It’s time to nominate yourself or a fellow CS-SIS member for Vice-Chair (serves the first year as Vice-Chair and the following year as Chair) and Member-At-Large (serves a two-year term).

The CS-SIS Nominations Committee needs your help filling these two positions.  If you or someone you know would like to be more involved in CS-SIS in a leadership role, please send Eric Young a nomination.  Your nomination(s) must be sent to Eric no later than Friday, January 24, 2020. Self-nominations are more than welcome!

Once a slate of candidates is determined, CS-SIS members will receive information about voting via the online balloting platform. CS-SIS will share results with its membership as soon as possible after elections (likely mid-March).

If you have any questions about the nomination or election process, please reach out to Eric Young.

Being aware of technology and expanding our network is so important to being able to effectively and efficiently accomplish our work as information professionals. Attending and participating in ABA TECHSHOW is an opportunity to increase knowledge and awareness of the topics and tools in legal technology.  If you want to read more about ABA TECHSHOW 2020, visit https://www.techshow.com.

To facilitate attendance, the CS-SIS Executive Board has established a travel grant for ABA TECHSHOW. The application deadline is January 6, 2020, so don’t delay! We set the deadline early so that the grant recipient can register in time to take advantage of the early bird registration pricing.

You may be wondering how, after attending ABA TECHSHOW, you can get more involved. Perhaps you might be interested in joining the ABA Law Practice Division. With the ABA staff, LPD is responsible for organizing ABA TECHSHOW. By joining you may get a discount on ABA TECHSHOW registration in the future. You might also consider proposing a program for the next ABA TECHSHOW. Submitting a proposal doesn’t ensure that you will be selected by the ABA TECHSHOW Planning Board to speak, but it doesn’t hurt.  I usually Tweet about the proposal deadline and post on the CS-SIS Blog when proposals are being accepted. If you visit the ABA TECHSHOW 2020 Faculty page, you will find several CS-SIS members who are speaker at ABA TECHSHOW this year, including Kenton Brice, Debbie Ginsberg, Jennifer Wondracek, and myself.

Take advantage of the opportunity to apply for the CS-SIS Grant! If you are not a CS-SIS member, consider joiningThe CS-SIS is always looking for new members dedicated to serving all the information needs of their users with the aid of developing technologies.

Looking for a last-minute holiday gift to give your tech-loving friend or family member? From high-tech to low-tech and even tech-adjacent, you’ve come to the right place!

From cheapest to most expensive, here are our suggestions:

  1. Legacybox, prices vary
  2. Create Your Own Reel Viewer, $14.95 – $29.95
  3. MOFT Laptop Stand, $29.99
  4. Pac-Man Connect and Play – 12 Classic Games, $26.99
  5. Dry-Erase Desktop Computer Pad, $29.28
  6. Retro Game Console, $30.98
  7. Pura Smart Home Diffuser, $39
  8. Portable Roll-up Bluetooth Keyboard, $55.20
  9. HP Sprocket Select Portable Photo Printer, $129.85
  10. Gaming/Office Chair, $149.99
  11. Wireless Charging Accessory Tray, $175
  12. Gamer Infinity Rx Ultra 300, $1969

Thanks to our CS-SIS members for their suggestions and contributions to this list!

This Cool Tools story begins with a British American entrepreneur named Joshua Browder who grew up in London.  He started driving at the age of 18 and incurred numerous parking tickets.   This got him thinking about the ticket structure in general.  He was non-plussed that the tickets seemed to disproportionately target the elderly and disabled, and he recognized the formulaic nature of the appeal process.  Having taught himself to code by age 12, Joshua created the web-based DoNotPay chatbot to help others navigate the parking ticket appeal process efficiently.   The chatbot is said to have saved motorists in the UK and New York an estimated $5 million dollars.

These days, DoNotPay can assist freely with:

efficiently scheduling your visit to the DMV by pinging for cancelled appointments, expediting TSA PreCheck enrollment, and registering you for the National Do Not Call List (Government Paperwork).

contesting your parking, speeding, red light, and toll booth tickets in New York and California (Traffic Disputes).

generating demand letters for breach of contract, housing issues, or personal injury claims (Customer Service Issues / I am owed $500+).

canceling subscriptions, appealing bank fees, and getting you free food by completing your food surveys (Find Hidden Money).

