"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



Monday, August 23, 2010

ABA Free Full-text Online Law Review/Journal Search Engine

Searching for law journal articles can be challenging for those who do not have access to any of the commercial legal periodical indexes such as LegalTrac but the ABA has a free search engine available here. This free resource enables the user to search the free full text (including PDF articles) of over 350 online legal periodicals along with academic papers and Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports. This is useful because there are several law journals that now have recent articles in PDF posted on their websites. Keep in mind that the coverage of this search engine is incomplete and researchers will likely need to use other indexes and visit a law library to obtain certain articles, especially those that are dated. However, this is an effective tool for locating free articles and will likely increase in coverage in the future.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kluwer Arbitration

One of the legal databases you can access through our main library webpage is Kluwer Arbitration. This website has changed recently and apart from changes in the layout and functions, some new materials are offered. As of this month these are the materials you can browse:

1. Primary materials:
  • Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs): almost 1,700 bilateral investment treaties
  • Case Law: over 5,000 court decisions and 1,750 awards
  • Conventions: 25 multilateral treaties
  • Legislation: almost 500 laws for key jurisdictions
  • Model Clauses: close to 100 model clauses from major arbitral institutions
  • Rules: over 400 rules from major arbitral institutions
2. Analytical content: over 100
  • Books
  • Journals
  • loose-leaf collections
3. Blog posts from the Kluwer Arbitration Blog.

4. ITA Report including materials provided by the board of reporters of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA).

5. Practice Tools like the IAI Arbitrator Tool developed in conjunction with the International Arbitration Institute

The ‘browse categories’ box offers to browse by BITs, conventions, countries, the NY convention, decisions, legislation, organizations and rules, while the “advanced search” button allows one to search across all materials in the database.
You can look at books and journals Kluwer has recently added to its collection, including newly published Kluwer Law International books, and it is possible to print or email the desired text.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law now available online

This important work, which came out in its print version in 2005 as a result of a major international study, is now available as a free online version.
The study took an in depth look into state practices in international humanitarian law in order to identify customary law in this area. It analyzes the customary rules of IHL and contains a detailed summary of relevant state practice throughout the world.
For those interested in the print version, the call number is KZ6462.C87 2005.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Invisible Court

When Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court last Thursday, a nearly 3 month long confirmation process came to an end. Those of us who work in the legal field followed it with interest and oftentimes discussed the impact her nomination could have on the “Roberts court”.
Apparently we’re alone with our interest in the Supreme Court. According to a poll by the Pew Research Center 53% had no idea who the chief justice is and only 28% of the participants knew that it is John Roberts. Asked if they had information about Elena Kagan, 57% answered that they knew nothing or very little about her. Another interesting outcome was that 23% of Americans thought the Court is conservative, while another 23% believed that it is liberal.
Keeping in mind that Supreme Court Decisions shape every citizen’s life, it appears to be time for the Court to start a PR campaign.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Perry v. Schwarzenegger Case Website

On Wednesday, a federal judge in California ruled that Proposition 8, an amendment to the state's Constitution that was passed by a slim majority of voters in 2008, was unconstitutional. Although this decision has rightly been a hot topic in the news, one amazing aspect of it has not been discussed: Due to the heightened interest in this case, the Northern District of California created a webpage specifically for information about the case! The URL for the website is https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/index.html.

Through this website, any person can access the docket and filings for this case, as well as the decision itself, without needing a PACER login. In addition (and I think this is the really cool part), the court even created a special page (https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/evidence/index.html) that contains links to all the evidentiary videos and documents mentioned in the opinion! So, if a person wanted to verify that the judge characterized a particular campaign ad or pamphlet correctly, they can access the evidence themselves and form their own opinion!

This is amazing, not just because of the sensational nature of the controversy at issue in the case, but because it allows average American citizens to catch a glimpse into the judicial process that they never get to see, a peek behind the curtain that usually is not fodder for legal television dramas or movies. I for one hope that many people take advantage of this opportunity to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the judicial process, regardless of their personal opinions of the correctness of the judge's decision.

In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress

This week, the Library of Congress released its fourth blog. (Can you believe it?! They have four blogs!) Entitled In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress (http://blogs.loc.gov/law/), the blog will cover current legal trends, collecting for the largest law library in the world, developments and enhancements in THOMAS, and cultural intelligence and the law. It will also include a British perspective and a perspective from New Zealand! This new blog can be subscribed to by RSS (http://blogs.loc.gov/law/feed/) and email (http://service.govdelivery.com/service/subscribe.html?code=USLOC_90).

In Custodia Legis is Latin for "in the custody of the law". One role of the Law Library of Congress is to be a custodian of law and legislation, hence the name. In addition, blogs are among the born-digital content that is being saved and preserved under the Library's National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (http://www.digitalpreservation.gov). The Law Library has been working since 2007 to save more than one hundred legal blogs (http://www.loc.gov/law/find/web-archive/legal-blawgs.php). Besides In Custodia Legis, the Library of Congress also maintains a blog for the LOC as well as a Science, Technology, & Business blog and a Performing Arts blog.


So, if you want to keep up to date on what's happening at the Law Library of Congress, they've now got a blog to satisfy your LLOC needs!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nominate Your Favorite Librarian for the "I Love My Librarian Award"!

Librarians in our nation’s 123,000 libraries make a difference in the lives of millions of people every day. If a librarian has made a difference in your life, now is the chance to tell your story.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community.

Nominations will be open from August 2 to September 20.

Up to 10 librarians in public, school, college, community college, and university libraries will be selected to win $5,000 and will be honored at a ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by The New York Times. In addition, a plaque will be given to each award winner’s library. Winners will be announced in December 2010.

Each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the ALA in library and information studies or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nominees must be currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university, or at an accredited K-12 school.

For more information and to nominate a librarian, visit www.ilovelibraries.org/ilovemylibrarian.

The award is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York and The New York Times.

It is administered by The American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world, and The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ALA’s public awareness campaign about the value of libraries and librarians.