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United Nations Treaty Series Back By Popular Demand

The Law Library recently added the United Nations Law Collection to its HeinOnline subscription. The Library previously cancelled its subscription to this database and relied on the official web site of the United Nations for the text of treaties. However, problems with the United Nations web site together with the difficulty of using its search software led the Library to reinstate its subscription to United Nations treaties through HeinOnline. In this Library you can search for treaties published in the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS), the most comprehensive collection of treaties concluded since 1947.  You can also search for earlier treaties published in the League of Nations Treaty Series (LNTS), as well as a variety of important international-law related United Nations sources, such as the Yearbook of the International Law Commission.

The Search interface allows you to search using familiar HeinOnline search types – quick search, field search, and advanced search.  Fields specific to the UNTS and LNTS collections include treaty number, short title, country name, and subject heading.  In addition, there are finding aids unique to the Library, including a search by UNTS citation, LNTS citation, and search by treaty popular name.

One useful feature is the Scholar Check, which links your search results to the law journal library, so that you can link directly to law journal articles that cite the treaty you are interested in.  Another useful feature is the treaty summary screen, which lets you instantly determine a treaty’s current status.

For treaties too recent to be included in the UNTS, don’t forget that HeinOnline also includes a U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library, which provides access to virtually all U.S. treaties.  Therefore, if the treaty you need is too recent to be included in the UNTS collection, but the U.S. is a party, you can still find the treaty text in the Treaties and Agreements Library.

Oxford Scholarship Online

The Law Library recently subscribed to the law subject component of Oxford Scholarship Online (OSO), an electronic database of monographs published by Oxford University Press.  OSO currently contains approximately 4,500 titles, of which 365 are law titles, and about two thirds of them were published from 2008 onwards.  Last year 55 new law titles were added to OSO, and another 28 have been added so far in 2011.  Altogether, OSO adds up to 500 new titles per year. Full Story »

Law for Kids

Arizona has a website devoted to the law for kids.  It includes several things aimed at children, such as cartoons, games, and stories, but it also links to the law itself and other legal websites.  It answers serious questions from kids about crimes, custody, and emancipation among other things.  Is this the correct approach to take to educating kids about the law? Should Indiana have a website like this?  For more websites devoted to youth law (though most with a more adult focus) take a look at this research guide from the University of Washington.

An Interesting European Case Law Database

Today’s topic is the Common Portal of National Case Law, a free search utility (ignore the log-in box) that provides access to selected case law from courts across the European Union.   This database is intriguing because it provides a way to search for substantively like cases across many jurisdictions at once. Full Story »

CALI Lesson on Indiana Primary Resources

The new CALI lesson on Indiana Primary Resources (written by librarians Jennifer Morgan and Cindy Dabney) is now available.

This interactive lesson teaches the basic sources for Indiana law and how to use them.  Using a hypothetical problem, the lesson walks you through case law, statutes, session laws & legislative history, and regulations.

As I mentioned in a previous blog posting, CALI lessons are an excellent tool for refreshing or perfecting your legal research skills.  You should definitely take advantage of this great resource as you prepare for life after graduation or for your summer job.

Use CALI Lessons to Perfect Your Legal Research Skills

CALI lessons are an excellent tool that you can use to hone your legal research skills.  The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) publishes a library of online interactive tutorials for anyone interested in legal education.  The lessons cover all legal topics from Administrative Law to Wills and Trusts, and include researching primary and secondary sources of law and federal and state jurisdictions. 

Whether you are graduating in a few weeks or about to finish your first year of law school, you should use CALI lessons if you plan on doing any legal research this summer.  Here are some CALI lessons that you should try out:

CALI also includes lessons on state-specific legal research such as “Colorado Legal Research – Secondary Source Materials” and “Georgia Legal Research – Primary Source Material.”  Librarians Jennifer Morgan and Cindy Dabney have created a lesson on Indiana legal research, “Indiana Primary Resources.”  Our lesson will be published in a few weeks, so keep an eye on the CALI website (or this blog) for an announcement of this new lesson.

