Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A New Look for LexisNexis Academic

LexisNexis Academic, the campus-wide version of the Law School's LexisNexis online legal research system, will unveil its new interface on Monday, December 23. Details about the changes, including screenshots and an instructional video detailing the upcoming new look, can be found on the LexisNexis wiki.

The biggest change will be the introduction of a single search box, which replaces the six separate "Easy Search" options on the current interface. The new search box combines legal, news, and business searching, with an Advanced Options tab to help filter out unwanted content. (An "Easy Search" box to retrieve court opinions by citation or party name will still be available on the home page, for quick law-related lookups.)

The new link to Search by Content Type will replace the current left-hand menu which links to custom search pages for "US Legal" and "International Legal". The new interface also provides a quick link to search or browse the source directory, in order to access specific content. LexisNexis Academic includes a robust collection of case law and legislation from the U.S. federal government and states; Canadian, European Union and other foreign legal materials are also included. LexisNexis Academic also includes a large collection of law review and legal journal articles, as well as access to the legal encyclopedia American Jurisprudence 2d ("AmJur"), a helpful starting place for researching most legal topics.

For help with using LexisNexis Academic, either before or after the December 23 "interface refresh," be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Law Student Writing Competitions

Hey, law students! Do you have seminar papers from past semesters gathering dust on your desk? Consider polishing them up for submission to a student writing competition! Each year, organizations offer countless opportunities for student writers to submit papers on a variety of topics, for the chance to win prize money, scholarships, and even publication.

For example, the Legal History and Rare Books Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), in cooperation with Cengage Learning, has just announced the Sixth Annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition. The competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, late Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School. Professor Cohen was a leading scholar in the fields of legal research, rare books, and historical bibliography.

Essays for the competition may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The competition is open to students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law, history, and related fields. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m., March 17, 2014. See the contest page for details and application forms.

The winner will receive a $500.00 prize from Cengage Learning and up to $1,000 for expenses associated with attendance at the 2014 AALL Annual Meeting, which takes place from July 12-15 in San Antonio, Texas. The runner-up will have the opportunity to publish the second-place essay in LH&RB's online scholarly journal Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books.

If legal history isn't your area of expertise, there are plenty of other writing competitions available. The American Bar Association maintains a list of ABA-sponsored writing contests, with links to information about each. The University of Richmond School of Law maintains a massive Legal Essay Contest Catalog which can be sorted by topic and even prize amount. The Duke Law Daily also regularly includes announcements of student writing competitions.

For help with preparing those papers for submission, check out the library's collection of works on academic legal writing. For help locating these or more general legal writing titles, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Duke Law Magazine: A Window to History

Recently, the entire back file of Duke Law Magazine was scanned into PDF format and added to the Law School website. Readers may now browse or search issues and articles back to the first volume of the magazine in 1982. Previously, issues from 1982 to 2001 were available only in print in the Goodson Law Library's Archives collection on level 1.

The online collection from the Law School's Office of Communications provides wider access to the fascinating tidbits of Duke Law School history within. Some highlights from the magazine include Fall 1997's A Celebration of Women: 70 Years at Duke Law School or the Winter 1993 Alumnus Profile of Dr. Floyd M. Riddick, shortly before the library's Rare Books and Special Collections Room was renamed in honor of Dr. Riddick and his wife Marguerite. There are also numerous profiles of (and articles by) current and former Duke Law School faculty. (At Goodson Blogson HQ, we're partial to Senior Associate Dean for Information Services Richard A. Danner's Winter 1985 cover story about the changing role of the law library, featuring several vintage photographs.)

Browse Duke Law Magazine and other Law School publications via the link Publications at Duke Law. For assistance with accessing print copies or other archival Law School materials, be sure to Ask a Librarian.