Monday, May 16, 2022

Expanded Access to ProQuest Supreme Court Insight

The Goodson Law Library has recently expanded its access to historical content in the ProQuest Supreme Court Insight database, adding U.S. Supreme Court records, briefs, and case histories back to 1933 (expanded from its previous start date of 1975). The Duke University community can now access this nearly half-century of additional materials via the Duke Libraries Catalog or Legal Databases & Links page.

ProQuest Supreme Court Insight provides browse and search capability for U.S. Supreme Court materials. For quick access to a specific case's materials, use Search by Number or select "Supreme Court Case Name" from the Basic or Advanced search menus. A section of Landmark Cases also allows browsing or searching for selected noteworthy cases decided during the coverage period. Results will include petitions for certiorari, briefs, appendices, docket listings, and the Court's final opinion. (Cert petitions are also included in cases where the Court did not grant the petition; the Advanced Search menu allows users to restrict results to only "Heard"/"Denied" cases, if desired.)

Looking for Supreme Court case filings before 1933? The Duke community can also access the database The Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records & Briefs, 1832-1978. Researchers will likely wish to consult this database in addition to ProQuest Supreme Court Insight for case materials from the overlapping time period of 1933-1978, as each may include unique materials for a particular case. For example, both databases contain results for 1L perennial favorite Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938) -- while both databases contain the petition for certiorari and the case briefs, ProQuest includes a scan of the elegantly handwritten docket and Making of Modern Law includes a 555-page transcript of record, neither of which is currently found on the competing resource.

For additional sources of U.S. Supreme Court records and briefs, check out the Law Library’s research guide or Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Summer Access to Research Databases

Whether you are graduating from Duke Law this May or continuing your legal studies next year, your access to legal research services and other campus databases may change this summer. Below is a summary of policies for the major legal research databases that you might wish to access over the summer.

Graduating Students
  • Westlaw: You may opt in to Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw and Practical Law, for six months after graduation for non-commercial use. This "Grad Elite" access allows 60 hours of usage on these products per month to gain understanding and build confidence in your research skills. While you cannot use it in situations where you are billing a client, Thomson Reuters encourages you to use these tools to build your knowledge of the law and prepare for your bar exam.
    In order to activate Grad Elite access:
    1) Log in at; use the drop-down menu by your name to access Grad Elite Status
    2) Or click on this link:
    In addition to the six months of Westlaw/Practical Law access for non-commercial purposes, Grad Elite access provides Knowledge Center eLearnings and Tutorials on Westlaw for 18 months after graduation.
  • Lexis: Spring 2022 graduates will have access to Lexis+ via their Lexis law school IDs until 12/31/22. Graduates can use their Lexis IDs for job research, professional development, and commercial purposes. Graduates do not need to register for this access; it is automatic.
    Graduates going into non-profit work may apply for a LexisNexis ASPIRE ID which lasts 12 months beyond graduation. Learn more about the LexisNexis Graduate programs and/or apply for an ASPIRE ID.
  • Bloomberg Law: Access to Bloomberg Law continues for six months after graduation. Graduated students may be limited in their ability to retrieve docket filings marked "Request," update dockets, or set up docket tracking. Graduates may download docket items already uploaded in the Bloomberg system (labeled "View").
Access to most other Duke University research databases will expire upon graduation, when your status in Duke’s directory changes to "Alumni." Recent graduates who register with the Duke Alumni Association for a OneLink account receive remote access to selected databases (including ABI/Inform, several video databases, and JSTOR).
Continuing Students
  • Westlaw allows continuing students to use Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw® and Practical Law, over the summer for non-commercial research (i.e., "to gain understanding and build confidence in your research skills, but you cannot use them in situations where you are billing a client"). Examples of permissible uses for your academic Westlaw password include the following:
    o Summer coursework
    o Research assistant assignments
    o Law Review or Journal research
    o Moot Court research
    o Non-Profit work
    o Clinical work
    o Externship sponsored by the school
    Your Westlaw summer access will continue automatically - no action is needed on your part.
  • Lexis: All returning students have automatic, unlimited access to their Lexis law school IDs for the entire summer. Law School Lexis IDs may be used for non-commercial purposes, as well as commercial purposes if your employer permits such use.
  • Bloomberg Law: Your Bloomberg Law access continues over the summer automatically. IDs may be used for non-commercial purposes, as well as commercial purposes if your employer permits such use.

