Tag Archives: Research

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!

 

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.

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?

‘Tis the Season…

… to research many things – the best holiday cookie recipe, how to get directions someplace, where to go for the most creative gift (hey, I can’t do everything for you!). 

If you are researching cookies, trips, and gifts, chances are you are using Google.  If so, remember that you can do some great things other than just put some phrases in the big white box.  Go to their Advanced Search page or look at how to use operators (you know: and, or, not).  For even more – look at their Tips and Tricks (it has tips on searching for recipes, trips, and gifts, all on one convenient page!).

And have a very happy holiday!  We’ll see you in the new year!

Enjoy the Discovery of New Library Materials

Hello everyone!

It’s time to enjoy the Discovery of new Library materials!

To view a table listing the new print resources that the library received in November 2012, click Continue reading below. Most 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.

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 the Library & Technology Center is adding. 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).

Continue reading

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. See more tips from this article in the Library display case on the 3rd floor:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

New Library Resources – What’s Happening – April 2012 Edition

Hello everyone, and welcome to another exciting edition of “New Library Resources” – because you need to know What’s Happening!

To view a table listing the new print resources that the library received in April 2012, click Continue reading below. Most 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.

We also now have access to HeinOnline’s new U.S. International Trade Library, which includes many useful legislative histories. You can see all the new additions to HeinOnline on its new content page (reproduced below under our new print resources) and 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 the Library & Technology Center is adding. 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).

Continue reading