Category Archives: Technology News

What Technology do You Use?

That was the question The Chronicle of Higher Education asked three Georgetown graduate students from main campus.  The trio shared some of the tech tools they use and the way they use them.

What are some of the tech tools you can’t live without?  Check out our Mobile Apps database for further suggestions.  If you have a mobile app you find useful, please don’t hesitate to inform us so we can add it.

Doing Research? Manage Your Citations with Zotero

About to start a big research project? Managing your research materials can be a huge headache.  Luckily, there are a few software options to manage citation data, notes, and other information, then start inserting citations into your work using automated tools.*

The library has just completed three tutorials on one of these tools, a citation manager called “Zotero.”  You can learn how to get started, how to get organized and collaborate with other Zotero users, and how to use Zotero to insert citations into your writing.

If you want hands-on or in-depth help using these tools, please contact Jill Smith.

The library has a long and ever-growing list of tutorials to help you perform a variety of research tasks – if you need information about how to use an unfamiliar research tool or search for a new type of resource, consult our directory of tutorials.

* Automatically created citations should be checked carefully for errors in the data or formatting.

Mobile Apps for Law Faculty and Students

The library maintains a database of useful apps for iOS and Android mobile devices at http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/mobile/.  Suggested apps can help users research, organize, write, and follow news and blogs.  The database is presented as a spreadsheet which can bmobile_appse browsed, sorted, or filtered depending on whether you are just curious as to what is recommended or are making a more targeted search for a specific type of app.

If you have an app that you find particularly useful or if you are looking for a type of app that is not listed, please contact Jill Smith.

Sending WestlawNext Documents to Your Kindle

If you have a Kindle, you can send documents directly from WestlawNext to the device.  However, in order for this to work you first have to authorize WestlawNext’s e-mail with Amazon, otherwise your Kindle will treat the e-mail as spam and reject the attachment.  Here is how to perform that authorization and use the Send-to-Kindle feature (for users of the Kindle App on a non-Kindle device such as a tablet or smartphone, please also see the postscript below).

First, select “Manage Your Kindle” under “Your Account.”Amazon.com settings

The resulting page will have a long sidebar on the left.  Select “Personal Document Settings.”  amazon2

At the top of this page is the e-mail address (or addresses if you have multiple Kindles or devices with the Kindle App) where you can send documents.amazon3

At the bottom of this page is where you add approved e-mail addresses.  It is generally advisable to add your own email address(es) so you can forward documents to your Kindle from your own account(s) as well.  If you have a Kindle, add WestlawNext@westlawnext.com to this list.amazon4 - Copy (jas515@law.georgetown.edu)

Having authorized the e-mail address(es), you send documents to a Kindle using the same menu you use to email, print, or download documents.westlaw

Use the @kindle.com email address for your kindle that is displayed in the Send-to-Kindle E-mail Settings on the Personal Document Settings page discussed above.westlawA

Postscript for Kindle App Users

If you don’t have a Kindle device but you have a device with a Kindle App installed, you can still send documents but it requires a small workaround.  First use the e-mail feature in WestlawNext and send the PDF version of the document to yourself.westlaw1

When the document arrives in your inbox, simply forward it to the device’s @kindle.com e-mail.  (You will need to authorize your own e-mail address at Amazon per the main instructions above).westlaw2

When the device syncs, the document will be in your library.  If you want to send a lot of documents to your device, create an e-mail rule that automatically forwards all mail from
WestlawNext@westlawnext.com to your device’s @kindle.com account.

Mobile Apps – 2013 Highlights

Did you know that with your Georgetown Law passwords you can access the Lexis Advance and Westlaw Next mobile sites? You can also read the BNA Reports from Bloomberg Law  on their mobile site. Check out these and others highlighted on our new research page on Mobile Apps.

We’ve featured some of the free government legal applications available on apps.usa.gov, as well as others recommended by the lawfirmmobile.com site.

If you have any questions about using mobile apps for legal research, feel free to consult a reference librarian in person, via e-mail or via live chat.

Accessing Past Exams – Firefox User Note

This past Sunday, we wrapped up the law library’s annual student survey.  More than 90% of our students answer that access to the Exam Archive is a reason for visiting the library’s website. Hopefully 100% of our students know about this collection.  In case that’s not true, here’s what the system provides, as well as a technical note for Firefox users.

The library manages the Exam Archive to provide access to documents from our Registrar’s Office. The system is available to all Georgetown Law students, where you can download past exams from 1998 to the present.  Using the system, you can download exam files in batches (as a zip archive) or individually by semester.

In the survey, one person commented about problems with the Firefox browser that’s useful to know. If you are using the Firefox browser, a bug in Firefox’s built-in PDF viewer may cause the Georgetown Law watermark to obscure the text in exam files.

If you encounter this problem, please try viewing exam files in another browser (Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) or a standalone PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader. This page has more information about Firefox’s PDF Viewer, including how to turn it off or use a different PDF plugin.

National Security “Big Data” Symposium Video Now Online

If you weren’t able to make it over to Gewirz this week for the symposium, Swimming in the Ocean of Big Data: National Security in an Age of Unlimited Information, hosted by the Journal of National Security Law & Policy and the Georgetown Center on National Security, you can now watch video of the event online (view below or here). See the schedule and brief program notes for reference — the video is in one nearly 7-hour chunk, so this may be helpful.

The three diverse expert panels and lunchtime keynote address were enlightening and thought-provoking, and complemented the Georgetown Law Library’s own symposium, Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information, just last month (video of that event is available here).

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Control of Social Media after Death

What happens to a person’s Facebook page after they die? What about other social media accounts and digital assets? In New Hampshire the House is considering a bill  that would give control over a decedent’s social media accounts (e.g, Facebook, email, blogs) to the executor of the estate. Other states have addressed the issue via legislation as well, but not all. And the laws vary across the states.

The Uniform Law Commission (also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL)) establishes uniform state legislation that states may adopt, providing some consistency across jurisdictions. In early 2012, NCCUSL established a Study Committee on Fiduciary Powers and Authority to Access Digital Information. The Committee’s description states:

A fiduciary who is administering a decedent’s estate or the affairs of an incapacitated individual needs to be able to find, access, value, protect and transfer the individual’s online accounts and digital property.  Because of the need to provide protection against fraud and identity theft, in recent years it has become increasingly difficult for fiduciaries to obtain the necessary access to digital information promptly and efficiently.  Beginning in 2005 a number of states have enacted legislation covering some of these issues, but the legislation varies greatly.  The study committee will consider and make recommendations concerning the authority and powers of a fiduciary to access digital information related to a decedent’s estate or the affairs of an incapacitated individual.”

The draft document the Drafting Committee reviewed at its first meeting (in the Fall of 2012) is posted online. According to the document, only five states have enacted legislation dealing with fiduciary access to digital assets but several are considering it. The work of the Committee should provide needed guidance to all states.

10 Years and 6.5 Million Exempt Organization Returns Available

A new “Big Data” resource of tax material has recently been made available. On October 30, Public.Resource.Org made available 10 years’ worth — nearly 6.5 million — Exempt Organization Form 990 returns filed by exempt organizations and private foundations as well as unrelated business income (UBIT) returns filed by these organizations. The data set contains returns from January 2002 through September 2012, and will be updated monthly.

 

At this time, these returns are only available in pdf format, but Public.Resource.Org plan to extract the underlying data from these returns to make them more amenable for data analysis.

 

These records and more information about the data set are available at https://bulk.resource.org/irs.gov/eo/readme.html.

Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information

Georgetown Law Library – A Symposium in Celebration of 125 Years

Monday, October 29, 2012 (8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
Georgetown University Law Center – Gewirz 12th Floor

Law Library 125th Logo“Big data” is a term perhaps too narrow for the topic: the size of data sets is not the key to big data issues. Rather, society is changing because of our growing ability to discover meaning by connecting points of information electronically, across multiple, often unrelated, sources. When thinking of quantitative decision making, big data may include “small data,” but lots of it.

This conference will examine the public good and collective harms that follow from the large-scale aggregation of information from public and private sources. During the course of the day, panelists will also examine how scholars, researchers, and information professionals manage very large or complex data sets to distill meaning and develop public policy.

If you’d like to attend the symposium, please register here to reserve a place as attendance is limited. You may also view the symposium agenda online.