Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2012

Sharia Incorporated

One of the newest additions to the O'Quinn Law Library is a very informative work entitled Sharia Incorporated: A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present. Edited by Jan Michiel Otto, Professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries at Leiden University and Director of the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance, and Development, this book examines how sharia law has been incorporated into the national legal systems of twelve Muslim nations.

Outside of an introductory chapter that establishes the groundwork for the analyses to follow and a final chapter that offers some preliminary conclusions, each chapter, written by scholars from around the world, focuses on one Muslim nation. The chapter provides a historical overview of the development of that nation's legal system before examining how sharia law manifests itself in various legal contexts, such as constitutional law, criminal law, family law, commercial law, and …

Legal Language Explorer

Michigan State University School of Law and Emory University School of Law have teamed up with the Computational Legal Studies Blog to host the Legal Language Explorer. This database, especially for law and language enthusiasts, allows users to search and graph the history of phrases used in the decisions of the United States Supreme Court over time. For instance, you could use this tool to view a graphical representation of the Supreme Court’s usage of phrases such as “right to privacy” or “intermediate scrutiny.”

Currently, it will allow users to input phrases of up to 4 words long. However, multiple phrases can be shown on the graph simultaneously. The default search, for example, is “interstate commerce, railroad, deed,” which shows the usage of all three phrases over time. The database contains Supreme Court decisions from 1791 to 2005, but they hope to expand it to include decisions from other courts such as the U.S. Courts of Appeals.

The developers have written a paper

Federal Government Releases New Apps

Yesterday the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office announced a new iPad app that provides access to the daily edition of the Congressional Record for free. The app will allow users to keep up to date about the daily happenings on the floor of the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives as well as access historical issues of the publication back to 1995. Users can browse the daily editions or search within a particular issue. The app also allows you to save files in PDF format or share files via email.

This is actually the second app created with GPO content in the last few months, as GPO appears to be making plans to release more apps. In November 2011, the office announced its first app, the Mobile Member Guide, which provides information about members of the 112th Congress including a pictorial directory and short profiles. Users can browse by last name, state, chamber, or party, or they can search by first and last name. This free app is available on iOS, A…

Law Library Brown Bag Series

Each semester the law library presents a series of presentations on legal research topics. These presentations are held at 12 noon Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During the 2012 Spring Semester, we will be offering the following sessions:

1. Researching Texas Administrative Law
Tuesday, 2/7, Wednesday, 2/8, 12:00-12:45 P.M.
Matt Mantel, Reference and Research Librarian

2. Researching Foreign and International Law
Tuesday, 2/14, Wednesday, 2/15, 12:00-12:45 P.M.
Dan Baker, International and Foreign Law Librarian

3. Texas Legislative History Research
Tuesday, 2/21, Wednesday, 2/22, 12:00-12:45 P.M.
Matt Mantel, Reference and Research Librarian

4. Researching Oil & Gas Law
Tuesday, 2/28, Wednesday, 2/29, 12:00-12:45 P.M.
Chris Dykes, Reference and Research Librarian

5. Effective Use of WestlawNext and Lexis Advance
Tuesday, 3/6, Wednesday, 3/7, 12:00-12:45 P.M.
Emily Lawson, Reference and Research Librarian

Session descriptions and room location will be posted soon on the law library's website.

Courts and Terrorism: Nine Nations Balance Rights and Security

Cambridge University Press has publishedCourts and Terrorism: Nine Nations Balance Rights and Security (Edited by Mary L. Vocansek and John F. Stack, Jr.), which focuses on weighing the rights of individuals against the prevention of terrorist attacks. The first three essays, after the introduction, focus on this important issue from the U.S. standpoint with the first essay investigating how the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on cases where national emergencies have been handled at the expense of individual liberties. Protecting state secrets and the rights of detainees labeled "enemy combatants" are also discussed in the next two essays respectively. The remaining chapters focus on how the struggle between national security and protecting individual liberties is dealt with outside of the United States including the approaches taken by Australia, Colombia, European Court of Human Rights, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, and Spain. This title is now on the new titles shelf in the

A Second Look: Lexis Advance Revisited (Part 2)

I am re-examining Lexis Advance in light of its latest release to see how many of my concerns have been addressed. In Part 1 of this second look, I applauded LexisNexis for some of the changes they have made to Lexis Advance. In this continuation, I will address a few other changes I would still like to see and issue a call to action.In Part 2 of my original critique of Lexis Advance for Law Schools BETA, I complained that many of the features and tools that make lexis.com a great tool for legal researchers were not available in the Beta version of Lexis Advance. Unfortunately, on this front, nothing has changed yet.However, all is not lost. Lexis Advance does not currently allow for pre-search source selection, but I strongly believe that this will change. Sure, it provides those three pre-search filters that are surprisingly clunky and unwieldy, but even the newest legal researcher would like to be able to search in a specific source when they know that is where the document they ne…

A Second Look: Lexis Advance Revisited (Part 1)

About seven months ago, I offered some first thoughts on what was then branded Lexis Advance for Law Schools BETA (seePart 1, Part 2, and Part 3). In those postings, I listed quite a few complaints I had about the product. Now that it has been released from Beta (and rebranded as simply Lexis Advance), I will re-examine the product to see whether any of my complaints have been addressed.

First, the Good News

In Part 1 of my original critique, I bemoaned the fact that, at that time, one could not perform a Focus search within a results set, a staple of not only legal research, but instruction as well. This feature has finally been added to Lexis Advance (and is now called Search within results).

In Part 2 of my original critique, I lambasted LexisNexis for claiming to have created a product specifically for law schools although that product contained no administrative materials and little secondary sources that law schools would actually use, but instead offered a grand selection of Brief…