"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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Law Library Brown Bag Series

Each semester the O'Quinn Law Library presents a series of lunchtime presentations on legal research topics. These presentations are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 12:00-12:45 in Room 4 BLB.

This semester we will cover the following topics: Researching Federal Income Tax Law; Texas Legislative History Research; Researching Oil and Gas Law; Alternatives to LexisNexis and Westlaw; Researching Texas Administrative Law.

See the brown bag schedule with descriptions at the following link: http://www.law.uh.edu/libraries/Brown%20Bag%20Schedule--current_files%5CSpring%202011%20description.htm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Documents for Select Supreme Court Nominees

The Library of Congress has the documents for select Supreme Court nominees who were confirmed at the following link: http://www.loc.gov/law/find/court-confirmed.php
Documents that are available vary depending on the individual Judicial Nominee but can include the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing committee transcripts, Congressional Record debate reflecting the debate that took place on the floor of the Senate, roll call confirmation votes, floor statements, and Executive Reports. This is significant because the documents for a number of the nominees such as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor are not readily available through other online sources in full text. Documents are also available for select nominees who were unsuccessful in the confirmation process by clicking the "Nominees Not Confirmed" link.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Welcome Back!!

Welcome back, everyone, for another exciting term! Classes started today for the Spring 2011 Term at the University of Houston Law Center, and it's great to see so many students using the Library already.

As a reminder, students have access to the Library 24/7 via the Student Offices. Although we won't be around 24/7, reference librarians are available most of the time that the Library is open to the public, and we are eager to assist students and faculty with their research needs.

So, welcome back!

Friday, January 14, 2011

National Archives Online Public Access System

Researchers and historians now have a new tool to help in the hunt for government records. Recently the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) unveiled a new Online Public Access system that allows researchers to search multiple NARA databases at once and provides access to millions of electronic records. The database offers basic and advanced search options as well as the ability to refine results by date, data source, location, and type of material. In addition to textual records, it also links researchers to other types of relevant resources such as photographs, moving images, and maps.

The Online Public Access system website provides information about how to search the database as well as a short video about the system.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tracking Texas Legislative Activity

The 82nd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature begins today in Austin and it appears as though there is a lot of work to be done. Recent articles in the Houston Chronicle and the New York Times have highlighted many of the key issues facing Texas lawmakers such as immigration, redistricting, criminal justice, energy, and the budget shortfall, including possible cuts to education and health and human services.

In order to follow all of this legislative action, the Texas Legislature Online (TLO) website provides a number of helpful features. The front page highlights daily legislative activity in the House and Senate including links to video broadcasts, today’s calendars, today’s meetings, today’s filed bills, and today’s votes. If you need information about the types of bills that have been filed, you can view General Reports listing all of the bills filed in the House or the Senate for the entire legislative session. However, if you already know which bill you are interested in, you can use the Bill Lookup feature to get information about the history of the bill, the actions taken on the bill, amendments, and a graphic depicting the stages of the legislative process the bill has passed.

The TLO website also allows users to create personal bill lists and alerts to track specific bills and provides RSS Feeds to track upcoming committee meetings, upcoming calendars, and other daily legislative activities. Finally, the TLO website also has a mobile version allowing researchers to access legislative information easily from their smartphones.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling Website

President Obama established this commission on May 22, 2010 to examine why the oil well blowout occurred, come up with options to combat future spills, and submit reports of its findings. The commission's website contains information about its meetings, news, and resources such as its working papers and correspondence. Its final report, which will also be available on the website, is scheduled to be released on January 11th.