Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Research Help

As the holidays approach, users may find themselves wanting help at a time when the Goodson Law Library is closed. Our Hours & Directions page explains our library entrance and staffing hours over the winter break. The Duke Law community will retain its 24-hour building access with a current DukeCard, but what if you have a research question when library staff are not available? Here are some time-saving strategies.
  • Library research guides are available for more than 30 topics. They present a mix of print materials, free Internet sites and subscription-based online resources, aimed at helping researchers get started with recommended resources. Some of our most popular guides are Federal Legislative History, North Carolina Practice, Legal Research on the Web, and Foreign & Comparative Law.
  • If your topic isn't listed in our research guides, try a quick search of Cornell Law School's Legal Research Engine, a custom Google search of law school and other legal research websites. For example, a search for "sports law" returns several specialized research guides at other law schools which can point researchers in the right direction.
  • Another good starting point for researching legal and non-legal topics is Zimmerman's Research Guide, a free online research encyclopedia hosted by LexisNexis. Search or browse the listings for topics like "Consumer Price Index" or "State Legislative History" to learn law firm librarian Andrew Zimmerman's tips for locating even the most esoteric resources.
  • For non-U.S. resources, the best place to start is Foreign Law Guide, now available to the entire Duke University community both on and off-campus (previously, it was only accessible from Goodson Law Library workstations due to IP address restrictions). Foreign Law Guide provides detailed descriptions of a particular country’s legal system as well as a list of sources for its primary law and secondary sources in both English translation and the language of origin.
  • Finally, you can submit after-hours questions via email; see Ask a Librarian for contact information.
The Goodson Law Library wishes you a safe and happy holiday season! Regular evening and weekend services for the Duke community will resume at the beginning of Spring semester classes, on Sunday, January 6, 2013.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Plum Book, in the Reading Room, with an iPad

Earlier this week, the U.S. Government Printing Office announced the release of the 2012 United States Policy and Supporting Positions, better known by its nickname: "the Plum Book." Published every four years following the presidential election, the Plum Book provides a listing of more than 8,000 presidentially-appointed federal government positions, along with information about the current employees (where applicable).

The volume is divided into the three branches of government, then by department, agency or office (see Table of Contents). The Plum Book also includes a breakdown of positions subject to non-competitive appointment, as well as federal salary schedules. For those who aspire to a career in federal politics, the Plum Book is an essential resource; for others, it's an interesting view of the inner workings of Washington, D.C.

Although the Goodson Law Library no longer receives the Plum Book in print format, it is available free in PDF and text formats through GPO's FDsys website. For the first time ever, it is also available in a mobile version.

Important Note: The Plum Book is not to be confused with:

For help accessing the Plum Book (or any other title in this reading rainbow), be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rocky Mountain, Not So High!

Since at least the beginning of October, readership of the annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute (RMMLF-INST) has likely skyrocketed. Is the sudden spike due to increased public concern about fracking, or a boom in the oil & gas law employment sector? Actually, it's a little more technical than that.

An undetermined coding issue in Westlaw Classic's Journals & Law Reviews database (a.k.a. JLR) has given a strange prominence to Terms & Connectors search results from the Mineral Law Foundation publication. For almost the last two months, the top results for JLR searches in Westlaw Classic are dominated by all available matches in reverse-chronological order from RMMLF-INST, even if more recent articles which match the search parameters are available within other publications. (Other titles which now seem to float all of their matching articles randomly to the top of Westlaw Classic search results, regardless of the user's selected "sort by date" preference, include the Criminal Law Bulletin and Annual Survey of Bankruptcy Law.) See the illustration below for an example – princess & regalia returns an unlikely 1974 RMMLF-INST result at the top of the date sort, before listing more recent hits from other publications in reverse-chronological order.

Illustration: Westlaw Classic JLR erroneous date display

It's undoubtedly amusing to try and find search examples which are ridiculous enough to elude these renegade results (for the record, princess & pea works fine, since it matched nothing in the publications which are currently forcing their way to the top). But the persistence of this error serves as a good reminder to the researcher that result lists must always be carefully and critically assessed. As long as this error continues, users of Westlaw Classic should be aware that a broader search with a higher number of results could mean that the most current articles from other publications don't appear until page 2 of the result list – or even later.

What to do until the Westlaw technicians fix the error in Westlaw Classic's JLR database? The Goodson Blogson has a few tips:
  • Consider ways to tighten your search requirements. Broad journal article searches, with terms connected by "AND," are far more likely to match historical results in these "floater" publications. Requiring terms to appear in the same sentence (/s) or same paragraph (/p) will help narrow your search and eliminate some of these unwanted results.
  • If you are overwhelmed by older articles and are most interested in the latest publications, consider including a date restriction from the drop-down box in order to help filter out those historical results (e.g. "Last 3 years" or even "Last 10 years").
  • Duke Law School's Westlaw representative also reports that this error does not occur in the Law Reviews & Journals database within WestlawNext. There is an option to sort results by date, and a hidden feature which allows users to force a Classic-style Terms & Connectors query by typing "adv:" or "advanced:" before your search terms.
  • Remember that there are also alternatives to searching legal articles in the Law Reviews &Journals database within LexisNexis as well as the Duke University database LegalTrac. Each works slightly differently (for example, a "Keyword" search in LegalTrac does not search the full text of available articles; users must select "Entire Document" in order to search the full text). For help with using any of these resources to search for law review and journal articles, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Users are encouraged to continue reporting the problem with Westlaw Classic JLR by clicking the "Help" link at the bottom of the screen, then choosing the Feedback tab. Incidentally, if you'd like to read the Proceedings of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Annual Institute the old-fashioned way, the library’s collection of volumes back to 1955 can be found at KF1819.A2 R63. Who knows? You might even miss it when the error is fixed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Cranberry Precedent

[In this guest post, Reference Intern Janeen Williams explores the legal history of the Thanksgiving holiday. Post title courtesy of Lee Cloninger.] 

Currently, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November, but that has not always been the case. The tradition of the "Day of Thanks" began soon after the establishment of the United States. In 1789, in accordance with George Washington's proclamation, Thanksgiving was on Thursday, November 26; however, at this time the holiday was not annual. The holiday was not annually recognized until after Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863.

In the mid-1900s, when states began to recognize Thanksgiving on different Thursdays, Congress decided to enact legislation that would create a fixed national date for the holiday. In 1941, President Roosevelt signed legislation establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday that would occur on the fourth Thursday in November. Visit the National Archives website to see federal documents relating to Thanksgiving, including George Washington's proclamation and the 1941 Senate Resolution declaring that the fourth Thursday in November will be Thanksgiving.