The Library has a subscription to CALI, so you need a password (i.e., student CALI authorization code) to be able to access CALI lessons.  Stop by the reference desk to get your CALI password.

State Bar Associations Provide Free Legal Resources

  
Did you know that state bar associations provide legal resources for members?    

Coverage varies from bar to bar, but paying those annual membership dues can get you access to legal research services such as Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw, and Versuslaw.   

Greg Lambert has provided an interactive map (at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog) that shows what service you can expect to find provided by your state bar.  The Georgetown Law Library blog points out that the underlying data for this map “comes from a more detailed matrix of bar benefits that describes such benefits as mentor and ethics resources.”  Check it out!  

Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw, and Versuslaw are all Web-based legal research services that are available by subscription.  While not providing the depth and breadth of coverage as Lexis and Westlaw (nor the bells and whistles), they are low-cost legal research alternatives.  

Fastcase includes primary law from all 50 states as well as federal case law back to 1 U.S. 1, 1 F.2d 1, 1 F.Supp. 1, and 1 B.R. 1.  Use Fastcase to find court rules, legal forms, search PACER and newspapers.   

Casemaker contains state and federal case law, statutes, regulations, attorney general opinions and other resource materials used daily in the practice of law.    

Loislaw, in addition to having primary law for all 50 states and federal jurisdictions, has a public records database and a database of practice-specific treatises and state-specific treatises and legal forms.   

Versuslaw offers access to archived and current opinions from state, federal and Native American tribal courts, as well as the U.S. Code, CFR, and specialty practice collections.  Versuslaw also has an a-la-carte database of U.S. Legal forms.

Be sure to check out each service’s website for more detailed information on content coverage, searching, citators, training and webinars, free demos, iPhone apps, and more.

U.K. Treaties Online

The Treaty Section of the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently launched a database of information on more than 14,000 treaties relating to the U.K.  The database is called UK Treaties Online.  Coverage is from 1835 to the present, and information provided for each treaty includes treaty type, date of adoption, depositary, date of entry into force, publication reference, and participant status.  All of these data points are also searchable in the database, as are country-of-opposite party, date and place of signature, treaty type, and boolean combinations of title words.  The records allow one to answer questions such as the following: does the U.K. have an extradition treaty with India?; are bats protected by treaty, and if so, how many country parties are there?; what countries does the U.K. have a prisoner transfer agreements with?; what are the correct titles for the “Aarhus Protocols” on climate change?  The database is updated weekly, although the F.C.O. does not guarantee that new information is added within a definite timescale, and for multilateral treaties suggests that researchers contact depositaries concerned for up-to-date information on paraticipant status.  The F.C.O. also warns that information for early 19th century treaties may not be complete. Full Story »

Changes in Legal Research

There are several changes in the legal research world, either taking place now or on the horizon.  Maybe the biggest is that Westlaw is now touting a new interface, WestlawNext.  It hasn’t been released to law schools yet, but there is talk that next school year students will have access to it.  It claims to be more “Google-like,” with one search box to do everything.  You can even do combinations of terms and connectors and natural language searches in the same box. 

Lexis is also making some changes.  LexisNexis Academic already looks pretty different, and there is word that Lexis is teaming with Microsoft to add legal research functionality to Microsoft products like your word processor, browser, etc.  There are also rumors that Lexis is revamping its main interface.

In addition to these changes in the major products, there have been changes to several smaller products, and according to the ABA Journal we can also look forward to the entrance of Bloomberg on the scene, and Google offering more legal research oriented tools.  The world of legal research is changing rapidly!  The Law Library will, of course, be on top of all these changes, and we will be happy to tell you what we know about proposed changes, or to help you navigate new interfaces.

ALR International

The American Law Reports (A.L.R.) series has recently added a new title, ALR International.  This new title is intended to collect and analyze U.S. and foreign cases from both English and non-English-language jurisdictions on topics of international importance.  So far one volume has been published, and is available in Westlaw in its own file (i.e., not in the A.L.R. file).  For the most part, annotations involve the construction and application of various important multilateral treaties, such as the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCP), and the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters, to name several. Full Story »

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