Thursday, June 22, 2017

History of Capital Punishment in America

On June 29, 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Furman v. Georgia, which held that imposing death sentences on three inmates would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Expressing concerns about "arbitrary and discriminatory" imposition of capital punishment, the Court's per curiam opinion effectively suspended death sentences in the U.S. (Just four years later, the Court would reinstate the death penalty with its 7-2 opinion in Gregg v. Georgia, which reviewed amended Georgia statutes concerning capital punishment.)

As discussed in both Supreme Court opinions, and in countless articles and books, capital punishment in America has a long and controversial history. While the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited "cruel and unusual punishment," the death penalty was common in every state, and the federal Crimes Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 112, c. 9) included death as the punishment for treason against the United States, willful murder, piracy, forgery or counterfeiting, or rescuing any prisoners who had been found guilty in capital cases. However, the concerns expressed in Furman about arbitrary and discriminatory application of the death penalty continue, as well as fears of sending the wrongfully-accused to their deaths: the University of Michigan's National Registry of Exonerations lists 117 death-row inmates convicted in the last fifty years who were subsequently exonerated.

HeinOnline has recently released a new library of resources related to the History of Capital Punishment, available to all researchers within the Duke University campus and also available off-campus with a current Duke University NetID and password. The collection includes the Eugene G. Wanger and Marilyn M. Wanger Death Penalty Collection: A Descriptive Bibliography, a three-volume reference work providing information about relevant books, articles, congressional hearings, and other materials. Bibliography entries link to full text if it is available within HeinOnline's large collection of research resources. (The full Wanger Death Penalty Collection is an archival set housed by the Special Collections & Archives at SUNY Albany).

For additional resources on the history of capital punishment, try a search of the Duke University Libraries catalog for the subject heading "Capital punishment -- United States – History" or "Capital punishment – United States" for more general titles. For help using the new Hein library or locating other resources on the topic, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Introductions to International Law

From continuing discussions of Brexit, to the Paris Agreement withdrawal announcement, to concerns over the legality of U.S. airstrikes in Syria, international law is a frequent topic in the news lately. If you'd like to learn more about international law, the Goodson Law Library's recently-updated International Law research guide recommends some good starting places.
  • Just need to brush up on the basics? Try the Study Aids section for some titles like Understanding International Law and International Law: A Very Short Introduction.
  • Want an explanation of core concepts? Check out the Treatises section for some seminal works from notable scholars.
  • Need guidance in researching a specific international law topic? Try the Research Guides section, or explore the print and online series of Research Handbooks in International Law.
The Goodson Law Library collection contains thousands of titles on international law topics; additional titles are available across campus, or electronically. To locate your perfect international law introduction, try the research guide's recommended searches of the Duke University Libraries catalog or Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

LexisNexis Acquires Ravel Law

Today, LexisNexis announced that it has acquired Ravel Law (press release). Developed by a team of Stanford Law graduates in 2012, Ravel quickly became known for its visual presentation of case law search results (ABA Journal 2014 cover story), and later for its ambitious partnership with Harvard Law Library to digitize historical case reporters and make them freely available to researchers. (Lexis, Ravel, and Harvard each confirmed in separate statements that the acquisition will not change the Caselaw Access Project's mission to provide open access to historical case law materials.)

Ravel also became known for its data analytics products, including Judge Analytics and Court Analytics, both featured in the Goodson Law Library research guide Directories of Courts & Judges. (A new product, Firm Analytics, was also recently announced, but is not yet available for subscriber trial access.)

Ravel will continue to operate under its current web interface until the end of the year, as its contents become integrated into their future home at Lexis Litigation Profile Suite® and Lexis Advance®. Early 2018 is the target date to switch Ravel users to Lexis completely. Duke users may continue to sign up for a Ravel Law account, which includes access to Court and Judge Analytics, with their Duke email address.

