Friday, December 28, 2018

Shutdown Showdown

One week into the U.S. federal government shutdown, federal workers have begun receiving their final paychecks from the period before the December 22 lapse in appropriations. Yesterday, Congress adjourned without much progress on a new spending agreement, and will reconvene on Monday, December 31. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are either furloughed or working without pay for the duration of the shutdown, and many federal parks and other tourist attractions are closed until the shutdown ends.

The Northwestern University Libraries' research guide to Government Shutdown 2.0 outlines the agencies that will continue working without pay (including the TSA and the Department of Justice's Special Counsel office), agencies that will reduce or cease operations during the shutdown (including the Internal Revenue Service and NASA). Individual federal agency websites generally display a banner for the duration of a shutdown, explaining what services continue to function and whether websites are being updated during the shutdown period.

The Congressional Research Service report Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects outlines the effect of a shutdown on government operations, describes the employee furlough process and procedures for awarding back pay, and provides historical background on prior government shutdowns. For more news and analysis of the government shutdown and progress toward a solution, check out ProQuest Central for full-text access to major newspapers like the Washington Post and The New York Times. For other resources on government appropriations and congressional news, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tax Analysts Database Now Available

The Goodson Law Library recently subscribed to the Federal Portfolio of Tax Analysts, a leading source for tax-related news and commentary. Current members of the Duke University community may register a username and password with their email address to obtain access.

Available publications include Tax Notes, Tax Notes Today, FATCA Expert, Exempt Organizations Expert, and Tax Practice Expert. Duke's subscription also includes access to the Federal Research Library tool, containing IRS documents, regulations and legislation. For quick access to research materials, use the Key Documents menu at the top of the screen. The Tax Topics menu allows quick access to stories on a particular subject.

Tax Analyst publications were previously available to the Law community in Lexis Advance and the campus community in Nexis Uni. Although these publications are currently still available full-text within Lexis research platforms, Tax Analyst titles will be removed from Lexis products after December 31, 2018. The Tax Analysts platform includes full text stories for available publications, as well as an option to download page-image PDF copies of the Tax Notes magazine.

Tax Analysts is just the latest addition to many electronic and print resources in the library's collection that will aid researchers in this complex area of law. To learn more, check out the library's research guide to Federal Tax or Ask a Librarian.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Exam Season Success

'Tis the season to succeed on Law School exams! Check out these tips to make your examination period run smoothly.
Library Access
Exam time brings a temporary change to the library's access policy, most notably in the evening hours. From now until the end of exams (Monday, December 17), access to the Goodson Law Library for study purposes will be limited to current Duke Law students, faculty and staff. Card-swipe access to the library entrance will be required after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.

Members of the Duke University community or general public who require access to the library for legal research purposes should contact the library service desk for assistance during reference service hours (Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). Additional study space is available to all throughout the building, such as in the Star Commons.
The Technicalities
If you will use your laptop to take an exam, make sure you have installed Electronic Bluebook (EBB) well ahead of time, and practice using it to ensure that your test goes smoothly! Detailed instructions are available on the Academic Technologies' Software page. If you encounter problems while downloading the software, talk to the Academic Technologies' Help Desk staff.
Study Aids
The library's Reserve collection contains many current study aids, including selected subjects in the Examples and Explanations, Questions and Answers, Nutshell, Glannon Guides, Understanding, and Mastering series. For more information on available study aids, see the Law School Success guide.

What else can you find on reserve that might come in handy for exams? There are also limited quantities of calculators on reserve for four-hour loans, in addition to noise-canceling headphones and bookstands.
Old Exams or Sample Exams
A frequent question at the Reference Services desk during the reading and exam period is where to obtain copies of Law School exams from previous years. Past exams from your professors, when available, will be posted to your class's Sakai site. The library's Archives collection contains no Law School exams dated after 2001.

However, if your professors have chosen not to place past exams on Sakai, it may be helpful to review general law examination preparation guidebooks. These provide an overview of the most common formats for law school exams, and give strategies for studying and for writing successful answers. Often, these books also provide model exam questions and sample answers, along with explanations why a particular answer is more successful than others. Titles like Law School Exams in a Nutshell: A Guide to Studying Law and Taking Law School Exams can be found in the libraries' catalog with a subject search for "Law examinations—United States". A selected listing is provided in the "Exam Preparation" section of the library's Law School Success handout, along with a helpful page of recommended "Study Guides & Aids."
Anything Else?
As always, the library staff are here to help. Visit the Service Desk on level 3 with any questions. Good luck on your exams!