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Foreign Relations Materials from the U.S. Department of State

Follow the U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian on Twitter for updates on researching foreign relations, foreign policy, and Department of State records.  For example, check out this informative tweet about their index to foreign relations documents published in the Serial Set:

  • In 1817, Congress began publishing foreign affairs documentation in the Serial Set. Check out our index here: #FRUS.

The Serial Set is digitized and fully available in ProQuest Congressional.

Also worth noting from their Twitter feed, 20 newly digitized Foreign Relations volumes have been released.  The Office of the Historian has partnered with the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center, to digitize the entire Foreign Relations series.

“The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department’s Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 450 individual volumes. The volumes published over the last two decades increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies.” (About the Foreign Relations of the United States Series)

Recent volumes of FRUS (from the Truman administration through the Carter administration) are available from the Office of the Historian’s Historical Documents web page.

The entire published Foreign Relations series (comprising more than 600 published books) is available in digitized format (PDF) from the Lincoln administration (1861) to the Carter administration (1980) in HeinOnline.

As an additional bonus to the researcher, the Office of the Historian also offers a guide to Citing the Foreign Relations Series.

In Thanks for Your Service – Resources and Benefits for Indiana Veterans

Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs LogoOn Veterans Day, as every day, we thank those who serve and who have served for your steadfast devotion to the fight for freedom and security, domestically and abroad. There are a wealth of resources available to returning service members, from education to healthcare, but finding these services and navigating the application and appeals process can be a challenge.  And while federal veterans benefits are most commonly known, states offer their own host of benefits and services to veterans.

The following is just a sampling of resources and services dedicated to Hoosier Vets:

  • Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs – This site provides a wealth of resources on benefits and services available to veterans and their family members.  You can find information here on both federal benefits and state benefits for Hoosier vets.
  • Veterans Home – An Indiana institution since 1896, Veterans’ Home offers a full range of housing services for veterans, from independent living to short-term rehabilitative care. They even offer a memory care unit for vets or their spouse living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia illnesses.
  • Veteran’s Business Enterprise Program
    • This program works to encourage the state of Indiana’s competitive contracts for the purchase of goods and services favor veteran-owned businesses.
  • Veteran Opportunity Partner
    • Perhaps you’re not a veteran, but you’d like to give back to those who’ve served. You may want to read up on becoming a Veteran Opportunity Partner, to provide services or discounts to vets throughout Indiana.
  • Finally, if you are interested legal assistance with your veterans’ benefits claim, here are some resources:

Know Your Court Rules

When it comes to case preparation, we typically think of preparatory aspects like the rules of criminal/civil procedure, evidence, prepping the client, and properly researching the case to make sure all of our statutes and regulations we’re relying on are current and our cases are Shepardized.  However, there’s another, subtler aspect to trial preparation to consider as well, violations of which lately seem to be rather news-worthy.  I’m talking about court rules.

You certainly don’t leave law school without learning about court rules, but compared to other aspects of the law, court rules don’t receive as much emphasis; but don’t be fooled – violating court rules can have serious consequences.  What’s more, court rules vary in subject from proper courtroom attire (don’t forget your socks!) to document formatting (watch those margins!).

Court rules vary by court, and can be found printed in statutory codes as well as on court websites.  For instance, the Indiana government website ( includes electronic access to court rules for the Indiana Supreme Court, Tax Court, and Appellate Court.  Rules at the trial court level vary by court as well, and can be found on their courts’ websites; fortunately the state government website includes a page for easy access to local court websites by county.

Because court rules cover such a vast array of topics and vary by court, no one is expected to have them memorized.  But you are expected to follow them, so it is important to know that they exist and where to find them.  If you have any questions about researching court rules, stop by the Law Library.  The Reference Librarians are happy to help!

