"Nota Bene" means "note this well" or "take particular notice." We at the O'Quinn Law Library will be posting tips on legal research techniques and resources, developments in the world of legal information, happenings at the Law Library, and legal news reports that deserve your particular attention. We look forward to sharing our thoughts and findings and to hearing from you.
N.B: Make a note to visit "Nota Bene" regularly.
-Spencer L. Simons, former Director, O'Quinn Law Library and Associate Professor of Law
Despite the fact that Texas already exceeded the 2000 Census reply rate, Houston is far behind with an approximate reply rate of 40%. While there are a number of people who never received the form, the majority might have forgotten to reply or was under the impression that they don’t have to. This seems to be especially true for college students. But, according to the Census Bureau, students living away from their parents home while attending college have to be counted in the city where they attend college, even if they are staying with their parents during semester break or vacation.
When researching treaties where there are three or more parties to the instrument check out the Flare Index to Treaties. This is a searchable database of basic information on over 1,500 of the most significant multilateral treaties from 1856 to the present. It lists details of where the full text of each treaty may be obtained in paper and, if available, electronic format.
The new FDsys database available on the Government Printing Office's Web site (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/) makes available two sources in PDF that are essential for federal administrative law research:
Federal Register (1994-current)
This source is published daily (except for weekends and national holidays) and contains notices, rules, and proposed rules from federal agencies along with Presidential Executive Orders.
Code of Federal Regulations (2000-current)
The CFR compiles the permanent and temporary rules announced in the Federal Register and arranges them among 50 titles. Keep in mind that while the subjects are similar to the arrangement in the United States Code, they do not necessarily correspond to each other. The CFR volumes are replaced annually.
The HeinOnline database contains all issues of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations in PDF format. UH law students and faculty can access this database by clicking the following link: http://www.law.uh.edu/libraries and choosing "HeinOnline" from the drop down menu under "Legal Databases". Access to this database requires the Law Library's Virtual Private Network (VPN) and information about installation can be found at: http://www.law.uh.edu/lit/instructions/vpn.html.
If you think Westlaw is the more popular database, think again if you plan to practice in Montgomery County, Texas. The state district court there has a requirement that civil litigants use LexisNexis' File and Serve for court filings. For details and the class action challenging this practice please see this Texas Lawyer report.
There are a number of indexes for locating law journal articles, including Index to Legal Periodicals, Current Law Index, and Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, which are available in the law library's print collection. The law library also subscribes to the LegalTrac database, which includes tax related articles (among other subjects) from 1980 until current.
There are also a few sources that focus specifically on listings of tax articles. The O'Quinn Law Library currently subscribes to CCH's Federal Tax Articles (KF6335.A6 C65), which is a print index that includes citations to tax related articles from about 250 sources. This one volume loose leaf set is updated monthly and boasts a number of advantages over using the general legal indexes such as only containing tax specific articles, allowing articles to be utilized by code section, and providing detailed summaries of each article.
Next week, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. This case will decide whether a law school can require student organizations receiving funds from the school to adhere to the school's nondiscrimination policy. Since there are many different legal aspects to this case (38 amicus curiae briefs have been submitted), this could be one of the most important, and most interesting, decisions handed down this term. Could it be Justice Stevens' last hurrah?
Want to check the capacity of the law school parking lot before you get there? Need an easy way to find out how to get across campus? If you have an iPhone, then you’re in luck. This semester the university introduced a UH Guide iPhone Application. The app has a map that allows you to search for campus buildings and shuttle stops. If you need a new lunch destination, it allows you to find local restaurants. And if you hate circling for a parking spot, it will give you the capacity of campus parking lots. In addition, it provides news about campus events and weather updates.
If you are interested in downloading the app, visit the iTunes store.
Legislative researchers and politics fans take note. C-SPAN recently completed a digitization project placing the entirety of its video collection online. The archives record all three C-SPAN networks seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The videos are available at no cost for historical, educational, research, and archival uses. The database includes over 160,000 hours of video recorded since 1987 and the programs are indexed by subject, speaker names, titles, affiliations, sponsors, committees, categories, formats, policy groups, keywords, and locations. The most recent, most watched, and most shared videos are highlighted on the main page.
To start watching, visit the C-SPAN Video Library and use the search function at the top of the page.
GlobaLex is an "electronic legal publication dedicated to international and foreign law research", published by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU's School of Law. It contains International Law, Comparative Law, and Foreign Law research guides, covering topics ranging from "Researching International Marine Environmental Law" to "The Mongolian Legal System and Laws: A Brief Overview". The research guides have a great deal of useful information, and are regularly updated and added to. Check it out!