"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
Yesterday the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) launched the beta version of a new website for election data, https://beta.fec.gov. The website is currently a resource for locating campaign finance data, and will soon expand to offer other election information as well.
This week the Federal Law Librarians Special Interest Section of
the Law Librarians Society of Washington, D.C., announced a new online resource available on their site, entitled Quick
Links and Sources to U.S. Court Opinions. The new website presents quick
links to all major sources for U.S. Court opinions including sites for recent
years, sites for recent and historical years, and subscription sites. It also
presents direct links to court opinion sites of specific U.S. courts such as
the U.S. courts of appeals as well links to opinion sites to those courts
before the 1990’s. Each specific’s court’s abbreviation and city location
can also be found and there is an example of how new slip opinions can be
cited. Though this list is of most use for finding opinions from the federal courts, it links to Cornell's Legal Information Institute for Texas opinions. Provided this list is updated consistently, it will be a useful bookmark for any practitioner seeking quick access to case law.
This week, the United States Government Printing Office
(GPO) announced that it will be partnering with the National Archives’ Office
of the Federal Register to digitize all back issues of the Federal
Register.The Federal Register, which
started in 1936, is published daily with rules, proposed rules, and notices
from federal agencies as well as executive materials.The announcement states that this project,
which will digitize two million pages, will be complete in 2016.
Digitizing all issues back to 1936 will greatly expand free
access to this valuable resource.Currently, the Federal Register is available through subscription
databases such as Westlaw, Lexis, and HeinOnline back to 1936, with HeinOnline being
the only database of the three providing the publication in PDF format. While
free access to the Federal Register is currently available on the GPO’s FDsys website,
the coverage only goes back to 1994.In
fact, many of the document collections available through FDsys only go back to
the mid-1990s as well.The digitization
of these historical issues of the Federal Register is a welcome project and is
hopefully just the start of more digitization projects covering historical
federal legal materials!
The Marshall Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news
organization focusing on criminal justice issues, recently launched The Next to Die website, a resource with information about upcoming executions across the
country.This resource was created in conjunction
with the Houston Chronicle and six other news organizations including AL.com,
the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Frontier, St. Louis Public Radio, the Tampa
Bay Times, and The Virginian-Pilot.According
to their website, “The Marshall Project and its journalistic partners do not
take a stance on the morality of capital punishment,” but see “a need for
better reporting on a punishment that so divides Americans.”
The website focuses on the nine states that have
executed people since 2013 including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia,
Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia, as well as Arkansas, since it is
planning to resume executions.It
provides information about scheduled executions in each state and links to news
coverage regarding the cases.Finally,
it also provides data regarding the history of the death penalty, with the information
provided by the Death Penalty Information Center.For more information about the resource,
visit The Next to Die website.
Here’s a website that will be of interest to librarians and history
buffs alike. Elephind.com allows you to
search across thousands of digitized historical newspapers from one search box.
So far, the site includes over 2.6 million issues from 2,705 titles, and claims
to be adding more newspapers every day. In addition to a search engine that
allows you to search headlines or full text and to limit your search by
country, the site also provides links to the source of each paper, which will often
provide more advanced search or browsing features. To learn more, check out
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced
the launch of a new database to provide transparency into its rules and rulemaking
process. The SEC currently invites public comment on proposed rules, and the
new database is intended to provide “one-stop shopping” for those who wish to
track the development of new rules, or to research completed rules or other
actions related to rulemaking. The database is available at http://www.sec.gov/rules/rulemaking-index.shtml.