Must-read list for law librarians

A curated collection of trends, technologies and other developments

Existing legal information that’s difficult to find or scattered
Existing legal information that’s difficult to find or scattered

Legal information that’s difficult to find or scattered

Leveraging the wealth of information you have already is the focus of this article written by Benjamin Miller for Slaw—Canada’s online legal magazine. Miller walks us through his own project of developing web pages for Community Legal Education Ontario.
He believes curation has two advantages over creating new content:

  1. Curation can be done quicker and with less subject matter expertise.
  2. Curation fights information overload by not contributing more to the problem.

Separating fact from fiction to verify news trustworthiness

Librarians are a solutions-focused group. Fake news? We’ve got it covered. We know how to cut through the nonsense and get to the truth of the matter. Jenny Zook’s comprehensive piece, “Spotting Fake—Best Practices for Authenticating Trustworthy News Sources,” reminds me of the many reasons I am proud to be an information professional.

Digital transaction blockchain

Blockchain adoption in legal industry and others

Quite a bit is being said and written about blockchain these days. From my recent interactions at various conferences this year, I gather this is a topic that is still not resonating with many of us, but it looks like that is about to change very soon. As Bob Ambrogi notes, a new international consortium has formed to focus on blockchain adoption in the legal industry. He writes,

“The consortium will work to drive the adoption and standardization of blockchain in the legal industry, with the larger goal of improving the security and interoperability of the global legal technology ecosystem.”

Law is not the only industry that will be transformed and disrupted though blockchain technology, which is essentially a ledger capable of automatically recording and verifying a high volume of digital transactions anywhere. CB Insights, a research firm that tracks private companies, investments and acquisitions, has identified 30 major industries that could be transformed by blockchain technology, including intellectual property, government and public services, healthcare, insurance and corporate governance.

You can bet this means blockchain is coming to a firm near you soon (if it already has not). Consider this an invitation to get up to speed!

Laptop search

Every free PACER order and opinion now available

CourtListener.com, a free site from the non-profit Free Law Project, has made a big announcement that researchers will not want to miss. In the wake of the biggest internet crawl the group has ever launched, they share,

“After nearly a year of work, and with support from the U.S. Department of Labor and Georgia State University, we have collected every free written order and opinion that is available in PACER.”

Not only have they collected those orders and opinions—they have made them freely available. Thanks to Sabrina Pacifici’s entry on this development.

Cognitive computing transforming the business of law

IBM’s Brian Kuhn and Shawnna Hoffman gave a keynote speech designed to:

“…address key misconceptions around artificial intelligence and cognitive computing and share insights from business-of-law use case workshops IBM conducted with corporate legal departments and law firms over the last two years.”

If AI is on your mind—and it should be—do not miss Mary Abraham’s excellent notes from the keynote talk at Transforming the Business of Law with Cognitive Computing – Watson Legal.

Black box

What’s in the legal research box?

ROSS’ Andrew Arruda does not shy away from challenges. In fact, he seems to have a keen eye for ferreting them out. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool solutions man sharing his thoughts on a recent study involving six major legal research systems. What happens when a simple, single search returns major deviations among the tools we all claim to know and seem to trust? Andrew has some thoughts and, of course, sees the potential for AI. Roll up your sleeves and tackle.

Check result discrepancies

Result discrepancies from major legal research platforms

Susan Mart’s recent study of the discrepancies among the results from the major legal research platforms has garnered a great deal of attention, and rightly so. At its very least, it was a stark reminder of why research professionals are still so vital in this digital age. Corrine Latham keeps the discussion going and takes it to the next level. She writes,

“That may just be the tip of the iceberg. In closely examining the resources you already have or those that you’re trialing, you may soon discover more discrepancies than you’d expect when making apples to apples comparisons.”

This entire thread should be required reading for everyone in the research industry.

John DiGilio

John DiGilio

John DiGilio is the Senior Director of Research & Intelligence at LibSource. He has written for numerous regional and national publications as well as taught college and graduate courses in such topics as business ethics, e-commerce, fair employment practices, research methodology and business law.
John DiGilio
John DiGilio

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