For help using Ravel, Lexis, or other legal research services, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pro Forma

"Get it in writing" is important advice for even relatively straightforward legal matters – disputing a credit card transaction, lending money to a friend, unloading an old car in a private sale. But most people would like guidance on how even simple legal documents might be expected to look. Form books provide a starting point for many researchers, offering templates and tips for creating demand letters and agreements for common legal issues. The Goodson Law Library's research guide to Legal Forms was recently updated, and includes resources for non-lawyers, as well as form sets used by legal professionals.

For non-lawyers, Nolo's 101 Law Forms for Personal Use (Reference KF170 .L46 10th ed. 2016) contains general templates for everyday legal situations, such as creating simple wills, selling personal property, or drafting agreements with various service providers. The forms are not specific to any particular state’s laws, and the introductory text to the forms often includes helpful tips and important cautionary warnings for further research (e.g. "With this will form, you cannot name different guardians for different kids").

In many cases, differences of law in a particular state will require more research or consultation with an attorney to prevent potential legal problems later. Wills and estate planning, in particular, frequently involve more complex issues than many people realize, and do-it-yourself form-based documents can create unintended consequences. For example, the 2014 Florida Supreme Court opinion in the case of Aldrich v. Basile involved a will generated from a pre-printed "E-Z Legal Form," which lacked a residuary clause required under Florida law. As a result, the decedent's property passed not to her intended parties, but to relatives who were not named in the will. In the concurring opinion, one judge called the dispute "a cautionary tale of the potential dangers of utilizing pre-printed forms and drafting a will without legal assistance. As this case illustrates, that decision can ultimately result in the frustration of the testator's intent, in addition to the payment of extensive attorney's fees—the precise results the testator sought to avoid in the first place."

However, form books can still provide useful guidance on the layout and content of common legal documents, even for seasoned attorneys. In North Carolina, Douglas' Forms (NC Alcove KFN7468 .D682 & online in Lexis Advance) is a multi-volume set containing both pleading and practice forms and general forms. Other form sets commonly used by lawyers include American Jurisprudence Legal Forms, 2d ed. (Practice & Procedure KF170.A542 & online in Westlaw) and Federal Procedural Forms Lawyers Edition (Practice & Procedure KF8836.F4 & online in Westlaw). The Legal Forms guide also provides information about topical form sets, as well as online access through Westlaw, Lexis Advance, Bloomberg Law, and Fastcase.

For more information about finding legal forms, visit the recently revised Legal Forms research guide, or Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Multinational Sources Compared

What are other nations doing to combat the financing of terrorist organizations? How do the United States' laws on family medical leave compare to the United Kingdom? What are the differences and similarities in corporation laws around the world? The Goodson Law Library's research guide to Foreign & Comparative Law has just been updated with a number of sources to help you find the answer to these and other comparative law questions.

In particular, the new HeinOnline database Multinational Sources Compared: A Subject and Jurisdiction Index is a great starting place to locate treatises and other publications which compare multiple countries' domestic practices on a particular topic. The database can be searched by keyword, browsed by subject, or browsed by country to see available publications.

For example, a subject search or browse for "Terrorism Finance" will identify three books comparing anti-money laundering law and practice in dozens of countries, including Money Laundering, Asset Forfeiture and Compliance: A Global Guide (online in Lexis Advance). A subject search or browse for "Corporations" would likewise return seven results, each featuring different countries and subtopics on corporate law. Each source's entry in Multinational Sources Compared briefly describes the contents of each work, lists the countries covered, and includes information about electronic access through legal research services such as Lexis Advance, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law. (Although each entry also features a "Get It @ Duke" button to link users with campus-wide electronic resources, keep in mind that these Law School-only restricted resources are not listed in the Duke University Libraries’ online catalog. Researchers will need to visit the research services separately, rather than relying on the Get It @ Duke link.)

Search options can also be combined. A search combining the subject "Family Leave" with the jurisdiction "United Kingdom" would retrieve three book results, including the Kluwer title International Encyclopaedia of Laws for Social Security Law. The International Encyclopaedia of Laws are a set of treatises which provide "National Monographs" outlining each featured country's practices on the topic. Countries covered will vary across the different IEL topics, and Multinational Sources Compared will quickly tell a researcher if a country of interest is included. (The IEL set can also be searched or browsed separately at Kluwer Law Online.)