For more information on Thanksgiving and the Presidents, visit HeinOnline’s U.S. Presidential Library (current Duke University NetID required) to search for "Thanksgiving," or Ask a Librarian. The Goodson Blogson previously reviewed the history of one presidential Thanksgiving tradition in Pardon That Turkey. Finally, visit Hours & Directions to view our Thanksgiving weekend hours and closures. The Goodson Law Library wishes all of our readers a safe and happy holiday.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Career Opportunities

Last week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited Sesame Street to explain the concept of a "career" to Abby Cadabby. Justice Sotomayor is no stranger to the educational program's young viewers, having previously appeared earlier in 2012 to decide the case of Baby Bear v. Goldilocks. But her latest appearance coincided perfectly with the beginning of interview season for first-year law students, who can undoubtedly relate to Abby's excitement – and confusion – about the many possible career paths that she might choose.

While our 1Ls probably don't have a SCOTUS justice on speed-dial, they do have a lot of resources at their disposal to help make their job searches easier. First and foremost is the Duke Law Career Center, whose Career Paths website outlines and describes common professional areas like private practice, public interest, academia, and even international opportunities. The 1L Career Toolkit provides invaluable guidance for each of these types of jobs, as well as general advice on networking, preparing resumes, and handling interviews (once the December 1 employer-contact deadline has passed, of course).

The Goodson Law Library also offers many resources to assist student job-seekers. To research law firms and their employees, check out the mix of print and electronic resources in our guide to Directories of Lawyers. Networking and interview preparation will be much easier with the assistance of sources like Martindale-Hubbell and the Yellow Books. (If a clerkship is in your future, there's a companion guide for Directories of Courts & Judges.)

The Duke Libraries catalog can point to additional resources in the library collection. A subject heading search for "Law—Vocational guidance – United States" will locate titles like From Lemons to Lemonade in the New Legal Job Market: Winning Job Search Strategies for Entry-Level Attorneys (2012) or The Legal Career Guide: From Law Student to Lawyer (2008). There are even titles available for those thinking about less-common legal careers, including Fifty Unique Legal Paths: How to Find the Right Job (2008) or the bluntly-named How to be a Law Professor Guide (2008). International career materials, like A Guide to International Law Careers (2009) or Careers in International Law (2009-2010), can be found with a subject search for "International law – Vocational guidance."

LexisNexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law also offer options for researching people and companies which can be useful to legal job-seekers. This week, campus representatives for LexisNexis and Westlaw will offer employment-related training to demonstrate resources (view the calendars via their links on the Goodson Law Library home page). On Bloomberg Law, enter a firm or attorney/judge name into the main search box to generate Company and/or People profile results; the Law School resources section also provides career guidance from its Bloomberg Law Reports series.

For help with accessing or using any of the resources listed here, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Redistricting on Display

The Riddick Rare Book Room display case currently holds an exhibit featuring items from the Robinson Everett Redistricting Cases Papers. This collection is kept in the Goodson Law Library Archives and is named after Judge Robinson O. Everett (1928-2009), who was a Duke Law faculty member for more than 50 years. The papers tell a unique North Carolina story with several close ties to Duke Law School.

 After the 1990 Census increased North Carolina's seats in the U.S. House of Representatives from 11 to 12, the state General Assembly created a new apportionment plan, with one district drawn to ensure an African-American majority. The U.S. Attorney General's Office objected, stating that the population makeup of the state (78% white, 20% black, and 1% each Native American and Asian) made a single majority-minority district insufficient. In a special legislative session, the General Assembly rewrote the apportionment plan to create an additional majority-minority district. The unusual shapes of the revised districts ("a First District map which looks like a Rorschach ink-blot test and … a serpentine Twelfth District that slinks down the Interstate Highway 85 corridor," observed Justice Voorhees of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina) led to a federal court challenge by a group of North Carolina voters. Robinson Everett represented the plaintiffs (which originally included himself and fellow Duke Law professor Melvin G. Shimm) in this series of four cases, all of which eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court:
  • Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630 (1993) held that the district’s bizarre new boundaries were "unexplainable on grounds other than race," and that the legislature had not provided sufficient justification to withstand a strict-scrutiny examination. The case was remanded to the U.S. District Court.
    (Note: Duke Law professor H. Jefferson Powell argued for the state in this case. Everett later wrote in prepared remarks to the International Association of Barristers that "[T]his apparently was the first time in the Court’s history that two law professors from the same school had argued against each other;" a copy of this speech can be found in the display case.)
  • Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899 (1996) confirmed that North Carolina had failed to articulate a compelling government interest for the redrawn Twelfth District, and that the reapportionment plan violated the Equal Protection Clause. (At this point, the Court also held that only residents of the 12th District had standing to continue the suit, which included Professor Shimm but not Judge Everett, who continued to serve as counsel to the remaining eligible plaintiffs.)
  • Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541 (1999) challenged the 1997 redrawing of the Twelfth District.  The U.S. District Court had granted summary judgment in this new challenge, holding that the redrawn boundaries still constituted an Equal Protection Clause violation. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the legislature’s motivation was a genuine issue of material fact which made the case ineligible for summary disposition.
  • Easley v. Cromartie, 532 U.S. 234 (2001) reviewed the U.S. District Court’s finding after remand (from Hunt v. Cromartie, above) that the 1997 legislature's motive was predominantly racial rather than political. The Supreme Court disagreed, reversing the District Court’s ruling as "clearly erroneous" and stating, "[T]he party attacking the legislatively drawn boundaries must show at the least that the legislature could have achieved its legitimate political objectives in alternative ways that are comparably consistent with traditional districting principles. That party must also show that those districting alternatives would have brought about significantly greater racial balance. Appellees failed to make any such showing here."
    (Note: Duke Law professor emeritus and former interim dean Walter E. Dellinger represented the North Carolina governor in both Cromartie cases.) 
The Everett Redistricting Cases Papers collection includes 52 linear feet of litigation filings, depositions, trial exhibits, correspondence, research, scholarship and more. They are the detailed paper trail of the cases' trajectory up and down the federal court system. For more information about the contents of the Redistricting Cases Papers, please contact Lee Cloninger.

To read more about the extraordinary life of Robinson Everett, see the Duke Law in memoriam page. Daniel P. Tokaji’s chapter Representation and Raceblindness: The Story of Shaw v. Reno in 2008's Race Law Stories provides excellent background on the Shaw-Cromartie cases. To learn more about the legal and political issues involved in congressional redistricting more generally, try a subject heading search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for “Apportionment (Election Law) – United States” or Ask a Librarian.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scholarship Repository: Open Access 24/7

Today marks the end of the sixth annual Open Access Week, an international effort to promote free access to scholarly research. Previous years' events and initiatives are detailed in past Blogson entries.

