I love HeinOnline. It’s a must-have for all academic legal research. With that said, there are still a few minor things I’ve learned to work around to make my research experience better. One of these is the functionality of “view all matching text pages.” Let me explain.
When researchers run a search in HeinOnline’s law journal database (or any other database), the search results show the title and citation information of the articles, but not the excerpts from the articles that have your terms. These can be displayed by clicking “view all matching text pages,” like I’ve done here.
I can think of very few times when I have not viewed all matching text pages, so I’d prefer to have this display be the default like it is in Westlaw/Lexis. Once “view all matching text pages” is clicked, however, Hein’s display is superior to Westlaw/Lexis because it shows hits on all pages where your term is found. Westlaw/Lexis only show a few examples of where your terms are found.
Once you have your search results, the next step is to look more closely at a specific article that looks relevant. When I began using Hein I would click on the article, review it and then go back to my search results. One of my pet peeves was that when I went back to my search results, “view all matching text pages” was no longer active and I had to “view all matching text pages” again. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it would get me out of my research rhythm, especially since the matching text pages take a little while to load.
Eventually I figured out a way around this problem and many of you have probably discovered it too. Now if I want to open an article and look at it, I right click on it and open it in a new tab. Then when I’m done with it I can close it out and still have “view all matching text pages” working for me in my original tab. It’s a small workaround, but has sped up my research with Hein. Hopefully it will help you too.
Researching tax law can be tough. We’re lucky enough here to have a law librarian, Dennis Sears, who is a tax research expert. To help tax law researchers, Prof. Sears has created and maintains a Taxation Law Subject Guide that is extremely helpful. It points researchers to a variety of print and electronic sources in the different areas of tax law. This subject guide has been so helpful to BYU Law students and others that it has been viewed over 5,000 times in the past year. If you need to research tax law, this is a great place to start.
This and other subject guides created by our law librarians are available here.
As school was coming to an end I blogged about student access to Westlaw/Lexis/Bloomberg for the summer. While the access to Lexis and Bloomberg is wide open, some of you may not have access to Westlaw this summer. Some of you may also be in firms that don’t use any of the more expensive legal research systems. If you’re looking to go back to those firms, it would be a good idea to get familiar with the types of legal research systems that they’re using.
Free and low-cost legal research systems have been around for a while, but there seems to have been an uptick in their use over the past few years. I think there are two main reasons for that. First, the recession caused law firms to look for ways to cut costs and many firms were forced to look at alternatives to Westlaw/Lexis. From that time until now, many of the free/low-cost alternatives have improved and some, like Google Scholar, were created. All of this has led to more firms using these sources more often. I know of one firm, for example, that has cut their Westlaw contract and uses Google Scholar for its case law research. Many others use the resources, like Casemaker or Fastcase, that are offered by their Bar Association.
With all that said, it’s important to be familiar with free and low-cost resources and what they can offer (as well as what they lack). Here’s a guide we’ve created that has links to a number of free and low-cost sources, as well as some additional information on using these sources. We hope it will help you get familiar with some of these sources this summer.
The Law Library has recently subscribed to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Armed Conflicts Database. This database monitors current conflicts worldwide, “focusing on political, military and humanitarian trends in current conflicts, whether they are local rebellions, long-term insurgencies, civil wars or inter-state conflicts.” Currently there are 41 armed conflicts occurring across the world. This database provides news, information, and statistics on each. For example, researchers can get a brief summary of the conflict in Libya and see a number of news events surrounding the conflict that occurred last month. Researchers can also see that there have been 31,078 fatalities in this conflict since 2011. This database will be especially useful for students who take Prof. Jensen’s Law of Armed Conflicts class.
Here are a few construction pictures from last week.
100,000 downloads. That was the milestone our digital repository hit last week. Pretty impressive if you ask us. The Howard W. Hunter Law Library Digital Collections, which debuted at the end of last summer, provides free access to a number of documents, including the complete archive of the Brigham Young University Law Review, the Journal of Public Law, the Education Law Journal and the Int’l Law and Management Review. Digital Collections also has a large collection of Utah State Briefs that are added to daily, as well as other law school publications like the Clark Memorandum and the 3 volumes of the Life in the Law series.
Recently we’ve added a wonderful download map that shows what documents are being downloaded and from where. Watching the balls drop can be addicting. In the last few minutes we’ve had downloads of a BYU Law Review article from Shijazhuang, China, a UT Court of Appeals brief from Portland, Oregon, an Education and Law Journal article from Montreal, Canada, and a BYU Law Review article from Syracuse, New York. The page resets when it’s opened, but leave it there for a few minutes and you’ll start to see the downloads.
The interior of the Law School is undergoing construction this summer, but the law library remains open. Our summer hours are 8am-6pm Mon.-Sat. The entrance into the library from the East parking lot has moved slightly, but there are signs to lead you in. Reference assistance is still available by multiple means and we’re happy to help if you have research questions. Currently demolition is going on in the area that used to house Career Services. Here’s what it looks like:
The Write-On is winding down and externships and jobs will soon be starting up. Just because you’ll be gone for the summer doesn’t mean the library will abandon you. This is the time for you to put those legal research skills into practice and we’re here to help if you need us. The reference desk will be staffed 8-6 M-F and 9-5 Sat. Feel free to give us a call at 801-422-6658. Also there is an “Ask a Librarian” link on the Law Library webpage that will give you the option of emailing or chatting with a law librarian. We hope to hear from you!
Finals are over! Congrats! Now that “summer” is here, it’s time to answer a question that I get often throughout the school year. Can students use Westlaw or Lexis during their summer work? The answer is that it depends. Each legal research vendor has its own policies on what summer accounts can be used for during the summer. These rules have relaxed quite a bit over the last few years, so many of you will be able to use at least some of your student accounts for research this summer.
With that said, let me make a plug for not always using your student account. Let’s say you’re working for a small firm that you’d like to work for after graduation that only uses Casemaker. Casemaker is a Utah Bar member benefit, so Utah attorneys have access to it for “free.” Using your Westlaw or Lexis student account isn’t going to give you the practice you need to perform the research on Casemaker that you’ll have to do if you get hired. Just a thought.
Lexis Advance – Student accounts can be used for any type of research this summer.
Bloomberg Law – Student accounts can be used for any type of research this summer.
WestlawNext – Student accounts can be extended over the summer for summer classes, law review and journal work, projects for a professor, Moot Court, and unpaid externships for school credit. The caveat to externships is that you can’t use your student account if the firm is going to bill your client for the research that you’re performing. To extend your password and see a more detailed explanation of when your student account can be used, see this page (you’ll have to sign in first). Contact our Westlaw rep, Jeff Brandimarte (email@example.com) with further questions.
I’ll post more soon about ways the library can help over the summer.
Westlaw recently announced that they will be retiring Westlaw Classic for law school accounts on July 1, 2014. WestlawNext will then be the only Westlaw platform available to the law school community. This timetable applies only to law school accounts, so it’s still possible that students and new graduates will see Westlaw Classic at their jobs even after July 1.