Monday, August 29, 2005

Guide to the Federal Courts

A Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts is available in HTML or PDF (50 pp.) from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Although directed at journalists covering the federal courts, the guide provides a good introduction to anyone interested in understanding the Federal District Courts, Federal Appellate Courts, and the Bankruptcy Courts. For example, for the district courts, there is information about key players, types and sources of information of court information, criminal cases, civil cases, and trials generally. A lengthy glossary is also provided.

SOURCE: WisBlawg

Citations for Frequently Cited Treaties

The University of Minnesota Law Library has provided a very useful list of frequently cited treaties and other international agreements as "an aid to law review citation-checking." In addition to the full citation, the list also provides available sources of hard copy for each treaty and, "wherever possible, the entries are linked to the EISIL database of the American Society of International Law. EISIL provides additional citation information, explanatory material, and a link to the text of the treaty."

The list is divided by the following topics: general international law, trade & economic law, human rights law, criminal law, environmental law, intellectual property, european union, and abbreviations & sources.

SOURCE: beSpacific

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Research Tip of the Week

Last week's tip was Ben's Guide to U.S. Government. Ben's Guide is a service of the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), and it serves as the educational component of GPO Access, through which the GPO provides the official online version of legislative and regulatory information. We will learn more about using GPO Access for legal research in the coming weeks.

According to About Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids, "This site provides learning tools for K-12 students, parents, and teachers. These resources will teach how our government works, the use of the primary source materials of GPO Access, and how one can use GPO Access to carry out their civic responsibilities."

Don't be put off by this description of the site. Although the intended audience may be K-12 students, parents, and teachers, Ben's Guide is still a valuable resource for beginning legal researchers. Not only does it provide a good review of how the U.S. Government makes law, but it also will help you understand how to find the statutes and regulations enacted by Congress and federal agencies.

Archive of Research Tips

Friday, August 26, 2005

Source for Information about Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts

The University of Michigan Law Library has created a page with links to information about Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, including the full-text of his opinions, briefs, oral arguments, and articles. It also provides links to various sources for biographical information, his Department of Justice and White House Records, and a large number of articles written about him. The library intends to keep the page up to date throughout the confirmation process.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Legal Guide for Bloggers Available from EFF

The Electronic Freedom Foundation has created an online Legal Guide for Bloggers that is designed "to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger, to let you know you have rights, and to encourage you to blog freely with the knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected." It includes a number of FAQs in three categories: Blogger Legal Liability Issues, Bloggers as Journalists, and Other Legal Issue for Bloggers.

SOURCE: TVC Alert Research News (Aug. 23, 2005)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Law School Regrets?

The "Answers of the Week" column in the ABA Journal E-Report for Aug. 19, 2005, asked the following question:

If you could go back and attend law school again, what opportunity do you wish you had pursued? Or what seemed like a big deal at the time but, looking back on it, you would not pursue again?

Not surprisingly, the answers are far-ranging and occasionally contradictory. But they definitely provide food for thought--and interesting reading--for today's law student.

SOURCE: WisBlawg

Friday, August 19, 2005

Welcome, Class of 2008

Welcome, new law students. Now that you have completed orientation and purchased your books, you are ready to start preparing for your classes next week.

Preparation for most of your classes will involve reading and briefing cases. We have talked about briefing cases in Lawyering Skills already, but we thought that you would also appreciate How to Read a Judicial Opinion: A Guide for New Law Students, by Professor Orin S. Kerr of George Washington University Law School. Some of your other professors have made this Guide available on their TWEN pages.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

About Law Dawg Blawg

Things have been quiet here at the Law Dawg Blawg. The students inspire many of our entries, so we tend to post more when school is in session. With most of the students gone for the summer and no research classes to teach, we have had less to post. But the students will be back soon, and so will we. As we prepare to begin another school year, we present some background information on our blog.

The Law Dawg Blawg is brought to you by the law librarians at Southern Illinois University. We decided to start this blog primarily as a way to share research tips, library announcements, news, and links to interesting articles, web sites, and blogs with other members of the SIU Law School community. We also hope it will be of interest to alumni and other members of the legal and library communities.

First, we should explain the name. A weblog, or blog for short, is like an online journal. It is frequently updated with short items of interest to the bloggers. Blawg is a term used to describe a law-related blog. Dawg comes from the fact that the mascot of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is the Saluki, a breed of dog. And Law, because our intended audience is the law school community.

Salukis were the royal dog of Egypt and are believed to be the oldest known distinct breed of dog. Southern Illinois has long been referred to as “Little Egypt.” According to Baker Brownell in The Other Illinois, “Although the legend probably was invented after the fact, it is persistent. There was a drought in the northern counties (of Illinois) in the early 1800's . . . the wheat fields dried up, the streams died in their beds. But in southern Illinois rain fell and there were good crops, and from the north came people seeking corn and wheat as to Egypt of old. Thus, the name ‘Egypt.’” See also Tales and Songs of Southern Illinois by Charles Neely. For more information on the Saluki breed, see what the American Kennel Club has to say; for a more extensive discussion of SIUC's mascot, see What the Hell is a Saluki?

We have a Feedburner feed for those wishing to subscribe using a blog aggregator or news reader such as Bloglines. After you sign up for a free Bloglines account at and log in, right click on the Feedburner link in this paragraph or toward the top of the sidebar and choose “Copy Shortcut” from the menu that pops up. In Bloglines, click on the “My Feeds” tab in the left frame, then click on “Add” right below the tab. Right click in the “Blog or Feed URL” box in the right frame, choose “Paste” from the menu that pops up, then click the “Subscribe” button. On the next screen choose the options you want and click “Subscribe” again. That's all there is to it.

Law Dawg Blawg readers also have the option of subscribing via email. You can find the subscriptions form in the sidebar to the right, below the Site/RSS Feeds options. To receive one email for each day that we post something new – sent out in the early morning hours of the next day – enter your email address in the box and click on the Subscribe button below it.

For more subscription options, click on Subscribing to RSS Feeds in this paragraph or toward the top of the sidebar.

To avoid the problem of comment spam, we have made this a moderated blawg. If you want to suggest something for inclusion or want to comment on this blawg, e-mail us at For more information about our law library, visit the Southern Illinois University School of Law Library site.