Thursday, September 30, 2010

Implementing the Durham Statement (October 22 event)

During the Goodson Law Library’s Dedication Week in November 2008, a meeting of prominent law library directors resulted in the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, which urges law schools to cease print publication of law reviews in favor of free, permanent, online publication archives. On Friday, October 22, an all-day event at the Law School will discuss best practices for implementing this policy.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Goodson Law Library, Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, and the Harvard Law School Library. Panels will address the traditional versus open access business model for law journals, how a move to open access affects copyright and author agreements, and technological concerns such as publishing platforms and archiving processes. The agenda, registration form, and housing information can be found at

Duke Law and our co-sponsors at Harvard Law have long been leaders in the Open Access movement for legal scholarship. The full text of Duke Law journals is provided free on our website back to 1997, and our Scholarship Repository provides a permanent online archive of Law School faculty publications and other scholarship produced at Duke Law. Harvard Law made international news in May 2008 with its unanimous faculty vote for an open access scholarship repository.

Friday’s Durham Statement event is just one part of the Open Access Week (October 18-24) celebration at Duke University. Other events include a Tuesday panel discussion of OA’s impact on researchers, and a Thursday panel with area publishers. For times and locations, see Open Access Week at Duke. For information about Open Access Week events elsewhere, visit the International Open Access Week page.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reserve a Study Room Online

Tired of checking the study room clipboard at the library service desk, only to find every room booked solid for the rest of the night? Well, now you can stake a claim to one of our eight private study rooms up to 72 hours ahead of time from your own computer. From Monday, September 27 until Friday, October 8, the Goodson Law Library will pilot-test an online reservation system.

To reserve a study room, visit the reservation link and log in with your NetID and password (note: study rooms are available only to Duke Law students). The reservation page displays the current availability of our eight room keys, and links to the calendar where rooms can be reserved (in four hour time blocks) up to three days in advance. Be sure to claim your room key promptly; your reservation may be forfeited if the key is not picked up within 15 minutes of the reservation start time.

Because this is a pilot program, please be sure to let us know what you think of the online sign-up experience. The reservation page links to a feedback form where you can submit comments to the library staff.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tax Management Portfolios Now Available Online

After years of maintaining nearly 400 different Tax Management Portfolio titles in print, the Goodson Law Library now has electronic access to the full text of the Tax Management Portfolios through BNA’s Tax and Accounting Libraries.

These slim spiral-bound Portfolios are heavily used by tax professionals, who rely on the news, commentary and analysis within to keep current with changes in tax law. A list on BNA’s site describes the various titles available in the five portfolio series (Accounting; U.S. income tax; Estates, Gifts, and Trusts, Foreign Income and State tax).

To browse or search the portfolios online, visit the BNA Publications database, which is available on the library’s Legal Databases & Links page. Our research guide to Federal Tax has been updated to add the new database, and the remainder of the guide will be updated in the weeks to come. The print portfolios, currently housed in the library’s Gann Tax Alcove, will shortly be moved to reflect the fact that new portfolios will not be received in print.
For assistance with using the online Tax Management Portfolios or other features of the BNA Tax and Accounting Libraries, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Perfect Bluebook, Automatically?

As 1Ls make progress on their open memo assignment and 2Ls/3Ls slog through cite-checking journal assignments, it seems like everyone could use a helping hand with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation these days. The Goodson Law Library has some spare copies on Reserve for when you just need to confirm an abbreviation or a rule, and there is also an online version (paid subscription required) which offers full-text searching of the new 19th edition and the ability to save personal annotations for future tricky cites.

But what people really seem to want is a tool to convert citations automatically into proper Bluebook format. We’re often asked for advice on shortcuts to perfect legal citation: everything from “Can’t I just copy what it says on Lexis and Westlaw?” to “Is there a citation management software that will put footnotes together for me?” We’ve previously written about citation management tools such as EndNote and Zotero, which offer some support for Bluebook styles, but a survey of help forums will reveal frustration by users about errors in the output—perhaps unsurprising since both tools were originally designed for citation from style manuals in the sciences and the humanities, and Bluebook support came later.

CiteGenie, a Firefox add-on designed specifically for use in legal research, released a beta version this summer to favorable reviews from the legal community. The site FAQ clearly outlines what the system can and cannot do – for example, while you can copy text and references from LexisNexis, Westlaw, and WestlawNext in order to generate pinpoint citations in Bluebook format, CiteGenie cannot automatically detect subsequent cites where one would normally use the short form (e.g. “Nimmer, supra note 6”). So some user intervention and Bluebook knowledge would still be required.

LexisNexis and Westlaw citations for documents will generally give you enough information to compose a perfect Bluebook citation on your own, but as with the other tools listed here, sometimes a little editing is necessary (especially with party names and source title abbreviations). WestlawNext offers a service called “Copy with Reference” which does include Bluebook as one of its output styles. To test it, highlight the text you want to copy and paste the citation into your word-processing program. Experiments at Goodson Blogson HQ showed that the WestlawNext output was reasonably successful, although it uses the Bluepages style (for court documents and memoranda) rather than the law review style, so 2L and 3L students would need to convert a lot of underlining into italics and/or small caps. It also is unclear whether WestlawNext’s Bluebook style has been updated to reflect changes in the new 19th edition (for example, “County” was not abbreviated in one of our test cites, but it is a new abbreviation in Table 6 of the 19th edition).

In conclusion, there’s really no substitute for mastering at least the basic Bluebook citation rules on your own. Citation management software and browser add-ons can provide much-needed assistance to beginners, but only time and practice with the Bluebook would help you spot any inaccuracies or system limitations. Some popular Bluebook help guides (like Dworsky’s A User’s Guide to the Bluebook) are in the process of being updated to reflect the 19th edition changes – to find help guides and for other Bluebook queries, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pirates, Ahoy!

They’re a little too early for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sunday, September 19), but last week the Library of Congress announced its new digitized collection of pre-1923 piracy trials. Spanning two centuries, this collection provides transcripts of historical pirate trials from around the world, from Captain Kidd to lesser-known buccaneers. This site joins HeinOnline’s Legal Classics Library and The Making of Modern Law: Trials on the list of good sources for historic trial transcripts (see library research guide to Court Records and Briefs for more info).

While it’s usually 18th-century pirates who capture our pop culture imagination in books like Treasure Island and films like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, piracy remains a very real threat on today’s seas, especially in international waters off the Horn of Africa. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) reported on August 2 that 18 vessels are currently being held by Somali pirates. MARAD’s Horn of Africa Piracy page contains a wealth of reports, news releases, and travel advisories on the subject of modern piracy, as well as links to international and intergovernmental organizations which monitor piracy and international security issues.

The Goodson Law Library also has a collection of books related to piracy and international law. Find them with a search of the online catalog for the subject keyword: piracy. Note that this search will also bring up books about the other kind of pirates (intellectual property) – you can use the “subject” filters on the left-hand side to further narrow your search to “Maritime Terrorism,” “Hijacking of Ships,” and even “Trials (Piracy)” – the last of which will retrieve more trial transcripts in the style of the Library of Congress collection.

For help with locating other materials on piracy or law of the sea, be sure to Ask a Librarian. For help with talking like a pirate before September 19, consult the online glossary at the official British headquarters of Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yarr!