The Foreign & Comparative Law research guide also contains resources for researching non-U.S. legal systems and introductions to comparative law methods. A separate section provides starting places for locating primary legal materials from other countries, either in translation or in the vernacular.

For help with locating comparative and foreign law materials, or with using the resources listed in the research guide, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office

Yesterday, a revised version of the American Health Care Act, intended to reverse a number of insurance measures enacted as part of the President Barack Obama-era Affordable Care Act, narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon, in a 217-213 vote. The bill passed despite vocal opposition from citizens concerned about a return to heightened insurance rates for patients with pre-existing conditions, as well as pushback from both health care providers and the insurance industry itself.

The controversial House bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to draft its own version of Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace legislation. As the Washington Post noted today, though, the future of such legislation in the Senate is uncertain. One major reason? The Senate cannot take up consideration of the bill until the Congressional Budget Office completes its report:
First, the Senate's parliamentarian — or rules-keeper — cannot review the legislation and determine the rules of debate until the CBO submits its official estimate, which could take several more weeks to complete, according to congressional aides. That would mean that official Senate debate on the bill could not begin until June.
The Congressional Budget Office is an independent office in the legislative branch which provides non-partisan analysis of proposed legislation's budgetary effects. Established in 1974 by the Congressional Budget Act, CBO analyses are cited by Congress as useful assessments of a particular legislative proposal's effects. An earlier version of the American Health Care Act was pulled from a House vote in March after the CBO estimated that an additional 24 million Americans could be uninsured by 2024 as a result of its passage. The version which passed the House yesterday was voted on without a revised CBO score.

CBO reports are available on the office's website, back to its 1975 Testimony on Long Range Budget Projections. The federal Documents collections at the Goodson Law Library and elsewhere on campus also contain hard copies of many CBO publications, which can be found with an author search of the Duke University Libraries catalog for congressional budget office. More background about the CBO and its work can be found in the United States Government Manual.

For help locating information about the CBO or federal legislation, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Researching International Criminal Law

The 2013 and 2017 chemical weapon attacks on civilians in Syria have generated ongoing conversations about the role of international criminal courts in humanitarian crises. A new book in the Goodson Law Library, Christopher Rudolph's Power and Principle: The Politics of International Criminal Courts (KZ7230 .R83 2017), explores the history and politics behind international criminal courts, and their role in humanitarian law.

To learn more about international criminal tribunals, check out the Goodson Law Library's recently-updated research guide to International Criminal Law. This brief guide links to print and electronic resources for researching the International Criminal Court and other specialized international criminal tribunals, as well as guidance for locating books and other materials in the Law Library's collection. A more extensive overview of online research resources for international criminal law can be found on the American Society for International Law's Electronic Resource Guide for International Criminal Law, maintained by Penn State University Dickinson Law Library Director Gail A. Partin. (The Law Library's guide links to this and other helpful research starting places.)

For assistance with researching international criminal law in print or online resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Source for Supreme Court Records and Briefs

The Goodson Law Library has recently subscribed to ProQuest Supreme Court Insight, a source for U.S. Supreme Court case histories and records. By the end of 2017, this database will include records and briefs dating from 1975-2016. (Currently, the service covers from 2004-2016; earlier dates will be added throughout the year.)

At the moment, the new database duplicates years of SCOTUS brief and docket materials which are freely available through the Court's own website and through the ABA's Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases. Once complete, though, Supreme Court Insight will fill in gaps for electronic coverage of U.S. Supreme Court case materials, picking up around the tail end of The Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978. (Records and briefs earlier than 1832 are not available at Duke Law, although they can be requested via interlibrary loan service from the set Appellate Case Files of the Supreme Court of the United States.)

