Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Library Services for the Class of 2010

Congratulations to our newest class of graduates! If you plan to remain in the Triangle area this summer for bar exam study, please note the following information about Duke Law building access, library services, and access to electronic resources.
  • Building Access: Although your law student IDs (which provide 24-hour access to the Law School and Law Library) are deactivated shortly after graduation, you are eligible for a free alumni card from the DukeCard Office. You may pick up your alumni card as early as May 3rd; however, the DukeCard Office recommends waiting until you no longer need access with your student ID card (immediately post-graduation is the preferred time frame). E-mail your alumni card number to the Law School's Building Manager, Catherine Hall, in order to activate 24-hour access for the summer. The access will continue until August 15.
  • Borrowing privileges for Law Library materials generally expire upon graduation, although exceptions can be made for recent graduates who remain in the Triangle area for bar exam study. Please speak with a Circulation Desk staff member to borrow Law Library materials. (Note that we are unable to offer interlibrary loan services to recent graduates.)

    For fuller borrowing privileges across all Duke campus libraries, alumni may purchase a Campus Borrower's Card from the Perkins Library at the discounted price of $75/year. See for more information.
  • Other library databases (such as HeinOnline and LegalTrac) require a current NetID and password for off-campus access. Generally, off-campus access to subscription databases will expire at the same time as library borrowing privileges. The Duke University Libraries offer remote access to selected databases (including Academic Search Premier and ABI/Inform) to registered members of the Duke Alumni Association. See details at

    Alumni may also use Law Library and campus library databases on-site at the library’s public computer workstations.
The Goodson Law Library congratulates the class of 2010, and we look forward to hearing about your many achievements in the future.

Monday, April 26, 2010

World Constitutions in HeinOnline

Our subscription to HeinOnline now includes the new World Constitutions Illustrated library. Like Constitutions of the Countries & Territories of the World, the Hein library offers current and historical constitutions for foreign countries. The Hein database is unique, though, for a few reasons:
  • Where available, constitutions are provided in their original language as well as in English translation;
  • Constitutions are scanned PDFs from their sources, rather than HTML transcriptions;
  • Country pages include links to relevant commentary in classic constitutional texts and selected scholarly articles.
Constitutions of the Countries & Territories of the World is still useful for locating constitutional documents from provincial governments (which are not yet included in HeinOnline), and its sister database Constitutions of the United States: National & State also includes U.S. state government constitutions.

For more information on researching foreign constitutions, check out our guide to Foreign & Comparative Law or Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Services for Reading and Exam Period

The end of spring semester classes will bring some changes to the Law Library’s service desk hours.

Reference services will be available from 8 am to 9 pm until Thursday, April 22. Beginning Friday, April 23, reference services will be available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Evening and weekend reference service will resume at the beginning of the fall semester.

Circulation/Reserve services and the Academic Technologies Help Desk will continue to be available on weekends and in the evenings during the reading and exam period. Effective the last day of exams (Friday, May 7), all library service points will change hours to Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will resume evening/weekend service at the start of the fall semester.

Over the summer, current members of the Duke Law community will retain 24-hour access to the Law School and Law Library.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Summer Access to Lexis and Westlaw

Over the summer, LexisNexis and Westlaw traditionally cut off access to student passwords, since summer associates will use their firm’s accounts for client research. However, students with academic research needs (summer classes, moot court/journal work, a research assistant job, etc.) may request an automatic extension of their passwords for the summer months.

LexisNexis passwords may be extended from June 1 - August 1 for the following "academic purposes":
  • Research skill improvement, such as improving research efficiency and sharpening your area of law research skills as you prepare for practice
  • Summer classes or course work
  • Moot court, law review, or journal research
  • Work as a professor's research assistant
  • Internship or externship for school credit
  • Study for the bar exam
Request a summer extension for LexisNexis at Students who do not request an extension of their summer passwords will still have access to a limited menu of employment-related research resources over the summer, with full access resuming on August 1.

