Announcement from AALL’s Government Relations Office: free training!

Emily Feltren, Director of AALL’s Government Relations Office, announces that registration for AALL’s free online training, Advocating for Information Policy Change on Capitol Hill,

(April 11 at 11:00 a.m. CDT), is now open. This training is designed to sharpen your advocacy communication skills and prepare you to take action on AALL’s hottest policy priorities, including passage of the FDLP Modernization Act (H.R. 5305) and the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 4631).

Emily says: You’ll leave this bite-sized 30 minute session prepared to contact your member of Congress with a pro-law library message during AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day on April 12, all from the comfort of your desk. I hope you’ll join me!

Members of Congress are currently debating key information policy issues that could change how law libraries access, use, and preserve government and legal information.

Join AALL’s online advocacy training to learn how you can influence your members of Congress to modernize current laws to benefit law libraries and their users. The training will prepare you to take action during AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day on April 12, 2018.

(Hat tip to Anne McDonald for passing this along to the blog!)

Posted in AALL, Government Relations | Leave a comment

LLNE /SNELLA Fall Meeting: Hysteria, Hyperbole and Witch Hunts: 1697 & 2017 Report

By Anne McDonald

This was a very interesting meeting that tied together the above themes and shed light on many common assumptions.  Here are some highlights.

Salem, Massachusetts is indelibly associated with witchcraft, but it was not the first place to hold witchcraft trials in the colonies or even in Massachusetts.  Witchcraft trials started in Europe and were then carried over to the colonies.  The earliest witchcraft accusations in the English colonies took place in Virginia: the trial of midwife Joan Wright. Her neighbors testified that she caused the death of a newborn. She was acquitted despite admitting that she had some knowledge of witchcraft.   Mark Podiva of West Virginia University College of Law gave the keynote speech, saying we need to focus on implicit and explicit bias in sources, both historical and current.

Anne Rajotte of the UConn Law Library discussed Connecticut witch trials, which were lesser known than the Salem witch trials because the trials were spread out over many years and information was scattered.  Salem’s witch trials, while not the earliest, are the best known, perhaps because of the high number of deaths in a short period of time. Between June and September 1692, nineteen men and women were hanged for witchcraft in Salem.

Amazingly, there was a time when the courts allowed “spectral evidence”; if a witness said the accused came to him in a dream, that could be admissible as proof of the devil’s work.   The witchcraft laws all had biblical language.  Rhode Island had a statute forbidding witchcraft from 1647 until it was abolished in 1767. There was never a prosecution for witchcraft in Rhode Island.

Witch trials serve as an early example of fake news, the first Salem trial was started by bored teenagers spreading lies. They listened to a servant’s stories, after being told they were not supposed to, then said she cast spells on them.  There are still witch hunts going on in parts of the world, most frequently in developing countries. When people get sick, witchcraft is suspected.

Gary Smith of the Berkshire Law Library, who is both a librarian and art historian, showed and discussed a painting by a 19th century artist named T.H. Matteson of the “Witchcraft Trial of George Jacobs.”  It was painted in 1855.  He showed how art can help us remember things.

John Barden and Mike Hughes gave interesting, edgy, humorous presentations that kept us awake following lunch.

The last speaker, Ron Wheeler, put us in a deep, reflective mood when he read from his  article about his lifelong journey towards empathy, which sums up the theme and main takeaway of the entire program.  As Tanya Johnson notes in the SNELLA newsletter, misunderstanding and lack of empathy can lead to horrific consequences.

I would like to thank Ellen Phillips of LLNE and Jordan Jefferson of SNELLA for their joint efforts in putting together this program.  I would like to thank LLNE for arranging for the services of professional CART reporters Stephanie Farrell and Kathleen Dwyer, who worked hard all day to make the program accessible to me.