Introducing Title 52 of the United States Code


Most of us at some point in our early education had a Civics class that taught us about the branches of government and the laws we are all bound to follow.  When learning about statutes passed by Congress (usually in conjunction with a screening of Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill”), we learned about the 50 Titles of the US Code.  No more!  After decades of the standard 50 titles we’ve come to know, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel recently began adding new titles to our federal codification of laws.  Ordinarily, reorganizations of the code involve moving existing laws to other (existing) titles, or renumbering sections within existing titles.  However, recently the OLRC has determined that, to best organize statutes within the code, creating a few new titles is in order.  Changes began in 2010 with Title 51 – National and Commercial Space Programs.  On September 1st, 2014, the second new title came into effect: Title 52 – Voting & Elections.  And they’re not stopping there!  There are even more new titles in the works: Title 53 – Small Business, Title 54 – National Park System, and Title 55 – Environment.  It’s important to understand that, even when new titles are created, this does not mean they are filled with new laws; instead, the OLRC is reorganizing the code by pulling existing laws on a subject and placing them together for easier reference; laws on the same topic are often spread among different titles, so by creating a new title, it becomes much easier for researchers to access all the laws on a subject.

Even more interesting is the process of approving the creation of these two recent title additions to the U.S.C.  Title 51 is a positive law title, meaning that the title itself was statutorily enacted.  This follows the same process as any other statute traveling through Congress: the OLRC presents the proposed title to the House Judiciary Committee, there’s a notice and comment period, the House approves the bill, and the Senate must approve the bill.  For more information on the positive law codification process for new titles, the OLRC has created a helpful brochure.  In contrast, Title 52 is not a positive law title.  The OLRC has editorial reclassification privileges when parts of the Code outgrow their existing titles.  In this case, the volume of statutes pertaining to voting and elections has vastly grown over the years, and the OLRC determined that a new title was required to make room.  The difference between positive and non-positive law is subtle.  Essentially, statutes within a positive law title are reorganized verbatim – they constitute legal evidence in a court of law; in contrast, statutes that have been reorganized into a non-positive law title are only considered prima facie evidence of the law.

You can learn more about the OLRC (and browse the U.S.C. online) by visiting their website.


Roving the Repository: The US Constitution at IU Law

constitution-150_2If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Law School’s Digital Repository, I would highly  encourage you to do so.  Not only do we house electronic versions of every issue of every law journal that has been hosted at Maurer Law, as well as a great library of our faculty’s publications, I particularly enjoy browsing the Historic Documents collection – you never know what you’re going to find!  In honor of Constitution Day, I decided to see what documents, if any, we might have about the US Constitution.  Lo and behold, in my favorite category I found The Constitution of the United States at the End of One Hundred Fifty Years.  This was a publication of a former IU School of Law professor, Hugh Evander Willis.

As Professor Willis states in the introductory Explanatory Note, “[M]ost people know that the greater part of our United States Constitution is not found in the printed document generally distributed as our United States Constitution, but is found in the Supreme Court Reports and is the work of the United States Supreme Court” (5).  The richness of this publication is evident from its introduction, which provides a brief history of constitutional development in the United States, how the Supreme Court has grown in its own role as “Constitution-Maker,” as well as a breakdown of individual significant contributions by Justice.  The introduction emphasizes that constitutional law far exceeds the written words of the original document and its amendments, and to only familiarize oneself with the text of the document wouldn’t const-150-examplecome close to familiarization with the subject as a whole; therefore, in addition to re-printing the text of the US Constitution, this work incorporates the Supreme Court’s contributions to constitutional law as well.  For each article of the Constitution (some broken into sub-parts), the true text of the Constitution is seen in normal, Roman font, and the Supreme Court’s contributions are added in italics.  These italicized additions are footnoted, with citations to the cases that added these contributions to our wealth of constitutional law.

Published in 1939, this work is clearly not a comprehensive resource for understanding developments in constitutional law today, but for historical constitutional research, this is quite a find.  To grasp comprehensive developments in constitutional law today, we primarily rely on citators in Westlaw and Lexis to provide us with every case that has discussed a constitutional provision.  If only we had a resource like this today!

Law Library Evening Workshops: Researching Statutes in Print

Starting tonight, the Law Library’s Evening Workshop Series continues.  Our sessions this week (October 21st – 24th) will be dedicated to: Researching Statutes in Print.

Don’t let your upcoming LRW assignment *spook* you!  This workshop is exclusively for 1Ls and will cover the location of law library’s state codes, statutory search strategies, and will be chock full o’ tips, not tricks.