This year, we'd like to highlight an ongoing effort at Duke Law School, which illustrates our commitment to open access: The Duke Law Scholarship Repository. Since 1998, Duke's student-edited journals have been freely accessible on the Duke Law website. The Faculty Scholarship Repository was launched in 2005 to provide broader access to the research of our faculty and affiliates. Today, the Repository houses both the long-running Faculty Scholarship collection as well as the complete back files of Duke Law's nine student-edited journals, which were added to the repository over the last year. Both our collection and audience continue to grow steadily; in mid-September, Duke became the first law school repository to reach 1.5 million downloads.

For a glimpse behind the scenes at the repository work, check out Scholarship Snippets, a daily micro-blog of statistics and other repository usage information which debuted earlier this fall. Each entry describes fun facts like the all-time top download for a particular Duke Law journal, which devices and browsers our readers are using, and how visitors find their way into our repository. The blog is maintained by Digital Initiatives Librarian Hollie White, who also coordinates the Repository. The new Snippets blog, the Faculty collection and the Journals collection are all accessible from the Goodson Law Library home page, under the "Scholarship Repository" heading.

The Repository will continue to post the latest works by Duke Law faculty and new journal issues, and several historical Law School collections are also being prepared for inclusion. Users can subscribe to the latest updates via RSS, for the entire repository or for customized searches (such as a particular author). For questions about the Repository, please contact Digital Initiatives Librarian Hollie White.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Case of Comic Strip v. Court Rules

Law students often curse the dreaded LARW word count, but the truth is that courts can impose very similar restrictions on practicing attorneys. Consider the recent example of California entertainment lawyer (and author of Kohn on Music Licensing) Bob Kohn, who in August sought to submit a 55-page amicus curiae brief in the Department of Justice's e-book price-fixing lawsuit. U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote allowed his brief – on the condition that he limited it to no more than five pages (see a copy of the order at PaidContent). To the delight of legal bloggers around the globe, last month Kohn filed his revised amicus brief in comic-strip form, condensing his argument into five pages of explanatory illustrations (see PDF at Thomson Reuters Insight).

Kohn's comic-strip brief was undeniably fun, but did it conform to court rules? Local rule 11.1(b) of the S.D.N.Y. does specify that "The typeface, margins, and spacing of all documents presented for filing must meet the following requirements: (1) all text must be 12-point type or larger, except for text in footnotes which may be 10-point type; (2) all documents must have at least one-inch margins on all sides; (3) all text must be double-spaced, except for headings, text in footnotes, or block quotations, which may be single-spaced." (It's worth noting that Kohn's brief did include three prefatory and concluding pages which adhered to all of these requirements.)

Courts do have the authority to reject filings which fail to conform to court rules (or sometimes even to common sense). In 2009, a New York state judge dismissed a personal injury motion which, in addition to being unsigned, suffered from “poor stapling of the papers […] so negligent as to inflict and did inflict repeatedly, physical injury to the court personnel handling them” (N.Y. Law Journal story, available with Duke NetID). Fortunately, this dismissal was without prejudice, meaning that the plaintiff could re-file after more careful proofreading and stapling…and fortunately for comic fans everywhere, the court accepted Kohn's illustrated amicus brief.

It's always a good idea to be familiar with the various court rules in your jurisdiction. In the federal court system, this is a combination of rules of general application (such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence) as well as local rules for a particular jurisdiction. State courts will have their own unique rules. For help with navigating the rules of a particular court, check out the library’s recently-updated Court Rules research guide or Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Legal Research for Non-Lawyers

The Goodson Law Library recently updated its guide to Legal Research for Non-Lawyers. The new additions include an extensive list of local and national services for legal referrals, maintained by the Duke Law School Pro Bono Project. New links to free legal research resources like Google Scholar (for case law) and the American Bar Association's Law Reviews & Journals Search (for articles) have also been added.

By far, though, the biggest change to the guide was the addition of e-book versions (where available) of popular Nolo Press self-help guides via the Legal Information Reference Center. These electronic versions may be used on-site by library visitors or off-campus by those with a current Duke University NetID. In many cases, the version available online is more recent than the library’s Reference Collection copies, which are updated less frequently. Some highlights:
  • Paul Bergman & Sara J. Berman-Barrett. Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare and Try a Winning Case, 6th ed. (Ref KF 8841.B47 2008 & 2010 ed. online)
  • David Brown, Beat Your Ticket: Go to Court & Win, 4th ed. (Ref KF2231 .Z9 B76 2005 & 2010 ed. online)
  • Denis Clifford, Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples, 14th ed. (Ref KF538.C87 2007 & 2012 ed. online). 
  • Janet Portman & Marcia Stewart, Every Tenant's Legal Guide, 6th ed. (Ref KF590.Z9P67 2009 & 2012 ed. online
  • Fred Steingold, The Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business, 2011 ed. available online.
As the guide cautions, though, legal research can be a difficult proposition even for seasoned attorneys. Information presented in these self-help resources is necessarily general and introductory, and will likely not provide a complete answer to a particular legal question. Last month, Consumer Reports compared the legal self-help websites Nolo, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, concluding that they are no substitute for the assistance of a lawyer in all but the simplest of legal issues. However, these resources can provide valuable grounding in the terminology and procedures involved in a legal problem, and allow clients to better communicate with their attorneys.

For assistance with locating self-help guides on a particular topic, consult our new and improved Legal Research for Non-Lawyers guide or Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Meet You in 4200B (and Other Library News)

With Fall Break (a.k.a. 1L writing week) on the horizon, the semester is more than halfway over. Break week generally marks a turning point when returning students begin to buckle down and prepare for final exams and papers. As the library fills with increasingly-anxious students, it can be hard to find a place to settle in for long hours of outline review or intensive research.

So with that in mind, the Goodson Law Library is pleased to announce a new option for study groups and other meetings: Room 4200B has now been added to our online reservation calendar. Like the eight study rooms on Level 2 of the library, it can be reserved by current Duke Law students up to 72 hours in advance; once reserved, its key can be checked out from the Circulation/Reserve desk. (Note that unlike the Level 2 study rooms, Room 4200B has no built-in technology, but it can comfortably accommodate 6 people around its large table.) Room 4200B can be found on Level 4, in the area directly above the library service desk, next to the Duke Law Journal alcove (and under the watchful gaze of the Nixon portrait).