DoNotPay is only available on current iPhone or iPad (iOS 11.0 or later) devices and is free of charge.  After downloading the app, however, you are required to connect it with your bank account.  (This caused me to pause and investigate further.  DoNotPay uses Plaid for its banking transactions, a platform that is well regarded and is used by venmo.)   DoNotPay requires bank account access to send you any money reclaimed from corporations or the government, to process any voluntary contributions (tips) made in the app, and to process any external government/corporation fees to help you complete your task.

DoNotPay’s most recent feature, DoNotSign, allows users to upload licensing language which the app will then review to highlight warnings and loopholes.  This service, which comes with a monthly fee of $3, debuted in November and is currently only available in the United States.

This story continues as Joshua, now a Stanford graduate, has secured an additional $4.6 million in seed money in 2019 from Silicon Valley investors to further develop DoNotPay. This funding has permitted expansion of services into new jurisdictions, perhaps with one near you.  Although the app refers to itself as “The World’s First Robot Lawyer,” a debatable claim by those familiar with artificial intelligence, it is a contributing player in the access to justice movement.

Woman Reading with TeaLooking for a book to read over the winter holidays? Look no further! Thanks to your fellow CS-SIS and AALL members, here’s a list of the 20 best fiction and non-fiction books they’ve read this year.

Wherever possible, I’ve included links to the book titles at Powell’s, my local independent bookstore, but of course I recommend checking your local library to see if they have a copy to check out.

Happy reading! Let us know in the comments what your favorite read of 2019 was, or tweet with us at @cssis and use the hashtag #amreading.

Fiction

  1. Chances Are
  2. City of Girls
  3. Daisy Jones & The Six
  4. A Dangerous Collaboration
  5. Dark Age
  6. Emergency Skin
  7. Evvie Drake Starts Over
  8. The Lager Queen of Minnesota
  9. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
  10. Mrs. Everything
  11. My Sister, The Serial Killer 
  12. November Road
  13. The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
  14. Patron Saints of Nothing
  15. Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy Series, Book 4)
  16. The Servant of the Crown Mystery Series
  17. Summer Frost
  18. The Testaments
  19. Washington Black
  20. Where the Crawdads Sing

Non-Fiction

  1. Catch and Kill
  2. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
  3. Educated
  4. The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life
  5. Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
  6. The Furious Hours
  7. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
  8. How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States
  9. Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of the View
  10. The Library Book
  11. Midnight in Chernobyl
  12. Powerful Teaching 
  13. Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, A Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship
  14. Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power
  15. Save Me the Plums
  16. So You Want to Talk About Race
  17. The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster
  18. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
  19. Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries
  20. Year of Yes

Thank you to Susanna Marlowe, Margie Maes, Christine George, Savanna Nolan, Mary Whisner, Alyson Drake, Jennifer Allison, Becky Mattson, Debbie Ginsberg, Jessica Pasquale, and our anonymous readers for their suggestions!

 

At the Boley Law Library at Lewis & Clark Law School, we frequently use book cover art for our blog posts and social media outreach. Whether it’s our monthly new books blog post, a post highlighting study aids, or featured faculty publications, we’ve found a need for book cover art and an easy way to save multiple book covers in a single image. Our solution? Goodreads.

As an example for this post, I’m using recent or soon-to-be-released Lewis & Clark Law School faculty publications.

First, search for the book title on Goodreads. If it’s not there, you have the option of manually adding the title, including cover art, as well as author(s), ISBN, publisher, number of pages, format, and edition.

add cover art manually

Second, add the title to one of your shelves. I use my Want to Read shelf to store the titles I want to add to my posts.

Third, after you’ve added all of the titles you want to group into one image, choose My Books, then filter by bookshelf. Since all of my titles are saved in the Want to Read, I select My Books, then filter by the Want to Read bookshelf. Another tip: you might need to sort your books in list view by date added, then switch back to image view.

Additional instructions for adding book covers in GoodReads

Now you’re ready to save the image. In my example, I only want the top row of books added (the titles on the second row are from a previous post). I can use a third-party app like Monosnap, or a system-provided screenshot tool to grab this image. On Mac, if you’re running macOS Mojave or later, you can use the Screenshot app. On PC, you can use the Print Screen button.

Below you’ll see the final image from Goodreads that I captured using the Monosnap app.

final book cover art on Goodreads

Questions? Let me know!

