Yale Law Library - Reference Blog
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WestlawNext comes to Yale Law
Yale law students and faculty currently have a new option when they log into their Westlaw accounts: WestlawNext. The database provides most of the content you are familiar with, but the interface has changed dramatically in an effort to make searching easier. We will be offering many training sessions throughout the course of the semester. There are some glitches as the database has not yet been widely released, so you retain access to Westlaw's traditional platform. Of important note: you CANNOT currently print to the Westlaw printer from WestlawNext. To use the Westlaw printer, you must use the traditional platform.
Below please find the text of an email that was sent to YLS students regarding current awareness tools.
Today, I thought that I would let you know about a few tools that
can help you keep current. These tools can help you keep current with
the law in particular fields or scholarship in particular fields, by
particular authors, or that appear in particular journals.
are several methods that you can use to stay current with new events in
particular areas of law. I expect that you are already familiar with
Lexis' and Westlaw's saved searches (if not, contact a reference
librarian or the Lexis or Westlaw representative for instruction).
Those tools allow you to receive new results from searches that you
have constructed. There are, however, better tools.
publishers have specialized in a form of legal publishing called
"looseleafs". Looseleafs pull together all primary source material on
a legal topic as well as analysis and current awareness information
(the name hearkens back to their print past). Today, these publishes
still produce these research tools and they are still very useful and
they produce excellent current awareness tools.
Clearinghouse is one of these publishers. CCH has pulled many of their
looseleafs together into one online platform that you can access from
the Law Library Databases page (under the name CCH Online Networks).
After a short registration process you will have access to information
on a wide variety of legal topics. You can also sign up to receive
"tracker" newsletters from CCH (either in your email of via your rss
reader) on over 70 legal topics. Just click on the "tracker News" link
in the upper left.
Another looseleaf publisher, the Bureau of
National Affairs also produces material on a large number of legal
topics and produces newsletters on over 100 legal topics. You can see
a list of the newsletters here:
newsletters will come to you by email. If you are interested in
receiving any BNA newsletters, please send an email with your name,
your Yale email address, and the name(s) of the newsletters that you
would like to receive to john dot nann at yale dot edu. Please note
that it will take several days for your BNA subscription to become
There are several tools that you can use to track legal
scholarship. I expect that you know about the "New Acquisition" lists
that the law library publishes,
http://www.law.yale.edu/library/acquisitions.asp, but did you know that
you can find out, on a weekly basis, what new books we've recieved on
any topic that you choose? To do that, set up a preferred search and
have new results sent to you. To set up a preferred search, conduct a
search in MORRIS (a subject search is a good one) and, on the results
screen, click on the "Save as preferred search" button. Log in and
follow the prompts and from then on, you'll receive notice of any new
books that we receive that match your search. By the way, for broader
coverage, you can also do the same at worldcat.org.
There are a
couple of good tools for keeping up with legal periodical articles.
Washington and Lee Law Library's Law Journal Content tool allows you to
set up an rss feed for new journal tables of contents
(http://lawlib.wlu.edu/CLJC/index.aspx) (there is actually a lot more
that you can do with the content, you can see their information page
for more: http://lawlib.wlu.edu/CLJC/explanation.aspx).
Current Index to Legal Periodicals is another contents tool. CILP is
available to you by a variety of means. First, it exists as a database
on Westlaw (database identifier is CILP) and the usual Westlaw saved
searches work on it. Second, you can sign up to get the tables of
contents of selected journals and/or information about articles
classified under selected subjects. To set up a CILP search, go to
http://lib.law.washington.edu/cilp/scilp.html and set up a profile.
First, however, you will need YLS's code. You can get that in the
Library databases link on the Inside site
(https://inside.law.yale.edu/Research/305/default.aspx - this should
work if you sign in). And third, you can go to CILP and read it in
html, Word or PDF at: http://cilp.nellco.org/cilp/index.cfm.
Also, some journal publishers provide table of content or other current awareness tools for their stable of titles (see Sage Journals Online
for example) and other, non-law, indexes allow you to save searches.
If you are interested in any of these, stop by and see a reference
librarian or contact one of us and set up a meeting
forget that we can help with your other research issues. You can stop
by or, for more complex probnlems, contact us and set up a meeting.
John B. Nann
Associate Librarian for Reference and Instructional Services,
Bibliographer for EU and UK Law, and Lecturer in Legal Research
Yale Law School
127 Wall Street
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
john dot nann at yale dot edu
Is researching online better for the environment?