But that’s not the only change in the Goodson Law Library. The renovation project which began over the summer will begin a new phase over Fall Break, with extensive work to the ducts and wiring in the west end of Level 1. Details of the project are posted online; the most important note is that the Microforms Room will be accessible only from the back elevator/staircase once this work begins. The center staircase and front elevator will provide no access to the west end of Level 1.

Please also note that beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, the library will operate under Fall Break hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Evening and weekend service will resume on Sunday, October 21. See our Hours & Directions page for details. The Duke Law community will retain its usual 24-hour DukeCard access during the break.

As always, if you have any questions about the use of library study rooms, the ongoing renovation project, or service hours, please don't hesitate to ask library staff for assistance.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Keeping Up with the Court

Monday, October 2 marked an important annual legal event: as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2, the "First Monday in October" begins a new term of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court has already begun to hear oral arguments in the cases it will decide during this term, which adjourns in June 2013.

Court-watchers regard First Monday with great anticipation, and much was written earlier this week about the current docket and expected additions. See coverage at CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among others. But once the mainstream media's excitement about First Monday dissipates, how can you keep up with the goings-on at One First Street? The Goodson Blogson has some ideas.
  • The Court's own website includes argument calendars and transcripts, links to briefs and other docket materials, and opinions and orders as they are released. 
  • For news and commentary, many legal researchers subscribe to U.S. Law Week, which is available electronically to the Duke Law community. The long-running current awareness service includes commentary on the latest federal cases which are likely candidates for appeal to the Supreme Court, as well as a separate section "Supreme Court Today" with links to opinions, case previews, and oral arguments.
  • Bloomberg BNA, which publishes U.S. Law Week, also sponsors SCOTUSblog, a free source for authoritative previews and reports on Supreme Court activities. 
  • The OYEZ Project at Chicago-Kent College of Law posts audio recordings of the latest arguments, along with occasional videos of scholarly commentary. Need your SCOTUS updates on the go? Download the free OYEZ Today App for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.
For more sources to keep up with the latest SCOTUS activities, check out our U.S. Supreme Court research guide or Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 THOMAS 2.0

Today, the Library of Congress unveiled the beta version of, which provides free access to congressional bills, enacted legislation, and member directories. This new site will eventually replace THOMAS, the Library's current legislative information portal. Read the announcements on the Library of Congress blog and the Law Library of Congress blog, In Custodia Legis.

Like THOMAS, features the text of current and past bills and legislation, dating back to 2001 (compared to THOMAS's 1990, though the developers will be adding all historical THOMAS content into the new site over the next two years). also includes some new features, like biographies of current as well as past members of Congress (dating back to 1947) and an expanded collection of tutorials on the legislative process.

The most noticeable changes, though, are the slick design (which is more compatible with mobile devices), improved search functionality, and the use of permanent, stable URLs (links to legislation search results in THOMAS expire after approximately 30 minutes, although a separate site called Tiny will render them into permalinks). The About page highlights other changes and outlines plans for the continued development of the new site.

The Goodson Law Library research guide to Federal Legislative History will be updated to reflect the new site's availability. In the meantime, be sure to Ask a Librarian about this or any other options for researching congressional materials.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

225 Years of the U.S. Constitution

Time flies when you're having fun! Monday, September 17 marks the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution's signing. "Constitution Day" was established in 2004, piggybacking on the existing federal recognition of September 17 as "Citizenship Day." See 36 U.S.C. § 106 (2006).

As part of the effort to commemorate this important day, the National Constitution Center offers a "Pop Quiz" of 10 questions about the U.S. Constitution’s content and history. In 2011, the Christian Science Monitor prepared a similar quiz of constitutional trivia. More advanced con law scholars can also test their Constitution IQ with the Questions & Answers: Constitutional Law multiple-choice format study aid in the library's collection.

Celebrate Constitution Day at the Goodson Law Library by picking up a free pocket Constitution at the library service desk, while supplies last. (Reading from afar? You can also print your own pocket Constitution from the PDF at FDsys, but take care to select "Booklet" format when printing!) For assistance with navigating our wealth of library resources on American constitutional law and constitutional history, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Loan-ly iPads

Are you curious to see what all this iPad fuss is about before committing to buy one of your own? Or are you an experienced iPad user who just needs temporary access to a device? Either way, the Duke Law School's new iPad Loaner program may be able to help. Duke Law students can check out iPads and selected accessories from the Academic Technologies Help Desk.

Why is this potentially useful? According to Digital Initiatives Librarian Hollie White, "There are many reasons to check out an iPad. On an iPad, notes can be taken, either by hand or using the keypad. Being very portable, iPads can also be used to store important documents using cloud applications. Four of Duke Law’s classrooms and the Digital Initiatives Lab have Apple TVs, which can be used with an iPad to project relevant content in meetings or with a study group."

The loaner iPads come pre-loaded with a set of standard productivity, video, and legal research apps, such as Pages, Skype, Kindle, HeinOnline and WestlawNext. Borrowers may also sync their personal iTunes account in order to download additional apps during the loan period; the devices are wiped before their next loan.

Accessory options include HDMI adaptors, VGA adaptors, camera connectors, and a case with a built-in keyboard. Accessory loans must be requested separately (but can also be requested even if you are not checking out an iPad).

If you would like to borrow an iPad, here are some important procedures to remember:
  • Bring your DukeCard to the Academic Technologies Help Desk.
  • iPads can only be checked out and returned between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Once you receive the iPad from the Help Desk, turn it on and ensure it works before leaving the desk.
  • When returning the iPad to the Help Desk, be sure to include the power cord and all other accessories.
  • Law students can borrow an iPad for up to four days (including weekends). iPads can be renewed if there is no waitlist, but the renewal process must happen in person at the Help Desk.
For questions about the Law School’s iPad Loaner Program, contact the Academic Technologies Help Desk. For assistance with locating iPad user guides in the Law Library collection, such as iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, or with accessing sources for law-related apps, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

If you are a Duke student outside of the Law School who is interested in borrowing an iPad, consult The Link, which has a limited number of iPads available for loan to University students on a first-come, first-served basis.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

PLC: Easy as 1-2-3

Duke Law students, faculty and staff have access to Practical Law Company (PLC), a transactional law resource which is used in practice by many firms. Register for an account with PLC for Law Schools by clicking the button labeled "FREE PLC Access."

