Trying to follow all the legal coverage on potential military action in Syria but getting lost in the debate? John Louth of Oxford University Press has released a new, freely-accessible Debate Map through the Oxford Public International Law website to allow students and researchers to track more readily the legal debates surrounding the possibility of military action against Syria. The map covers different issues of international law separately and provides details on the dates, commentators, and positions for the arguments that have taken place. This is a great resource for anyone interested in witnessing the development of principles of international law in current affairs.
…and other important questions, like how to print to network printers or register your Westlaw and Lexis passwords, now answered in our latest LibGuide, Cocky’s Guide to the Law Library. Check it out and get answers to your questions on library resources and getting up and running at the law school at guides.law.sc.edu/lawlibraryorientation. Or stop by the reference desk between 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM. Welcome back!
We all love and hate our Bluebook. Now, the Bluebook is following the electronic herd and making the rules available as an app for all Apple IOS devices. On August 10th, 2012, the Bluebook editors announced that the rulebook app published by Ready Reference Apps would be the official and excusive app for Bluebook. The mobile version of the Bluebook is now available for sale at the App store for all Apple IOS devices for $40.00 from the App Store via the rulebook app. You have to download and install the free rulebook app and then select, download, and install The Bluebook.
BUT Wait… the good news is that the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence rules may be downloaded at no charge onto the rulebook app on August 22, 2012. The free 2012 versions of the federal laws “will be kept current through the end of the year,” states Gregory Hoole, president of Ready Reference Apps. Unfortunately, there are no immediate plan for an android version of the app. Too bad all of you android users. However, for the apple user law students this app is something to look into when making your book purchases. [David]
I try to keep informed on iPad apps for lawyers. However, there are so many apps proliferating the landscape it is hard to keep up. I received a suggestion from Helene Schmidt as a comment for the article, “25 Game-Changing iPad Apps for Law Students & Lawyers”, recently published at (http://www.onlinecollege.org/25-game-changing-ipad-apps-for-law-students-&-lawyers ). This is a good article and the apps there work well for law students as well as lawyers. A word of caution, most of the apps that I recommend are free, many of these apps are not free but are very useful. Review this article and decide which ones are for you if you are an IPad owner and need legal apps for it. [Post-DEL]
I am particularly interested in Intellectual Property topics and IPWatchdog [http://ipwatchdog com/] is a great blog for those who share a similar interest. This blog contains articles and blog posts on the entire range of IP issues. It has been selected as one of the ABA’s top 100 blogs. If this is your area of interest this blog is for you. [DEL]
I try to highlight technology apps and websites that are free and useful. Aviary, http://aviary.com/, is a website and downloadable app for free online software that does many of operations that Photoshop or IllustratorAll make available for a price. Aviary offers all of the basic photo-editing tools that you need and more. It’s free and easy to use from any web browser, and if you want to learn more advanced techniques their tutorials are waiting to help. There is also a cell phone version for use on your android or other cell phones. It also offers music editing of your recordings. This is a great website and app for you and it is all free. [DEL]
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most-traveled weekends of the year. (See http://www.bts.gov/publications/america_on_the_go/us_holiday_travel/html/entire.html )
If you’re faced with a flight delay or other inconvenience this weekend, put the time to good use by participating in the administrative rulemaking process to help make airline travel more accessible for people with disabilities! No, really. Did you know that the public is invited to comment on proposed administrative regulations before they are put into effect? Your knowledge and feedback can help shape agency regulations to create the best solution possible.
Administrative rules are frequently complex and difficult to understand. One group, the Cornell e-Rulemaking Institute is working to change that. Their site, Regulation Room takes selected proposed rules, breaks them down to make them easier to understand, and then works to engage and educate the public to facilitate informed discussion. Regulation Room was selected as by the Department of Transportation (DOT) as its open-government flagship initiative and received a Leading Practices Award by the White House after a government-wide review of such projects.
In 2010, Regulation Room worked with the DOT to help make decisions about Airline Passenger Rights. Their current rule involves airline travel accessibility standards for people with disabilities. Check-in kiosks and airline websites are frustrating enough–can you imagine trying to navigate one if you had visual, hearing, or mobile disabilities? What if you couldn’t physically reach the check-in kiosk or read the instructions on the screen? So while you’re waiting in the airport this weekend, pop on over to Regulation Room and have your say.
