Category Archives: Law/Library Interesting Item w/Research Tip

Don’t Forget Secondary Sources

Librarians often tell students to start researching with secondary sources. Secondary sources are a great starting point for researching an unfamiliar area, providing a narrative explanation of complex concepts, giving citations to primary authority, and commentary on cutting edge legal issues. Something we don’t discuss that secondary sources can provide confirmation that there is no clear rule or guidance on an issue or common sense answer. In these instances, secondary sources are not our starting point, but rather our last ditch effort to find something, anything, to confirm that which is suspected as true. Recently a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) book confirmed for a researcher that there is no clear answer to a lien question. The book was found by using our catalog and searching for the larger concepts (association and Florida). Roaming the shelves is another great way to find secondary sources in print. We have a call number list on some of the shelves on the second floor that can help narrow this type of search.

Of course, secondary sources, including many CLEs, are available in Westlaw and Lexis, Hein Online, and sometimes in Google Books. It is important to remember that many secondary source titles are only available through one database. So, Tax Analyst titles are only available on Lexis, whereas WGL titles are only available in Westlaw. So it often a good idea as a student, who has educational access both Westlaw and Lexis, to search both vendors if information is still needed.

Enjoy the summer, and do your research just to be safe!

With the summer season here, many people like to hit the beaches and have barbeques and other outdoor parties. Unfortunately though, with the summer fun, many police departments see an increase in crimes and complaints. Here are a couple websites that can help you be aware of dangerous areas and make sure you are not violating the law. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has a crime map that shows you where and what type of crimes have taken place anywhere in Duval County. Then check out Municode or the city’s website for the city you are in to make sure your barbeque or party is not violating local noise ordinances. These sites are very useful for practicing attorneys as well.   

Free Software for You – and its Good!

All of us have been inundated with offers of free software we can install on our phones, tablets, and laptops. I’ve gotten a little cynical about it: legal publishers are eager to offer free apps and browser extensions as a way of marketing themselves. Still, some of it is actually pretty useful. Lexis Advance and WestlawNext are available through proprietary apps that work well.

Occasionally, free software can even be great! How would you like the chance to download software that is used daily by virtually all the “AmLaw 100” law firms; software that would cost you approximately $400.00 for a single-user license?

You can. CaseMap is available through LexisNexis, and all students can download it from their LexisNexis homepage. After logging on, go to the “Free Downloads” tab, and then look under “Litigation Tools” for CaseMap. Once you install it, open it, and click on the CaseMap Quick Start Tutorial on the right hand panel to get started. Any questions? Your librarians are here to help.

Other law libraries

We at the Florida Coastal Library really, really like you all.  We are here to help and answer your questions.  But you may not be close by, you may need a print resource.  If you can’t come to us, then definitely go to another library!  They are (almost) as nice and helpful as we are.

Where can you go?  Well, that depends.  Most states have some kind of public law library system – you can look at some lists of those libraries, both national and regional.  You can also do a search in Google (or your favorite search engine) for something like county law library list (if you have an area, like Florida or California or Duval County, to add to the search that’s even better!).

You can also use public law school libraries for free in most cases.  And even private law schools will often let you in (sometimes for a small fee, but often at least a couple times for free).  There are also some lists of the law school libraries (this one goes directly to their catalogs, but you can then find the name of the law school near you).  Or you can look at the law schools and find their library page.

Once you find a library – do not be shy to talk to the librarians, they want to help you (just be sure to use your best library voice…).

How Do I Start My Research?

As summer jobs and internships start, one of the questions we get at the Library is “how do I start my research?”  The good news is, there are lots of resources on how to do that!

Some of the best resources are Libguides on legal research.  Libguides are created by librarians, and there are lots of law librarians helping you out!  Florida Coastal has a great one for low cost legal research

If you want more, run a search in Google for libguide starting legal research: .edu (that : .edu restricts the search to only school websites).  Or change up the language and run  starting legal research libguide: .edu (it will give you slightly different results).  Switch up the words for more results libguide beginning legal research: .edu for example.

