Category Archives: Research Strategies retiring from Law Schools on December 31

It’s the end of an era as, the long-running and highly regarded database says its final goodbyes to the Law School community.

With 100% of Lexis content now migrated to Lexis Advance, the small amount of loyal users will have to prepare for the switch to Lexis Advance, which has slowly been becoming the primary Lexis database over the past several years.

Both Lexis and Westlaw have transitioned to their new platforms and retired their flagship databases in recent years.

Hein Online adds an email delivery option


Good news for all you Hein-heads out there (I am certainly one of them). Hein Online recently added a great new feature to their interface where you can email a link to a Hein PDF…and anybody can access it, whether they are authenticated by Hein or not.

Granted the link will expire after 7 days (if the user isn’t authenticated…if they are it will never expire), but that is still more than enough time to share research or a great article with a colleague or student that may not know how to access Hein or not have access at all.

For full directions on how to email these PDFs straight from your Hein search, check out Hein’s blog post. Happy Hein-ing!

Zimmerman’s Legal Research Guide – and Blog

Zimmerman’s Legal Research Guide is a tremendous resource for discovering the best resources in specific areas of law. I often use the online encyclopedia when I’m presented with a research question on an unfamiliar topic.
Zimmerman’s guide is well known among the law librarian community – and rightly so. With addition of a new Zimmerman’s blog, we can keep up to date with new additions.
The author is Andrew Zimmerman, a librarian with many years of research experience in large law firms. He created the guide after visiting a senior law librarian at her office. “In the middle of our conversation she opened a drawer and pointed to a black ring binder stuffed with paper. This was her ‘black book.’ She said the binder held twenty-odd years of her accumulated wisdom.” He soon started his own black book, shared it with his library staff, and eventually put it up on the web.
Zimmerman emphasizes that the guide is still a work-in-progress and welcomes suggestions, additions, comments or criticisms. See the about page for contact information.
I’ve corresponded with Andy over the years and had the pleasure to meet him in person this month at the Blogger’s Get Together at AALL in Denver. He is genuinely nice guy and very approachable.
Hat tip to Laura Orr of the Oregon Legal Research Guide about the new blog

Guides to Legal Research for the Layperson

The American Association of Law Libraries Legal Information Services to the Public SIS has recently published a new edition of its research guide, How to Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers. This guide introduces sources of law generally and offers tips on how to get started.
For a more detailed guide covering both federal and Wisconsin specific resources, see the Introduction to Legal Materials: A Manual for Non-Law Librarians in Wisconsin prepared by the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin.

Student’s Wikipedia Hoax Fools Journalists, Bloggers

From Yahoo Tech:

When Dublin university student Shane Fitzgerald posted a poetic but phony quote on Wikipedia, he said he was testing how our globalized, increasingly Internet-dependent media was upholding accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news.
His report card: Wikipedia passed. Journalism flunked.
The sociology major’s made-up quote — which he added to the Wikipedia page of Maurice Jarre hours after the French composer’s death March 28 — flew straight on to dozens of U.S. blogs and newspaper Web sites in Britain, Australia and India.

There is nothing wrong with using Wikipedia for quick look-ups. I do it myself. BUT – you absolutely need to verify the information against other reputable sources. If the article contains footnotes, you need to follow them. If it doesn’t contain footnotes, you should be suspicious.
See my recent post, Case Reversed for Allowing Wikipedia as Evidence.
Source: Twitter – Ross Kodner

Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium – Librarian and Practitioner Legal Research Survey Results

At the mid-morning session at the Back to the Future Symposium, we learned about the results from various practitioner and librarian surveys regarding legal research practices. Speakers were Sanford Greenberg and Tom Gaylord of Chicago-Kent College of Law and Patrick Meyer of Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
There was a lot of interesting data presented, including recommendations by Chicago law firm librarians on what skills they would like to see from new associates:

  • Electronic Searching Knowledge – 28.57%
  • Print Materials Knowledge – 37.14%
  • Subject Area Knowledge – 20%
  • Online Cost Efficiency – 14.29%
  • General Research Strategies – 22.86%
  • Google/Web – 2.86%

Also interesting were the recommendations by law firm librarians on which types of information are better accessed online and which are better in print. The majority of librarians surveyed felt that cases and digests were better used online while legislative and administrative codes were better used in print. And it’s no surprise that the vast majority felt that Shepards/KeyCite was better online. Over three quarters of survey respondents felt that secondary sources were better used in print.