(full disclosure: I worked as a Research Assistant for CeRI during the 2009-2010 school year.)
If you are long for guidance on Bluebook citations in a different format; try these videos. [http://www.elon.edu/e-web/law/library/bluebook-videos.xhtml] The videos introduce legal citation and are intended to help you construct citations in accordance with the rules set out in the nineteenth edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. They are available courtesy of Elon School of Law Library. [DEL]
This week, 16 law students and their friends are living on $4 a day, the budget of a food stamp recipient. Their goal is to raise awareness and better understand the challenges faced by people who depend on SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to help meet their basic needs. You can read more about the challenge and their experiences here and here.
This brings up a great research question–how might you go about researching a government program you’ve heard about in the news? What if you’d like more information on who is eligible for SNAP, what SNAP covers (or doesn’t cover), or statistics on the program?
One good place to start is with a secondary source. AmJur, CJS, & Federal Procedure, Lawyer’s Edition all have entries on various government programs. Here, try 79 Am. Jur. 2d Welfare § 27, 3 C.J.S. Agriculture § 36, and 17 Fed. Proc., L. Ed. § 42:812 for some background information on SNAP. Remember to keep your list of search terms broad–a keyword search for “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” on Westlaw or Lexis will bring back relevant results, but it’s not necessarily a term you’ll find if you’re looking in the index. You may need to think more broadly and look for terms like food stamps, welfare, or public welfare to find relevant entries. And don’t forget to check ResultsPlus on Westlaw or More Like This on Lexis to find additional relevant sources that might not have been retrieved through your keyword search.
Secondary sources are a great place to start because they give you cross references to other relevant information, such as topics and key numbers for the West digests and cites to ALR entries, relevant cases, and statutory and administrative authority. Use these to expand your search into a state, federal, or regional West digest, or look up the cited statute or regulation. An annotated US Code, such as West’s U.S.C.A. or Lexis’s U.S.C.S. will give you additional research references, as well as decisions interpreting aspects of the statute. You can also run a KeyCite or Shepard’s report to find more analysis, including journals and law review articles. Here, look up 7 U.S.C.A. § 2011 or 7 C.F.R. § 271 to read more on SNAP and its administration.
Agency websites are also a great source of information. Having read a secondary source for some background, you likely know what administrative agency is administering the program you’re interested in, but if not, a quick Google search on the name of the program will usually bring back the agency’s website. Here, we’d go to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/.
Finally, don’t forget to check the library catalog. Try a keyword search on your topic to see what we have available. We’ve got lots of great books and links to electronic documents and government reports. Try this one from the Council of State Governments on issues and trends relating to SNAP, with a table comparing SNAP data by state.
These are just a few resources and suggestions to get you started– feel free to list your favorite resources in the comments.
There are so many law librarians out there making legal LibGuides on various areas of legal scholarship and research that I thought I should highlight several in blawg posts to show what is currently available. Let’s start with legal writing and research. Drake University Law Library has a great one on legal writing that is for law students and practitioners, http://libguides.law.drake.edu/LegalWriting. Karen Wallace has accumulated a lot of information on legal writing materials with links to Westlaw databases and practitioner form sources. The book links are to Drake University Law Library but the materials are standard and the Library of Congress numbers will give you the area to look in your library if they do not have the resource cited. She also has several other guides to legal research books and methods.
UCLA has a very good LibGuide, http://libguides.law.ucla.edu/researchandwritingguide, on legal research and writing. They also have one on writing a research paper that is very good, http://libguides.law.ucla.edu/researchpaper. UCLA has also covered online legal research, http://libguides.law.ucla.edu/onlinelegalresearch. Our own Terrye Conroy has one on free online legal resources, http://guides.law.sc.edu/internetlegalresources. These are just examples. Go to Libguides http://libguides.com/community.php?m=i&ref=libguides.com and looking you area of interest or just Google your subject with LibGuides in the search. You will be amazed at what is available to save you a lot of time and work. [DEL]