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The Indiana Law Library Blog

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New County Resource from the State Government

The State of Indiana has created a new resource to let Hoosiers know what State government is doing in every Indiana county. This interactive map – What’s Happening in My County?, which lives on Governor Daniels’ homepage, contains data back to 2005 and will be frequently updated. Projects slated for the future, like the Governor’s Major Moves (road construction) initiative, are included as well. A layering feature allows you to select up to six categories to view at one time.

Color-coded pins show locations where economic development projects and Major Moves (road construction) projects have been initiated. You can also see where grants and contracts have been awarded within the county. Additional pins signify trips made to your county by the Governor, activities in the county that involved State Representatives, and visits the Governor made with soldiers from your county during his trip to Iraq.

You can also find other basic information about your county, such as statistical information or links to city, town, school corporations, local government, and community web sites.

Thanks to the Indiana State Library for the heads-up!

A Guide for OneLs–Befriend the Natives!

We really are closing in on the beginning of school, and some future law students are probably getting pretty worried.  Law school is not all that different from any other school, but there are always things that you can do to make your experience better. One of those things is to make friends with some second and third year law students.  More experienced students will already know secrets about effective study habits, which water fountains are the coldest, and what professors are best for particular subjects.

Everyone will have a different law school experience, but it is always good to get the thoughts of someone else–and remember, the first contacts that you have in the professional world will be the people that you meet in law school.

Celebrity Deaths

The recent deaths of Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes, and Sandy Allen bring to mind the old saying that celebrity deaths come in threes.  This is exactly the sort of saying that seems too random to be true, but once you have heard the saying you cannot help but notice that celebrities do seem to be dying in threes.

Of course it’s not particularly true.  Someone over at Cockeyed Science took the time to run an experiment a couple years back, but the mind does work in mysterious ways.

In any case, rest in peace, Mr. Mac, Mr. Hayes, Ms. Allen–you will be missed.

Thoughts on Blogs

Blogging has really taken over the world.  Starting a blog here at the library has really given us cause to think about blogging itself and the many purposes that it serves.  It’s a good way to keep up with your friends, of course, but it is also becoming more and more important in the professional world.

Many major law firms now have blogs, as do legal experts in particular fields.  Blogs can let law students interact with the finest minds in the legal system.  It lets scholars talk and debate in a very public forum.  It lets you look good when you go in for an interview and mention the most recent firm blog entry.

Blogs are also good marketing.  Here at the Law Library, in addition to reading the top law librarian blogs (oh, there are several!) we also like to try to keep track of the top legal publisher blogs.  The HeinOnline blog offers several useful searching tips. The West blog tries to offer news and advice for lawyers–with a West bent, of course.

That’s always the catch.  Blogs are subject to the opinion and aims of their authors, so it’s always important to make sure that you know who the news is coming from.  But, the next time you find yourself needing to do a little unofficial research, you might consider trying the blogosphere.  There are a lot of people in the know out there.

But it really was a dark and stormy night!

The annual Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest results are out.  These intrepid souls collect submissions for the worst potential first lines of novels.  It’s worth a look if you are not familiar with the contest.

Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for reminding us!

Carrel Sign Up

Coming up soon, in early September, the circulation desk will be the place to sign up for a carrel in the law library.

Carrels are not as essential as they used to be in law school, as there is now a great deal of information that can be accessed online from the comfort of home.  However, it can still be very nice to have a place of your own in the library, where you can leave books and study in an atmosphere conducive to scholarly work.

If you would like to claim a carrel you”ll get your chance soon!  3Ls, SJDs, LLMs, and MCLs get the first chance to sign up, on Tuesday Sept. 2nd, followed by 2Ls on the 3rd, 1Ls on the 4th.  We have a first come, first serve policy, so if you are interested in a carrel you should claim it as early as possible on the appropriate date–the line opens each morning at 7:30.

A Guide for OneLs–Terminology

Brush up on the language.  Law frequently has terminology all its own, and it can be of great help to know the basic legal terms.  Black’s Law Dictionary is the best, and that is available on Westlaw, but if you really just want to know in a pinch you might try looking here or here.

Free Legal Research Online

Don’t be tied to West and Lexis–they are the best, but they are also really expensive.  For those out in the field remember that there are a lot of other places to go!  A few examples–PLoL, Findlaw, LexisOne, Indiana Government websites, PreCYdent, and AltLaw.  Over the next few weeks we’ll talk a little about each one of these resources here at the BLAWg.  Stay tuned!

Casemaker X–Facebook for Law Schools

Casemaker is a legal database that gets its fees not from individual users but from state bar association members.  Once your state bar joins the consortium (for a fee, of course) all bar members get access to Casemaker.  The Indiana State Bar is a member.  However they are now trying to get lawyers hooked early, with their new product Casemaker X. It’s a legal social networking site–similar to Facebook, but with a more serious bent.  In theory you could find a job there, and obviously make contacts.  Maybe the most interesting thing, though, is that you get access to Casemaker.   And to Casemaker Medical. It’s always good to know your resources, and this is a nice way to get to play around for free.

Some of librarians here at IU already have accounts–if you do decide to join up please befriend us!  Check it out here.

Props to Jennifer Morgan

Jennifer’s State Legislative History Research Guides on the Web research guide is so good that you may have read about it in the Legal Research in a Nutshell.  More recently, however, it was picked up by the blog at Harvard Law School, the University of Minnesota, and again on the Law Librarian Blog.  Excellent blogs all, with good taste in research guides!

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