Tag Archives: ALWR Research

Are you looking for a topic to write a paper about, or are you just interested in legal issues that courts disagree over?

It may be a little too late in the semester to start working on your legal research paper this semester, but maybe you could get an early start for next semester. Maybe you are interested in writing a paper for publication. Bloomberg BNA’s United States Law Week is a great resource for getting ideas for scholarly legal writing. The United States Law Week has a Key Features section that lists the current United States Circuit Court splits. Circuit Court splits provide great opportunities to write about unsettled legal issues. Bloomberg BNA United States Law Week is available on the library’s website on the Subscription Databases webpage, and access is available to faculty and students. Here are a couple more websites that also contain information on circuit splits Circuit Splits: A blog about cases ripe for review and Split Circuits: A blog dedicated to tracking developments concerning splits among the federal circuit courts.

Are YOU Ready to Celebrate Sunshine Week?

If your response is, “What is sunshine week?” you are probably not alone.  Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.  This is an important topic because access to the law is really important to lawyers, law students, and law librarians.  Check out all the great FREE legal information available on FDSys.  The Library of Congress makes finding legislative and congressional information a breeze with ThomasHere is an example of how an open government can force a public figure to answer for their use of public funds.  The list of reasons supporting open government and freedom of information is huge.  What reasons can you think of?

In the Library this Week (March 4th – 10th)

- ALWR Research Workshops;
- Researching Statutes Workshops;
- Advanced Bluebooking for Memos Workshops;
- Earplugs by request during midterms, ask at the Circulation Desk.

Library Spring Break Hours (March 8th -17th)
Friday (8th)               7:30am – 6:00pm
Saturday (9th)         10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday (10th)         10:00am – 6:00pm
Monday (11th)        10:00am – 6:00pm
Tuesday (12th)       10:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday (13th)  10:00am – 6:00pm
Thursday (14th)      10:00am – 6:00pm
Friday (15th)           10:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday (16th)       10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday (17th)          Regular Hours

Wondering what to get your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day?

Many law students are on a budget so they need to be creative for Valentine’s Day. Why not read some poetry to your loved one or, better yet, read to them from one of the new books the Coastal Library just received!

Take a look:

TITLE CALL # LOCATION
All the missing souls : a personal history of the war crimes tribunals / David Scheffer. KF373.S338 A3 2012 General Collection
Covenants not to compete : a state-by-state survey / Brian M. Malsberger   board of review associate editors, David J. Carr,  Arnold H. Pedowitz, Eric Akira Tate. KF3463 .C68 2012 General Collection
From the closet to the altar : courts, backlash, and the struggle for same-sex marriage / Michael Klarman. KF539 .K58 2013 General Collection
It’s the way you say it : becoming articulate, well-spoken, and clear / Carol A. Fleming. P95 .F435 2010 General Collection
The legal writing survival guide / Rachel H. Smith. KF250 .S625 2012 General Collection
Lincoln’s ladder to the presidency : the eighth judicial circuit / Guy C. Fraker   with a foreword by Michael Burlingame. KF368.L52 F73 2012 General Collection
Negotiate like the pros : a top sports negotiator’s lessons for making deals, building relationships, and getting what you want / Kenneth L. Shropshire. HD58.6 .S574 2009 General Collection
Patent, copyright & trademark / Richard Stim. KF2980 .E44 2012 Course Reserves
Phake : the deadly world of falsified and substandard medicines / Roger Bate. HD9665.5 .B38 2012 General Collection
Scholarly writing : ideas, examples, and execution / Jessica L. Clark, Kristen E. Murray. KF250 .C528 2012 General Collection
Typography for lawyers / Matthew Butterick   [foreword by Bryan A. Garner]. Z246 .B98 2010 Reference Collection
US international lawyers in the interwar years : a forgotten crusade / Hatsue Shinohara. KF297 .S43 2012 General Collection
Writing to win : the legal writer / Steven D. Stark. KF250 .S8 2012 Course Reserves

Do you need to keep track of a research subject?

If you are writing an ALWR this semester, there may be new developments on your ALWR topic before the due date. Your professor will expect that you research your topic diligently throughout the semester, and deal with any new developments appropriately in your paper.

If your ALWR paper concerns doping in sports, you probably heard about Lance Armstrong’s confession as it happened. But what if your paper concerns proposed SEC regulations, or the activity of the Senate Banking Committee? You can’t count on this material being big news, and you do not have the time or inclination to repeat the same searches in the same search engines every day. You might be thinking, “If only I could arrange for news on my topic to be delivered to me automatically!”

Congratulations. You can set up alerts to do exactly that. Go to the Google Altert page here: http://www.google.com/alerts, and fill out the simple form. Lexis and Westlaw also provide this service. See instructions on how to set up alerts in Westlaw here, and in Lexis here.