There are four sessions available:

When:              7:30 pm – 8:00 pm, October 21st-24th.  *Each will cover the same material.*

Where:            Law Library’s lobby (in front of the Circulation Desk)

Who:               1Ls

If you have questions about this workshop, please contact the Reference Office for more information.  You can call us at (812) 855-2938 or — better yet — stop by and ask us about it.  We hope to see you this week!

Szladits’ Bibliography of Foreign and Comparative Law available in HeinOnline

Among the Library’s database are some hidden gems. These databases are rarely used by any but the most adventurous patrons, yet they contain information that would be ideal for just the right research project. One such database is the Szladits’ Bibliography of Foreign and Comparative Law, available in HeinOnline’s Parker School Library, and which covers the years 1790-1990. Szladits’ Bibliography is an annotated index of English-language books, chapters, and articles on comparative and foreign law subjects. It thus differs from the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, which began publication at a later date (1960), indexes articles mostly in non-English languages, and is unannotated.

The main entries in  the Szladits’ Bibliography are organized in a systematic subject arrangement. To search for articles on judicial review in Israel, for example, you would retrieve the Public Law portion of the index, then modify your search to include the terms “judicial review” and “Israel.” This would retrieve citations to all books, chapters, and articles published on the topic during the years covered by the index volume searched.

The online version of Szladits’ Bibliography only goes up through 1990. However, to update your research beyond that date, you can also search the printed volumes for subsequent years, available in the Library on the Periodical Index Table near the computer Lab (K38 .S9). The printed index currently runs through 1998, so it too is 15 years out of date; but no source is perfect.

There are many other titles in the Parker School Library that might interest those researching comparative law topics. The next time you have ten minutes to spare, browse the titles to see what’s available. Szladits’ Bibliography is the last title listed in the Library, but in this case last is definitely not least. For those interested in comparative law, Szladits’ offers a treasure trove of annotated citations to books, chapters, and articles of interest.

In Celebration: Constitution Day


Okay, it’s not Hump Day, but it is Constitution Day!  Libraries, schools, and academic institutions across the country are celebrating the anniversary of the adoption of the United States Constitution (September 17, 1787) through a variety of activities.  For our own contribution, we thought we’d highlight a few resources for researching the U.S. Constitution.

Hot off the presses, a new app from the Library of Congress: U.S. Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation – first and foremost a print resource for understanding the provisions of the Constitution and its amendments, the app form reads like an e-book, but in a very searchable format.  If you do much research in constitutional law, you may find this app to be a very helpful resource.  Like most government apps, this app is free.  It’s currently available for iOS only, but the Android version is in development.

Not a mobile device user?  No worries – this resource is also available online from (Constitution Annotated).

If you are researching the U.S. Constitution, there are a few other databases you should know about as well.  In HeinOnline, you may want to check out World Constitutions Illustrated.  As the title suggests, this resource gives you access to a number of nations’ constitutions, including the United States.  Here you will find the Constitution, other founding documents, commentaries, scholarly articles, and a bibliography of other resources.  Expanding on this theme, we have several other constitution databases, including Constitutions of Dependencies and Territories Online, Constitutions of the Countries of the World, and Constitutions of the United States: National and State.

Finally, if you want to journey into the world of scholarly blogging, you may want to check out Justia’s list of popular Constitutional Law Blawgs.  Happy researching, and as always, stop by the Reference Office if you have any questions!

Cyber(law) Monday — it won’t cost you a cent!

You’ve already selected the obligatory new tie for Dad; used the discount code UGLYXMASSWEATER to buy Mom a festive holiday cardigan; and snagged the video game at the top of your sister’s wish list.  Now what should you do with the rest of your Cyber Monday?  Why not consider engaging in a bit of computer law research?

According to the Council on Research Excellence,  Americans spent an average of over 2 hours per day (142.8 minutes) parked in front of their computers as of 2009.  Technological advances and the increased importance of computing and the Internet in American society have created a burgeoning new legal field.  Per Black’s Law Dictionary, cyberlaw deals “…with the Internet, encompassing cases, statutes, regulations, and disputes that affect people and businesses interacting through computers.  [It] addresses issues of online speech and business that arise because of the nature of the medium, including intellectual property rights, free speech, privacy, e-commerce, and safety, as well as questions of jurisdiction.”

