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The Indiana Law Library Blog

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More on the Financial Situation

Despite the House eventually passing a bailout bill, the stock market has continued to decline, not just in the U.S., but globally. European officials are now meeting to discuss possible financial plans, including more than doubling the bank deposit guarantee. In the mean time, there is a lot of discussion as to what effect this will have on us. The 700 billion dollars meant to steady the U.S. economy now looks pretty small compared to the financial panic that seems to be striking most of the world. Banks and other financial institutions are just beginning take steps to make things work, including a worldwide bank rate cut, so the next few weeks are going to be critical to the future economic landscape. Remember that one good place to watch the progress is the Times Topic for the financial crisis.

Court is Back in Session

The U.S. Supreme Court started a new session yesterday. If you are eager to hear about a particular decision, or just interested in keeping up with the doings of the court in general SCOTUSblog is a great place to go. It not only keeps you abreast of which cases are being heard, but also provides transcripts, analysis, and other interesting tidbits. Go check it out!

Legal Resources for the Election

Election Day is now less than a month away. If you are interested in knowing more about election law for this election, or in the U.S. in general there are some good options available to you.

First of all there are several good print resources. On display in our hall display case at the moment is a book called America Votes! by Benjamin Griffith. We also have a subscription to the Election Law Journal.

While you are online you might want to check out Westlaw’s new tab on election law. Or maybe poke around the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration’s website on election law, which has a huge collection of materials on past and present elections, and on the process in general.  If you are interested in local elections, you might check out the Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations website for information about candidates, and recorded debates.

Finally, remember that today is the last day you can register to vote. And the first day of early voting! If you want to make sure that you are registered to vote in Indiana, you can go here. If you are not, you download a registration form here, and then either mail it (it must be postmarked today) or you can bring it to the Justice Building down town before four o’clock today. Happy voting!

Legal Search Engines

According to Hitwise, Google accounts for as much as seventy percent of online searching. Google is growing constantly, but there are other search engines out there—some from bigger companies like Yahoo! and Microsoft, and also startups like Cuil.

Recently, though, some legal publishers have started branching out into the world of search engines. Both West and Lexis now offer search engines with a legal focus—Westlaw WebPlus and Lexis Web. The West product seems to require a Westlaw account, but the Lexis product looks to be free for the moment at least.

It is becoming more and more common to see people do legal research using only Google (with mixed results), so it is interesting to see that major legal publishing companies are trying to follow that trend. Both these products have one search box, for example, which is one of the reasons that people love Google. The Lexis and West products don’t just search case law and other specialized legal products, they search the web. They do, however, seem to be a lot more selective than Google, and their add-ons have a legal focus—for example, Lexis Web lets you narrow your results by legal topic, and Westlaw WebPlus produces a tag cloud of important terminology it found in your search.

If you are using Google for a lot of legal research, why not check out these new products to see how they work? Google is a great resource in a lot of ways, but it is always nice to use something that was designed specifically for legal research.

U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Reconsider Death Penalty Case

Earlier we reported on a blog entry that looked like it might cause the US Supreme Court to reconsider a recent case on the death penalty. Yesterday, however, the Supreme Court declined to revisit the decision, saying that they would add the existence of the missed precedent to the opinion, but that it would not actually affect the outcome.

For more, check out the New York Times article on the subject.

It’s Banned Books Week!

So halfway through Banned Books Week we thought that it would be a good idea to encourage you to take a look at one of the many books that have seen their share of trouble.

Several books are famous for the stir that they have caused, books like Harry Potter, Heather Has Two Mommies, and Lolita. However, many more unexpected books make it on to the ALA’s list of challenged books—for example Where’s Waldo, How to Eat Fried Worms, and A Light in the Attic.

Books are challenged for a variety of reasons (in Waldo’s case there was a small topless woman on one page) and by a variety of people. For more check out the ALA’s 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 and their statistics on who is challenging and why.

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