In an earlier blog post I described two commercial databases that support comparative constitutional law research, Constitutions of the Countries of the World and World Constitutions Illustrated. Now there is a new, open-access resource that permits comparative constitutional analysis as well, Google’s Constitute database.
Constitute allows the user to to identify and locate relevant text passages in most of the world’s constitutions by searching one of more of the more than 300 topics, such as “right to privacy.” The topics are listed in the expandable drawer on the left of the page. Alternatively, the user can see suggested topics while typing in the search bar (which also lets you perform free-text queries). It is also possible to filter results to include constitutions of a specific region, country, or time period, by using the buttons under the search bar. Finally, it is possible to download or print excerpts from multiple constitutions, by clicking the “pin” button next to each expanded passage you want to save. You can then view and download your pinned excerpts in the drawer on the right.
Alternatively, it is also possible to search Constitute by country. This is the option you would use to retrieve the entire constitution of a specific jurisdiction. Having retrieved the entire constitution, you can then choose to view it in HTML or to download a PDF of the document.
Constitute does not include historical constitutions or commentary about the constitutions included. However, it is a powerful search engine that facilitates quick comparisons of different constitutions. It also makes it possible to determine quickly how many constitutions have language on any given topic. Not bad for a free database!
Posted by Ralph Gaebler
| December 19th, 2013 | 0 comments
The end of the semester brings both the fervent anticipation of the holidays and the anxiety of looming exams. As you finalize (or perhaps begin) your course outlines, let’s talk about some of the resources at the Law Library you might find useful for exam preparation.
The Law Library has long kept a file of past exams for students to peruse as they prepare for finals. You can find an electronic version of the exam file on our website under Study Aids; because it is a resource from our professors for our students, this file is password-protected. Stop by the Circulation Desk or Reference Office to obtain the password. We also maintain a paper file of past exams, which you can check out on 4-hour loan from the Circulation Desk. (Whether to submit past exams for the exam file is up to the discretion of each professor.)
CALI, Computer Assisted Legal Instruction, hosts a long list of electronic tutorials on a variety of legal subjects. These lessons are written by professors, and can therefore be a powerful study aid for almost any course. You can access CALI from the Law Library website, under Study Aids. CALI is a subscription-based product, so you will need to stop by the Reference Office to obtain the password for our subscription; upon completing the initial log-in, you will be able to create your own username and password.
Hornbooks & Nutshells
Hornbooks resemble casebooks and offer an in-depth discussion of a particular legal subject. Nutshells, as the name suggests, are smaller study aids that offer a quicker overview of a legal subject. Our collection contains a large number of hornbooks and nutshells, covering a wide array of legal subjects. The most current editions can be found at the Circulation Desk. During the regular semester, these check out for 24-hour periods; during exams the loan period will be reduced to a 4-hour loan to accommodate the high use of these materials as exam preparatory aids. You may also be able to find older editions of these materials in the stacks on the second and third floor; hornbooks and nutshells located in the stacks circulate for the traditional 30-day loan period. To see a list of the hornbooks and nutshells we own, refer to the binder kept at the end of the Circulation Desk (near the Reference Office).
Extended Library Hours
Much of what you need for finals preparation is simply time; we try to help with that by giving you extended exam hours at the Law Library:
Saturday December 7 8 a.m. to midnight
Sunday December 8 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Mon-Fri December 9-13 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday December 14 7:30 a.m. to midnight
Sunday December 15 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Mon-Thur December 16-19 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Friday December 20 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Posted by Ashley Ahlbrand
| November 27th, 2013 | 0 comments
The 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th U.S. President, is November 22, 1963. To commemorate this anniversary, I’d like to highlight some important government documents and research resources related to President Kennedy.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration) is located in Boston, Massachusetts and its website can be found at http://www.jfklibrary.org/. The museum is open to the public for tours and, according to the website, “Students and scholars can also arrange to conduct research using our collection of historical materials chronicling mid-20th century politics and the life and administration of John F. Kennedy.” The website features the following information and resources: biographical information on John F. and Jacqueline B. Kennedy and the Kennedy family; Historic speeches; Historical context; Media Gallery; Interactive Exhibits; Information on research collections and holdings, finding aids and research guides; and Educational Resources for Teachers and Students.