The website is organized into three sections, all of which include model documents with drafting tips, "Practice Notes," and step-by-step checklists in such areas as bankruptcy, securities, corporate finance, international arbitration, and intellectual property. Each section is organized slightly differently, and offers additional unique features. The Law School section provides Summer Associate Survival Guides and Interview Survival Guides designed to demystify corporate and securities law basics. The Law Firm section includes a glossary of law and business terminology, current news and analysis of the latest corporate deals, and guides to international business. The Law Department section is intended for use by in-house counsel, and provides toolkits on topics like corporate compliance, as well as a "Global Law Department" with country-specific resources.

The site offers email alerts and RSS feeds on various topics, as well as the full text of the bimonthly journal Practical Law. Help is available via video tutorials, and the contents of the entire site may also be searched.

Practical Law Company can be accessed via the Goodson Law Library's Legal Databases & Links page, under "General Law Databases." For help using this or other legal research resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

Welcome (or welcome back) to the Fall 2012 semester! Effective at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 19, full evening and weekend library services have resumed. See our updated building access hours, and remember that you'll still need a current DukeCard to enter the Law School building after 5:00 p.m. and any time on weekends.

Those just returning to Duke from a summer away will notice a few changes to the Goodson Law Library. In May, work began on a renovation project designed to create new spaces for eight of Duke Law's student-edited journals on Level 1 of the library. As part of this project, other study spaces throughout the library were also improved. While some work will continue into the fall semester (check the Renovation Updates page for details), here is your floor-by-floor guide to the changes so far.


The most dramatic transformation can be seen at the back of Level 1, where the bank of study carrels was removed in July. (Don't worry - the carrels have been relocated to Level 4.) This area will be the future home of 8 Duke Law School journals (all except DLJ), and remains a construction zone until the new space is finished. Continued work may be noisy and disruptive at times, so level 2 and the back of level 4 are our recommended quiet study spaces for the fall semester.


The study carrel computers at the back of Level 2 have been upgraded to new iMacs, which can run in either Windows or Mac operating systems. A current NetID and password is required in order to log in to these workstations.

The subject alcoves on this floor (Gann Tax Alcove and Walker North Carolina Alcove) have been rearranged in order to accommodate larger groups of users.


Like the subject alcoves on Level 2, the Stevens Federal Alcove on this floor was reconfigured to make room at its table for larger groups of people.

In the Document Production Room, you’ll be happy to note the addition of a second flatbed scanner, which has been installed due to popular demand for the library’s BookScanStation. It is currently set up for scanning to USB drive only, but options to scan to email and the printing system will be added soon.

The Digital Initiatives Lab was also recently upgraded to make one of its two display screens compatible with Apple TV.


Study space at the back of this floor has been expanded, with the study carrels from Level 1 re-installed next to Level 4's existing carrel space.

To make room for the additional study carrels, some materials in the Periodicals collection are in the process of being sent to off-site storage. For assistance with locating these titles (all of which can also be found in full text electronic format), please Ask a Librarian.


The Renovation Updates page will keep the Duke Law community informed of construction work as it is scheduled. Questions about the renovation project can be directed to Assistant Dean for Library Services Melanie Dunshee.

We hope that your summer vacation was as busy and productive as ours! Best wishes to all of our new and returning students for a great semester.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Foreign, Comparative & International Law Database

The Goodson Law Library recently subscribed to The Making of Modern Law: Foreign, Comparative & International Law, 1600-1926. This new resource offers the full text of nearly 3,500 historic treatises on foreign, comparative and international law topics, from the 17th century to the early 20th.

The collection offers a fascinating perspective on legal history, with titles like 1911's Patent and Trade Mark Laws of the World, which gives a country-by-country summary of then-current intellectual property requirements (ever wondered what a patent application cost in Uruguay at the turn of the 20th century? It's in there), or its earliest title, 1602's tongue-twisting The Pandectes of the Law of Nations: Contayning Seuerall Discourses of the Questions, Points, and Matters of Law, Wherein the Nations of the World doe Consent and Accord: Giuing Great Light to the Vnderstanding and Opening of the Principall Obiects, Questions, Rules, and Cases of the Ciuill Law and Common Law This Realme of England. In keeping with the database's global perspective, about 50% of the collection is in a language other than English (particularly French, Latin, German, and Spanish). The collection can be searched by a variety of options, or browsed by title or author.

The Goodson Law Library subscribes to several other Making of Modern Law (MoML) collections, including Legal Treatises 1800-1926 (American and British legal treatises from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries), U.S. Supreme Court Records & Briefs, 1832-1978 (records and briefs from approximately 150,000 historical U.S. Supreme Court cases), Primary Sources I & II (early state codes, state constitutional conventions, city charters, law dictionaries, case digests, records of the American colonies), and Trials 1600-1926 (transcripts, popular printed accounts, briefs, and arguments for Anglo-American trials).

Like these other MoML modules, the new FCIL collection can be accessed via our Legal Databases and Links page, although it's located under the "Foreign & International Law Resources" column. It will also be added to the library's research guides on Foreign & Comparative Law and International Law. For questions about using the database or researching FCIL materials, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Bluebook: There's an App for That

Did you ever wish that The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation would go back to its 28-page roots? While the ever-expanding citation manual (now up to a hefty 511 pages in its current 19th edition) probably will never shrink back down to its original size, you can still carry it in the palm of your hand. The Bluebook editors (a joint effort of the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and The Yale Law Journal) have granted exclusive rights to a mobile version within the recently-launched rulebook™ mobile app from Ready Reference Apps.

This mobile version of The Bluebook is now available for sale (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch) in the iTunes App Store. The Bluebook library is available for $39.99 within the larger rulebook™ app, which also includes libraries of federal rules and selected state court rules. If the app isn't compatible with your own mobile device, never fear – the Bluebook editors also offer a web-based subscription (starting at $32 per year) at Various subscription packages include e-only access, or combinations of the print book and electronic subscription.

But how would you discover this and other legal research apps without the Goodson Blogson's expert help? First, there's Mobile Apps for Law, a searchable online directory of free and fee-based downloadable apps for mobile devices. The site features nearly 900 law-related apps, which are searchable by keyword and browseable by date, subject area, and/or device type. Entries for each app provide a brief description, price information, and links to more detailed reviews from such sites as iPhone JD and Law on my Phone, and quick access to download. Featured apps include access to primary sources of law from federal and state governments, scaled-down mobile versions of LexisNexis and Westlaw, law dictionaries, attorney and court directories, and more than 40 bar exam prep apps. Mobile Apps for Law also offers a free RSS feed for the latest updates, although a subscription is needed to access the full text beyond the RSS summary. For assistance with accessing the full site, please contact the Reference Desk.

On the hunt for even more apps, whether they're law-related or not? Apple's massive iTunes App Store contains thousands of apps but can be overwhelming to navigate. In March 2012, PC Magazine curated a list of the 100 best apps in iTunes. The blog Lifehacker also maintains an App Directory, going beyond Apple gadgets with a section for Android phones as well. Throughout the school year, watch the Duke Law Daily for announcements of "App Chats" with Digital Initiatives Librarian Hollie White in the library’s Digital Initiatives Lab.

Have a favorite law-related or productivity app you're eager to share? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lex Olympica

Friday, July 27 marks the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The massive international competition will last until August 12 and feature more than 10,000 athletes competing in 26 different sports. (See this page for descriptions of each summer sport, as well as information about the criteria for adding a new sport to the Olympic program.)

Planning for each Olympic Games is a complex process, from site selection to judging each event. The primary organization which oversees the Games is the International Olympic Committee, in cooperation with International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs). This "Olympic Movement" adheres to a lengthy Charter which outlines the various rules and by-laws which make the Games possible. The IOC website includes the text of the Olympic Charter, a directory for the members of the international as well as national committees, and more information about financing and governance.

Several works in the Goodson Law Library discuss the evolution of the Olympic Games' regulation since their origins in ancient Greece. The recent treatises Sports Law: Lex Sportiva & Lex Olympica: Theory and Praxis (2011) and The Law of the Olympic Games (2009) explore a variety of legal issues from the earliest Olympics to the present day.

For more resources on the legal issues surrounding the Olympic Games, or on issues in sports law more generally, search the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject heading "Sports -- Law and legislation" or Ask A Librarian.

Monday, July 16, 2012

...And CRS Reports for All

Last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a House resolution intended to provide wider public access to reports prepared by the Congressional Research Service. CRS staff members research and draft reports on current legislative and policy concerns, which are made accessible to all members of Congress. The reports give important background information to lawmakers on such diverse topics as the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions, the political outlook in other countries, and even the procedure for naming U.S. Navy ships.

Their access to the public is far more unpredictable, though – citizens may request free copies of particular reports from their elected representatives, assuming that they are able to identify a desired report title. A commercial publisher, Penny Hill Press, provides RSS feeds of newly-released reports, and sells them as PDF downloads for around $30 each. As described in the library's research guide to Federal Legislative History, the full text of CRS reports dating back to 1916 are also available to current Duke University students, faculty and staff through the ProQuest Congressional subscription database. Other sites attempt to collect and provide free access to these uncopyrightable government publications, such as the University of North Texas, the OpenCRS Network, and the Federation of American Scientists. Currently, though, there is no free source which provides comprehensive access to all CRS reports.

As noted in an informative blog post from The Sunlight Foundation, there have been several previous attempts to provide wider public access to CRS reports, which were originally restricted in the 1950s due more to concerns about the cost of printing than out of a need to keep the reports confidential. The current resolution, "Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Resolution of 2012" (H. Res. 727) can be read at THOMAS, which also provides up-to-date information on the bill's progress.

For more information on researching CRS reports or tracking the progress of the House resolution, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Live and Let Liver

Over the weekend, California residents bid au revoir to foie gras, as a statewide ban signed in 2004 finally took effect on Sunday. The expensive delicacy is made from the livers of geese or ducks which have been fattened, often through a controversial force-feeding system called gavage. The Force Fed Birds Act of 2004 (text via CA legislature or HeinOnline’s Session Laws Library) prohibits both the practice of gavage as well as the sale of products which result from such force feeding, meaning that California farmers and restaurateurs alike are affected by the ban.

Most new laws don’t take effect immediately, in order to allow sufficient time to adjust to changes. In fact, California usually delays the effective date of new laws until the following January 1 (see Gov. Code § 9600 at But if a 7+ year delay seems excessive, look no further than the statute itself for the explanation: the lengthy gap was intended to give those "engaged in agricultural practices that include raising and selling force fed birds" a fair chance "to modify their business practices" in the meantime. (It also gave California diners a chance to do some gorging of their own, and the L.A. Times reports that diners took full advantage.)

California wasn’t the first, or only, place to ban the production or sale of foie gras. Several European countries have ceased production of foie gras since the late 1990s, although most do not also prohibit its import or sale. Closer to home, chapter 2 of the recent ABA publication The Little Book of Foodie Law details the City of Chicago's 2006 attempt to ban the sale of foie gras in its stores and restaurants. (The unpopular and poorly-enforced prohibition was repealed in 2008.) Other chapters describe interesting cases concerning other food-related laws, including trademark infringement suits, squabbles over the C.F.R. definitions of "olive oil" and "cream cheese," and tort claims against a wedding caterer for serving non-kosher food at a Jewish couple's wedding. As an added bonus, each chapter contains a recipe related to the topic. (California residents won't have much luck with the foie gras chapter, as it calls for the now-banned product: perhaps they can substitute the New York Times’ instructions for "faux gras" made with chicken livers.)

To learn more about laws and regulations which impact the food you eat, try a subject search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for "Food Law and Legislation" or Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Ways to Cram for the Bar Exam

With less than a month until the July bar exam, heads are probably swimming with legal concepts, case names, and prep-course mnemonics. If you’ve come down with a case of bar-exam brain-freeze, it might be time to try some alternative ways to learn:

CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, provides interactive tutorials on more than 900 legal topics. Tutorials range in scope from general areas of law to very specific legal concepts. A Duke Law registration code is needed for accessing the tutorials on the web, and can be obtained from the library Reference Desk or online with a NetID and password.

If you like an interactive Q&A approach to studying, you might also prefer to download the mobile app versions of popular aids like the Law in a Flash flash-card series or the Q&A books from LexisNexis. Though the online version of each series is only slightly cheaper than the tangible versions, the ability to “shuffle” and annotate the flash cards and re-take the practice exams multiple times might be an advantage to the mobile format.

Prevent eyestrain and study on the go with the Audio Case Files component of CVN Law School. Audio Case Files provides MP3 recordings of edited opinions from law school casebooks. Register for the site with a Duke Law email address.

For more visual learners, there’s also The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law, the brainchild of defense attorney Nathaniel Burney. Launched in December 2011, the blog publishes detailed and creative comics which explore such aspects of criminal law as mens rea, conspiracy, and defenses. Jones McClure Publishing will release a book-length version of the comic in the fall, as the inaugural entry in its Illustrated Guide to Law series. So while July 2012 exam-takers are limited to this preview of the criminal law title, there may be a whole set of comic-style study aids in time for next year’s MBE.

Finally, for help finding more traditional supplements to bar exam study (including study guides for the MBE and past bar exams from other states), take a look at our February post on Resources for the Bar Exam or Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Judgment Day

Last week, the blog Letters of Note revived a famous exchange of correspondence between two attorneys in 1988. Wyoming lawyer Becky Klemt wrote to several practitioners in California, seeking assistance with collecting court-ordered child support from her client’s ex-husband, who had skipped town to the Golden State. Stephen Corris, an Irvine-based international trade specialist, attempted to decline the opportunity politely: "Without sounding pretentious," he informed Klemt six weeks after her original letter, "my current retainer for cases is a flat $100,000, with an additional charge of $1,000 per hour."

Klemt fired off a cheeky reply, which quickly circulated throughout law firms around the country: "Steve, I've got news — you can't say you charge a $100,000.00 retainer fee and an additional $1,000.00 an hour without sounding pretentious. It just can't be done. Especially when you're writing to someone in Laramie, Wyoming where you're considered pretentious if you wear socks to Court or drive anything fancier than a Ford Bronco. Hell, Steve, all the lawyers in Laramie, put together, don't charge $1,000.00 an hour." After outlining her small firm’s intent to join Corris in his highly profitable global practice by relocating to California ("where evidently people can get away with just about anything"), Klemt assured him that the original client was "willing to pay you $1,000.00 per hour to collect this judgment provided it doesn't take you more than four seconds."

The exchange went as viral as could be in the pre-YouTube era, with photocopies and faxes of both letters making the watercooler circuit. Klemt found herself an unlikely celebrity, dubbed "the funniest lawyer in America" in a 1990 front-page Wall Street Journal article. The ABA Journal followed up a few months later, after Klemt had appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and received an offer to pose for Penthouse magazine. (She declined.) For his part, Corris defended his reply as satirical in a follow-up letter to the Wall Street Journal, stating that "Without taking anything away from Ms. Klemt’s well-worded riposte, I sure wish that I had not been taken so literally by so many."

But one other player in the tale was less amused: Klemt’s client, Marcia Broomell, whose judgment Klemt had written off after several months and dozens of fruitless letters to other California attorneys. “'Sure, sure, it's all incredible,'" Broomell told the WSJ. "'Now a thousand lawyers know about my plight, and not one of them can be bothered to collect my money!'"

Thankfully, there’s guidance out there for attorneys with clients in Broomell’s situation. Judgment Enforcement, 3d ed., a 2009 looseleaf treatise (KF9025 .B762 & full-text in Westlaw: JDENF database) includes chapters on "Basic Aspects of Judgment Enforcement," as well as state-specific guidance (including - yep - California). It and similar titles can be found in the Duke Libraries catalog with a subject search for "Executions (Law)-- United States". For help locating additional materials on judgment enforcement, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Where Courts Meet Custom

Yesterday’s New York Times contained a fascinating article about the recognition of tribal courts in South Africa. These traditional village councils were commonplace during the apartheid era, and have remained an influential force in many areas nearly two decades after the country’s democratic reforms. As the Times piece illustrates, village residents who resist the unofficial but powerful local courts do so at their own peril: one widowed resident of Candu ignored the call of a traditional court following an insult to the village headman, and found herself shunned by neighbors until she appeared before the council to apologize and pay a fine (which included one live sheep and several cases of beer). Ironically, the affront to the local court was actually the woman’s adherence to the formal legal system: "She had broken customary law by calling the police to investigate a burglary at her house without informing the village headman."

A bill pending before Parliament would provide official recognition for these traditional courts, and also outline the scope of their powers (view PDF). If enacted, the Traditional Courts Bill would also give the country’s magistrate court system the power of appellate review over traditional court judgments. This isn’t the first effort to provide official recognition for such courts – an earlier version of this bill was introduced in 2008 and withdrawn in 2011. The Times describes this version as “unlikely to pass Parliament but unlikely to be completely snuffed out either.”

Whatever ultimately happens to the Traditional Courts Bill, the story is a good introduction to this unique aspect of the South African legal system. To learn more about this topic, start with a subject search of the Goodson Law Library’s catalog for "Customary Law – South Africa" to discover titles like Chiefs in South Africa: Law, Power & Culture in the Post-Apartheid Era or Customary Law in South Africa (whose entire fifth chapter is dedicated to courts: read Google Books preview). To find additional material about South Africa’s legal system, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Judicial Nominations and Vacancies

Yesterday, President Obama announced two nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. This is the first step in the federal judicial appointment process, which is outlined by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts points out around 75 current vacancies in the federal court system, with almost half of those classified as “judicial emergencies”. The Judicial Nominations page at the U.S. Department of Justice presents a graphical view of nominees and hearings, although there is a slight delay in updating.

Information about current Article III judicial nominees can be found in a variety of places. THOMAS, the free Library of Congress web portal, maintains a search screen for federal nominations, including the judiciary. Results link to information about the status of the nomination. The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary also maintains free information for the current Congress, including links to hearing transcripts and nominee questionnaires. Candidate ratings, supplied by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, are available online back to the 101st Congress (1989).

Some subscription resources available to the Duke community supplement the free nomination resources with additional information. U.S. Law Week, available through Bloomberg BNA, provides a roundup of Nominations and Confirmations. Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service released a report, Nominations to U.S. Circuit and District Courts by President Obama During the 111th and 112th Congresses (free online & to Duke community via ProQuest Congressional), which presents a statistical overview of nominations and their status from President Obama’s inauguration until May 31 of this year.

For help locating information about current or historical federal judicial appointments, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Awaiting the Verdict

As the trial of John Edwards drags into its ninth day of jury deliberations, you might wonder what is taking so long. The former U.S. Senator and 2004 vice-presidential candidate was indicted in 2011 for violating federal campaign finance laws in order to conceal his pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, during his 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Yesterday, the News & Observer reported that the members of the jury "have been behind closed doors for twice as long as it took the defense to present its side of the case." A note from one juror prompted several closed-door sessions between U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles and the attorneys on each side of the case. In addition, the four alternate jurors (who have not participated in the deliberations thus far) were allowed to return to their daily lives rather than spend more time waiting at the courthouse, although they remain “on call” if any of the twelve regular jurors are dismissed, and are still expected to refrain from consulting any outside media reports about the case.

While jury consultants speculate about the reasons for the continued delay, you can test your evidence-evaluating prowess at the U.S. Court for the Middle District of North Carolina’s website, which has maintained a free repository of trial exhibits and related documentation, including exhaustive transcripts of trial exhibits from both the prosecution and the defense. (Our favorite? The placeholder Verdict PDF, whose red lettering reads as increasingly irritated with each passing day.)

