities - and do not be not averse to discovering and trying new applications and tools to learn and discern what may work best for your specific environment. — Published May 22, 2015

IBM’s Watson is Now Data Mining TED Talks to Extract New Forms of Knowledge

Alan Rothman's commentary offers actionable information about a new technology from IBM called Watson that is a powerful tool for researchers whose work engages data mining, knowledge management and competitive intelligence. Rothman attended a recent presentation that demonstrated how Watson is deployed as a search and discovery tool whose object is the huge video archive of TED Talks content. — Published May 17, 2015

Creating the Information Literate Warrior: Step 6 to Information Literacy

In this part of her ongoing series, Lorette Weldon concentrates on successful methods for developing needed tools for kids’ study through demonstrations to show them how to find the information on their own. — Published May 17, 2015

Wikipedia and Information Literacy: Step 5 to Information Literacy

Lorette Weldon teaches her students to be critical and aware users of Wikipedia for research projects and assignments of any kind. Lorette provides specific criteria to benchmark content on Wikipedia for value, reliability, time frames when information has been posted and updated, as well as any evident bias. — Published May 17, 2015

Book Review - “The Age of Cryptocurrency”

Alan Rothman highlights the increasing impact of an online payment system that is immersed in finance and economics around the world - the expanding use of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. With actionable links to expert professional topical sources on these subjects, Alan's article will bring you up to speed on a bleeding edge cross border issue that impacts law, technology, e-commerce and the deep web. — Published May 17, 2015

April, 2015

How To Conduct Free Legal Research Using Google Scholar In 2015 (Part 2)

Nicole Black benchmarks how legal research is something lawyers do nearly every day and why convenient, affordable access to legal research materials is so important. Web-based legal research has truly provided solos and small firms the tools they need to compete - and at a price they could afford. The trick is to set aside time to learn the ins and outs of conducting legal research on Google Scholar. To make this process even easier for you, Nicole has provided Part 2 of her series on this topic. (Part 1 is here) — Published April 30, 2015

The Wealth Gap: A Tale of Two School Libraries

David Rothman provides critical insight into the inequities in the availability of public school library resources between different areas within DC, but which are not at all unique to this city. — Published April 26, 2015

Amicus Curiae: Information in the Service of Justice

From Ken Strutin's introduction to this guide: In the legal system, such intonements have taken on the form of specialized briefs called amicus curiae ("friend of the court"). And through extension and by complement they have appeared in the form of law reviews, media articles, exposes, and books. Indeed, there is an oscillating relationship between amici and law reviews, which has been beneficial for scholarship and public discourse. In the end, it is the passion for justice that drives individuals, governments, academics, lawyers, journalists and other interested groups to befriend the courts. The amicus has the power to speak to many audiences simultaneously. In the courtroom, it is the honest broker; in the public media, it is the educator; in academia, it is scholarly analysis and historical perspective. Bounded by common law, court rules, and the conventions of publishing (briefs, articles or books), the amicus can yet move knowledge into venues where it is most needed. An amicus can serve as an "oral shepardizer," expert witness, or quasi-litigant that extends the range of judicial notice and culls, concentrates and vets information into a case-specific resource. Still, there is a tension between the role of the amicus as independent expert offering facts and a party arguing an agenda, which can ultimately impact the quality and constitutionality of decision-making. Indeed, there are concerns that unregulated amicus practice can undermine development of case law by opening the door to issues and arguments beyond the threshold of standing and jurisdiction. Lastly, the free range of amicus briefs can exacerbate already problematic judicial information seeking behavior. Roman legal tradition fashioned the amicus into an interlocutor, an explainer in all kinds of cases. Today, their roles are circumscribed by court rule and common law. However, the scope of this article is confined to a discrete precinct of the amicus universe, criminal justice. — Published April 26, 2015

How To Conduct Free Legal Research Using Google Scholar In 2015 (Part 1)

Nicole Black surveys the new landscape for access to legal research databases, which previously cost a considerable sum - back in the day when Westlaw and Lexis had cornered the market. Today researchers have a range of reliable, affordable choices for legal research, such as Fastcase and CaseMaker, and even entirely free alternatives such as Google Scholar. — Published April 26, 2015

