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The Indiana Law Library Blog

Top State Government Websites

One of the best places to go when you are doing basic, state-level research, are state government websites.  Usually government websites are pretty good, but they all have their strengths and weaknesses.  Recently, Marc Holzer, Aroon Manoharan, Robert Shick, and Genie Stowers took stock of those strengths and weaknesses in the U.S. States E-Governance Report (2008)—An Assessment of State Government Websites. The report evaluates state government websites based on content, security, and usability.  The Indiana State website is a very useful resource, and in fact it ranks fifth on the list of overall best (After Maine, Oregon, Utah, and South Carolina).  We are first in the Midwest.  Take a look!  If you ever find yourself needing to look for state information, it’s good to know what kind of resources you have available to you.

Thanks to the beSpacific blog for posting this.

Lawyers in Your Living Room!

When you have a spare minute to watch a movie, the Law Library does have a collection of movies.  We try to collect movies that have something to do with the law-a courtroom scene, or a lawyer main character.  We will also take suggestions if you can think of any important movies that we are missing.  It is always interesting to see how lawyers are portrayed in popular culture.  We’ve all heard countless lawyer jokes, but many fictional lawyers do get to be more than the stereotype. 

The ABA released a book fairly recently about lawyers on TV called Lawyers in Your Living Room! Law on Television.  It looks like a pretty entertaining introduction to how television shapes the public’s image of the legal profession.  Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for pointing the book out.

Interested in the Sotomayor Hearings?

You can follow them live on C-Span.  Or there is also live blogging from the New York Times.  Law.com has a write up of yesterday’s proceedings.  Legal Times is also twittering about the hearings.

A Guide for OneLs–Books on Law School

With one week down for our summer starters, and many other new law students getting ready to come in the fall, we though that you might be looking for some good preparatory reading material.  Everyone had different ideas on the best books that you should read to get ready for your law school career, so we have a few different lists to consider. A few years ago the Volokh Conspiracy asked for readers to suggest the best books for people starting law school.  The list includes books that are intended for 1Ls, leisure books, and even some magazines.  Lawschooldiscussion.org has a page devoted to pre-law books and branches out into pre-law movies. LawVibe has a top ten books list as well.  There are also multiple user lists on Amazon with good suggestions, like this one, this one, or this one.

There are lots of good resources out there for starting your law school career.  Take a look at the lists, pick a book or two, but also remember not to worry yourself too much.  There is a reason that Volokh contributors suggested fun books as well as serious ones.

HeinOnline Webinar

HeinOnline, the best place to go for journals and law reviews and many other sources, is offering periodical webinars on their resources.  Next Wednesday they will be hosting a course on using Hein for the Code of Federal Regulations.  It never hurts to be up to date on how to use legal research tools, so if you would like to register for this new webinar (at either 10AM or 2PM), or view the previous one, check out the HeinOnline Weblog.

Morality and Politics

Everyone has their own place on the political spectrum, and we are all right.  But what are the factors that influence us to one side of the spectrum or the other?  Are there consistent differences between conservatives and liberals?  YourMorals.org is a website put together by five social psychologists to study the relationship between politics and morals.  There are numerous quizzes that test your values and opinions, and then compare your answers to other test takers-often by which political ideology they self-identify with.  Do you care more about fairness or loyalty?  Would you be more disgusted by watching an autopsy, or someone eat ice cream with ketchup?  What kind of sports do you prefer? Are you traditional or progressive when it comes to justice?  All these questions go in to giving you your political ideals.  The scientists set up the tests, hypothesize about the answers, and collect the data.  You will have to register, but it’s free, interesting, and helpful.  And you might be surprised what traits are identified with what politics, or to find that your ideas may not always be in line with the political party you expect.

Welcome New Students!

Today we are fortunate to be welcoming more than fifty new students, just embarking on their law school career.  Today new students have orientation, and their first torts class.  Tomorrow we encourage them to look in on the financial aid and computer sessions.  Welcome to Indiana Law, summer starters!  You will tour the library today, and remember that we will be here to help you any time you should want to drop by!

Happy Independence Day!

Today we celebrate the founding of the United States with food, flags, and fireworks.  We hope that you are having a safe and happy holiday, where ever you may be. As with many holidays, there is lots of good information available for the interested at the U.S. government website, USA.gov.  You can see important founding documents, make presidential recipes, learn about the U.S. flag, get safety tips, find the biggest fireworks displays in the country, and more.  More locally, you can check the local Herald-Times website for a map on where you can find fireworks displays in South Central Indiana. And don’t forget the parade!  You can find the route at the City of Bloomington website.  Have a wonderful Forth, all!

New Laws for the New (Fiscal) Year

July 1st is the traditional effective date for most new laws in Indiana.  This year Gov. Daniels signed about 180 bills into law.  The law that has been getting the most press, of course, is the state budget, which was came so close to the deadline for passage that some people were worried that there would be a state government shutdown.  It did pass, late yesterday.  There are other interesting laws newly minted today, though.  One of the big ones that is that teenagers may now no longer use their cell phones while driving, unless it is an emergency call. Other laws address school discipline, protections for homeowners, identity theft, feticide, and puppy mills, among others.  You can get highlights of the new laws from the IndyStar, the Tristate Homepage, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, or Indiana’s News Center.  If you are feeling particularly ambitious you could head over to IN.gov to look at their information on the new budget. Or just look at the IndyStar’s break down of biggest winners and losers.