Thursday 30 May 2019

Federal Depository Library Council recommendations & commendations to the GPO

After the close of the Spring 2019 Depository Library Council (DLC) meeting the DLC began work on developing formal recommendations and commendations for the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) Director. Two recommendations and one commendation have been presented to the GPO and are being reviewed and discussed in detail by GPO staff. Formal GPO responses are being drafted and will be shared with the FDLP community in the near future. Briefly, the 2 recommendations are:
  1. The FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 lacks the requirement for conduction a biennial survey or any assessment of depository libraries. The DLC recommends continuing the biennial survey and keeping a core group of questions in the survey unchanged in order to be able to analyze changes over time. 
  2. The GPO should continue to provide guidance and develop standards for digital-only depository libraries; a set of best practices should be adopted. 

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Secrets of the Serial Set from Hein

HeinOnline has just introduced a series of monthly blog posts called "Secrets of the Serial Set," with the inaugural blogpost "The Lewis and Clark Expedition."
Hein says the blog will unveil "the wealth of American history found in the United States Congressional Serial Set. Anyone familiar with the Serial Set has some idea of the hidden gems just waiting to be unearthed."

Friday 24 May 2019

"Voice assistants" criticized for reinforcing harmful stereotypes

The MIT Technology Review has a story about a new UN/UNESCO report titled "I'd blush if I could: closing gender divides in digital skills through education" that criticizes the default voices used for "voice assistants" like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. According to the article, 
"Most AI voice assistants are gendered as young women, and are mostly used to answer questions or carry out tasks like checking the weather, playing music, or setting reminders. This sends a signal that women are docile, eager-to-please helpers without any agency, always on hand to help their masters."
The report aims to expose the gender biases that are being hard-coded into our technology and the internet of "things" that is expanding rapidly.  The title of the report comes from a response that Siri gave after being called "a b****." The report contains a section on the responses that "voice assistants" give to abusive and gendered language. "The assistants almost never give negative responses or label a user’s speech as inappropriate, regardless of its cruelty, the study found."

Thursday 23 May 2019

ABA adopts tighter bar passage standard

The ABA Journal reports that the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has adopted a proposed revision to tighten the bar passage accreditation standard. To be in compliance with the revised Standard 316. Bar Passage;, at least 75% of a law school’s graduates who sat for a bar exam must pass within two years of graduation. Under the previous rule, there were various ways to meet the standard, and no law school had been found to be out of compliance with it.

Monday 20 May 2019


This morning's walking-to-work podcast on 99% Invisible was a great story - and of particular interest to librarians (the title is "Weeding is Fundamental").
It's about the San Francisco Public Library and a recent earthquake, and covers such topics as library weeding, card catalogues, online catalogues, and even has an interview with Nicholson Baker about his book Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper.
As an added bonus there is also a story about the packhorse librarians of Eastern Kentucky, riding horses loaded with books through the mountains, creeks and hollows of Kentucky during the Depression - and even reading the books to illiterate patrons. 

Thursday 2 May 2019

Changes to ProQuest Congressional coming this summer

News from ProQuest about a redesign of the Congressional database that will be happening over the summer. Promised improvements include:

  • Search results will be organized by Content Type. A new section at the top of the search results page will direct users to the best results for each Content Type and give them more information about the content type choices they can select. 
  • Improvements to the Advanced Search Form layout provide search options for specific content types (Hearings, CRS Reports, House & Senate Documents/Reports, etc.). Duplicate entry points to content have been eliminated and streamlined to make it easier for users to select the content they need. 
  • The Search by Number form has been improved and made more intuitive through clearer navigation. 
  • Search results relevance is improved to emphasize content types that are expected to be most useful for the search that was performed.
Customers are welcome to provide feedback at any time through this development and design process by contacting the Product Manager.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Wiley journals

News from ULS/HSLS: they have recently switched the Wiley journal subscription so that we now have access to all Wiley subscription journals’ contents, generally from 1997 (if the title existed then) to present. Also, going forward, we will have access to any new titles that Wiley launches or that they acquire from other publishers.
You can browse the Wiley subscription by going to the Wiley journal online library and, in the lefthand menu select “Law & Criminology."