The Computing-Services Special Interest Section is made up of awesome law librarians doing interesting things.   The CS-SIS Member Spotlight is designed to shine light on our membership so that we can learn more about each other and stay connected.

CS-SIS Member Spotlight:  Darla Jackson

Technology, Learning, and Teaching

Mastering technology has been a constant part of Darla’s professional career, from learning weapons systems while in the Air Force, to writing about technologies in the Law Library Journal, to teaching Oklahoma bar members how to use law firm practice management systems, to exploring digital initiatives and tech competencies.  This experience led to Darla’s inclusion in the 2019 class of the Fastcase 50.

Learning is another theme in Darla’s story.  While earning her LL.M. in international law from the University of Georgia, Darla reports that she could not have finished her thesis without the help of the UGA law librarians.  These savvy researchers sparked her interest in library school, a program she began after teaching international law at the U.S. Air Force Academy and practicing international law at 9th Air Force/CENTAF at Shaw AFB, South Carolina.  She felt like she found her tribe while in library school and loves being a law librarian.  Speaking of tribes, Darla is continuing her education as she pursues an LL.M. in Indigenous Peoples Law. She also serves as Chair of the AALL Native Peoples Law Caucus, is a member of the Chickasaw and Cherokee Nation Bar Associations, and is an active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Indian Law Section.

Darla’s broad educational background ensures that she has many teaching opportunities.  She has taught foreign and international law, advanced legal research, and is currently teaching an online course as part of OU Law’s International Business Master of Legal Studies program.  And, pictured above, Darla has taught several webinars on technology-related topics for the OBA and ABA. Look for Darla at ABA TECHSHOW in 2020 as she’ll be presenting on the next generation of practice management tools and on risk management and the technologies involved in disaster preparedness.

Hopes for CS-SIS and Personal Interests

As our current chair, Darla believes that one of the most important roles CS-SIS can play is to provide learning opportunities for our members.  Her goal is to expand the educational role of our section.   She also values the assistance she has received from other librarians and hopes CS-SIS can provide the same service to others.  She believes that we are all professionally enhanced by sharing our expertise, and CS-SIS members have much to offer.

Darla has a ton on her plate, but in her free time she’s been reading Killers of the Flower Moon, a non-fiction work that deals with the murders of Osage people killed for their mineral interests.   Next, she wants to read about bias as discussed in Ethical Algorithm:  The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design.  Otherwise, she finds guilty pleasure in the mindless watching of Bravo, is an active retweeter, and enjoys listening to NPR.

Thanks to Darla for her willingness to be interviewed for this CS-SIS member spotlight.   If you are interested in interviewing and writing a blog post about a CS-SIS member, please contact Tawnya Plumb at tplumb@uwyo.edu.  It is a great opportunity to learn about a fellow member.

In this post, Kristina Alayan talks about the features of the Cool Tool she demoed at the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting. Questions? Contact her at kristina.alayan@law.howard.edu

Do you suffer from inbox (zero) envy?  Do you use your inbox as an (ineffective) to-do list?  If you have attempted and failed to engage in sustainable email management practices, there is a tool that you may want to consider integrating into your suite of productivity tools.  Inbox Pause, or Boomerang, is compatible with both Outlook and Gmail.  Like many productivity tools, there is a freely available version with reduced/basic features and a more robust version for those who are willing and able to pay for them.

The features I use the most are response tracking, recurring emails, return this message, and Inbox Pause advanced.  The response tracking feature allows you to tag an email that will require follow up if you don’t get a response.  The email will return to your inbox on the day/time you’ve selected to remind you the loop needs to be closed, but only if you don’t get a response.  You can pick the exact date/time you’d like the email returned or use one of the preprogrammed options (e.g., tomorrow morning, one week from now).

The recurring email feature is great if there is a (typically tedious, but necessary) reminder that you need to send out.  For some folks, it might be to their staff/students to enter their timesheets.  Like a recurring item in your calendar, you set the parameters once and once it’s saved the email will go out like clockwork (e.g., first of the month, every Monday at 3 pm).  I have found that I like to add myself as a BCC to those emails as a helpful reminder to myself that the communication has gone out.

Return this message allows you to return a message to your inbox when you know you’d like to deal with it.  Maybe there’s a meeting at the end of the week that you need to attend before you can answer the email.  You can respond letting them know, and schedule the email to return to your inbox at the date/time of your choosing.  An additional feature that I’ve been using more regularly allows you to add an internal note to the email when it’s “boomeranged” back to you with any reminders or additional information you need to respond to the email appropriately.