The Government Printing Office (GPO) recently published the official, digital version of the Warren Commission Report on the agency’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). “The commission Full Story »
Posted by Jennifer Morgan
| November 18th, 2013 | 0 comments
On the slate for this year’s Supreme Court term is a case out of Indiana, Sandifer v. United States Steel Corporation, discussing whether steel workers should be paid for the time it takes to put on and remove their work clothing. Oral arguments occurred on Monday and have already garnered some enthusiastic responses, so we thought we’d share a little more information about and coverage of the case.
Summaries of the facts and arguments of the case:
7th Circuit Opinion (678 F.3d 590 (2012))
The main issues:
|Clarity of Fair Labor Standards Act, §203(o), or “What are ‘clothes’?”
|Clothing of steel workers should be exempted from this provision because of its protective nature, functioning more as a tool than as something to cover the body
||Such an exemption would make 203(o) confusing and difficult to enforce
|Labor unions have the power to bargain over issues of wages, hours, and working conditions and those agreements should be upheld
||The steel workers already had a collective bargaining agreement in place that could have covered this, so they must already be getting some benefit as a concession, and straying from that agreement would harm the collective bargaining process
Posted by Ashley Ahlbrand
| November 8th, 2013 | 0 comments
In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I’d share some Halloween-related state laws with you:
Laws about the wearing of masks in public places:
- Louisiana – La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 14:313
- Oklahoma – Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, 1301
- Food laws pertaining to Halloween:North Carolina – N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. 14-401.11
Laws restricting certain conduct on Halloween:
- Missouri – Mo. Ann. Stat. 589.426 (** Ruled unconstitutional by F.R. v. St. Charles County Sheriff’s Dept., 301 S.W.3d 56)
Special Legally-Declared State Holidays:
- New Jersey – N.J. Stat. Ann. 36:2-72 (declaring Halloween/Oct. 31st UNICEF Day)
Laws on the Spending Powers of Counties, pertaining to Halloween and other festivities:
- Wisconsin – Wis. Stat. Ann. 59.56
Laws related to the behavior of sex offenders and violent offenders on Halloween:
- Florida – Fla. Stat. Ann. 947.1405, 948.30
- Illinois – 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/3-3-7, 5/5-6-3 et seq., 5/11-9.3, 152/122, and 154/105
- Louisiana – La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 14:313.1
Laws related to parenting timelines for holidays (including Halloween):
- Utah – Utah Code Ann. 30-3-35
- (Many other jurisdictions also include Halloween in parenting guidelines, usually in the form of appendices to the code or court rules.
Posted by Ashley Ahlbrand
| October 31st, 2013 | 1 Comment »
Starting tonight, the Law Library’s Evening Workshop Series continues. Our sessions this week (October 21st – 24th) will be dedicated to: Researching Statutes in Print.
Don’t let your upcoming LRW assignment *spook* you! This workshop is exclusively for 1Ls and will cover the location of law library’s state codes, statutory search strategies, and will be chock full o’ tips, not tricks.
There are four sessions available:
When: 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm, October 21st-24th. *Each will cover the same material.*
Where: Law Library’s lobby (in front of the Circulation Desk)
If you have questions about this workshop, please contact the Reference Office for more information. You can call us at (812) 855-2938 or — better yet — stop by and ask us about it. We hope to see you this week!
Posted by Michelle Botek
| October 21st, 2013 | 0 comments
Among the Library’s database are some hidden gems. These databases are rarely used by any but the most adventurous patrons, yet they contain information that would be ideal for just the right research project. One such database is the Szladits’ Bibliography of Foreign and Comparative Law, available in HeinOnline’s Parker School Library, and which covers the years 1790-1990. Szladits’ Bibliography is an annotated index of English-language books, chapters, and articles on comparative and foreign law subjects. It thus differs from the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, which began publication at a later date (1960), indexes articles mostly in non-English languages, and is unannotated.
The main entries in the Szladits’ Bibliography are organized in a systematic subject arrangement. To search for articles on judicial review in Israel, for example, you would retrieve the Public Law portion of the index, then modify your search to include the terms “judicial review” and “Israel.” This would retrieve citations to all books, chapters, and articles published on the topic during the years covered by the index volume searched.
The online version of Szladits’ Bibliography only goes up through 1990. However, to update your research beyond that date, you can also search the printed volumes for subsequent years, available in the Library on the Periodical Index Table near the computer Lab (K38 .S9). The printed index currently runs through 1998, so it too is 15 years out of date; but no source is perfect.
There are many other titles in the Parker School Library that might interest those researching comparative law topics. The next time you have ten minutes to spare, browse the titles to see what’s available. Szladits’ Bibliography is the last title listed in the Library, but in this case last is definitely not least. For those interested in comparative law, Szladits’ offers a treasure trove of annotated citations to books, chapters, and articles of interest.
