American Library Association (ALA) Reference and User Services Association (RUSA): Best Free Reference Websites List

The list includes:

Please see:

RUSA’s Emerging Technologies Section selects annual list of Best Free Reference Websites

For information about the American Library Association (ALA) and its Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) , please see here and here.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

World Economic Forum (WEF) White Paper: Internet Fragmentation

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has recently posted the white paper

Internet Fragmentation: An Overview (January 2016)

From the Executive Summary (page 3/6 of the PDF) of the document:

…the Internet is in some danger of splintering or breaking up into loosely coupled islands of connectivity. A number of potentially troubling trends driven by technological developments, government policies and commercial practices have been rippling across the Internet’s layers….

The growth of these concerns does not indicate a pending cataclysm. The Internet remains stable and generally open and secure in its foundations, and it is morphing and incorporating new capabilities that open up extraordinary new horizons, from the Internet of Things and services to the spread of block chain technology and beyond. … But there are challenges accumulating which, if left unattended, could chip away to varying degrees at the Internet’s enormous capacity to facilitate human progress. We need to take stock of these….

The purpose of this document is to contribute to the emergence of a common baseline understanding of Internet fragmentation. It maps the landscape of some of the key trends and practices that have been variously described as constituting Internet fragmentation and highlights 28 examples.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

Wikipedia Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

15 amazing things since the idea of Wikipedia was launched to the world on January 15, 2001.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

World Bank Group: World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends

The World Bank Group has posted this report here.

The Overview of the report is here.

Some highlights from the report’s Foreword (page xiii)/page 15 of the PDF)…

The world is

in the midst of the greatest information and communications revolution in human history. More than 40 percent of the world’s population has access to the inter- net, with new users coming online every day. Among the poorest 20 percent of households, nearly 7 out of 10 have a mobile phone. The poorest households are more likely to have access to mobile phones than to toilets or clean water.


must take advantage of this rapid technological change to make the world more prosperous and inclusive.


full benefits of the information and communications transformation will not be realized unless countries continue to improve their business climate, invest in people’s education and health, and promote good governance.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Proposes Revisions to U.S. Government’s Governing Document on Information Resources

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has recently proposed — for the first time in 15 years — revisions to U.S. Government’s governing document — Circular No. A-130 — on information resources — please see here.

Public comments were requested — please see here.

Please see here, herehere and here for coverage of/reporting on/criticism regarding the proposal.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

New Report: “A Comparison between US and EU Data Protection Legislation for Law Enforcement”

Please see this report, “commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department
for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE
Committee [Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs],” here.

From the Executive Summary of the report:

Generally, it can be concluded that the EU data protection framework in the law enforcement sector is shaped by comprehensive data protection guarantees, which are codified in EU primary and secondary law and are accompanied by EU and ECtHR case law. In contrast, US data protection guarantees in the law enforcement and national security contexts are sector specific and are therefore contained within the specific instruments which empower US agencies to process personal data. They vary according to the instruments in place and are far less comprehensive.
Above all, constitutional protection is limited. US citizens may invoke protection through the Fourth Amendment and the Privacy Act, but the data protection rights granted in the law enforcement sector are limitedly interpreted with a general tendency to privilege law enforcement and national security interests. Moreover, restrictions to data protection in the law enforcement sector are typically not restricted by proportionality considerations, reinforcing the structural and regular preference of law enforcement and national security interests over the interests of individuals. Regarding the scope and applicability of rights, non-US persons are usually not protected by the existing, already narrowly interpreted, guarantees. The same is true with regards to other US law. When data protection guarantees do exist in federal law, they usually do not include protection for non-US persons.

Pew Research Center’s “Libraries at the Crossroads” Report

The Pew Research Center has released

Libraries at the Crossroads: The public is interested in new services and thinks libraries are important to communities (September 15, 2015)

The “Summary of Findings” reads:

American libraries are buffeted by cross currents. Citizens believe that libraries are important community institutions and profess interest in libraries offering a range of new program possibilities. Yet, even as the public expresses interest in additional library services, there are signs that the share of Americans visiting libraries has edged downward over the past three years, although it is too soon to know whether or not this is a trend.

A new survey from Pew Research Center brings this complex situation into stark relief. Many Americans say they want public libraries to:

  • support local education;
  • serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
  • help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
  • embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.

Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (65%) ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

No Valid Copyright in the “Happy Birthday” Song Lyrics

In a decision filed yesterday, Chief Judge George H. King of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has held there is no valid copyright in the “Happy Birthday” song lyrics — please see here.

For some news coverage of the case, please see here.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

2015 Global Peace Index

The Institute for Economics and Peace has released:

Global Peace Index 2015

Some highlights from the Executive Summary:

This is the ninth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks the nations of the world according to their level of peacefulness. The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and ranks 162 independent states, covering 99.6 per cent of the world’s population. …

In addition to presenting the findings from the 2015 GPI and its eight-year trend analysis, this year’s report provides an updated methodology to account for the economic impact of violence on the global economy. …

Last year the global GPI score remained stable. However, while the average level of global peacefulness was stable, a number of indicators and countries did deteriorate while others improved. Four out of the nine geographical regions experienced an improvement in peace: Europe, North America, sub-Saharan Africa and Central America and the Caribbean. The other five regions became less peaceful. The most substantial changes in the Index occurred in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where several countries suffered from an upsurge in violence related to sectarian strife and civil conflicts, resulting in the region being ranked as the least peaceful in the world.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

Continuing Addition of New Features to Based on User Feedback

Please see:

New Features Added to Based On Your Feedback

From the above blog post, note in particular the intent of the Law Librarians of Congress:

“Since the unveiling of in September of 2012, we have been constantly adding new features with each release, and many of the features in this release are based directly on your feedback.

We want to make more accessible…. [Emphasis added]”

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.