"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, April 29, 2011

HathiTrust Digital Library

If you are looking for government information or other materials in the public domain, then you should give the HathiTrust Digital Library a try. The HathiTrust is an online repository of content digitized by the Google Books Project, the Internet Archive, and over 50 partner research libraries. Currently it contains over 8 million digitized volumes, over 2 million of which are in the public domain. These public domain works can be viewed by the public; however, the copyrighted materials are restricted to use by the partner institutions.

The repository includes books, journals, and documents on a wide range of subject areas including law, history, religion, and medicine. It provides an advanced search feature that allows you to search by title, author, or subject as well as a full-text search feature that will allow you to search for specific words and phrases within items. You can also browse the public collections for relevant materials. To learn more about the HathiTrust Digital Library, visit the repository’s information page.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Government Comics Collection

Want to learn how to battle energy drainers with Captain America? Or brush up on seat belt safety with Supergirl? If so, you should take a moment to check out the online Government Comics Collection maintained by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln libraries. This collection of comic books produced by federal and state government agencies currently contains scanned PDF copies of almost 200 comics on topics such as health, crime, and the environment. It contains both old and new comics featuring many favorite characters including Charlie Brown, Blondie, and Yogi Bear. Finally, the collection also includes government documents and reports from the 1950s regarding the impact of comics on juveniles.

Friday, April 22, 2011

UNData: One-Stop Shopping for UN Statistics

The UN Statistics Division of its Department of Economic and Social Affairs created this portal to bring together information from statistical databases throughout the UN in order to streamline research. It currently contains 33 databases and approximately 60 million records. The Update Calendar on the main page explains which UN group provides the statistics, indicates when the data was last updated, and also when the next update is scheduled to take place.

Available topics range from energy statistics to marriage data, each with a large amount of sub-areas. The data can be accessed by conducting a keyword search, a more detailed advanced search, database explorer mode (an expandable listing of all datasets, sources of data, and topics included within UNData), or by country/area.

Once you find the data you need, you can customize your results (by country, year, etc. depending on the information searched) and download them (up to 50,000 records at a time).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Health Insurance and Consumer Protection

When the first birthday of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as the Health Care Reform bill, recently passed, one of the main focuses continued to be consumer protection. 
To assure that consumer rights are honored while implementing the provisions of the Health Care Reform bill that address private health insurance, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created the Center for Consumer Insurance & Information Oversight (OCIIO). Through the OCIIO website a number of valuable resources are accessible, among them regulations that address private health insurance based on provisions of the legislation, facts about the different health plans, and in-depth information about the required establishment of the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Looking for Military Legal Resources?

While exploring the Library of Congress I came across this fairly recent addition to their research services, the Military Legal Resources.
This website is a treasure trove of anything military law related. Researchers have unrestricted access to “The Army Lawyer” and the “Military Law Review” starting with their first editions, domestic materials and international resources like Geneva Conventions and War Crimes Trial documents. In addition a cooperation with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center & School Library allows access to full text versions of parts of their extensive collections of primary source materials and publications in the field of military law.

Friday, April 8, 2011

U.S. Copyright Office

The U.S. Copyright Office's website is a valuable tool for those conducting research in this area. Users can locate basic information regarding fees and registration forms as well as how to locate copyright records. The online catalog enables one to search for copyright listings for registrations from 1978 until present and will contain basic information such as the type of work, registration number, title, name of the individual, date of creation and publication. For works prior to 1978, the Copyright Office has a convenient circular that will assist the user in locating the item. There are a number of Circulars and factsheets on a variety of copyright topics designed to provide information to the public. Attorneys will find the law and policy section of the website useful because it contains the copyright statutes as codified in Title 17 of the United States Code as well as copyright regulations, notices, and agency decisions among other sources.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Texas Plain Language Jury Instructions to Receive Award

The Texas Lawyer Blog is reporting that the new Texas Rules of Civil Procedure amendments pertaining to plain language jury instructions are so easy to understand that the Center for Plain Language has selected them for the ClearMark award to be presented on April 28 in Washington D.C. The Amendments to Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 281 and 284 and to the Jury Instructions under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 226A can be found on the Texas Supreme Court's website in the court's administrative orders listing for 2010.