For questions about using legal research services or other Law Library/University electronic resources this summer, feel free to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Crime and Punishment in Victorian London

As part of a new consortial arrangement, Duke now has campus-wide access to all database titles published by Adam Matthew Digital. While the Duke University Libraries already subscribed to a number of the company's historical research titles, the deal has added more than a dozen new sources to the Duke community’s access.

One of the most intriguing of these new additions is London Low Life: Street Culture, Social Reform and the Victorian Underworld, a full-text research database of primary sources related to London in the 1800s and 1900s. The "Browse Documents" section provides easy access to materials on topics like "Crime and Justice" (pamphlets, broadsides, and news accounts of crimes and trials), "Politics, Scandal, and the News" (political cartoons and other publications, often related to legal proceedings), and "Disreputable London" (tourist guides to the seedier side of the city as well as slang dictionaries of the era). The database also includes an Interactive Map featuring 3D street views, galleries of visual material in the database (such as "An Old Bailey Trial," below), and contextual essays. 

Image of "An Old Bailey Trial" by Robert Cruikshank (1838)

 Other fascinating Adam Matthew Digital additions to the campus database list include World's Fairs: A Global History of Expositions, African American Communities (featuring primary sources related to various Black communities, including some in North Carolina); and Confidential Print: North America, 1824-1961 (foreign relations papers from the UK).

Databases and individual publication titles from the various Adam Matthew collections can be found in the Duke University Libraries catalog. For help locating and using these historical resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

World Trade Online Database Now Available

Current members of the Duke University community now have access to the database World Trade Online, a news and current awareness service for international trade topics. This database is accessible from the Legal Databases & Links page, the campus library Research Database Finder, and the Duke Libraries Catalog. Off-campus access requires a current Duke University NetID and password.

World Trade Online includes access to the weekly newsletter Inside U.S. Trade, as well as breaking and archived news stories. Users can browse or search the site, as well as sign up for alerts in several categories (breaking news, weekly headlines, etc.) under About Us > E-mail Alerts and Mobile Devices.

The new campus-wide database joins (available to members of the Law School community on networked computers) as a resource for international trade law news and analysis. For additional resources in the library collection related to international trade, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Next Supreme Court Justice

Earlier this week, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer announced his intent to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of this term. The vacancy will be the first on the high court for President Biden, who has spent much of his first year in office filling vacancies in the U.S. District Courts and Circuit Courts of Appeals. (A running list of confirmed judicial nominations, as well as all judicial nominations, is available at the Senate Judiciary Committee website. Similar data can be found on the Judicial Vacancies page at the U.S. Courts.)

President Biden had pledged on the campaign trail to nominate the Court's first Black female justice in the event of a vacancy during his presidency, a promise he reaffirmed at the White House yesterday following Breyer’s announcement. Washington insiders have circulated a shortlist of likely nominees, including current D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, and Judge J. Michelle Childs of the U.S. District Court for South Carolina (who is currently a pending Biden nominee for the D.C. Circuit). The ABA Journal places both Jackson and Kruger at the top of the potential nominee list, and also highlights the credentials of a few other candidates.

As outlined in a recently-updated CRS Report on Supreme Court Nominations, both the President and the legislative branch play an important role in confirming a new Supreme Court justice. Following the President’s nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts investigation, including hearings, with the nominee before a confirmation vote. The CRS report provides a comprehensive overview of this process throughout American history, with data tables about past nominations.

