Tag Archives: Low Cost Research

The CRAP test.

I like to follow blogs about libraries and research. One of my favorites is Lisa Gold: Research Maven. Lisa is a professional researcher, who explains research concepts well. Check out her colorful post, “The CRAP test for evaluating sources,” for a good explanation of how to decide if a source you have found can be relied upon. If you click the “Highlights” link at the top of her page, you can see a list of her most notable posts. My favorites are, “Spell-check is evil, but funny: The Cupertino Effect,” “Let’s talk about search,” and “In praise of browsing.”

Legislative History in Real Time!!

Have you seen the recent development in Florida concerning funeral protests?  There was an article in the Jacksonville Times Union describing a bill that has been passed in the Florida Senate that would affect those protests.  If you notice they give you a citation to that bill: SB 118.  If you want to keep track of how that bill makes its way through our legislature you can head over to the Florida Senate’s website at http://www.flsenate.gov/. Once you are there just put the bill number (118) in the search box at the top of the screen and you can see all the exciting things that have happened as the bill makes its way through the senate.  One of the options allows you to view the staff analyses of the bill which can often give you some insight into the legislative intent.  This is a great way to get comfortable with Florida legislative history research. (This can be very tough)  If you want to be notified any time there is activity concerning this or any other bill just sign up for Senate Tracker account. With a Senate Tracker account you can track items throughout the website, view the latest updates on the Tracker tab, and receive email notifications when those items are updated.  You can create an account here.  All you need is an email address.  Did I mention this is all free?  It is!

 

WorldCat.org

By now, most of you have probably used Encore – our library’s catalog. More efficient (though no less magical) than the card catalogs of old, Encore allows you to see all the library resources you have access to as a member of the Coastal Community.

But what about when you are off site? Maybe you want to do some light ConLaw reading over holiday break? Or maybe that last minute preparation for Moot Court oral argument has to be done out of town?

Fear not, just as Encore is a catalog that shows you what we have here at Coastal, WorldCat.org is a catalog that can show you what is available wherever you are around the world.

Simply type in your preferred search using title/author/keyword terms and then you can narrow by facets on the left, similar to Encore. Once you locate a particular record, you can see which libraries hold that resource and how far they are from your location.

Take Legal Research in a Nutshell, for example, since we all know how important it is to keep your legal research skills sharp.The WorldCat.org record for this resource can he found here. Follow that link and you’ll have the chance to Enter your location – zip code, city/state (or province), or country.

Enter 32256, for example, and you’ll see that the closest library to hold that resource is… the Florida Coastal School of Law Library & Technology Center! What library closest to you has it?

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.

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.

Special Announcement for iPad or iPhone users – Free App available.

We interrupt out regularly scheduled blog posts to bring you this special, time-sensitive, announcement:

  • Are you a law student?
  • Do you have an iPhone or iPad?

If you said YES to both of those questions, check out the rulebook app TONIGHT (8/22/12)!

Today only, there you can download the following resources for FREE:

  • Federal Rules
    • Appellate Procedure
    • Bankruptcy Procedure
    • Civil Procedure
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Evidence
  • The Supreme Court Rules
  • The U.S. Constitution
  • Select New York Court Rules

If you need help, feel free to ask at the Reference Desk until 8:00 PM or to send us an email via this form.

Or, just go to the App Store, download rulebook, then – within the app – download each resource in the rulebook library. Here’s a tip – you may have to close the other applications you have open before installing the rulebook app.

Stein Suit (+Subscription)

In only two days, Musikfest will begin in Bethlehem, PA.

Billed as the “nation’s largest free, non-gated music festival,” Musikfest - put on by ArtsQuesta non-profit organization that celebrates arts and culture - boasts an extensive lineup of acts performing for free, including Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds (video), Royal Southern Brotherhood (video), and Scott Pine and the Conifers (video) among many others.

In the past, people who attended Musikfest commemorated the experience with a stein purchase. For only $69.99, people were offered the opportunity to own a piece of music memorabilia, manufactured in Germany, that could be passed down through the generations.

Instead, according to former ArtsQuest employee Rebecca Stoneback, those steins were actually made in China!

If you can’t trust the music-festival vendor selling you a beer stein for $70, who can you really trust?

Stoneback has now filed two lawsuits against ArtsQuest in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Allentown) in connection with this alleged deception and her firing (5:12-cv-03286-MMB & 5:12-cv-03287-JKG).

Here in the library, we have a trial subscription to Bloomberg Law, which makes docket searching a breeze. So, if you want to read up on the suit, or just have a demonstration of how to do that research, contact the Reference Desk (web form or (904) 680-7612) and we’d be happy to help you.

Tip o’ the hat to Alanna Byrne at Inside Counsel, Strange Lawsuits, from July 25, 2012 for spreading the word about the Stein Scam.

Card Catalog Magic

As you may recall, just this past fall, the LTC launched its new catalog Encore,
Such a fine new tool, you’d be a great fool, if you did not use it to help you find more.
In days long gone by, before the web in the sky, finding information could be quite hard,
You’d search for long days, in so many ways, to find that magical catalog card.

Yale University old catalog cards (video)

The Lighter side of Research!

Hope you enjoyed your spring break and are ready to get back into the swing of things!

Still working on your ALWRs, MSJs, or other legal research projects? Next week, we are offering Workshops in low cost legal research because sometimes Westlaw and LexisNexis do not provide all the answers.

Here is a fun look at legal research: Research tips; Why you should take breaks!; Westlaw vs.LexisNexis