Wikipedia and Research

I’m sure you’ve all heard the warnings about Wikipedia: Don’t use it! Steer clear of Wikipedia! It can be edited by anyone!

You can use Wikipedia, just use it responsibly. And how do you do that? Here are a few examples on how to use Wikipedia responsibly.

When I lived in Pittsburgh, I read an article about jitneys being held up. What’s a jitney? I went to Wikipedia and got the disambiguation page. Ah, that was enough for me to understand what the article was about. If I was writing about jitneys in my ALWR, I would not cite Wikipedia. Nope. Wikipedia’s just a starting point. The first option, Share Taxi, has few citations and is disputed. So I’d go back to the disambiguation page and go the next option, Dollar van. Again, this one is suggested to be merged with another, but does have a few citations I would check out from government agencies. This is a good starting point for something I knew nothing about a few minutes ago!

Now, how can we tell whether a Wikipedia entry is a good source of information or not? Consider the entry about Hurricane Sandy. On it’s face, it looks to be a good entry. Lots of citations to reliable outside sources. But who actually wrote it and edited it? At the top of the entry, select the “View History” tab. This is the actual history of what was written on the Hurricane Sandy entry. Here’s where things get rather interesting. There is no mention of global warming or climate change. Every mention is “scrubbed” from the entry by Ken Marmpel, who refers to himself as just a contributor, “I have no title, I’m just a Joe Blow.” Yes indeed, this is where the danger of relying solely on Wikipedia lies. Anyone can edit an entry, and can direct the tone and message of the entry.

In summary, the value of Wikipedia lies in the sources it can lead you to, not in the entry itself.

You can find out what articles are cited the most using HeinOnline.

As the semester begins to wind down, many students are working hard to finish their ALWR papers. During this time, students often come to me for help with properly citing articles discussed in their paper. Often, the students have multiple articles that discuss the same topic and issue, and they want to know how to find out which article has been cited the most.  How can they find out? When using HeinOnline, students can simply enter both article citations in the search box, and when the PDF of the article appears, there is a HeinOnline ScholarCheck icon that appears at the top center of the page if the article has been cited. The ScholarCheck icon has a number beside it that indicates the number of times the article has been cited. Find out more about HeinOnline’s ScholarCheck by viewing their Wikipage-HeinOnline:ScholarCheck. You can also find out information about ScholarCheck on HeinOnline’s blog. You can get to HeinOnline by selecting the HeinOnline link from the Library’s subscription database page-remember if you are off-campus you must log-in to access HeinOnline.

Checking the Accuracy of a Tweet

last weekend I saw this tweet: Mental Floss Tweet: A motorcyclist injured when he collided with a panther is suing the state of Florida. (via @TheWeek)

Of course I had to know more! I went to the source cited (@TheWeek) and scrolled down to find what they referenced. I found no reference to the tweet on their twitter page. On their website, I searched Florida Panther. The first result was an article titled A Little Warning Would Have Been Nice. The article has a link to an article from WPTV giving me the details I need to find the case.

But case filings are not available online from the Broward County Clerk of Court. so I’ll have to wait until the case is decided. Most likely it will show up in the Florida Law Weekly Supplement, which is available form our subscription database page. If you’ve never used Florida Law Weekly (FLW) or Florida Law Weekly Supplement (FLWS), it can be a bit confusing. At the top of the screen, select which you want; FLW has Florida Supreme Court and District Court of Appeals opinions while FLWS has Florida Circuit Court and County Court opinions. At the top of the page, select which you want. From the next page, below the publication names, select search FLW or FLW Supplement. This will bring you to an advanced search page. A pretty neat way to find cases not normally found in Westlaw or Lexis.

New Library Resources – What’s New – August 2012 Edition

Hello everyone, and welcome to another exciting edition of “New Library Resources” – it’s chock full of What’s New!

To view a table listing the new print resources that the library received in August 2012, click Continue reading below. All of the items listed there can be found in the General Collection and checked out for up to three weeks by members of the Coastal Community.

Guess what? Hein has added some new Legislative Histories to their U.S. Federal Legislative History Library Collection including Congress and the Tobacco Industry: A Legislative History of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009,Expanding SCHIP: A Legislative History of the Child Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009,Semiconductor Chip and the Law: A Legislative History of the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984!  Check out HeinOnline’s August Content Release  and remember, you can access HeinOnline through the Library & Technology Center’s Subscription Databases page.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to stop by the Reference Desk on the third floor of the Library & Technology Center or contact the Reference Librarians via email, telephone (904.680.7612), or the Ask a Librarian form.

Check back here for monthly updates on what is being added to the Library & Technology Center collection. Updates will be published on the second Tuesday of every month.

If you think we should consider adding something to the collection, please feel free to recommend it here (Coastal ID login required).

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