At yesterday's press conference, the president noted that he expected to announce a nominee by the end of February. Justice Breyer expressed hope that his successor will be confirmed by the time he steps down in the summer, following the conclusion of the Court's term. Expect the process to receive extensive coverage in the media, and follow the latest developments on legal news sites like ABA Journal and SCOTUSblog in addition to mainstream news outlets.

For more information about the history and operation of the U.S. Supreme Court, check out the library’s research guide. For help locating resources related to the Supreme Court justices or the nomination process, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, December 31, 2021

The Public Domain Gets Louder

New Year's Day is a time for many to take stock of personal goals for the future. But January 1 also merits a look back to the past, as this year thousands of copyrighted works from 1926 will enter the public domain, along with hundreds of thousands of pre-1923 sound recordings. Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain outlines these exciting new additions at Public Domain Day 2022.

Books entering the U.S. public domain this year include early works by Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes, and Agatha Christie. Films starring the likes of Buster Keaton, Greta Garbo, and Rudolph Valentino will join them, along with compositions by George Gershwin, Jelly Roll Morton, and Irving Berlin. As noted at the Public Domain Day site, this year features the first major entry of sound recordings into the public domain, under the schedule created by Congress in the 2018 Music Modernization Act. (These older compositions were already in the public domain, but the individual performance recordings were still covered by various state laws until the federal act took effect.)

Works entering the public domain in 2022 will be freely accessible in sites like the Internet Archive, Google Books, and HathiTrust (which has set up a preview of 1926 Publications that will change from "Limited" to "Full" view), available for copying, republication, and adaptation without permissions or clearance fees.

While the continued expansion of the public domain is cause for celebration, the Public Domain Day website notes that under the laws that were in place prior to copyright term renewals in the late 20th century, the U.S. could be welcoming works from 1965 into the public domain this year. The Public Domain Review's "Festive Countdown" highlights some additional entries around the world in countries whose copyright scheme differs from the United States -- for example, while A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh enters the U.S. public domain this year, it was already in the public domain in countries with a "life of author plus 50 years" copyright term.

To learn more about copyright law and the public domain, check out some of the recommended readings at the Public Domain Day site, including the Center's FAQs. Additional resources on copyright law can be found in the library's research guide to Intellectual Property. For help locating treatises or public domain resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

A Database by Any Other Name

Rebranding has been a hot trend over the last year or two. Facebook? Recently rechristened its parent corporation to Meta. Washington's football team? Officially now the…Washington Football Team. Legal research databases are no exception -- particularly at Wolters Kluwer, which has renamed several of its research products in late 2021.

First was VitalLaw (formerly known as Cheetah), which at Duke provides access to a number of Wolters Kluwer treatises on various topics, particularly in intellectual property, securities law, and tax law. Some key resources include:

  • Hazard et al, The Law of Lawyering: a core treatise on law practice and professional responsibility topics
  • Federal Securities Law Reporter: reproduces the key securities acts and collects cases, regulations, releases, no-action letters, and editorial commentary, all arranged by the act to which they relate
  • Epstein on Intellectual Property: treatise covering various aspects of IP law, including patent, trademark, and copyright.

As noted by legal blogger Bob Ambrogi, the rebranding effort also includes free public access to the top stories on legal news pages, as well as associated primary law for that story. Any user not affiliated with a subscribing institution may also access up to three "locked" stories on VitalLaw per month.

Coming soon is the Aspen Learning Library, which our students currently know better as the Wolters Kluwer Study Aids Library. This database contains nearly 200 study aids from Aspen Publishing, including the series Examples & Explanations, Glannon Guides, Emanuel Law Outlines, and more. Users may search or read online, or create an individual account that allows for offline reading and annotation. The company will also launch a new Aspen Learning Library app early in 2022. 

The Library will be working to update its references to both VitalLaw and the Aspen Learning Library on the library website and research guides. Right now, the Legal Databases & Links page has pointers under both the new and former names to help users get accustomed to the changes, and if you ever have trouble remembering what to call that resource, be sure to Ask a Librarian.