The Inbox Pause feature allows you to manage the flow of emails to your inbox.  Unlike working in your email offline, which most email clients offer, the advanced features of Inbox Pause allow users to identify specifically what time(s) of day email should enter their inbox as well as exceptions.  For example, I have mine scheduled to release emails first thing in the morning, mid-day, and before 5 pm.  I’ve created exceptions so that any emails from my boss as well as emails with certain words (e.g., “urgent) are always delivered immediately.  During the “inbox pause” window, your emails are held temporarily in a folder called “Inbox-Paused.”  The folder isn’t hidden, so you can access it at any time if you want to look for a specific response without going through the trouble of adjusting your features.

The Boomerang customer service feature is responsive and friendly.  When I had an issue, they were quick to resolve it.  The only downside I’ve encountered so far with the Inbox Pause feature is that you can’t adjust it by day or date.  For example, some folks might want their inbox paused while they’re out of the office (e.g., weekends, vacation).  I’ve submitted a request to their team to consider adding this to their options, so we’ll see if they’re able to make those changes in the near future.  Because I currently pay for premium access, some of the tools I described might be restricted or some features may not be available.  For example, the return message option is capped for non-subscribers and unlimited for subscribers.  For academic subscribers, there is a discount and you can trial the premium service to test drive it before committing.

For more information:

A few weeks back our law library decided to use a cookie cake tabling event to raise awareness for Open Access (OA) Week and distribute info about OA publishing and our university’s grant opportunity for creating OA educational materials. What we thought would be a simple request from the nearby bakery turned into a giant mess as we were countlessly argued with about the copyright status of the OA open lock logo. Frustration and in hindsight total hilarity ensued. One thing was clear though: we still have a LONG way to go in understanding and translating what OA is.

Not long after that my family sat down to watch an early Ozu film: The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice. Although the film’s focus is on the differing attitudes of two generations and arranged marriage, the overarching clash between tradition and modernity is more applicable to OA than one might think. When you talk to people about OA, particularly educational platforms and resources (like textbooks) it can be a polarizing conversation. There is often a complete disconnect where no amount of explanation can resolve the issue – as was evidenced by our repeated conversations with bakery employees and a string of managers. Every logo has a copyright, right?! It doesn’t matter if it is the OA logo.

As with most things in this world, technology is the catalyst for change. We cannot slow down the advances in technology. Our modern tech is transforming our traditional means of education including the methods and the materials. With the rise of terms “learning object” in 1994 (Wayne Hodgins), and “open content” in 1998 (David Wiley) education has been transforming before our very eyes. Some of us have just tried hard to keep our eyes closed… like the couple in the film they were content lying to one another – but of course they were not actually happy.

We haven’t been happy with the rising costs of educational materials for a long time.

Transforming: A Short History of Open Educational Resources

In 2001 MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) project aimed at putting their entire course catalog online. Partnering with Wiley at Utah State University, MIT’s OCW utilizes self-organized communities of interest to set up a distributed peer support network. This is often credited as the start of the OER movement as shortly after in 2002 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) presents a Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Ed. That same year the initial release of Creative Commons (CC) licenses emerges. These CC licenses are the most popular and widely used open licenses for open educational materials.

To be clear, an open educational resource is a publicly accessible material that any user can use, re-use, improve and redistribute. The creation of these resources is usually motivated by an underlying desire to change or improve our existing paradigm of education. Of course there is a ton of business and by extension money perpetuating the existing paradigm which includes traditional publishers, licenses and their products (like textbooks). Some obvious concerns with increasing OA and OER include quality and reliability of resources, as well as the access divide when it comes to supported devices, software and internet connections. OER allows for the potential for more access, but does not guarantee it. Even when the educational resources are completely free for the user, does the user have the necessary technology resources to access it?

Educational resources should be both quality and affordable – dare we suggest free?

Transmuting: A Future of Open Access Textbooks

This is where the platforms enter the playing field. Over the summer I attended an excellent session at CALICon titled Leveraging E-Resources for Affordable Course Materials. The presenters made an excellent case for lowering law students’ economic burdens (something most of our institutions are aiming for) by leveraging existing e-resources. They shared a nice selection of tools for identifying or producing cheaper (if not free) course materials, including a glimpse of their own spreadsheets for identifying comparable cheaper or free texts their school faculty had required in their courses.

