Thursday, April 12, 2012

Summer Access to Library Databases

[updated 4/13/2012 with new LexisNexis info]

Summer might seem like a faraway dream, well beyond the looming threat of finals. But before you know it, exams and papers will be a distant memory and summer jobs will be starting. Beginning in June, many commonly-used legal research resources restrict student access over the summer, to help avoid the use of nonprofit educational passwords at paid summer employment. However, exceptions can sometimes be made for academic purposes over the summer. Here’s your guide to summer database access.

LexisNexis will offer a limited menu of career-related resources from June 1 to August 1. [Update 4/13/2012: LexisNexis will also offer summer extensions to the "classic" LexisNexis interface on an opt-in basis at, beginning in late April.] Your Lexis Advance password, however, can be used for summer course preparation and assignments, research associated with Moot Court or law journals, research for pursuing a grant or scholarship, work as a research assistant to a Duke Law faculty member (paid or unpaid), an internship/externship/clinic position for school credit, bar exam preparation, and research skill improvement for educational purposes. If you have already registered your Lexis Advance ID, summer access for academic purposes continues automatically (i.e., there is no need to request summer access separately). If you have not yet registered for Lexis Advance, please contact our LexisNexis representative Marva Woods for assistance.

Westlaw offers extensions of your educational password for summer classes, journal work, projects for faculty, moot court, unpaid/non-profit public interest internships or externships, or a pro bono project that is required for graduation. There is no password extension for any paid work (including work paid by stipend) or for work in the courts or for the government (even if unpaid). Recent graduates can also extend their passwords to obtain 10 free hours of research time for bar exam study. If you qualify for a summer extension of your Westlaw password, log into and look for the link to extend on the welcome screen.

Bloomberg Law accounts are valid between school terms and for 6 months after you graduate. You may use it for any purpose whatsoever, including work at a law firm or other paid employment. To request access to Bloomberg Law, contact the Reference Desk.

PACER: The library’s PACER account may not be used during the summer or after graduation, unless you are working on Law School-related projects where the needed information is not available through other research services. For other projects, personal PACER accounts can be requested directly from the website, and these accounts allow up to $15 worth of free downloads per quarterly billing cycle before any charges are actually billed. (Note: Documents on PACER are also accessible without charge through Bloomberg’s docket search function.)

Other Duke Library Databases: Recent graduates will find that their off-campus, NetID-based access to other subscription databases (such as HeinOnline and LegalTrac) expires very quickly after graduation. Alumni may access many University and Law School subscription databases on-site via the reading room computer terminals. Access to Duke databases for continuing students is still available over the summer with a NetID and password.

For more information about access to library resources for the graduating class of 2012, bookmark our guide to Services for Law Alumni. If you have questions over the summer about access to particular resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian. Effective Monday, April 16, reference services will be available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Evening and weekend services at the Circulation/Reserve desk and the Academic Technologies Help Desk will continue through the end of final exams.