March, 2015

Emerging roles and possible futures for librarians and information professionals

Author, professor, editor, librarian - Bruce Rosenstein's article addresses the following critical questions - What professional roles do you play as a librarian/information professional? How have they changed during your career? And perhaps most important, how do you see them changing and evolving in the future? — Published March 15, 2015

Seven ways to grow the e-book business while helping libraries and readers: Ideas based on my two decades of writing about it

E-book sales are not posting impressive sales increases, at least not among big publishers. One major reason is that much of the technology is difficult to use. Even increased library statistics for e-loans are not resulting in corresponding increases in funding and support for libraries around the country. Based on more than two decades of writing about e-books, David Rothman suggests seven library-and-consumer friendly ways to boost e-book growth. — Published March 8, 2015

Book review: ‘Bexar BiblioTech: The Evolution of the Country’s First All-digital Public Library’

David Rothman describes why the BiblioTech library in Bexar County, Texas is a landmark achievement worthy of implementation and iteration in towns and cities throughout the US. His article describes the success of this variation on a library system detailed in a new book authored by Nelson Wolff, the visionary behind the country’s first all-digital public library system. Wolff is the judge of Bexar County, which includes the city of San Antonio. The title is roughly equivalent to the head of a county board. Judge Wolff and his wife, Tracy, are donors and fund-raisers for BiblioTech and other civic causes, and his book is a how-to pathfinder to “bridge the literacy and technology gaps.” — Published March 8, 2015

That’s Write: Putting Aside the Keyboard and Using a Pen or Pencil Can be Good for Your Brain

Alan Rothman, expert knowledge manager, content strategist and project manager, discusses valuable lessons learned throughout his education that he continues to practice today. Specifically, the importance of hand written notes and hand editing electronically prepared documents remains a key component of knowledge retention, organization, and connecting critical information to projects, plans, coordinating work assignments, and delivering work product to customers. Maintaining and improving cognitive skills through handwriting is well documented, and Rothman discusses the multiple ways that writing plays an integral role at work, at home, in education, and in personal development. — Published March 1, 2015

Archiving Transparency and Accountability: Step 3 to Information Literacy

In Part 3 of Lorette Weldon's series she discusses the virtual assistant she created to review with clients the search methods that were covered in face to face customer interactions. Weldon emphasizes that this methodology creates and maintains transparency, enhancing learning and sustaining relationships. Links to Part 1 and Part 2. — Published March 1, 2015

February, 2015

Shaken Baby Syndrome: A Differential Diagnosis of Justice

Ken Strutin's article is a comprehensive examination of how the concept of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) has become a battleground where medical evidence and legal presumptions clash, testing the limits of judicial wisdom. Strutin presents a collection of recent and select court decisions, law reviews and news articles that explore the ongoing scientific and legal arguments about the definition and exclusivity of shaken baby syndrome evidence. — Published February 21, 2015

No Paperwhite read-aloud for you! FCC again lets Amazon and friends diss people with disabilities

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. — Published February 21, 2015

Step 2 to Information Literacy

In Part 2 of Lorette Weldon's series, she emphasizes that to promote information literacy you would have to practice what you preach. You must retain customer interaction information so that you may add to it in forthcoming interactions. Thus says Weldon, the patrons experience both familiarity and warmth when they return to the library because the librarian remembers who they are and what they had been looking for in previous visits. — Published February 16, 2015

January, 2015

Step 1 to Information Literacy

This is the first of a three part series by Lorette Weldon. She discusses the role of “The Three T’s” - talking, tinkering, and traveling, in relationship to building a bond between librarians and customers seeking reference and research services. — Published January 17, 2015

Tell the FCC to Require Read-Aloud for Future Kindles and Other E Ink Devices

Want read-aloud in Kindles and other readers? Use FCC's easy online form by January 9, 2015. David H. Rothman calls attention to a pivotal upcoming event for readers everywhere: On January 28, 2015 if the Federal Communications Commission makes the right choice, a regulatory waiver will expire. The waiver has exempted Amazon and other E Ink manufacturers from having to comply with rules based on the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act signed by President Obama in 2010. Last year, at the urging of the National Federation for the Blind, scores of blind people objected to the waiver. And the FCC listened. “We believe that, given the swift pace at which e-reader and tablet technologies are evolving and the expanding role of ACS in electronic devices, granting a waiver beyond this period is outweighed by the public interest and congressional intent to ensure that Americans with disabilities have access to advanced communications technologies.” — Published January 4, 2015