Tough question to answer, but Reed-Elsivier took a crack at it. They looked closely at the carbon costs related to one journal (the aptly enetitled Fuel)
There are two sides to the cost: production and end use. The biggest carbon impact in journal production was employee commuting and business travel. Production of the journal used about 40 tons of CO2. Delivery of the print journal has about twice the carbon impact when compared to online delivery. But, and it's a big but, the largest variable is end user behavior. Online delivery starts out with a 2 to 1 advantage over print (say 10 tons of CO2 versus 5 tons). However, if users print out the articles, the online benefit quicky disappears. The estimate of the carbon impact of "high end use" of the online version using the numbers above raises the 5 tons to 80 tons! Although, the study seems not to include any corresponding increase related to photocopying articles from print journals.
So, production 40 tons, printing and distribution 10 tons, online delivery 5 tons. Printing out the online journal up to 75 tons!
In any event, what seems clear is that the biggest variable is end user behavior and that a marked benefit for online delivery can quickly disappear. Another reason for better e-readers!
Roberts on Research
Hmm, the Chief Justice isn't so enamored with the Internet on online research. The Des Moines Register quotes Chief Justice Roberts as saying that "[t]he Internet is a powerful tool that nonetheless threatens to undermine the critical thinking and research skills lawyers need to effectively argue a case". What do you think? Are you able to research online, does the lack of a structure that the print imposes a help or a hinderance?
Research Preparation for your Supervised Analytical Writing
This fall, the Law Library will be hosting a series of fall research seminars focused on helping law students
prepare for their supervised analytical writing (SAW) assignment by
demonstrating the emerging technologies in the field of legal research.
Students will learn about helpful (and not so helpful) legal
databases, how to search for information and how maintain legal
research records. Lecturers will showcase subscription based as well
as open source tools for legal research. These seminars are open to
the whole law school community. The first event is:
Emerging Technologies in Documenting and Tracking Your Research
Wednesday, September 17, 2008; 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. - Room 112
Participants will learn how to manage their electronic research using tools such as RSS feeds, Zotero, Google, etc. Cookies and light refreshments will be served.
If you were unable to attend this event, please contact Reference Librarian Camilla Tubbs for information on these important research tools.
Children's Rights in Iran
A new report from the Law Library of Congress has been posted. The report covers and references both international treaty obligations and domestic legislation.
Now this looks very useful: history meets technology, again!
It has always seemed that history is the area of research best suited
for the heavy use of technology. A new wiki on English medieval legal
documents confirms this again!
The notice of the wiki, published on the listserv of the American
Association of Law Libraries Special Interest Section for Foreign,
Comparative and International Law says, "Hazel Lord, Senior Law
Librarian at the University of Southern California School of Law has
been tirelessly working on a bibliography of published sources of
English medieval legal documents (covering the years 600-1532). What
she had thought originally would only be a few hundred sources, has
blossomed into a list of close to 1,000 sources!"
She has created a wiki for this project. The wiki can be found here: http://emld.usc.edu/tiki-index.php.
She hopes that you will take a look and participate.
Library of Congress RSS Feeds
The Library of Congress has a number of RSS feeds. Many are primarily
of interest to those headed to DC, but there are also some excellent
copyright feeds, law feeds, and other interesting feeds. A list of the
feeds with descriptions is available here: http://www.loc.gov/rss/.
GPO And Depository Libraries Partner To Offer Online Reference Assistance
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is joining the
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Federal Depository
Libraries around the country to provide an online reference service to
the American public. UIC will manage and maintain this unique free web
based service called "Government Information Online: Ask a
Librarian." It will be supported by nearly 20 public, academic and
state libraries throughout the country. This service will give the
public an opportunity to ask questions about government resources to
librarians who specialize in finding government information on every
An example of how this service works: with the
current process in the Presidential elections, the public may have
questions about the primaries, caucuses and Electoral College process.
A librarian is available at http://govtinfo.org/ to answer those or any other questions about the government.
Yale University currently offers "Ask a Librarian" services to its library patrons, at http://www.library.yale.edu/reference/asklive/index.html
Open Access to Research
It is an exciting time for researchers who are rich with intellectual curiosity, but short on cash.
The FY2008 omnibus appropriations bill
contained a provision to establish a new policy directing the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide the public with free online
access to findings from its funded research. Beginning on April 7,
2008, every scientist who publishes the results of research funded by
an NIH grant in a peer-reviewed journal is required to deposit a
digital copy of the article in PubMed Central
the online digital library maintained by the NIH. The public will be
able to access these articles through PubMed Central for free!
Open access to the law has also been in the spotlight recently. Earlier this month, Creative Commons and Public.Resource.Org announced the first release of a case law available for download by developers. The release covers all U.S. Supreme Court decisions and all Court of
Appeals decisions from 1950 forward. The case law was provided by
Fastcase, Inc. which recently announced its new Public Library of Law.
In addition to this
exciting news, PACER is now available at no-fee at sixteen libraries,
thanks to a joint pilot project by the Government Printing Office and
the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences recently approved a plan to
give the University a worldwide license to make each faculty member's
scholarly articles available in a free repository and to exercise the
copyright in the articles, provided that the articles are not sold for