For more information about locating court records and briefs, check out the Goodson Law Library research guide, which describes the electronic, print, and microform access to records and briefs which are available through Duke. For help using ProQuest Supreme Court Insight or other sources for court records and briefs, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Summer Access to Legal Research Services

Whether you're heading to a summer job or graduating this May, your access to legal research services like Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law will change.
Continuing Students
For rising 2Ls and 3Ls, your Law School access generally continues uninterrupted over the summer. Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law both allow student usage over the summer for educational as well as for commercial purposes. (However, check with your employer before using your Law School accounts for paid work – many employers prefer that summer associates avoid using their school accounts for researching firm matters.)

Westlaw restricts students' summer access to Westlaw, Practical Law and other Thomson Reuters products to non-commercial research purposes only. The eligible categories for summer access include:
  • Summer Coursework
  • Research Assistant Assignments
  • Law Review or Journal Research
  • Moot Court Research
  • Non-Profit Work
  • Clinical Work
  • Externship Sponsored by the School
2017 Graduates
For graduating 3Ls and LLMs, Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law automatically extend educational accounts for 6 months following graduation.

Lexis additionally offers the ASPIRE program, providing 12 months of free access to graduates who work in public interest. Proof of work with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is required. To learn more about ASPIRE, visit http://www.lexisnexis.com/grad-access/.

Westlaw's "Grad Elite" access continues for 18 months after graduation. Under this program, law grads are allowed 60 hours of usage per month for services like Westlaw and Practical Law, with no restrictions against using them for professional purposes.

For help with your summer access to these or other Duke resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian. The library's summer hours, which take effect at the end of final exams, are Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Monday, March 27, 2017

New Database for ACLU Archives

Since its founding in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been involved in some of the most well-known constitutional law cases in American history. In the "Scopes Monkey Trial" of 1925 (which inspired the acclaimed play and film Inherit the Wind), the ACLU partnered with attorney Clarence Darrow to defend a biology teacher arrested for teaching evolution in his Tennessee classroom. In the 1960s, the ACLU provided free legal assistance to Richard and Mildred Loving, arrested for violating Virginia's ban on interracial marriage; the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia subsequently struck down prohibitions on interracial marriage on equal protection grounds. More recently, the ACLU has challenged Trump administration executive orders concerning immigration and border security.

Researchers at Duke now have access to archival materials from the ACLU's work in the twentieth century. The Goodson Law Library has just subscribed to The Making of Modern Law: American Civil Liberties Union Papers 1912-1990. The searchable collection consists of legal case files and news clippings on ACLU activities, organized into two sub-collections:
  • The Roger Baldwin Years, 1912-1950, contains subseries with clippings and files on academic freedom; censorship; legislation; federal departments and federal legislation; state activities; conscientious objectors; injunctions; and labor and labor organization correspondence.
  • Years of Expansion, 1950-1990, encompasses foundation project files on the Amnesty Project, 1964-1980; the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, 1964-1976; and subject files on freedom of belief, expression, and association; due process of law; equality before the law; international civil liberties; and legal case files, 1933-1990.
The earliest materials, which pre-date the official formation of the ACLU, include correspondence and news clippings on jail conditions, sedition trials, and conscientious objectors during World War I. the collections can be searched on the main screen, or browsed under "Explore Collections." Keyword searches for broad topics like marriage will return thousands of pages of ACLU research and legal documents; a search for a case name, such as Loving v. Virginia, will retrieve a narrower set of results, with the relevant pages within each result flagged in a sidebar.

The digital collection provides a fascinating view of American history through the work of ACLU lawyers. For more information about the history of the ACLU, try a subject search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for American Civil Liberties Union. For assistance with using the new database or with locating other ACLU materials, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, March 20, 2017

AILALink Immigration Database Now Available

Immigration law is highly complex, and involves a number of specialized resources. Fortunately, the Goodson Law Library has just subscribed to AILALink, a research database from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Current Duke University students, faculty, and staff can access AILALink from the Law Library's Legal Databases & Links page, or directly here. (Access is limited to 3 simultaneous users; please click "Sign out" in the top right corner when finished.)