Here is a link to SNELLA’s January 2018 newsletter with two items related to the Salem meeting: Anne Rajotte’s article: Witch Trials in Connecticut on pages 3-4, followed by Tanya Johnson’s report titled “10 Things I learned at the LLNE/SNELLA meeting in Salem.”

Posted in LLNE Meeting, SNELLA | Leave a comment

Changes to LLNE’s Service Committee

By Michael VanderHeijden

I’m writing to relay a change to the LLNE Service Committee approved by a vote of the attending members at the Fall meeting in Salem, MA.

In an effort to more effectively pursue two divergent initiatives (service projects and Legal Link), LLNE’s Service Committee has become two committees. The Service Committee will remain focused on planning and executing the public service projects associated with LLNE’s Fall and Spring meetings. A new Access to Justice (A2J) Committee has been created to continue the work on Legal Link and to pursue projects promoting access to and understanding of legal information.

The committee’s charge is copied, below.

Jessica Dziedzic Almeida, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Law School, is chairing the Service Committee. If you’d like to volunteer for the Service Committee, please contact Jessica at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu. Mike VanderHeijden, Yale Law School, is chairing the A2J Committee.

Members of the A2J Committee:

Sherry Xin Chen (Boston College School of Law);
Nicole Dyszlewski (Roger Williams University School of Law);
Suzanne Hoey (Barnstable Law Library);
Jessica Pisano Jones (Social Law Library);
Natalia May (Vermont Law School);
Sara McMahon (Western New England School of Law);
Misty Peltz-Steele (University of Massachusetts School of Law);
Jennifer Robble (Boston University School of Law)
Mike VanderHeijden (Yale Law School)

Access to Justice Committee Charge:

  1. The Access to Justice Committee shall consist of a chair, or co-chairs, and such additional members as the President shall designate.
  2. Recognizing the acute need in many New England communities for access to legal information and recognizing the unique training, expertise, and resources of New England’s law librarians, the Access to Justice Committee shall partner with public librarians, court personnel and others to leverage collections, professional knowledge and skills to promote access to justice through greater understanding and availability of legal information.
  3. Further recognizing that there are many as-yet unidentified opportunities to partner with Access to Justice communities of interest, the Committee shall not limit itself to familiar librarian roles. Rather, the Committee shall remain open to new and alternative modes and methods of supporting the Access to Justice movement.
Posted in Access to Justice, Committee News, Service | Leave a comment

Service Committees Raise $7,700 for New England Innocence Project

By Jessica Almeida

In conjunction with the fall meeting, the Service Committees for LLNE and SNELLA partnered up to raise funds for the New England Innocence Project (NEIP).  Since 2000, the NEIP has been promoting criminal justice reform and exonerating the wrongfully convicted in the New England area.  To date, the NEIP has helped free 70 wrongfully convicted individuals through the use of DNA testing, questioning of faulty eyewitness testimony, and revealing the misconduct of the police.  To read their stories, go to http://www.newenglandinnocence.org/new-england-exonerees/.

Thanks to the generous donations of our members, the LLNE Service Committee is pleased to announce that $3,850 was raised to help NEIP provide legal assistance to the wrongfully convicted in the New England area.  This amount was matched anonymously, so a total of $7,700 was donated to this worthy cause.  This is the most money the Service Committee has ever raised for one cause and we couldn’t have done it without the kindness and generosity of our members.  A special thanks to Kathy Ludwig and her father, Bruce Williams, for their substantial donation.  For more information on the New England Innocence Project or if you would still like to donate, please see their website at http://www.newenglandinnocence.org/.

Thank you to Nicole Dyszlewski and the rest of the Service Committee for organizing the New England Innocence Project Drive.  The LLNE Service Committee is always looking for more volunteers!  If interested, go to http://llne.org/committees/service/.

Posted in Committee News, Service | Leave a comment

Harvard hosting Fair Use Week Symposium

Harvard’s Office of Scholarly Communication is pleased to share registration information on the fifth annual Fair Use Week symposium, “Tried and True: Fair Use Tales for the Telling” that we will be hosted at Harvard on March 1!

The conference will feature a community of librarians, artists, scholars, lawyers, archivists, and other leading fair use experts in a day of panels and discussions. Featuring Kenneth Crews (keynote), Laura Quilter, Chris Bavitz, Zena Agha, Rebekah Modrak, Brandon Butler, Pia Hunter, and more! Its a free, day-long event of fair use art, tech, food, and fun!

We would love to have you join us! For more information and to register please visit https://5th-anniversary-fair-use-week.eventbrite.com. If you have questions, please contact Emily Kilcer at emily_kilcer@harvard.edu. And follow us online on Twitter: @Fairuseweek and #FairUseWeek

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Posted on behalf of LLNE Continuing Education Scholarship recipient Jason Eiseman:

Thanks to a generous Continuing Education Scholarship from LLNE I attended my first 2017 Digital Library Federation Forum (DLF Forum) and National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Digital Preservation Conferences this October.

The Digital Library Foundation is “a robust and ever more diverse and inclusive community of practitioners who advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the creative design and wise application of digital library technologies.” Their main event every year is the Digital Library Forum.

The forum includes a wide variety of practitioners who work throughout academia. This included, and I had the opportunity to meet, a number of librarians, IT professionals, faculty, and researchers all interested in the “wise application of digital library technologies.”

Before getting to the actual content of the sessions I think it’s worth noting the unique structure of the conference. Each time block had multiple sessions. Each session had an overarching topic associated with it, and three or more curated presentations related to that topic. In other words the sessions might not be a coordinated and cohesive presentation but rather multiple curated presentations on a topic.

In addition to more traditional panels, there were also workshops which were dedicated to specific topics that often lasted more than one session block as well as working breakfasts and lunches organized by particular DLF groups that served to educate people about the work of those groups, plan for the coming year, and generally discuss a particular topic.

I should also note, one of the great things about DLF was shared community notetaking and material posted to the Open Science Framework . This will make it very easy to review my notes and share relevant material with others. Audience members at every session were encouraged to take notes in the community documents. This also made it much easier to pay attention to the presentation without feeling that I had to take copious notes.

Content-wise the first thing that struck me was how dedicated this professional conference was to the cause of social justice. However, this was often not simply some high-minded ideal discussed abstractly but how this might, would, could or should work in practice was often addressed, even if we didn’t arrive at a definitive answer.

For example, the first session I attended discussed ‘labor’ in digital libraries. I was impressed by how this session, particularly the first presentation, tackled issues of gender and culture head on, but also in such a practical way including discussions about ways to make employee labor on digital scholarship initiatives more visible. Similar themes would appear often throughout the conference – the following links provide two of a number of examples: https://osf.io/x972e/, m5d.

The conference, however, did also include it’s share of practical and techie sessions – many of which were of great relevance. The outreach session included a number of practical approaches one could take. One group discussed their use of Zooniverse to help use a volunteer community to classify old real estate documents. Other libraries are using it to transcribe historical documents like banking records and U.S. Civil War messages.

Finally, there were a number of hot topics which seemed to generate a lot of interest. These hot topic areas are discussed in DLF Groups that appear to be very active and involved in a number of important projects. I attended a number of sessions with the DLF Pedagogy Group and Assessment Group. Just sitting in on their sessions discussing what they’ve been working on proved incredibly valuable. The Assessment group has also created a Digitization Cost Calculator, which is a great resource for digitization projects. We also discussed analytics, and even how to assess the reach of digitized collections and repository items.

The NDSA Digital Preservation conference was a separate conference that began after the DLF Forum. The highlights of the Digital Preservation conference, for me, was the chance to catch up with Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA) Executive Director Margie Maes and attend a great session that included Sharon Bradley from the Library at the University of Georgia School of Law. She was discussing legal issues around digital preservation.

I would highly recommend DLF to other librarians. While law librarians were few and far between the content was still relevant. Discussions of digital humanities, data, digital libraries, institutional repositories, and similar issues cut across all different types of libraries. Law librarians would do well to explore DLF and similar conferences to get different perspectives on how we might approach some of our work. I certainly valued my time there and appreciate LLNE for affording me the opportunity to make it happen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LLNE/SNELLA Service Project: New England Innocence Project

By the LLNE Service Committee

For the upcoming fall meeting, Hysteria, Hyperbole, and Witch Hunts: 1697 & 2017 on November 17th, the Service Committees from both LLNE and SNELLA have teamed up to raise funds for the New England Innocence Project. NEIP provides pro bono legal representation to the wrongfully convicted all over the New England area. With a very small staff, including attorneys, paralegals, interns, and volunteers, the New England Innocence Project have exonerated over 70 individuals. Recently, due to budget concerns, NEIP has been unable to take on new cases. Please consider donating to this worthy cause.

To donate, please go to https://secure.squarespace.com/commerce/donate?donatePageId=57326d1a9f726693272775f8.

For more information on volunteering, please go to http://www.newenglandinnocence.org/volunteer-or-intern/.

Posted in Committee News, Service | Leave a comment

ANHLL Invites LLNE Members: Monday, October 16th in NH

Interested in hearing from the people behind the editorial enhancements in Westlaw?  The Association of New Hampshire Law Librarians is having a meeting on Monday, October 16th at 2:00pm at McLane Middleton in Manchester and invites LLNE members to join them. Their speakers (via videoconference) are from Westlaw: Bob Smits for KeyCite questions, plus someone from the headnote writing group and the classification group.

If you are an LLNE member interested in attending, please contact Mary Searles at msearles@courts.state.nh.us .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

LLNE/SNELLA wants you!

LLNE and SNELLA are looking for presenters for the upcoming fall meeting on Friday, November 17, 2017, at the Salem Waterfront Hotel in Salem, MA. The topic of the conference is Hysteria, Hyperbole, and Witch Hunts: 1697 & 2017. Please see the conference LibGuide for more details.

The conference will be focused on historical legal research in the context of the Salem witch trials and related to themes of teaching information literacy, information bias, and differentiating between salacious sources and authoritative ones.

We are looking for people who are interested in doing short, fifteen minute “lightening round” presentations either with or without visuals on this theme. Potential topics could include: Fake News, Bias, Information Literacy, Online Civic Reasoning/Discourse, Groupthink, Fact Checking, Filter Bubbles, Data Archiving, Access to Authority, Digitization/Preservation of Historical Materials, teaching with (or using) rare/historical materials, Authentication of Legal Sources, Archival Research. Other topics will be considered as well, so please feel free to suggest another angle.

If you have any questions, or would like to submit a proposal, please contact Ellen Phillips. Proposals should be one to two short paragraphs explaining the topic of your presentation and how it relates to the theme of the conference.

The deadline to make a proposal is September 30th.

We look forward to receiving your great ideas!

Jordan Jefferson

Tanya Johnson

Elliott Hibbler

Ellen Phillips

Barbara Schneider

~ LLNE/SNELLA Fall 2017 Conference Program and Local Arrangements Committee ~

Posted in LLNE Meeting, Meetings & Events | Leave a comment

Save the Date!

The fall conference will be Friday, November 17, 2017 at the Salem Waterfront Hotel, 225 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970.

The topic of the conference is Hysteria, Hyperbole, and Witch Hunts: 1697 & 2017.

This year LLNE will be partnering with SNELLA for an interesting and informative day dedicated to historical legal research in the context of the Salem witch trials, teaching information literacy in an era of fake news, online civic reasoning, detecting bias in research sources, fact checking, and more.

Check out the libguide for preliminary information! More details to follow in the coming weeks!

Posted in LLNE Meeting, Meetings & Events, SNELLA, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment