Primary Navigation

BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

« Previous Entries

Next Entries »

New United States Code Website

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives has created a new online version of the United States Code.  Key features, including a new search engine and an expanding “Table of Contents” style browse of the Code, are described here.

Additionally, the Law Librarians of Congress have blogged about the beta site at In Custodia Legis.  So as not to reinvent the wheel, I’ll link to their blog post about the new version of the USC here.

FYI…note the new Title 51 (National and Commercial Space Programs)!

LexisNexis Congressional: New Name and New Content


LexisNexis Congressional has been renamed ProQuest Congressional.

Back in December 2010, ProQuest acquired several products from LexisNexis, including LexisNexis Congressional and LexisNexis Statistical Insight (now renamed ProQuest Statistical Insight).

New Content

We now have access to a new collection of digital content on Proquest Congressional: 

House and Senate Unpublished Hearings Digital Archive, Part A (1973-1979).

Want to know more about Unpublished Hearings?

ProQuest publishes many useful guides on their products and content, including this background information on unpublished hearings:

  • Not all congressional hearings are published. Each committee makes its own decision regarding which hearings are to be published. A committee may decide not to publish a hearing because it contains classified or sensitive information, or because it pertains to private or other legislation deemed to be not of great interest to the public at large, or simply because committee budget or workload considerations preclude the publication. The committee does not have to justify its decision not to publish.
  • The transcripts of unpublished hearings are transferred to the National Archives. Senate hearings generally remain closed for 20 years, and House hearings remain closed for 30 years. Hearings that contain classified or sensitive material generally remain closed for 50 years.
  • When they are released, unpublished hearings are not normally published by the committees, although in unusual circumstances they may be. For example, the transcripts of the Senate Government Operations Committee Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations 1953 hearings to investigate alleged espionage and subversive activities were published as a Government Operations Committee print in 2003.

You can access ProQuest Congressional and ProQuest Statistical Insight from the Law Library’s Online Resources page.  Please see a reference librarian if you need assistance with ProQuest Congressional or any other database!

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 »

« Previous Entries

Next Entries »