AILALink includes primary and secondary legal materials on immigration matters, such as the full text of Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook (15th ed. 2016), a leading treatise for immigration law practitioners. Other books of interest include the Occupational Guidebooks series, including Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers and Immigration Options for Artists & Entertainers. Other AILA titles include Asylum Law Primer (7th ed. 2015), Essentials of Immigration Law (4th ed. 2016), and Immigration Law & the Family (4th ed. 2016).

Researchers should be aware that immigration law and policy can change quickly. AILALink provides supplements in the event of later changes, such as a chapter supplement to Immigration Law & the Family prompted by new agency guidance. However, primary law research is also essential to update the content of the book publications. The database also provides browseable and searchable versions of federal statutes, regulations, and agency materials related to immigration law and practice. Case law is available through AILALink's court opinions section, with an option to search Fastcase Premium for additional materials.

For further reading on immigration law, try a search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject heading emigration and immigration law – united states. You'll find titles like the multi-volume treatise by Gordon & Mailman, Immigration Law and Procedure (also available in Lexis Advance) and study aids on Reserve like Immigration Law and Procedure in a Nutshell.

For assistance with using AILALink or with locating immigration law materials in the Law Library, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New Research Guide to Arbitration

Although arbitration is generally intended to be a less complex option for parties than litigation, researching arbitration decisions and practice can present unique challenges. Because arbitration decisions are often private, an estimated 90% of them are unavailable – and while the practice of citing to past arbitration decisions is cause for controversy, researchers sometimes need to track down past decisions, arbitrator profiles, or more information about arbitration practice. Reference Librarian Jane Bahnson has created a new research guide to Arbitration on the Goodson Law Library website.

This guide compiles print and electronic sources for both domestic and international arbitration law and practice. Beginning with an overview of secondary sources, such as Elkouri & Elkouri's widely-cited How Arbitration Works, 7th ed. (KF3424 .E44 & online in Bloomberg Law), the guide also describes nine major domestic and international arbitration organizations, such as the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes). Additional sections cover researching arbitrator profiles and locating the full text of available arbitration decisions.

This new research guide to arbitration is one of many topical research guides on the library website. To view all available topics, visit the Research Guides page. For assistance with researching arbitration or other legal topics, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Introducing Westlaw China

The Duke community now has access to two online research services for Chinese legal materials. In addition to en.pkulaw.cn (formerly known as Law Info China), the Goodson Law Library has just subscribed to Westlaw China. Both databases are available to the Duke University community, with a NetID and password required for off-campus access. The Legal Databases & Links page provides quick access to both services.

Both Westlaw China and en.pkulaw.cn offer bilingual access to Chinese statutes, regulations, case law, legal news, and journal articles, but each service has unique strengths and collections. A comparison chart prepared by the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library highlights these differences: Westlaw China and en.pkulaw.cn each include the full text of laws and regulations since 1949. However, Westlaw China's case law is only available in Chinese for full text, with headnote descriptions in English. Westlaw China contains more English-language journals and treatises, as well as model contracts and a legal glossary.

Of course, the Goodson Law Library collection contains additional books and other materials on Chinese law. To locate them, search the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject heading Law – China, or more specific areas of law (such as criminal law -- china. For help with researching in both print and online resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

International Encyclopaedia of Laws Online

Need a quick overview of a country's law and practice on a particular topic? We've previously written about the helpfulness of Foreign Law Guide and GlobaLex as starting places to locate legal information from non-U.S. countries. A secondary source set which is frequently cited in those resources is the International Encyclopaedia of Laws (IEL).

IEL volumes are published for 25 topics, including Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Intellectual Property, Commercial and Economic Law, Sports Law, Competition (antitrust), and Environmental Law. Formerly available at Duke as looseleaf print publications (which are no longer updated at the Goodson Law Library), the series is maintained electronically for the Duke community and on-site visitors via the International Encyclopaedia of Laws database. (Individual IEL titles will also be directly linked in the Duke Libraries Catalog with a keyword search for the appropriate topic. For example, a catalog search for international environmental law will return a result for the IEL Environmental Law volume.)

