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Showing posts from June, 2011

Homeland Security Digital Library

Not often one has to research homeland security issues, but if that is the case, the homeland security digital library is the place to go.  Having just recently opened to the public, it contains the nation’s premier collection of documents related to homeland security policy, strategy, and organizational management collected from a wide variety of sources. The library is divided into eight key sections, ranging from national strategy documents to theses and research reports from the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, including an exhaustive collection of executive orders and key legislation.             Open access to over 47,000 documents is available for anyone interested and access to more than twice the amount of information will be made available upon request and approval.

Thomson Reuters Checkpoint

The new and improved Thomson Reuters Checkpoint (previously RIA Checkpoint) was launched this week with a major overhaul of the database's interface. Among the changes include:
Search by citation templates have been consolidated with new templates available in State & Local Practice area.The table of contents and search options have been moved to the top of the page.
A new feature that informs the user of possible misspelled search terms with suggestions has been added.The documents tools option (i.e. printing, etc.) has been moved to the top of the document page.Document display (i.e. font size, etc.) and navigation controls have also been relocated to the top of the document page.Keyword search can be modified directly from the search results page.The newsstand collection has been renamed to "news" and there is now a drop-down menu available on the "news" page for quick access to a particular source.History of searches is now listed by date.The law library&…

U.S. Statutes at Large Volumes 95-115 Now Available on FDsys

The Federal Depository Library Program has announced that the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has now made available volumes 95-115 of the U.S. Statutes at Large, which contain the acts in the form in which they passed Congress, through the Federal Digital System (FDsys). These volumes include the acts passed from 1981-2002 (97th-107th Congress), meaning now that FDsys contains the Statutes at Large materials from 1951-2007 (82nd - 110th Congresses).

Some First Thoughts on LALS (Part 3)

Today, I will conclude my critique of LexisNexis for Law Schools BETA (LALS). If you have not already read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I strongly recommend you take a moment to examine my comments there before continuing on with this Part. In this posting, I will identify a few additional problems with LALS and offer some concluding remarks.Problem with Word WheelIn Part 1, I mentioned that LALS offers a "Word Wheel" that suggests terms or citations as the user types in the search box, but I also mentioned that there was a problem with it. In order to explain this problem, I'll use the example provided by LexisNexis' marketing department: Let’s say you want to find information on "eminent domain", and you start to type it into the LALS search box. By the time you’ve typed in the fourth letter, the Word Wheel is already suggesting the search eminent domain, and hitting the Enter key will automatically place those search terms in the search box. And tha…

Some First Thoughts on LALS (Part 2)

Today, I will continue with my critique of Lexis Advance for Law Schools BETA (LALS). In Part 1 of this critique, I established my personal biases and pointed out some of the good aspects of LALS. In this Part, I will address some of the issues I have with it. For those who missed Part 1, I strongly suggest you read it before continuing on to this Part.So What are the Problems with LALS?Most of the issues I have with LALS stem from its search functionality. As alluded to in Part 1, I believe research requires specificity, and specificity requires control. Many people like to compare research to digging for treasure, but I believe a more apropos comparison is to surgery or astronautical engineering: You wouldn’t want your surgeon taking a swing at you with a machete when you need your appendix removed, and I’m sure many an astronaut is thankful that the people designing their spacecraft or determining how much rocket fuel to include didn’t decide to round the numbers. Yet, that is basi…

Some First Thoughts on Lexis Advance for Law Schools (Part 1)

This week, I will be providing some information about LexisNexis for Law Schools BETA, as well as some personal commentary on what I like and don’t like about this new platform.PreliminariesBefore I begin delving into the topic of these next few posts, I feel it is necessary to provide full personal disclosure. First of all, the opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the University of Houston Law Center, the O'Quinn Law Library, or any of our faculty, staff, or students. [I usually frown upon these types of statements because it's usually obvious from the context that the writing is solely the thoughts of the author (I mean, just because your author's footnote states that you work for a particular entity in no way implies that you are speaking for that entity unless you expressly state as much, so there is no need to include such language in every law review article you write; if it were otherwise, your work would be publi…

Specialty Search Engines

When I need to search the web, I will often start with Google. Given that the majority of search queries conducted come from a Google site, many of you probably rely on Google as well. However, a broad Google search may not be the best choice if you really need to search within a specific type of content. In these instances, it may be better to search using a specialty search engine.

There are a number of law related search engines you can use to target various types of legal websites. If you want to search the legal web generally for things such as legal commentary and news, you can try tools such as LawCrawler or LexisWeb. If you need help getting started with your research, try the Legal Research Engine from Cornell to find legal research guides on your topic. BlawgSearch will allow you to search through the content of almost 6,000 legal blogs, law school websites can be explored through a search engine from CALI, and Fee Fie Foe Firm searches law firm websites. Finally, if …