Service Committee Spring 2021 Project Wrap-Up

This Spring, the committee organized three projects to coincide with the LLNE FUNtivities and Spring Virtual Meeting. 

NEADS Prison Pups posing for a picture.

Our first project was raising money for NEADS Prison Pup Program.  NEADS is an organization that provides service dogs to veterans, people with physical disabilities, individuals with autism, and even assistance dogs that work in hospitals and courthouses.  90-95% of NEADS puppies are trained in correctional institutions in New England through their Prison Pup Program.  Through the generosity of our members, we have raised over $1,300.  If you would like to give to this wonderful organization, please visit  https://support.neads.org/llne.

Child posing with a card made for Meals on Wheels.

Our second project was creating cards and decorated lunch bags for Meals on Wheels locations throughout New England.  The committee is happy to report that members have pledged to create over 300 cards and bags.  Please remember to take a photo of your creations and use the #LLNEFuntivities on Twitter.  The sign-up form is now closed, but if you are interested in contributing to this project, please email Jessica at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu

Coded Bias Activist Toolkit poster.

Our last project highlighted an informational resource to compliment the Coded Bias screening and panel on Friday, June 11th.  The committee showcased the filmmaker’s activist toolkit, containing ways to get involved in the algorithmic justice movement.  The committee is encouraging members to sign the Universal Declaration of Data Rights as Human Rights, which was developed by the Coded Bias team, if you are interested in further supporting this cause. Upon signature, your name and zip code are sent to US elected officials.  For more information, go to https://llne.org/interested-in-algorithmic-justice-here-are-ways-llne-members-can-help/.

If you are interested in joining the Service Committee or have an idea for a project, please contact Jessica Almeida at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu.

Interested in algorithmic justice? Here are ways LLNE members can help!

Don’t forget to register for the June 11th (this Friday!) screening and discussion of the acclaimed documentary Coded Bias. The event starts at 7pm EST: tinyurl.com/xr5dm9wf. The filmmaker, Shalini Kantayya, has also compiled an activist toolkit for those interested in becoming advocates for “algorithmic justice.” If any LLNE members would like to get involved, page 24 of the toolkit lists recommended organizations to which you can subscribe and make donations.

Another way to get involved is by signing the Universal Declaration of Data Rights as Human Rights, which was developed by the Coded Bias team. Upon signature, your name and zip code are sent to US elected officials. The committee is encouraging members to sign the declaration if they are interested in further supporting this cause.

We hope to see you on Friday!

LLNE Service Committee

Service Committee Project: The Prison PUP Program

In conjunction with the Law Librarians of New England (LLNE) FUNtivities , the Service Committee is raising funds for NEADS, an organization that provides service dogs to veterans, people with physical disabilities, individuals with autism, and even assistance dogs that work in hospitals and courthouses. 

The money we raise will go to the Prison PUP Program.  According to NEADS “90-95% of NEADS puppies are trained in 7 correctional facilities throughout New England. Our statistics show that, under the guidance of NEADS staff, inmates are able to provide consistent training at a high level simply because of the amount of time they are able to devote to the dogs. This enables us to place dogs faster with people in need.”  

For more information, please visit https://neads.org/training-placement/prison-pup-program/.

For a first person post about the program, please visit https://neads.org/prison-pup-program-a-win-win/.

Due to the generosity of our members, we have increased our goal!  To donate, go to https://support.neads.org/llne.  

The Service Committee

LLNE Fall Service Project Wrap-Up: The RE∙Center of Hartford, Connecticut

This fall, the LLNE and SNELLA Service Committees joined forces to raise money for the RE∙Center of Hartford, Connecticut.  The RE∙Center is an organization that works to promote racial equality in education.  The RE∙Center offers anti-racism programming to students, educators, and the community.  For more information on the RE∙Center, visit https://re-center.org/.

As part of our project, LLNE hosted a trivia night to raise funds for the RE∙Center on October 28, 2020.  LLNE members, law librarian colleagues, family, and friends from across the country joined us in a fun trivia tournament hosted by TTodd of Jeporardy and Washington Post fame.  Congratulations to the team from Yale for coming in 1st place! The winning team members received amazing prizes courtesy of the event’s sponsor, Lexis. 

Missed the trivia event and still want to give to this great cause?  There is still time to give!  Just visit https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E331556&id=1, select “I would like to dedicate this donation”, and type in LLNE Service Project.  

Finally, the Service Committee is happy to report that this initiative has raised $1,322.78 for the  RE∙Center!  Thank you to all of our members who donated and were part of our first ever virtual trivia event.  If you have an idea for a future service project or would like to join the Service Committee, please email Jessica at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu.  

LLNE Service Committee Report (October 2020)

With the SNELLA Service Committee, we undertook two projects in conjunction with the Fall Meeting.  First, is a transcription project hosted on the Library of Congress website.  Members are encouraged to go to any of the following sites and transcribe historical documents to make them more accessible to the public.

The committees are also asking members to donate to the RE∙Center, an organization that works to promote racial equality in education.  For more information on the RE∙Center, visit https://re-center.org/.  To make a donation, go to https://bit.ly/LLNE_RECenter, select “I would like to dedicate this donation”, and type in LLNE Service Project.  As part of our donation drive, LLNE will be hosting a Trivia Night on October 28th at 7:30 pm EST via Zoom.  The event will be hosted by TTodd and prizes will be sponsored by Lexis.  Registration information will be sent out soon.

LLNE Fall Service Project

The LLNE and SNELLA Service Committees are happy to announce two ways for you to give back in conjunction with the Virtual Fall 2020 Meeting on Dismantling Bias. 

First, you can donate to the RE∙Center, an organization that works to promote racial equality in education.  The RE∙Center offers anti-racism programming to students, educators, and the community.  For more information on the RE∙Center, visit https://re-center.org/.  To make a donation, go to https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E331556&id=1 select “I would like to dedicate this donation”, and type in LLNE Service Project.   

Hold onto your receipt!  Soon, we will be announcing a great virtual event to raise funds for Re-Center and we want you to be part of it.  More information to come… 

The committees are also promoting a number of transcription projects through the Library of Congress.  The transcription process is easy and just a few pages can make a huge difference in discovery and education.  Check out the following transcription projects: 

Click on a link, choose a page, and start typing away.  Before you know you will be submitting pages that will be more accessible to everyone.  What are you waiting for!  Get transcribing.   

If you have any questions, please contact the LLNE Service Committee chair at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu. 

LLNE 2020 Spring Meeting Service Project

With everyone currently cooped up at home, the Service Committee thought it would be a great opportunity for members of LLNE to once again donate their time to help transcribe historically significant documents.  The Boston Public Library is asking for the public’s assistance with transcribing its digitized collection of 19th century handwritten correspondence between anti-slavery activists; doing so will improve the collection’s visibility, accessibility, and searchability for users.

Simply visit https://www.antislaverymanuscripts.org and click “Start Transcribing.”  You will then be prompted to create an account before starting.  The BPL has put together a great tutorial and field guide to help new volunteers, and you can transcribe as little or as much as you’d like—whenever you’d like!  Please note that the project is currently not supported on mobile devices.

If you have any questions or comments about this project, please feel free to contact Kaitlin Connolly at Kaitlin.Connolly@mass.gov.

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.

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.