Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Finding U.S. Congressional Committee Reports on Westlaw and LexisNexis

Westlaw and LexisNexis did not begin to put most full-text Congressional committee reports online until 1990. However, Westlaw does have selected reports for U.S. Public Laws beginning with 1948.

On Westlaw, select the LH database and search by public law number, e.g. to(90-351), or report number, e.g. ci(90-1097). West's U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News in print also has selected committee reports back to 1948, organized by public law number.

On LexisNexis, browse the Source directory to Legal > Federal Legal - U.S. > Legislative Histories & Materials and search by report number: rpt# (105-208)

There are other resources for U.S. legislative history that we will cover later in the semester, but no online resource has any more full-text committee reports. See United States Statutes and Other Legislative Resources.

If you need older Congressional committee reports, ask a reference librarian to help you find it on microfiche.

Archive of Research Tips.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Law Dog of the Week

dog photo

This week's SIU Law Dog is Dakota. He lives with Diane Murley, reference/web services librarian. He is probably a flat-coated retriever.

Join us next week for another Law Dog of the Week. In the meantime, check out Google's special "Year of the Dog" logo.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Searching for U.S. Courts of Appeals Cases

One of the most important steps in efficient and economical research, especially on Westlaw and LexisNexis, is choosing the right database or source in which to search. Both services have thousands of options, and the best choice for your search may not be included in the handful of options listed on the first screen.

To limit your Westlaw search to cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, choose from Westlaw's many database choices for U.S. Courts of Appeals Cases, including All Circuits After 1944 (CTA), Before 1945 (CTA-OLD), Reported (CTAR) and Unreported (CTAU) cases, and databases of Courts of Appeals Cases by Circuit.

To see all your database options on Westlaw, follow the Directory link on the light blue bar near the top center.

To limit your LexisNexis search to cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, choose US Courts of Appeals Cases, Combined Source or one of the Circuit Court Cases - By Circuit Sources.

To see all of your LexisNexis Sources options for cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, click on the "View more sources" link at the bottom of the Federal Legal - U.S. list. Don't click on the links under Cases - U.S. unless you want both state and federal cases.

To find U.S. Courts of Appeals cases using a print digest, you will have to use the Federal Practice Digest, which includes all federal courts. However, like all West Digests, the Federal Practice Digest lists cases under each topic and key number by court and then by date. U.S. Courts of Appeals cases are listed after any U.S. Supreme Court cases and before cases from any other federal court.

If you want to find U.S. Courts of Appeals cases on the web, you should start at Villanova's Federal Court Locator or Emory's Federal Courts Finder. By going directly to the website of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Circuit for which you want to find cases, you will save time and increase your chances of finding the cases you need.

Archive of Research Tips.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Year of the Dog - Call for Photos

Saluki dog

Next Sunday, January 29, 2006, is Chinese New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Dog. In celebration of the Year of the Dog (and because I love dogs) I will post a weekly dog picture from an SIU School of Law student, professor, staff member, or alumnus.

If you have any photos of your dogs or other dog photos you have taken (not photos you found on the web), send them by email or give them to me directly. I will also accept drawings or other pictures that we can digitize for the web.

Although I am willing to post your dog picture without identifying you or your dog by name, I will not accept anonymous submissions.

Click on the photo above for more information about salukis, the SIUC mascot.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mind Mapping Legal Research

This semester I will be uploading our Lawyering Skills classroom presentations to the Lawyering Skills Legal Research blog in both MindMap and PowerPoint formats. The MindMaps are created with Mindjet MindManager software.

MindMap presentation on Primary Authority

The image above is part of a screen shot of of the presentation on Primary Authority. I like presenting legal research with MindManager, because it makes easier for the students to see the big picture. See Dennis Kennedy's Introduction to Mind Mapping for more.

Update Oct. 11, 2006: I fixed the link to the Lawyering Skills Legal Research blog, and I will be linking to a page with all my legal research mind maps soon.

New Web-Based Research Guide for "Disasters and the Law"

In the wake of Katrina, the University of California-Berkeley Law Library has produced a web-based research guide titled "Disasters and the Law: Katrina and Beyond."

From the site's introduction: "The pages on this site contain information gathered from a variety of sources on a multitude of topics discussing the law's response to natural disasters. The navigation pane on the left displays subject headings. By clicking on a subject you will be taken to a page with links to relevant articles, responses from government and military officials, policy papers, opinion pieces, regulatory guidance, and statutory authority. By integrating knowledge and experience from fields as diverse as urban planning, bankruptcy law, and wetlands banking, the legal community may be able to provide advice and assistance to governments and individuals."

SOURCE: BarclayBlog

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Word Limits for Top 25 Law Reviews

You'll find a helpful chart detailing "Current Law Review Article Length Limits & Preferences for the 25 Most-Cited General U.S. Legal Periodicals" on the Web site of the Emory University Macmillan Law Library. The chart provides the maximum limit as well as the preferred length (e.g., Harvard Law Review prefers under 25,000 words and 50 pages, but will accept up to 35,000 words and 70-75 pages).

SOURCE: ublaw phoenix

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My First Podcast

I am participating in CALI's Legal Education Podcasting Project, and I just posted my first podcast today at my Lawyering Skills II Legal Research blog. To sample some of the other participating blogs, check out CALI Classcaster (legal education blogs and podcasts).

Friday, January 13, 2006

Free Solution to a Small Problem

I have been adding icons to the law library website, to make it easier to spot what you are trying to find. Unfortunately, with no artistic training or talent, I sometimes make icons that are difficult to interpret. But I don't want to violate copyright law, so I try to make my own.

Then I found famfamfam.com, where Mark James makes his free icons available under a Creative Commons attribution license. I have replaced a couple of the more ambiguous icons on our home page with famfamfam icons. Thanks, Mark.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

More on THOMAS Website Changes

Peggy Garvin has a review of Another Redesign for THOMAS in her December "Government Domain" column. Ms. Garvin's column is a regular feature of LLRX, a free web journal that provides up-to-date information on law and technology resources for legal professionals. You can subscribe to LLRX's RSS feed or email list.

We reviewed the new design at THOMAS Website Improvements.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Law Library Floor Maps

thumbnail image of law library floor map

One of my projects over the break was to make our library floor maps more readable and to add some interactivity. The new maps are now available at http://www.law.siu.edu/lawlib/info/floormaps.htm, or go to the SIU Law Library home page and click on Library Floor Maps.

Please let me know if you notice any problems or have any suggestions.