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.

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.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Alumni Authors @ Your Library

Today marks the kickoff of National Library Week, an annual celebration first sponsored by the American Library Association in 1958. Libraries across the country will sponsor special events and programs this week in order to promote the use of their resources and services, and the Goodson Law Library is no exception.

On Monday, April 9, the Goodson Law Library is proud to present a free lunchtime event in Room 3037 with alumni author Duncan Maysilles. The 1979 graduate of Duke Law School (and current litigator at King & Spalding in Atlanta), will discuss his recent book Ducktown Smoke: The Fight over One of the South’s Greatest Environmental Disasters. The book provides a fascinating historical account of the seminal air pollution case Georgia v. Tennessee Copper Co., which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1907. The event begins at 12:15 p.m., and is co-sponsored by the student Environmental Law Society.

Maysilles’ book resides in our Alumni Authors collection, a section of works by Duke Law alumni which can be found in the Reading Room near the windows. Titles range from serious examinations of legal topics and casebooks to lighter fare like the novels Off the Menu and Dead Lawyers. Explore the Alumni Authors section in person, or discover the many great works by Duke Law authors in our online catalog, where they will be marked as “Alumni Authors” in the Location field. If you can’t find a publication by a particular alumnus, be sure to send us a tip in the Library Suggestion Box.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The High Cost of PACER (and Some Alternatives)

Reference Librarian Kelly Leong highlights changes to PACER’s fee structure, and some alternatives for federal court docket searching.

Effective April 1 (no fooling), PACER’s page-view charge has increased to 10 cents, from 8 cents. This is the first time the fee for access to the federal courts’ docket information and filings has increased since 2005. The fees, in general, fund the costs of operating PACER and the increase will be used for maintenance and improving access, according to a statement published by PACER on September 13, 2011.

From the statement issued by the Judicial Conference (the judicial body which oversees PACER), it does not appear that the current individual document cap of $2.40 will be raised. The user billing exemption has also been raised from $10 to $15 per quarter, meaning that if you are a casual user of PACER, this rise in charges should not affect your use or bottom-line.

However, threats of higher bills remind us that there are other resources available to assist your PACER research. Here are just a few tips for researching federal court dockets (our research guide to Court Records & Briefs has more):

  1. PACER offers its own free tutorials.
  2. Be sure to gather as much case information as possible before using PACER. Court websites continue to improve, at the both the federal and state levels, by providing more information about pending cases. Visit the court website to ascertain information, such as case name, case number and other identifying details. Justia Docket Search is another helpful free source for locating important case information from federal courts, 2004-present.
  3. Legal blogs often provide PDF images of court documents from high profile or interesting cases.
  4. For our law students and others with access to Westlaw and LexisNexis, it is common to find court documents in either system.
  5. Bloomberg Law, available to Duke Law students, faculty and staff, provides access to PACER materials through its interface. To register with Bloomberg, contact the Reference Desk.
For more information on accessing court documents, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

--Kelly Leong, Reference Librarian