Monthly Archives: June 2009

4th of July Library Hours

The library will be open the following hours over the 4th of July holiday:

Friday, July 3             8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Saturday, July 4        CLOSED

Sunday, July 5          1:00 pm – 9:00 pm

(Post – KT)

Entire 2006 United States Code Available on GPO Access for Free

The entire 2006 edition of the United States Code is now available on GPO Access. ( The 2006 edition contains the laws enacted through the 109th Congress (ending January 3, 2007, the last law of which was signed January 15, 2007).

The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Since 1926, the United States Code has been published every six years. In between editions, annual cumulative supplements are published in order to present the most current information.

GPO Access contains the 2006, 2000, and 1994 editions of the U.S. Code, plus annual supplements. Files are available in ASCII Text from the 1994 edition forward and Portable Document Format (PDF) from the 2006 edition forward.

(Post – David)



GPO Access v. FDsys: What’s in a Name?

I use GPO Access a good bit for accessing federal regulations. In fact, I like various features within the resources provided for each of the three branches. However, because I find its search capabilities less than optimal, I’ve always used GPO Access mainly for browsing and retrieving documents. In January, I read about the plan to migrate all GPO Access databases over to the new Federal Digital System (FDsys). I’m ok with that. I just do not like the name FDsys or the url I think the name GPO Access and its url ( are much easier to relate to and remember, thus making it more accessible to the general public. I immediately e-mailed GPO about my concerns and received a prompt, courteous response that they would keep my comments in mind.

I just read an article in the February 2009 issue of Legal Information Alert entitled FDsys: The Future of Managing Government Information by Sonnet Erin Brown, Head of Federal Documents for the University of New Orleans. Ms. Brown, who was a beta tester for FDsys, reports that it is much easier to navigate and that its new search capabilities alone ( SuDoc Number, government branch, category, citation) make it a better site.

Ok, I’ll give it a try. They even have a FDSYS blog with search tips and announcements of databases added. I still do not like the name.  (Post-TC)

Looking for Articles from Non-Legal Journals?

If you are in need of articles from journals that are not included in familiar legal database services, consider these sources:

JSTOR is an archive of scholarly journal articles from numerous disciplines. It includes legal journals, but should be your first stop for articles beyond the legal profession – such as history, political science, philosophy, anthropology, chemistry, and much more. You can access JSTOR from the Law Library’s “Limited Access” page or from the “Electronic Indexes” link on the library’s homepage. Since one of JSTOR’s functions is to act as an archive, there may be a year or two of hang-time for some journals.

EBSCO is another great resource for non-legal journal articles – from nuclear energy to religion to biotechnology. Access it through the “Electronic Indexes” link on the library’s homepage, and choose “E,” then “EbscoHost Electronic Journals.”

Both these resources offer .pdf documents of original articles and both can be accessed remotely through the proxy server.

Stop by the reference desk if you need assistance with accessing or searching these databases.
(post – Rebekah)

The value of “good law”

For those of you who are clerking this summer, a reminder why good law is important, from the Lexis “Introduction to Shepard’s” page.

Following the doctrine of stare decisis, legal researchers cite to cases in support of their arguments to convince the court that the issues or facts presented in their cases should be decided in the same way as earlier cases.  Legal researchers also argue that the facts or issues presented in their cases are sufficiently different to warrant different treatment based on precedential facts. This reliance on precedent mandates you verify that the authority you cite in support of your arguments is still good law.  In other words, you need to make sure that cases have not been reversed on appeal or overruled by more recent cases, and that statutes have not been repealed or found unconstitutional.

Shepard’s is available on Lexis and Keycite is the case-validating service available on Westlaw. (Post-prm)

America News Database Now Available

If you are searching for a newspaper or information on people, issues and events in the local area or around the country, look at America’s News.  It is a new database available to All USC Law School users. This database offers current and archived articles and video clips from news sources nationwide in a fully searchable online database. The database includes 26 South Carolina newspapers, including full-text access to The State newspaper back to December of 1987.  It is available at Electronic Indexs on the library website or through Thomas Cooper’s website. The direct link is: