We've begun final examinations, which means there are restrictions on who can use the law library throughout the final exam period. Most notably, we do not allow law students from other ABA-accredited schools to use the law library at this time. Also, USF undergraduates and students from other USF graduate programs are not permitted to use the law library unless they are doing legal research and need access to the law library collection. Our full access policy can be found here.
If you're interested in reading some of the case law dealing with haunted houses, try this advanced search in the source "State Cases" on WestlawNext:
SY,DI(haunt! or poltergeist /p residence or home or house)
If you are not familiar with synopsis/digest searches yet, you should make them part of your research strategy when you're trying to locate relevant case law quickly and efficiently. A synopsis/digest search, or "sy/di search," searches only West Topic and Key Number descriptions, headnote text, and the synopsis text (the editorial summary that appears at the beginning of a case). Using a sy/di search can help you eliminate cases that only briefly mention the legal concepts you're searching for (like footnote references or parentheticals). You can use the advanced search menu to format your synopsis/digest search or just use the search query format shown above.
Duke Law Library developed a useful map displaying the legal research services offered to members by state bar associations across the nation. Of course, for California lawyers, it's not so handy, because the State Bar of California is one of three bar associations that has the distinction of offering nothing in the way of free or low-cost legal research services to its members, such as Casemaker or Fastcase.
We use the law library computer lab more frequently these days because all of the law librarians teach semester-long courses throughout the year. We also use the lab for research guest lectures for other professors' classes. To make it easier for students, we print a weekly schedule and post it on the front door of the lab (the door closest to the printer room), which displays exactly when the lab is reserved for classes throughout the week. You can check the schedule before you settle in for a long study session to be sure that you won't be interrupted by an incoming class.
The August 2013 newsletter for the SF Public Library just announced that SFPL is now "sharing information about its online resources with Google Scholar." If you have a SFPL borrowing card, you have access to a wealth of online databases and resources, including JSTOR, Business Source Complete (EBSCO), online language tutorials, and others. Here's how you can easily see which articles in a Google Scholar search result are available at SFPL:
2) On the Google Scholar search page, click the link for "settings" in the upper-right of the screen.
3) On the left, select the link, "Library Links."
4) Type "San Francisco Public Library" in the search box and hit "enter."
5) Check the box next to "San Francisco Public Library," then click save.
6) Your Google Scholar search results will now display "SF Public Library" on the right hand side of all search results pages, which tells you which articles are available through SFPL.
Don't forget that if you are signed in to the USF campus network, many articles that appear on Google Scholar will be available to you through Gleeson or Zief online databases. Ask a librarian if you want some tips on how to access the full-text of articles that you locate through a Google Scholar search.
HeinOnline and Fastcase have teamed up to integrate content. In today's press release, the companies described their partnership as follows:
Under the agreement, Hein will provide federal and state case law to HeinOnline subscribers via inline hyperlinks powered by Fastcase. In addition, Fastcase will completely integrate HeinOnline’s extensive law review and historical state statute collection in search results, with full access available to Fastcase subscribers who additionally subscribe to Hein’s law review database.
According to the press release, these enhancements will roll out at the end of this summer. This is a great enhancement for both products!
Many law students and new attorneys will receive assignments that require learning about a client's business and its organization very, very quickly. What are some resources that can help you get up to speed? Westlaw Insider makes some recommendations in this post, and I heartily endorse reading SEC documents like the 10-K. Bloomberg Law offers very easy access to SEC documents for USF Law students (and lots of other valuable company information), and you can also access them for free at the SEC website. Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance also provide quick, free access to information (news, financials, historic stock prices, etc.) about both private and public companies. If you are a USF law student and need help with corporate research, ask us!
At the end of June, Lexis deactivated all USF Law Lexis.com usernames and passwords and now requires all academic users to sign in with a Lexis Advance ID and password. If you have questions about how to access Lexis materials following this transition, Lexis has furnished this YouTube video to guide you through the new process. The video also explains which lexis.com content is no longer available. You can always contact the USF Law Lexis representative to troubleshoot any Lexis access problems: Alicia Luchetti, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Westlaw representative, Mark Cygnet, just announced that Westlaw has decided to extend access to Westlaw for graduating students through November 2013. May 2013 graduates must extend their passwords on the Westlaw law school home page by May 30 -- if you don't extend by this date, you will not receive access through November. Here are more details:
Graduates who extend their password will receive access to WestlawNext and Westlaw Classic through November 2013 instead of just through July. The exact number of monthly access hours is not available, but is at least 40 hours per month.
Graduating students who have already extended their access don’t have to do anything further to get the extension through November. There’s a link to the extension site in an e-mail sent to graduating students. Students may also click the “Need Westlaw this Summer?” ad on lawschool.westlaw.com.