UELMA in MASSACHUSETTS UPDATE

 A public hearing on the Massachusetts UELMA bills H. 64.and H. 3294 was held on September 17,2019 before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Catherine Biondo, LLNE’s Immediate Past President testified  on behalf of LLNE and submitted the following supporting documents to the Joint Committee:

One-pager explaining H. 3294 and H. 64 and UELMA in Massachusetts

AALL Chart showing that 21 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted UELMA as of August 2019.

There will be opportunities for attendees to become involved in helping to pass UELMA at the LLNE fall meeting at Harvard.  

If you are from Massachusetts and not attending the LLNE meeting, please take time to contact your state Representative by letter or email and encourage them to support H. 64 and H. 3294 and specifically to contact members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary to favorably refer the bills out to a full vote in the House.

Once the bills are before the full House, LLNE will engage with members of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Library Association to lobby for passage of UELMA.  Both the MBA and the MLA have endorsed UELMA.


We thank the members of the LLNE GRC UELMA in MA Subcommittee and the legislators who have supported our efforts. Special thanks to Marnie Warner, LLNE GRC UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee member, for her contributions to this report.

Anne McDonald, Co-Chair, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Emilie Benoit, Co-Chair, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Learned Hands: LLNE Fall Service Project

In honor of the LLNE Fall Meeting titled “Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms in Law Libraries and in Legal Practice”, the Service Committee is promoting the use of the online legal game, Learned Hands.  Developed by the Stanford Legal Design Lab and Suffolk’s Legal Innovation and Technology Lab, Learned Hands is a crowdsourcing game that helps develop access to justice technology.  The game asks players to spot possible legal issues in real people’s stories.  When you spot a legal issue, you are teaching the technology how to spot the issue as well.  The technology will then be used to help link legal resources to the people who are searching for help. Anyone can play!  To participate, go to https://learnedhands.law.stanford.edu/.  Creating an account only takes a minute.  Once you have an account, start reading stories and answer questions about any legal issues you find.  You accrue points for every question you answer.  Our goal is to reach 50,000 points by the end of November!  To help us reach that goal, please email me (jessica.almeida@umassd.edu) your username so we can add your points to LLNE’s overall total.

LLNE Immediate Past President Catherine Biondo testifies in support of UELMA

On September 17, 2019, LLNE Immediate Past President Catherine Biondo testified in support of UELMA (H. 64 and H. 3294)  at the Joint Committee on the Judiciary hearing on the bills. A copy of her written statement has been posted on the LLNE website along with other information about the UELMA bills in Massachusetts this session on the UELMA Advocacy for Massachusetts page

Spring Service Committee Project: Helping Transcribe a Journal from the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association (1888-1892)

This year the LLNE Service Committee continued to work closely with the Rhode Island State Archives for its 2019 spring project.  Participants transcribed handwritten document pages virtually, from the comfort of their own homes or offices, which was a different approach to the transcription party that was held on Roger Williams University’s Providence Campus in November of last year.  Participants received 5 pages (with the ability to request less or more to work on) from the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association (RIESA) journal, which is comprised of minutes, written in late 19th century cursive, of the meetings held between 1888 and 1892. Also included for participants were transcription tips and helpful resources on how to read historical handwriting.

I was unable to attend the transcription party in November, so Iwas excited to be given an opportunity to transcribe pages virtually.  I’ve worked on transcription projects in the past for my place of employment and as a volunteer for the genealogical research site FamilySearch, and over time I’ve found that I actually really enjoy it.  Older handwriting can be incredibly frustrating to read, and it often requires a bit of detective work; getting a sense of the way the author stylized certain letters and words and figuring out the context of the document, if it’s not immediately apparent, can often provide important pieces to the puzzle.  And what librarian doesn’t like a little bit of a research-related challenge?

I was assigned five pages in the RIESA journal that were a summary of a meeting held in 1891, and the main topics that were discussed included the need for women in law and government, the enfranchisement of women, and the protection of children factory workers.  It was incredibly easy to view the document online (no downloading was necessary) and write my transcription in Word.  I was fortunate that the secretary who took the notes for this particular meeting wrote relatively clearly, and it may have taken me no more than an hour of my time altogether to transcribe the pages.  There were a couple words I scratched my head over (like “grogshop”???), but by the end I was confident that I had everything transcribed correctly—spelling and grammatical mistakes included, even though it’s sotempting to make corrections!  It was also neat to read first-handabout the different speeches given during this spirited meeting by well-known names such as Mary Ann Greene and William Lloyd Garrison, with Anna Garlin Spencer presiding over the meeting.

Once the transcription was complete, I emailed the file to the Rhode Island State Archives.  While certain types of documents can be fed through optical character recognition (OCR), transcribing handwriting requires manual effort and time; it felt good to be able to help provide greater access to this important association’s records for researchers and the general public.  

Kaitlin Connolly

LLNE Service Committee

State Library of Massachusetts

Kaitlin.Connolly@mass.gov

Service Committee Transcription Project: Wrap-Up

The LLNE Service Committee would like to thank everyone who helped us transcribe documents for the Rhode Island State Archives this year.  

In the Fall, the committee hosted a transcription party with State Archivist, Ashley Selima.  LLNE members transcribed documents from the Rhode Island Suffrage Association from 1868-1871 and 1888-1892 at the Roger Williams Law Providence Campus.  Transcribers were then treated to a tour of the Rhode Island State Archives and a social hour at a local restaurant.  The committee would like to thank Roger Williams Law Providence Campus for the fantastic space and technological support.  We would also like to thank to LLNE and Lexis for sponsoring the event.  

