All posts by Bonnie Shucha

Share Video Highlights of State Proceedings with WisconsinEye’s Clipping Tool

Here in Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have our own non-partisan, state-wide public affairs cable network.  WisconsinEye features coverage of the Wisconsin Legislature (floor sessions and committees), Governors’ addresses, Supreme Court oral arguments, as well as other programs of state interest such as panels, forums, town halls, and programs about state history.

The WisconsinEye website offers both live and archived video coverage of state public affairs.  They’ve recently launched a new and improved clipping tool which allows users to create custom URLs of video content timed to the exact moments that you’d like to share.  These links can then easily be embedded on websites and shared via email and social media.

See the FAQ for more info about how to use the video clipping tool.

New UW Law School Faculty Scholarship

Here is the latest faculty scholarship appearing in the University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies Research Papers series found on SSRN.

The University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies journal contains abstracts and papers from this institution focused on this area of scholarly research. To access all the papers in this series, please use the following URL: http://www.ssrn.com/link/u-wisconsin-legal-studies.html

Merger of WI’s Legislative Reference Bureau and Legislative Council Considered

In a guest column in the Capital Times, the reports that the Wisconsin Legislature is considering merging the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) with the Legislative Council.

Both are nonpartisan legislative agencies but they serve different functions.  The LRB provides legal, research, and information services to the Wisconsin Legislature whereas the Legislative Council staff supports effective lawmaking by providing legal advice and guidance to standing committees of the Legislature.

The agencies also have different confidentiality requirements under Wisconsin Statutes 13.91 (Leg Council) and 13.92 (LRB).

See the article for more information.

CRAAP Test Provides Tips on Spotting Fake News

Reports of fake news seem to be increasing every day.  In her recent Practice Innovations article, UW Law Library Reference & Instructional Services Librarian Jenny Zook offers some helpful tips on spotting fake news.  The list is based on the cleverly named CRAAP test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose) developed by a librarian in 2004.

You apply the test by searching for clues to the authenticity of a news item by asking yourself a series of questions:

  • Who wrote the article? What is the byline ? Does it have an author, and if it is a scholarly article, is the author an expert in that field of study?

  • Check the date. When was the article written? Is it dated anywhere in the article? Fake news is often undated or lacks currency.

  • Is the URL from a trustworthy source or does the URL only mimic a trusted site? For a compiled list of untrustworthy sites, check the listing from Dr. Melissa Zimdars in Tips for analyzing news sites.

  • Is the site clickbait? Do ads pop up the moment you click on the link?

  • Boom! Does the news elicit an emotional reaction, like anger? Is the language inflammatory or one-sided?

  • Look for confirming bias. Fake news spreads quickly because we seek out information that reinforces what we believe.

  • Is the article written well or is it filled with grammatical errors and typos? Is it written in all caps? Fake news creators may be clever, but they aren’t known for their smooth writing skills or style.

  • What, if anything, does the article link to? Does it cite reliable sources of information? Is the data verifiable? Who are the experts cited?

  • If the article includes images or videos, can you trace them to another source? Fake news will often include mislabeled or altered photos or videos.

“Right to be Forgotten” Doesn’t Apply to Searches Made Outside EU

Five years ago, Europeans gained the right to ask search engines to block certain information about them.  It was unclear, however, if this “right to be forgotten” extended to Internet searches made outside the European Union.

It appears now not that it does not per an opinion issued by European Court of Justice advocate general Maciej Szpunar.  “Search requests that are made outside the territory of the European Union should not be subject to the de-referencing of search results,” wrote Szpunar.

The decision relates to a 2015 dispute between Google and the French watchdog group CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés) over Google’s decision to limit the right to be forgotten just to its French domain rather than apply it to all its national search engines.

See Reuters and The Inquirer for more.

Scientists Examine What Having Constant Access to Information Does to Our Memory

Several years ago, tech writer Nicholas Carr sparked a debate with his thought-provoking Atlantic article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”  In it, Carr suggested that not only is the Internet shaping our lives – it’s physically changing our the way that our brains function.

“[W]hat the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

Intrigued by this question, researchers from UW-Madison, Columbia, Harvard took a closer look at what having constant access to information does to our capacity to retain information, reports Interesting Engineering.  “Together, they conducted a series of experiments with student volunteers which provides support for the contention that the Internet has an effect on our memory.”

In one experiment, students were asked to write down 40 pieces of trivia.  Some were told that their answers would be recorded, others were told that they would be erased.  When asked later to write down as many statements as they could remember, those who were told that their answers would be erased remembered more statements that those who thought they would be recorded.

In another experiment, a group performed a similar task, but everyone was told their work would be saved in folders with labels.  When asked to recall the written statements, students could only recall 25% of them.  But when asked in which folder a specific statement had been saved, they were able to identify 50% of the folders.

The experiments are telling, although not surprising.  Both demonstrate that we process and remember information differently when we know that we have technology backing us up.

Although exacerbated by the Intenet, this isn’t exactly a new phenomenon.  I make a grocery list before going to the store.  As a student, I took notes in class.  As a librarian of a certain age, I even used a physical card catalog to locate library materials.  Pencils, notebooks, card catalogs, books – these are all technologies that have long enabled us to record information so that we don’t have to have perfect recall.

Interesting stuff.  Check out the article for a further exploration of this phenomenon going all the way back to the ancient Greeks.

Videos Highlight how UW Law Library Fosters Research & Learning

Over the summer, the Law Library created a series of videos that highlights the ways that we foster research and learning at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Just in time to celebrate the UW Law School’s sesquicentennial (that’s 150 years if anyone’s counting), the videos highlight not only our beautiful library space but also our collections and research support.

Each 30-second video highlights a different facet of the Law Library:

      • The first video is an introduction and welcome to the UW Law Library

      • The second video focuses on the library’s broad collection of resources

      • The third video highlights the variety of research assistance that we provide

    • The fourth video shows off our beautiful library space where students gather for study and collaboration

    We hope that you enjoy and share these videos widely.  Here is a helpful link to a playlist of all the videos for easy sharing (list appears at the top right).

    Many people were involved in the creation of these videos both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, but I would particularly like to acknowledge the work of Reference & Technology Librarian, Emma Babler, who coordinated the project.