There are a number of online legal publications devoted to technology and intellectual property issues.  Among them, the Maurer School of Law’s IP Theory, which is available in our digital repository.  Other major law journal publications covering this topic include the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Harvard’s Journal of Law & Technology, and Florida’s Journal of Technology Law & Policy.  In HeinOnline, you can search the Law Journal Library for topical articles in additional journals.  While you are there, be sure to search their new Intellectual Property Law Collection too.

Several of the law library’s electronic databases also contain cyberlaw material.  Bloomberg’s Technology and Internet Law practice page has a sizable amount of information, with an emphasis on current developments and news.  Lexis Advance’s Computer & Internet Law database can be selected (and searched) using the “Browse Topics” tab and contains a helpful breakdown of the major subtopics.

Another great place to conduct Internet law research is IUCAT.  Because cyberlaw is a loosely-defined area of law that is closely intertwined with several broad legal concepts, search term selection is particularly critical, whether you are searching the Internet or a library catalog.  Try using “cyberlaw” and its synonyms, such as “Internet law” or “virtual law” or “computer law”.  Additionally, it is a good practice to attempt searches combining the core subject term (i.e., “the Internet”) and any narrower terms applicable to your research interests (i.e., “privacy” or “intellectual property”).  The law library has several recent print publications on computer and technology law.  Books on this subject are classified beginning at KF390.5 and located on the 3rd floor.  Thumb through the volumes of  Law of the Internet (3rd edition), peruse Virtual Law, or scan Internet Law in a Nutshell (on reserve at the circulation desk).

For current awareness resources, look at the ABA Journal’s list of technology law-focused blogs and news sites, Science and Technology Law Blawgs, and any of the numerous institutes on technology and law: Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, Center for Innovation Law & Policy, and Stanford’s Center for Internet & Society, to name a few.  These organizations often host conferences and publish articles on Internet law and related topics.  GL&HF researching cyberlaw!

Lawyers Behaving Badly

With the final Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) of the year looming on the horizon, ethics may be at the forefront of your mind.  While the MPRE tests for knowledge of the Model Codes for Professional Responsibility and Judicial conduct, as well as common law principles related to attorney discipline, there are guaranteed to be a nearly infinite number of ethical quandaries that won’t make it onto the exam.  Fortunately, there are resources available to help law students and practitioners navigate these issues.

First, always start with the rules governing professional responsibility.  It is sound advice to familiarize yourself with the Rules of Professional Conduct in your jurisdiction.  The current version of Indiana’s rules can be found on the judiciary’s website.  In addition, attorney disciplinary opinions are available online at the Indiana Judiciary website, with coverage from 2004 to present.  Periodically, the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) publishes ethical advisory opinions.  This ethical guidance can be retrieved through the ISBA’s website.  For coverage of other jurisdictions, Bloomberg BNA and the ABA collaborate to produce the Lawyers Manual on Professional Conduct.  This online resource can be accessed by selecting “BNA Premier” from the Online Resources menu and choosing the “ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct” from the BNA “All Resources” list.

Next, keep abreast of changes – in both the legal field and society at large.  The advent of the Information Age, and its resulting technological advances, has added another layer of complexity in legal ethics.  Electronic discovery methods, and even simple email correspondence, can imperil the otherwise well-intended attorney.  Res Gestae, the journal of the Indiana Bar Association, includes a column in each issue devoted to ethics called “Ethics Curbstone.”  The law library keeps recent issues of this publication in the reference collection behind the circulation desk, shelved in the final row closest to the computer bank.  Res Gestae is a great current awareness resource for ethical concerns that are emerging or otherwise newsworthy.

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or colleague.  In each state, there is help available to attorneys and judges struggling with mental health and substance issues.  In Indiana, the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) provides a variety of services to members of the legal community trying to cope with these types of difficulties.

Remain informed by using the myriad resources and advice available concerning legal ethics.  Be diligent and thoughtful in your professional and personal conduct.  Take care of your mental and physical health.  Lastly, remember that when you are an attorney, or even an aspiring one, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas.

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