After the party, members of the Service Committee wrote an article titled “Hosting A Successful Transcription Party”, which was published in the March/April 2019 issue of the AALL Spectrum.

In the Spring, the Service Committee took the transcription party on the road.  LLNE members from all over transcribed historical documents from the comfort of their home or office.  The committee is happy to report that we had 23 volunteers transcribe over 100 pages of the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association Journal from 1888-1892.  Thank you to everyone who volunteered and made this project a success!  

All the transcriptions will help make these fascinating historical documents more accessible to everyone.  The LLNE Service Committee would like to thank the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office and RI State Archivist Ashley Selima for providing this wonderful opportunity.  

Thank you to the members of the Service Committee for all their work making this project a reality.  We are always looking for more volunteers!  If interested, email Jessica at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu.  


LLNE 2019-2020 Nominations Slate Announced

On behalf of the Nominating Committee, we would like to present the slate of LLNE officers for 2019-2020:

Vice President/President Elect: Nicole Dyszlewski, Head of Reference, Instruction, and Engagement, Roger Williams University School of Law Library

Secretary: Christie Schauder, Digital Solutions Coordinator, WilmerHale

Treasurer:  Rachel Weiss, Research Librarian Nixon, Peabody LLP

Education Director: Maureen Quinlan, Reference/Government Documents Law Librarian, Garbrecht Law Library, University of Maine School of Law 

Thank you, 

2019 LLNE Nominating Committee:

Nuchine Nobari, Chair

Christine Iaconeta

Kirsten Leary

LLNE Blog/Social Media Editor opening

Blog/Social Media Editor

Interested in getting to know your fellow LLNE members and develop your editorial and technical skills? The LLNE Communications Committee is looking for an energetic LLNE member (or prospective member!) to oversee our communications channels including our blog and social media. We’re totally open to working with you to mold this into an position that will be personally satisfying and rewarding for you while helping LLNE to grow and find new ways to share information with our members. Responsibilities include:

• Collaborate with LLNE officers and committees to share news with LLNE members by posting to LLNE’s blog, and social media accounts
• Develop content and share info about LLNE and other law librarianship nuggets that our members will find helpful
• Help create a strategic plan for information sharing

If you’re interested or have any questions at all, please email current LLNE Communications and Technology Committee co-chairs: Michelle Pearse: mpearse@law.harvard.edu and Diane D’Angelo: ddangelo@suffolk.edu

Spring Service Committee Project

The LLNE Service Committee is taking the Transcription Party on the road!  We are looking for members who are interested in helping us transcribe documents from the Rhode Island State Archives from the comfort of their home or office.  Here is how you can help:

  1.  Email Jessica at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu to receive 5 pages from the Rhode Island State Archives Suffrage Association collection.  (Want more or less?  Just let us know!).
  2. Check out the following helpful transcription guides: Transcription Tips and Reading Historical Handwriting.
  3. Get transcribing!  Transcribe your pages by typing each word into a Microsoft Word document.
  4. All done?  Send your completed word document to statearchives@sos.ri.gov. (Subject: LLNE Transcription)
  5. If you have any questions at anytime during the process, just email a member of the Service Committee!

Thank you,

The LLNE Service Committee

Jessica Almeida (jessica.almeida@umassd.edu)

Kaitlin Connolly (kaitlin.connolly@state.ma.us)

Nicole Dyszlewski (ndyszlewski@rwu.edu)

Alisha Hennen (ahennen@rwu.edu)

The LLNE Service/A2J Committee’s Work of Public Librarian Outreach in New England Continues

On Sunday, October 28th, members of the LLNE A2J Committee and the LLNE Service Committee presented at the New England Library Association Conference (NELA) in Warwick, RI.  The presentation titled “Law, Technology, and Access to Justice” discussed the access to justice gap in both New England and the United States and how technology is being developed to help bridge the gap.  The presenters showcased a variety of current and upcoming technologies that are focused on helping self-represented litigants prepare for court, such as RePresent, Objection! Your Honor, and the Odyssey Guide and File.  The session also tackled ethical concerns and the unauthorized practice of law with presenters role-playing common legal reference scenarios to show setting boundaries with patrons.  Finally, and most importantly, the presenters discussed LLNE’s Legal Link resource for providing legal reference and referrals. The session was well-received and the attendees were engaged with the material. The slides from the session have been uploaded and shared on the NELA website.  

Join the LLNE Service Committee on Friday, November 16th for a Transcription Party!

From 1-4pm, we will be at the Roger Williams University Providence Campus (1 Empire Street, Providence) transcribing historical documents from the Rhode Island State Archives’s Suffrage Association collection.  Afterwards, come enjoy drinks and appetizers (and the company of fellow law librarians) around the corner at Rosalina’s (50 Aborn Street, Providence).

No experience with transcription necessary! None of us have ever hosted nor attended a transcription party before so don’t worry if you are unsure about transcription!  Come ready to have fun and help out a great organization!

Please RSVP to Jessica Almeida at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu or 508-985-1194 by November 9th .

Computers will be available on site or you are welcome to bring your own.  Parking is available on the street or at the Providence Civic Center Garage located on Washington Street.

*Sponsored by Lexis and LLNE*