This repository is welcome news for legal researchers, who often must obtain federal trial-level filings for a fee, either from PACER or the court clerk’s office. If you’re researching a case where the court wasn’t kind enough to provide the exhibits online for free, our research guide to Court Records & Briefs contains tips for tracking down the same kinds of materials. For assistance with court filing research, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Online Access to the International Encyclopaedia of Laws

Earlier this spring, we invited you to test-drive the online version of International Encyclopaedia of Laws, a looseleaf set whose volumes provide a general overview of 25 legal topics, as well as country-specific monographs which describe individual nations’ legislation and case law in those areas. The set is edited by practitioners in the field, making the volumes an excellent introduction to comparative practice on a particular topic.

The library had long received 20 of the available 25 topics in print (catalog record), but their looseleaf format made them cumbersome for researchers. The Goodson Law Library is pleased to announce that the online version of International Encyclopaedia of Laws is now active, and will replace the print set for current information (although the historical volumes will remain on the library shelf, where they are kept in call number order with other materials on the set's topic).

Researchers can access any of the topical sets through a search of the libraries’ online catalog for IEL [topic], e.g. IEL Constitutional Law. The various sections of the looseleaf set for a topic are divided into folders, and individual chapters can be downloaded in PDF.

A link to the online version of IEL has been added to the library's research guide to Foreign & Comparative Law. For assistance with using this online resource, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bye Bye Blackboard; Hi, Sakai

[On Saturday, June 30, Duke University access to Blackboard course sites will expire. Digital Initiatives Librarian Hollie White offers some advice to help students, faculty and staff prepare for the transition to Sakai, Blackboard’s replacement system.]

For Students: Although the last four years of Blackboard content have been migrated to Sakai for faculty access, students will not see these past courses in Sakai. If you want to save some of your work from a previous course (such as final products from group projects) which used Blackboard, sign on to Blackboard before June 30 and find the class(es) from which you want to save material. Please remember that handouts and slides are the property of the faculty member and you should not copy, save, or redistribute these without permission from your instructor.

For Faculty: The last four years of Blackboard content has already been copied from Blackboard into Sakai. To explore your migrated classes, log in to Sakai. Classes will appear as tabs on the top of the Sakai screen. Most of your migrated content from Blackboard will be in the “Resources” or “Test/Quizzes” section for each Sakai course. Review what is in there and what is not in order to determine if the Sakai migration has preserved all the material that you would like to save from Blackboard (you may want to compare the Sakai content to Blackboard before June 30 in order to determine what is missing). For example, student content (such as wikis, blogs, discussion boards, and grades), could not be migrated and will have to copied and saved manually. Check Duke Law’s Sakai page for more details on how to save content manually.

For Staff and Teaching Assistants: If you assist a faculty member with course management, it may be beneficial to remind the instructor about the Blackboard-to-Sakai migration before the end of June. Faculty members may delegate the preservation of old Blackboard materials to you. Instructions about how to check for and transfer materials from Blackboard to Sakai can be found on the Duke Law Sakai page. If you need permissions to access a specific course in either Blackboard or Sakai, please contact Hollie White.

For more information on Sakai or questions about the migration process, please contact Duke Law’s Digital Initiatives Librarian, Hollie White.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Investor-State Law Guide (ISLG) Now Available

The Goodson Law Library now provides campus-wide access to Investor-State Law Guide (ISLG), a new research resource for international investment treaty law materials. ISLG includes the text of international agreements and decisions interpreting them from various tribunals, in addition to the rules of these tribunals. Documents are linked together by a "mapping" system, allowing researchers to quickly access case law which interprets a particular provision or article of an investment treaty. ISLG’s collections of NAFTA and ICSID materials are particularly robust; other subject areas continue to grow.

A brief online demo is available, illustrating the mapping feature and other search options within ISLG. The database can now be accessed through its link in the Foreign & International column of our Legal Databases & Links page; a current NetID is required for off-campus access.

 For more resources related to researching international law, check out our online Research Guides or Ask a Librarian.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Library Services for the Class of 2012

Congratulations to our newest 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. More details can be found on the library’s page Services for Law Alumni.
  • 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. 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.

    If you are leaving the Triangle area, and hope to visit another law library for regular bar exam study, be aware that many private law schools require a letter of introduction from your "home" institution in order to grant access. Check the access policies of the individual law library, and Ask a Librarian for assistance with obtaining a letter of introduction.
  • Borrowing privileges for Law Library materials generally expire very shortly after 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.
  • LexisNexis and Westlaw passwords can be extended over the summer for the purposes of bar study. To extend your passwords, log into the sites and look for the link on the welcome screen. Some other legal research databases, including Bloomberg Law and Loislaw, continue automatically for 6 months after graduation.
  • Other library databases (such as HeinOnline and LegalTrac) require a current NetID and password for off-campus access. 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 (details). However, alumni may also use Law Library and campus library databases on-site at the library’s public computer workstations.
  •           For help with post-graduation technology issues (printing, wireless network, email, network file storage), check out the Academic Technologies page for End-of-Year Information: Graduating Class 2012. Academic Technologies especially recommends purchasing physical copies of Duke-licensed software, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat Pro, from the Duke Computer Store before graduation. (Free versions which were downloaded through OIT with your NetID will eventually expire after you leave Duke.)
The Goodson Law Library congratulates the class of 2012, and we look forward to hearing about your many achievements in the future (including any exciting publications)...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Reading/Exam Period Access & Services

The end of the semester brings some important changes to the Goodson Law Library’s access and service hours. Please note this information for reading/examination period and beyond:

Library Services

Effective Monday 4/16, the Reference Services desk will be open from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Circulation/Reserve desk and the Academic Technologies Help Desk will continue evening and weekend service hours until the end of the examination period. Beginning on Friday, May 4, all three library service desks will operate under summer hours (Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), and will resume evening and weekend service at the start of the Fall 2012 semester.

Library Access

To ensure that adequate quiet study space is available for law students, use of the Goodson Law Library for study purposes during the Law School’s reading/exam period (Tuesday 4/17 to Friday 5/4) is limited to current Duke Law students, faculty and staff. University students, faculty and staff who require access to the Law Library for research purposes are welcome to use the library when reference staff are on duty, and should contact the Circulation/Reserve desk for assistance when library doors are locked (weekdays after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends). Public access hours for researchers not affiliated with the University remain the same (Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m).

Additional study space is available to all in the Star Commons (levels 3 and 4), the Blue Lounge (level 2) and classrooms as available.

Good luck to our students on final exams and papers! For help with exam preparation, be sure to check out the recommended study aids in our guide to Law School Success, or Ask a Librarian.