Westlaw passwords may be extended for the following purposes:
  • Journal/law review work
  • Research assistance for a professor
  • Summer classes
  • Unpaid internship with a nonprofit organization
  • Bar exam study
  • Employment-related research
Request a summer extension for Westlaw at (sign in and click the graphic labeled "Need your Westlaw password this summer?")

Please read the terms of these extensions carefully, and abide by them this summer! Commercial research on an educational password violates the terms of the extension, and may result in termination of access or collection of the research charges which would have been incurred on a commercial password.

Remember that Duke Law students also have access to several popular low-cost alternatives to LexisNexis and Westlaw, including Loislaw and Casemaker. As law firms search for ways to reduce operating costs, knowledge of alternatives can set you apart from the crowd.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Overdue Books: The American Way

Over the weekend, the N.Y. Daily News published an exposé of what must be a world record for library late fees, from a most unlikely scofflaw: the first President of the United States. In October of 1789, President George Washington borrowed the treatise Law of Nations, along with a volume of British parliamentary debates, from the New York Society Library. A handwritten ledger, unearthed in 1934, seemed to prove that the books were never returned. Earlier this week, librarians stumbled upon the rest of the British parliamentary debates, and sure enough, the volume Washington borrowed was still missing from the set. Adjusted for inflation over the last 220 years, the current fines for these two books would be a whopping $300,000.

Washington’s death in 1799 may provide the ultimate affirmative defense, but current residents of Earth cannot so easily side-step the library due date. For Duke students, the end of the semester is an excellent time to double-check your library account (log in here with your NetID) and resolve any overdue fines, lost book charges, or lingering titles that you’re sure you already returned. Unpaid bills are eventually turned over to the Bursar’s Office, which can affect your access to online transcripts and could even prevent you from receiving a diploma until the account is cleared up!

Overdue fines are not intended to be a punishment, but rather an incentive to return items in a timely fashion. In some situations, late charges can disappear automatically once the item is returned, although individual library policies vary:
  • For Law Library items, contact the Circulation/Reserve desk for assistance.
  • For items owned by other Duke Libraries, contact the owning library’s circulation desk directly (preferably in person). Law Library staff are unable to waive or adjust fines from other Duke libraries.
So before you head off for the summer, be sure to log in to your library account one last time and resolve any outstanding loans or fines. If you have any questions or concerns about your account, consult the Collection Services Department as soon as possible.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spending Summer Elsewhere? Let Us "Introduce" You!

Duke Law School is like a small town, where the doors are always unlocked (albeit with a DukeCard after 5 p.m.) and almost nobody needs an introduction. So it can be a culture shock to students who spend summer away from Durham that many law schools more closely resemble an exclusive nightclub, at least with regard to their access policies. In fact, some law school libraries are not even open to the undergraduates of their affiliated university!

What does this mean for Duke Law students who might need access to another law school library over the summer? Whether you’re hoping to research a journal note while spending the summer in NYC, or you just feel most comfortable studying for the California bar in a familiar-looking setting, it can still be possible to obtain guest access to private law libraries over the summer. However, advance planning will make the process much smoother.

First, identify the closest law library (or libraries). The American Bar Association offers a helpful map of ABA-approved law schools by state. Results from the ABA map link to each law school’s web site, which should be your next stop. Scan the law school and law library home pages for information about guest access; if you don’t find what you’re looking for, call the library’s service desk to inquire. Policies can vary widely, and preparation can save a major headache once you’ve arrived at your summer destination.
  • Many law school libraries offer guest access to law students who bring a letter of introduction from their “home” library. If this is required by your “summer” library, please contact the Reference Desk to obtain one.
  • In some cases, access may be available for a fee. For example, the NYU Law Library requests a letter of introduction for students with a research need, but also sells two-month “Bar Study Passes” for $50.
Other libraries may also be just around the corner from your summer home: check out for a directory of links to public, university, and state libraries across the United States.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Crime Maps & Statistics

On Sunday, the Durham Herald-Sun reported a new source for mapping crime data in the city of Durham. The new map, a component of the larger law enforcement search tool RAIDS Online, complements the Durham Police Department’s existing Crime Mapper, but offers enhanced search capability and data about a wider range of crimes, such as vandalism and drug-related offenses. RAIDS also offers additional detail about each mapped incident, although for privacy’s sake, exact addresses are not revealed.

