Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I find information about government agencies?” Well, have we got some information for you! Most federal government information can be found through FDSys. Most Florida government information can be found through My Florida. More specific research details we can show you at our Administrative Law and Legislative History Workshops running from September 3rd through September 13th.
Did you get an iPad or Android tablet, or an iPhone or Android phone? Do you need to find legal apps to download on your iPad or Android device? Look no further than our catalog! We have the entire “in one hour” series from ABA, from Facebook to LinkedIn and iPad and Android Apps too! Search the catalog for “in one hour” and the entire list of titles will come up. It’s that easy!
Need the citation rules for another state? No problem! LII has you covered. Or do search for the state’s bar association or court website. Still can’t find it? You can always contact us at the reference desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904.680.7612.
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.
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.
Whether you are taking the bar or finishing up summer classes, you can, finally, allow yourself to enjoy the rest of the summer. Though most of you probably feel that you cannot relax until you have your results in your hand and know without a doubt that you have passed, remember that there really is nothing you can do to expedite this process.
What you can do, however, is to take your mind away from your exams and results by doing fun activities. One such activity is watching movies like this one that won the Academic Award for Best Short Film in February 2012: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Described by some as an “allegory on the curative powers of the story,” this movie takes a whimsical look at how books can make a difference in your life–something my librarian soul agrees with wholeheartedly!!