All IEL volumes and chapters are edited by experts in the field. Most topics begin with an introductory overview of the topic, before presenting "National Monographs" featuring a country-by-country analysis of that subject. (Some, like Environmental Law, also include regional or intergovernmental chapters, such as on European aspect of the topic.) Individual IEL volumes vary widely in the number of countries included, but even the smaller titles can be a helpful source for information in English about a particular country's current laws. National Monographs often include translations of statutes as well as references to relevant case law. The online volumes are divided into easily-downloadable individual PDFs.

When you see references to IEL volumes in Foreign Law Guide or the Duke Libraries Catalog, give IEL online a try! For help with foreign law research, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Legal Research At Sea

Many law students will never take a class on admiralty and maritime law, but it is a complex and specialized area of law which presents some research challenges. Not to be confused with law of the sea (focused on broader public international law issues), admiralty and maritime law focuses on commercial activity or navigation at sea. Developed not from the common-law tradition but from historical customs related to shipping, admiralty and maritime law has a long history, a unique terminology, and many dedicated resources. Fortunately, there are several research guides to help you navigate these unfamiliar waters.

The brand-new Admiralty and Maritime Law: A Legal Research Guide (KF1096 .T63 2017) will point readers to relevant primary and secondary resources. Additional help can be found in Chapter 7 of Specialized Legal Research, 2d ed. 2014 (Ref Desk KF240 .S642), which is devoted to Admiralty and Maritime Law resources.

Key secondary sources which are available to the Duke Law community include:
  • Benedict on Admiralty (online in Lexis Advance; library's print copy no longer updated): a leading multi-volume treatise on all aspects of admiralty and maritime law. Volume 10 is dedicated to legal issues related to cruise ships, including injuries to passengers, gaming regulations, and at-sea medical malpractice claims.
  • The Law of Seamen (5th ed., online in Westlaw): focuses more on the maritime law rights of merchant seamen, including labor and employment concerns, criminal procedure, determination of a ship's seaworthiness, and even "Loss of clothing and personal effects."

Admiralty and maritime content can also be found in chapters of the American Jurisprudence 2d encyclopedia (on Westlaw, Lexis, and campus-wide in LexisNexis Academic, and in the federal practice treatises Moore's Federal Practice (Practice & Procedure KF8840 .M663 & online in Lexis Advance) and Wright & Miller's Federal Practice and Procedure (Practice & Procedure KF9619 .W7 2008 4th & online in Westlaw).

For more help with locating admiralty and maritime law resources, search the Duke Libraries Catalog for the subject heading "Maritime law - - United States" or Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

All About Clerkships

Working toward a judicial clerkship opportunity, or just want to learn more about the possibilities? The Goodson Law Library has just received the new title Behind the Bench: The Guide to Judicial Clerkships, 2d ed. 2016. Author Debra M. Strauss, a lawyer and former judicial clerk, outlines the types of work that clerks will do, and provides advice on the application and interviewing process. Chapters describe the different types of clerkships in both state and federal court systems, and give tips for choosing the court and judge that will suit you best. Interview advice, and sample questions, are also included.

There's also a chapter of research tools for learning more about an individual judge. Additional resources on judge analytics can be found in the recent Goodson Blogson post Judge for Yourself. For more information about researching clerkship opportunities or individual judges, check out the library's research guide to Directories of Courts and Judges or Ask a Librarian.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Finding Foreign Law

Thanks to robust free access through government websites, as well as subscription resources with primary law, most American legal researchers can locate a U.S. state or federal court opinion or statute with ease. But what about finding primary legal materials from other countries? Online access can vary widely, and language barriers can also make searching difficult. Whenever you're tasked with tracking down legal materials from outside the U.S., keep these three helpful starting places in mind.
  • The Bluebook, Table 2: Foreign Jurisdictions. While selective in the number of countries it covers, the legal citation manual The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (20th ed. 2015) has increased its attention to non-U.S. jurisdictions in recent editions. The Bluebook table for a particular country (listed alphabetically by country name in Table 2) highlights preferred sources and citation formats for most primary legal materials, and includes titles, dates, and URLs where available. Identifying the appropriate publication title is an excellent first step in tracking down the needed document in a library or on the web.
  • Foreign Law Guide: A subscription database, available to current members of the Duke University community. Entries for a particular country will provide an overview of the legal system, details about primary sources of law, and a subject index. Foreign Law Guide includes pointers to online availability, in both free and subscription resources. Notes about English translations (either official or through unofficial secondary sources) are also often included.
  • GlobaLex: A free website maintained by NYU Law's Hauser Global Law School Program, GlobaLex’s Foreign Law Research section provides detailed guides to researching the law of most countries, including some not featured in Foreign Law Guide (such as North Korea and South Sudan).
These guides are all a great preliminary step in locating legal materials for other countries. For additional resources and assistance, consult our research guide to Foreign & Comparative Law or Ask a Librarian.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Mind Mapping Made Easy