Or, call a Librarian!  We are here all summer for you, whether it is for class, an externship or work!  You can call and leave a message, we will call you back – (904) 680-7612.  Or you can email us your question refdesk@fcsl.edu or use the Ask A Librarian page.

Exam Day Jitters

What is the best way to deal with exam jitters?

Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, Ask.com, and other sources will give you common wisdom and anecdotes about various techniques that have worked for other test takers. These may work for you.

But what if you want some no-nonsense, scientifically reliable, double-blind-tested techniques? If so, the best way to find them is to start by carefully selecting a source that contains that kind of material. You may have to try several sources until you find a good one.

I knew I wanted to find an article that contained carefully researched methods of dealing with test-day jitters. I was not interested in studies that simply measured anxiety levels. I wanted articles that would give me reliable advice. I settled on ProQuest eLibrary. I knew this source contained a range of newspapers and magazines that could have articles describing how to deal with exam jitters that would be properly sourced. I found the following tips from Sue Shellenbarger, Toughest Exam Question: What is the Best Way to Study?, WALL ST. J. ONLINE, Oct. 26, 2011.

  • If you are taking the exam in an unfamiliar place, visit the room in advance.
  • Set aside 10 minutes beforehand to write down your worries. Expressing yourself in writing will unburden you.
  • Envision yourself in a situation you find challenging and invigorating. Then switch your mental image to the testing room and imagine yourself feeling the same way. With practice, you’ll be able to summon up more confidence on test day.

Climate Change Findings and Figures

No matter where you fall on the hot-button topic of climate change there is no denying it’s an important issue.  The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a summary of its most recent set of findings and figures in March.  The WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with a membership of 191 Member States and Territories (as of January 1, 2013). It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. Established in 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951 for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.

As weather, climate and the water cycles know no national boundaries, international cooperation at a global scale is essential for the development of meteorology and operational hydrology as well as to reap the benefits from their application. WMO provides the framework for such international cooperation.

This summary and website can lead you to a ton of other international sources on climate and environmental law.  Use the list of topics at the top of WMO’s home page or the facets on the left to find relevant information that may be more difficult to get to simply by using the web site search box.  Evaluating and making use of all access points (also known as finding aids) are important research processes.

Finishing Up a Paper?

It is that time of year again; when a law students’ thoughts turn to finals and papers. Are you one of the many students who are putting the finishes touches on a paper and need some Florida statistics? Take a look at this website that gives stats on all sorts of Florida goodness!

This site will give statistics on Crime, Budgets, Education, Voting and much, much more!

 

Google Search by Image

(No, I am not talking about Google Image Search, although I like that feature. Google Image Search will respond to your Google search with images from the web. I used it to find this great blog that compiles cartoons about libraries and librarians: http://librarycartoons.wordpress.com/.)

Google Search by Image is a new feature that allows you to use an image as your search. You can drag and drop your image if it is online, or type in its URL. If the image is not online, you will need to save the image to your hard drive, and then upload it. Firefox and Chrome add-ons are available to make the process easier. They have a video on how it works here:  http://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/images/searchbyimage.html.

Do you have a picture of a building, and need to know what it is? Have a picture of a vehicle, and need its make and model? Give Google search by image a try.

Aron Swartz, Open Access, and Libraries

The tragic suicide of Aron Swartz has put the Open Access movement in the spotlight. Open Access is the practice of providing free, unrestricted access to scholarly work through the internet. Proponents of open access to scholarly journals argue that since taxpayers fund almost all research, they should not have to purchase the results of that research from a private publisher.  Journal subscription costs are born by libraries, who are increasingly saying “No,” to expensive journals. For more discussion of open access, see this web page by Peter Suber, Director of Harvard’s Open Access Project: http://bit.ly/oa-overview