Currently, RAIDS provides police data from Durham and Raleigh, in addition to several other U.S. cities (e.g. Cincinnati and Topeka). For other Triangle-area crime mapping, check out the News & Observer database, which also includes data from various Wake County police precincts.

These types of crime maps can be invaluable to area house-hunters who are unfamiliar with particular neighborhoods (as well as fun for the morbidly curious). But what if your local police department doesn’t provide such detailed maps to the public? Check out CriminalSearches Neighborhood Watch, a commercial site which compiles sex offender registries and other crime data across the United States.

Sometimes researchers need more generalized crime statistics (such as tracking the number of reports for a specific crime over a period of time). Our Empirical Research Support page for Justice and Crime Data Sources links to several of the major resources for crime-related statistics, such as the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

For help using these and other statistical sources, Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Buying Extra Tax Time

Did you ignore us back in February when we pointed you to sources for income tax help? Now there’s only a week left to finish your federal and NC income tax returns!

Taxes are never convenient, but maybe you could really use more time to file. Fortunately, automatic extensions are available, and just a little bit of paperwork up front could buy you six extra months to file. Check these links for more information:
Please note that in all cases, an extension of time to file does NOT equal an extension of time to pay taxes owed! You’ll need to submit at least a preliminary payment for what you estimate is owed, along with your request for an extension. Failure to pay at least the estimated tax could result in penalties and interest.

On the plus side, don’t believe the urban legend that requesting an extension automatically triggers an audit of your tax return. USA Today debunked this and other popular tax myths earlier this week.

If you need additional tax help, check out our previous post which compares popular do-it-yourself tax filing software, and also points to sources for free tax help for qualifying individuals.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Saints on Trial

Everyone, at some point in their lives, has played "devil’s advocate." Hopefully, Duke Law students also read The Devil’s Advocate. You may have even borrowed The Devil’s Advocate from our Legal DVDs collection. But do you know the origin of this famous phrase?

A segment of CBS’s Sunday Morning Easter broadcast explored the process of canonization in the Roman Catholic Church (transcript). Two hagiographers (biographers of the saints) described some of the most memorable paths to sainthood in Church history (such as the patron saint of chefs being grilled over hot coals), while a Vatican official described the canonization process:
There's no getting around the rule that you have to be responsible for at least two miracles. This (surprise, surprise) is hard for investigators to prove.

"Sometimes you know, we're called upon to do a CSI investigation," said Sarno, "especially in cases, for example, of miracles, where you actually have to put down on paper, you know, dates and times of different medical treatments, medicines given, when people started to pray, where did they pray, what happened, what did they do."

Until recently, would-be saints were literally put on trial. The lawyer assigned to argue against a candidate was commonly known as "the devil's advocate."
The office of the “devil’s advocate” was eventually abolished by Pope John Paul II in 1983; the updated “norms” can be found at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. The Vatican also hosts an English translation of the Code of Canon Law, which can additionally be found in the Law Library in various translations. But what if you were intrigued enough to want to research the history of the “devil’s advocate”, or read about some of these trials? You might need to dig deeper.

On the legal side of things, the Goodson Law Library has a modest collection of historical materials on “canon law”, including pre-1983 versions of the Codex Iuris Canonici (Code of Canon Law), in both English and Latin. Canons 1999-2141 (approx.) relate to the process of beatification and canonization, and describe the procedure for apostolic trials. There are also treatises, such as the eight-volume Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law (1918) and Manual of Canon Law (1948), which attempt to explain the nuances of ecclesiastical procedure. All of these materials can be found on Level 1 of the Goodson Law Library, at call numbers beginning with KBU2210. Locate these and other titles in the libraries’ catalog with a subject heading search for “Canon Law” (limited to the Law Library and campus-wide).

More information about canonization, including biographies of individual saints, can be found at Duke’s Divinity School Library. In addition, the ATLA Religion Database indexes more than a million publications on world religions.

For help navigating these saintly materials (or any other research question), Ask a Librarian.