Do you prefer brainstorming on a whiteboard to typing up an outline? If so, then mind mapping tools may be a great way to plan your next project. Mind mapping allows you to brainstorm, take notes, or plan projects visually, and these tools also allow easy collaboration with other users. Learn more about the benefits of mind mapping at the Lifehacker blog's 2013 post How to Use Mind Maps to Unleash Your Brain's Creativity.

Duke University has just announced a partnership which makes MindMeister available for free to all current students, faculty, and staff. MindMeister is a cloud-based mind mapping tool which is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. Duke users should log in at the OIT software download page, search for MindMeister, and Add to Cart. After Checkout, the free MindMeister Account Creation Link will generate an email to create your Duke account on the service. MindMeister also offers iOS and Android apps for mobile users, as well as the ability to collaborate with other MindMeister users or "teams."

If you do not qualify for the Duke academic software license, MindMeister also offers a free Basic account, limited to 3 mind maps. Pricing plans for non-educational users are also available. In addition, other mind mapping tools are available for users to test the capabilities, including Coggle (which syncs with your Google Account) and Bubbl.us, which allows 1 free mind map without logging in.

The OIT software download page contains many other free and deeply-discounted programs and tools for the Duke community. Be sure to take advantage of the valuable deals to be found, including free access to LastPass Premium password management software and discounted Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. To learn more about these programs and receive information about support, visit http://software.duke.edu.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A History of the Holman Rule

As the new 115th Congress began its work this week, one of the first orders of business was to adopt procedural rules. House Resolution 5 (text at Congress.gov), Adopting Rules for the One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, garnered much attention for its original controversial plan to limit the powers of the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, approved during a closed vote. Following thousands of constituent phone calls (and Twitter criticism from President-Elect Donald Trump regarding congressional priorities), the move was abandoned less than 24 hours later.

However, a new controversy over the rules package took shape yesterday, when the media took note of another provision, the "Holman rule." Originally developed in 1876 but removed from the standing rules in 1983, the Holman Rule allows a member of Congress to propose appropriations amendments which reduce "the number and salary of the officers of the United States" or "the compensation of any person paid out of the Treasury of the United States." As noted in the Washington Post, this measure has raised concerns about the ability of Congress to target individual federal civil servants for punitive salary reduction, or federal programs for elimination.

News reports frequently describe the Holman rule as "obscure," likely due to its removal from the standing rules more than three decades ago. So what is the history of this Holman rule? Answers can be found in some classic Congressional procedure treatises, such as Cannon's Precedents and Deschler's Precedents. Both are available through the subscription database HeinOnline's Congressional Documents library, as well as for free through the U.S. Government Publishing Office's GovInfo.gov. 8 Deschler's Precedents § 4 contains a historical overview of the Holman Rule, covering its development in the late 1800s, to its limitation of scope by the 98th Congress in 1983. The congressional precedent texts can be browsed for free on GovInfo, or searched and browsed on FDsys. More details are provided in the 2010 publication A Concise History of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations.

For more information about congressional rules and procedures, try a subject search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for "United States. Congress. House -- Rules and practice" or "Parliamentary practice -- United States." You'll find titles like House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents, and Procedures of the House (2011) and Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process (10th ed. 2016). For help locating these or other titles on the topic, be sure to Ask a Librarian.