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.