Posted by Ralph Gaebler
| October 10th, 2013 | 0 comments
You’ve used our collection to help you prepare for class or research a paper, but did you that we have several books in our collection on technology too?
Google Gmail and Calendar in One Hour for Lawyers – KF 320 .A9 L48 2013
iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers – KF 320 .A9 M45 2012
iPad in One Hour for Lawyers – KF 320 .A9 M48 2012
iPad in One Hour for Litigators – KF 320 .A9 M485 2013
Android Apps in One Hour for Lawyers – KF 320 .A9 S55 2013
Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers – KF 320 .I57 C67 2012
Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers – KF 320 .I57 K46 2012
Blogging in One Hour for Lawyers – KF 320 .I57 S88 2012
I know, looking at some of these titles, you might be thinking that you already know how these technologies work, so these books aren’t for you. However, even for a technology you’ve been using for years, these books offer a great new perspective for you – how (and, equally importantly, how not) to use these technologies as an attorney. These books cover not only the features of the technology, but also ethical rules regarding the use of these types of technologies by attorneys, real-life examples and cautionary tales, and more.
As you prepare for job interviews, whether for summer clerkships or post-graduation, you will be faced with technologies, some of which will be familiar, and others that will not. In some ways, the familiar technologies can pose more of a risk, because you will need to find new ways to approach them to avoid ethical mishaps. Being aware of these technologies and how attorneys are using them could very well benefit you in an interview or as you start your new job.
And if you’re still not convinced that these books are worth your time, you could always consult the ABA’s 2012 Legal Technology Survey Report to see what technologies attorneys, from solo practitioners to Big Law, utilize on a regular basis (KF 320 .A9 L43 2012.) From advertising to client communication to competitive intelligence, these social networks and newer technologies come into play in law practice more often than you’d think.
And although I know class work keeps you busy enough without having to crack another book, don’t worry – these books fairly live up to their name – they can generally be digested in around an hour. You can find them on the third floor of the library. Happy reading.
Posted by Ashley Ahlbrand
| September 24th, 2013 | 0 comments
Okay, it’s not Hump Day, but it is Constitution Day! Libraries, schools, and academic institutions across the country are celebrating the anniversary of the adoption of the United States Constitution (September 17, 1787) through a variety of activities. For our own contribution, we thought we’d highlight a few resources for researching the U.S. Constitution.
Hot off the presses, a new app from the Library of Congress: U.S. Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation – first and foremost a print resource for understanding the provisions of the Constitution and its amendments, the app form reads like an e-book, but in a very searchable format. If you do much research in constitutional law, you may find this app to be a very helpful resource. Like most government apps, this app is free. It’s currently available for iOS only, but the Android version is in development.
Not a mobile device user? No worries – this resource is also available online from Congress.gov (Constitution Annotated).
If you are researching the U.S. Constitution, there are a few other databases you should know about as well. In HeinOnline, you may want to check out World Constitutions Illustrated. As the title suggests, this resource gives you access to a number of nations’ constitutions, including the United States. Here you will find the Constitution, other founding documents, commentaries, scholarly articles, and a bibliography of other resources. Expanding on this theme, we have several other constitution databases, including Constitutions of Dependencies and Territories Online, Constitutions of the Countries of the World, and Constitutions of the United States: National and State.
Finally, if you want to journey into the world of scholarly blogging, you may want to check out Justia’s list of popular Constitutional Law Blawgs. Happy researching, and as always, stop by the Reference Office if you have any questions!
Posted by Ashley Ahlbrand
| September 17th, 2013 | 0 comments
Starting this year the Law Library will be offering evening workshops on a variety of subjects. Next week we’ll have sessions on using the new IUCAT effectively.
- New to IUCAT, the library’s online catalog?
- Familiar with IUCAT, but want to learn how to search the catalog more proficiently?
- Expert at IUCAT Classic, but inexperienced with the new layout?
No matter your level of experience, consider attending one of the Law Library’s evening workshops, all about IUCAT:
Monday, September 9th, room 121
Tuesday, September 10th, room 121
Wednesday, September 11th, room 125
Thursday, September 12th, room 125
Each session will run from 7:30-8 PM
If you have questions about this workshop, contact the Reference Office for more information, (812) 855-2938, or drop by and ask us about it!
Posted by Cindy Dabney
| September 4th, 2013 | 0 comments