Thursday, August 1, 2019

CourtLink Now on Lexis Advance

Effective August 1, Lexis Advance accounts at the Law School now include access to CourtLink, a service that includes state and federal court records. Current members of the Law School community can access CourtLink via the product-switcher icon in the top left corner of any Lexis Advance screen.

The search screen allows users to locate names or search terms within docket sheets and/or within available full-text documents within CourtLink. Note that while the main CourtLink search box allows for Boolean/Terms &Connectors searching, the name fields (such as for Party, Attorney, and Judge) will not recognize connectors such as "/2" between a first and last name. In those fields, simply type the names using natural language.

Documents available to educational accounts within CourtLink will be labeled Free, with a link to the full text. For commercial Lexis Advance accounts, there are three CourtLink statuses: Free, Online (available to download by request), and Runner (requires courier to be dispatched to court). Educational accounts are not eligible for runner services, or to download documents that are not already available in CourtLink. However, the Free documents include some historical filings from legacy court docket products that cannot be found on other platforms.

CourtLink also allows users to set up alerts for searches or particular dockets. This brief instructional video demonstrates the steps for searching and setting up alerts. A Quick Reference Guide is also available.

For help with searching for dockets and/or court filings, check out the library's Court Records and Briefs research guide or Ask a Librarian.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Food Fight

Yesterday's New York Times contained an article on the legal battles surrounding the labeling of plant-based food products. As meatless patties like the Impossible™ Burger and Beyond Burger™ continue their gains in popularity, lobbying groups for the beef industry have ramped up efforts to block the use of certain words in the products' labeling through legislation. A number of states already have passed laws that regulate whether vegan, vegetarian, or lab-grown meat products can use terms like "meat," "burger," or "sausage." An NPR story rounds up the existing state laws. One proposed bill, still pending in the Washington state legislature, would make the production and sale of lab-grown meat a misdemeanor if enacted.

Why the concern? Lawmakers cite the potential for consumer confusion, which food labeling laws are designed to prevent. Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains hundreds of definitions of various food products, specifying their contents and labeling requirements. But as noted in the Times article, the beef industry also fears the potential market share gains by alternative burgers that have been enjoyed by alternative milk products, such as soy milk and almond milk. Once retail stores began placing alternative milks near dairy products, their sales skyrocketed; non-dairy milks now comprise 13% of the milk market share. Plant-based "meat" is currently 1% of the meat market share, but that number would likely similarly rise.

Plant-based food producers are fighting back against the labeling restrictions. Last week, the makers of Tofurky and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Turtle Island Foods v. Soman challenges Arkansas's law as violating First Amendment protections on commercial speech. (The full text of the complaint is available on the ACLU website.)

To learn more about this fascinating area of law, try a subject search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for "Food law and legislation – United States." You’ll find titles like Food Regulation: Law, Science, Policy, and Practice (KF3875 .F67 2017 & online) and the treatise Food and Drug Administration, 4th ed. (KF3871 .O733 & online in Westlaw). For help with locating these or other food law resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Sources for CRS Reports

Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, produced by a nonpartisan office within the Library of Congress, have long been a valuable research resource. For a long time, though, their access was limited to the members of Congress who requested the research, constituents who requested copies via their congressperson, and those with access through commercial databases or publishers.

CRS products include the well-known comprehensive research reports as well as shorter "In Focus" documents (providing a brief overview of a topic), "Legal Sidebars" (briefly examining legal developments), and "Insights" (analyzing current topics of interest to members of Congress). Researchers at Duke have several options for locating CRS products.
  • By law, CRS reports are now posted to the free Congressional Research Service page on congress.gov. Users can search for a particular topic, or list all available documents by clicking the search button with no terms in the box. Currently, more than 6,500 documents are included, mostly from the last two years but with selected historical coverage.
  • EveryCRSReport.com is a free website containing publicly-available reports as well as other CRS product series. Currently, the site contains more than 15,000 documents. A unique feature of this site is the ability to "redline" changes to documents with the Revision History sidebar. For example, a recent In Brief publication on Regular Vetoes and Pocket Vetoes illustrates that the majority of changes since 2005 have been quite minor, but that the most recent revision last week changed 27% of the content from the previous version, mostly related to the change in Presidential administration.
  • The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has long maintained an online archive of CRS reports on various topics. This site also includes CRS annual reports back to FY1995, which predate the collection on the Library of Congress's own page (back to 2009). Annual reports often include a list of products prepared in that fiscal year, providing a helpful inventory of CRS materials for that time frame.
  • University of North Texas Digital Library also maintains a CRS report collection. This collection contains more than 41,500 items, dating back to the 1960s.
  • The ProQuest Congressional database, available to current members of the Duke University community, includes the full text of selected CRS reports and other products from 1916-present.
For help with locating the full text of a Congressional Research Service publication, check out the above resources or Ask a Librarian.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Digital Detoxing

How many email addresses do you have?