One of the simplest strategies they suggested for encouraging faculty to create their own materials (including textbooks) was to use a blog platform. Is there anything a good-ol’ blog can’t do?! It seems too simple to be effective, but essentially the professor would make a blog entry as the course progressed, including their own content as text in the post and linking to freely available articles, media and other resources where appropriate. In the end they had a solid accessible “book” that they could go back into and edit or update as needed. The session also talked heavily about CALI’s eLangdell (no surprise there, it was CALICon afterall!). I followed this rabbit hole of CALI’s commitment to increasing access via computers to a 2012 article (you should read, or re-read if it has been a while) by John Mayer on saving students $150 million.

In addition to reviewing this session (the full video is available for streaming online), here is a list of resources including collections of open textbooks and platforms for creating or submitting open textbooks:

  • CALI’s eLangdell – Press publishes free, open eBooks for legal education.
  • Open Textbook Library – Includes a nice selection of open textbooks, browse by subject and Submit page.
  • OpenStax – Search by subject, completely free books platform and offers a nice app.
  • Open Access Textbooks – Includes info on choosing a license and model for successful OA texts.
  • OER License Generator – An interactive tool to use for when you want to combine multiple open resources with your own work, and then license your work for others to freely use.
  • Model for Success – A 2012 draft model for Open Access Textbooks with a section on software tools.
  • OER Commons – A Public Digital Library of OER for exploring, creating and collaborating to improve ed.
  • LibreTexts – Open textbooks that are freely available to download, edit, and share initiated by UC Davis.
  • OpenEd – Includes more than 300 titles with a browse by subject and links to create open textbooks.
  • Open Textbook Store – A source for ready-to-adopt open textbooks (this is not a publisher).
  • OASIS – Openly Available Sources Integrated Search tool for making the discovery of content easier (search by public domain books, videos, podcasts, learning objects, textbooks, course materials, and interactive simulations).
  • MERLOT – Access to curated online learning and support materials including content creation tools.
  • MOM – Mason OER Metafinder is a real-time advanced search tool for federated OER content.
  • Teaching Commons – High-quality open educational resources from leading colleges and universities, curated by librarians and their institutions.
  • PDXOpen – An open access textbook publishing initiative to support Portland State faculty developing open access textbooks.
  • ScholarWorks@GVSU – OER at Grand Valley State University including teaching tools, textbooks and a libguide.
  • USF Scholar Commons Textbooks – Authors of a higher education textbooks can contribute your open access textbook. They accept all higher education open access textbooks regardless of author affiliation.

At the end of the film The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice the two primary characters sit down to dinner. The wife, who throughout the film had badgered her husband for mixing his tea in with his rice because it just wasn’t proper, finally tries it herself. She has a moment of realization – it goes beyond this petty matter of the right way to eat your rice. She tells him she finally understands, and he says it is OK. Perhaps we’ll someday reach this moment with OA and our educational materials and methods…that moment where a burden is lifted! Until that day comes, I encourage you to have more conversations with your colleagues about OA and OER. Just yesterday a survey invitation was shared via the Academic Law Libraries SIS. Taking part in this survey is just one small way we can help paint a better picture of OER in legal academia. Here’s the anonymous link to the survey with a deadline of Nov. 22nd: http://lsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eu4h4zRvUDk9kot

Open Educational Resources Study

This study consists of a survey to determine if faculty at law institutions are publishing open educational resources or using those created by others to offset the high cost of textbooks and casebooks. To participate in this study you must meet the requirements of both the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Respondents must be employed at a law institution within the United States. There is no risk in being involved in this study as respondents will be anonymous. Subjects may choose not to participate or to withdraw from the study at any time. By continuing this survey, you are giving consent to participate in this study. If you have any questions please reach out to Kayla Reed at kreed25@lsu.edu or Karen Shephard at shephard@pitt.edu.

 This study has been approved by the LSU IRB. For questions concerning participant rights, please contact the IRB Chair, Dr. Dennis Landin, 578-8692, or irb@lsu.edu.

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The landscape in the Trello looked great, but where on Earth was it?  This video shows how I used Google Image Search to find out.  I also talk about Google Image Search tools, finding free images in Unsplash, searching for icons in The Noun Project, and how to easily add images and icons to Google Slides.

 

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