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Showing posts from August, 2015

Black's Law Dictionary, 10th edition Mobile App

Those who haven't purchased the new edition of Black's Law Dictionary may wish to consider using the mobile app version. The 10th edition of Black's Dictionary was released as an app in April and is available for Apple devices. The app provides, among other things, access to over 50,000 definitions, 1000 abbreviations and acronyms, and audio pronunciations for more than 7000 terms. The ability to track viewed definitions and  a "Did You Mean" tool (that assists the user in finding the correct term), are just of the new features that were not available on the 9th edition of the mobile app. The app is $54.99 and is available on the App store.  See iPhoneJD's review for more details.

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 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Room 4 BLB. We will be offering the following sessions during the Fall 2015 semester:

1. Bluebook Update: Welcome to the 20th Edition!
Tuesday, 9/29, Wednesday, 9/30
Katy Badeaux, Reference and Research Librarian

2. Federal Legislative Research
Tuesday, 10/6, Wednesday, 10/7
Robert Clark, Reference and Research Librarian

3. Federal Administrative Law Research
Tuesday, 10/13, Wednesday, 10/14
Dan Donahue, International and Foreign Law Librarian

4. Researching Federal Income Tax Law
Tuesday, 10/20, Wednesday, 10/21
Chris Dykes, Reference and Research Librarian

5. Power Searching on Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law
Tuesday, 10/27, Wednesday, 10/28
Emily Lawson, Reference and Research Librarian

Resources for New Law Students

This Monday, August 24, is the first day of classes for the Fall 2015 semester at the University of Houston Law Center.  Many of the arriving students will be 1L or foreign LLM students, each of whom will receive their first introductions to an academic system that in some ways is notably different from anything in their educational background. 

For anyone interested, the O'Quinn Law Library collection contains a number of resources designed specifically to help these new law students find their footing.  The following books are held on reserve:
Nygren, Starting off Right in Law SchoolMiller, Law School ConfidentialEdwards, LL.M. RoadmapNoyes & Noyes, Acing Your First Year of Law School
And the following books are in the library stacks available to be checked out:
Gallacher, Coming to Law SchoolStropus & Taylor, Bridging the Gap Between College and Law SchoolGader-Shafran, The International Students' Survival Guide to Law School in the United StatesChang & G√≥mez, T…

Proposed Emissions Rules Announced

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new rules controlling emissions in the oil and natural gas industry.  Copies of the proposed rules are available here and will soon be available in the Federal Register

The federal rulemaking process is governed by 5 U.S.C. § 553.  This code requires the publication of proposed rules in the Federal Register, as well as requiring that federal agencies invite public comments regarding new rules.  This is currently done through the government website,  In this case, the proposed emission rules are expected to be published in EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505, the docket in which the EPA has posted changes to emissions standards in the past.  Any legal researchers investigating this rule specifically or this subject generally may be interested in following this docket.

Searching and Using FDA Guidance Documents

When practicing in areas heavily regulated by government agencies, guidance documents can be invaluable resources. Generally, guidance documents describe the agency's interpretation of or policy on a regulatory issue. While these documents are often available through the agency’s website(s), they are often scattered throughout site and not always kept up to date. The larger the agency, the more difficult it can be to make sure you have performed a comprehensive search. For example, it is easy to find the EPA’s list of significant guidance documents, but there is no tool to perform comprehensive searches of all the agency’s guidance documents. 
The Food and Drug Administration is another large agency that produces a large number of guidance documents addressing a wide range of topics. The FDA’s guidance documents include documents relating to (1) the design, production, labeling, promotion, manufacturing, and testing of regulated products, (2) the processing, content, and evaluati…

New HeinOnline Libraries Now Available to the Law Center Community

Nearly every day at our reference desk, I direct patrons to  the wide  array of resources accessible through HeinOnline.  From journal articles to session laws and treaties to agency decisions, I am still amazed at the breadth and depth of our HeinOnline content.  Starting today, the O’Quinn Law Library now has even more content accessible through HeinOnline for researchers to discover.

The newly available collections include:

Foreign & International Law Resources Database: A vast collection of international yearbooks, international tribunals and judicial decisions, English translations of foreign penal codes, and materials from the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

American Law Institute Library: Materials from the American Law Institute including restatements, drafts, studies, and more from the American Law Institute.

History of International Law: Library includes more than 1,100 titles and 800,000 pages dating back to 1690 on International Law subjects

Intellectual Prop…

Release to One, Release to All FOIA Policy

Last month, seven federal agencies announced a six-month pilot program that would provide greater public access to documents requested via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).Under the new “release to one, release to all” policy, the participating agencies will provide online access to records released to individual requestors.Previously, such records were sent to the requestor, but were not generally posted on agency websites as well.The six-month trial policy for these agencies will help the federal government determine the feasibility of expanding the program to all federal agencies subject to FOIA.

The participating agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as some components of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the National Archives and Records Administration.
For more information about the pilot, see th…

Many New Texas Laws Take Effect September 1

The 84th Regular Session of the legislature wrapped up this summer, and many of the bills passed during the session will take effect on September 1.If you are interested in learning more about some of the new laws that may impact your life, and your clients’ lives, take a look at the Texas Tribune’s 31 Days, 31 Ways series.Just as they did after the 83rd legislative session, during the month of August the Texas Tribune will be a running a story each day about a new state law and how it will impact the lives of Texans.

Only five days into August, they have already highlighted some important new laws including one repealing the professionals tax on lawyers, doctors, and many other professions and another overhauling the state’s controversial “pick-a-pal” system for grand jury selection.To learn more about these laws as well as others passed by the legislature, see the Texas Legislature Online website.And stay tuned for more stories from the Texas Tribune this month regarding other impor…