More importantly, how many email addresses have you forgotten about?

In June, Lifehacker posted a helpful guide, How to Find and Delete Your Old Email Addresses. Echoing concerns raised recently by Consumer Reports, the posts noted that dormant email accounts present a serious security vulnerability – especially if you used them as password recovery addresses for linked services or other, more valuable email accounts.

Both posts detail some steps to locate and delete unwanted, dormant email addresses. A few key tips to identify past addresses to potentially shutter:
  • Conduct a web search for your known usernames and email addresses.
  • View the connected email accounts on your social media services (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) by accessing your Settings.
  • Check the secondary "password recovery" accounts listed on your primary email account and other online services.
  • Review any saved logins in your web browsers or password manager programs to identify potential accounts to close.
Not sure you captured all of the forgotten email addresses? Current members of the Duke Law community may also want to check their listing in Lexis Advance's Public Records & Find a Person (Nationwide) database, which includes email addresses associated with a particular person at the bottom of each result. If you've ever used a "burner" account to sign up for certain websites, the email address will likely show up there.

While you'll want to hold on to at least a few email accounts, you can likely reduce your associated emails to an "official" work/school address, a primary personal account, and a backup account that you use for services that are likely to generate unwanted spam.

You can take additional steps to secure the email accounts that you choose to keep. Current Duke University students, faculty, and staff are eligible for a free account to LastPass Premium, a password manager service that generates and stores strong passwords to your various online accounts (leaving you with only one master password to remember). Multi-factor authentication, required or recommended for many Duke services, is also an option on most email providers, and worth adding to the accounts you choose to keep.

For more online security advice, check out the Duke OIT Security page or consult with the Law School Academic Technologies Help Desk staff.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Oxford Historical Treaties Now Available

The Oxford Historical Treaties database is now available to the Duke University community. This database contains the full text of treaties from 1648-1919, derived from Clive Parry's Consolidated Treaty Series. Additional editorial commentaries on treaty-related topics will be regularly added by General Editor Randall Lesaffer (Tilburg Law School) and guest editors.

Just in time for Friday's centennial anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, the database has contributed several texts to a free Oxford Public International Law online collection of scholarly articles, book chapters, definitions, and expert commentary on the Treaty of Versailles and the history of international law. This collection is free to all readers until August 31; however, most of the content will remain available to Duke readers after that date, as the Goodson Law Library subscribes to most of the databases from Oxford Public International Law (including the online Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law and other titles).

Current members of the Duke University community may now access Oxford Historical Treaties via the Duke libraries' online catalog or through Legal Databases & Links. For more information about treaty-related research resources, consult our research guide to Treaties or Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Black's Law Dictionary 11th Edition

The new 11th edition of Black's Law Dictionary has arrived at the library and online. Once our hard copies are processed, you can find a print copy at the Reserve Desk and on the dictionary stand in the library Reading Room. Online, the Black's Law Dictionary database on Westlaw has already incorporated the 11th edition changes.

What's new in the 2019 edition? The publisher's description promises "new material on every page." More than 3,500 new terms have been added, bringing the total number of definitions higher than 55,000. Definitions now include information about the earliest known usage in the English language, a unique feature among law dictionaries. In addition, definitions for 900 Latin maxims have also been added to a new, separate section.

Historical editions of Black's Law Dictionary are available on Reserve. The first (1891) and second (1910) editions are also available online.

For help with locating Black's Law Dictionary or finding legal definitions, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Virtual Summer School

Interested in learning a new skill this summer? Discovered a technological weak spot at your summer job? Wanted to brush up on a foreign language before an exciting overseas vacation? Whatever the reason, the library can connect you to the resources to learn more.
  • Duke's Office of Information Technology's Online Training page points to several options, and provides tips for ensuring successful progress in online learning.
  • Lynda.com, linked from the OIT Online Training site, is available to all members of the Duke University community, and includes video modules for more than 6,000 topics. The subject library provides links to the lessons under each category. A number of modules are available for Microsoft Office products like Word and Excel, as well as presentation technology like Prezi, computer programming languages, and even music lessons.
  • Coursera for Duke provides Duke community members and alumni with free access to Coursera online courses created by Duke instructors. Available topics at Duke include computer programming and statistical analysis skills. Additional topics can be found at Coursera.org's full course catalog, and may be available in a free "audit" option that does not provide a certificate of completion.
  • Language learning resources were the subject of a January Goodson Blogson post, covering Duke subscription databases like Mango Languages and Transparent Language Online, as well as the popular freemium language app Duolingo.
For help with accessing or using these resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.