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August 30, 2011

Two Legal Journal Indexes Change Platforms - ILP and IFLP

In updating the "Legal Periodicals and Indexes" chapter of the upcoming edition of Fundamentals of Legal Research, I've done some digging into the details of two major indexes that will be changing platforms in the very near future: Index to Legal Periodicals and Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals.

  • Index to Legal Periodicals For many years, ILP has been managed by the H.W. Wilson Company but in 2011, Wilson merged with EBSCO Publishing.

    There are three electronic ILP products: Index to Legal Periodicals Full Text; Index to Legal Periodicals & Books; and Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective.

    - Index to Legal Periodicals Full Text indexes a 1,050 legal periodicals from 1982 to the present. Books are indexed beginning in 1994. Over 350 periodicals are also available in full text from 1994 to date.

    - Index to Legal Periodicals & Books presents the same indexing offered in Index to Legal Periodicals Full Text, but without links to full-text articles. The same journals are covered.

    - Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective indexes almost 900 legal periodicals from 1908-1981.

    Due to the merger with EBSCO, all three electronic ILP products will be moving from the WilsonWeb internet platform to the EBSCOhost platform in 2012.

    In addition, EBSCO is releasing a new product called Legal Source in 2012 that will combine the ILP content with content from EBSCO's Legal Collection, as well as new additional content. In total, the new Legal Source database will contain over 1200 full text legal journals.

    Before the merger, the ILP & Books index was also available to subscribers of LexisNexis and Westlaw. It is unknown if it will continue to be available on these services after the move to EBSCOhost is complete.

    It doesn't appear that the print edition of ILP will be affected by the merger with EBSCO, although this is not certain.

    For more information about the merger and new database, see this brochure.

  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
    IFLP, produced by the American Association of Law Libraries, is a multilingual index to articles and book reviews appearing in legal journals published worldwide.

    IFLP was formerly available electronically via Ovid Technologies and Westlaw. As of 2012, IFLP will be available exclusively via HeinOnline (1985 to the present). Index entries will be linked to the full-text articles in HeinOnline when possible.

    The print edition of IFLP, which had been published by the University of California Press, will now also be produced by William S. Hein & Co.

    See the HeinOnline blog for more information.

Jureeka! Now Powered by Cornell's LII

It appears that Jureeka! is now powered by Cornell's Legal Information Institute (LII).

Jureeka! is a Firefox plugin that turns legal citations in web pages into hyperlinks that point to online legal source material. It's great for quickly locating statutes, case law, regulations, federal court rules, international law sources, and more.

We've installed Jureeka! on our public workstations in the law library. It allows users to click right into cases, etc when the citation appears on any web page.

August 26, 2011

Google De-Enhancements

A few weeks ago I posted that Google had discontinued the Google Uncle Sam search engine for government documents.

Law Librarian Blog reports that Google has, unfortunately, discontinued a few more things:

  • "The option for Advanced Search no longer appears on the main Google page. You can still get there by going to http://www.google.com/advanced_search. The option still appears next to the search box on a results page for a previous search. Advanced Search has been vastly simplified in its filtering options, suggesting that Google thinks its omnivorous general search is good enough."
  • "Google News Archives search is no longer available as a direct search, nor will there be any new content added to the project.... The content that currently exists should still be available through a general search and through the Advanced Search option in Google News."

August 19, 2011

Macaulay & Mertz Start New Legal Realism Conversations Blog

UW Law Profs Stewart Macaulay and Elizabeth Mertz have started a blog called New Legal Realism Conversations. The blog is an extension of the NLR Project webpage started in 2009 and will feature commentary from current contributors and highlights of important legal realist scholarship.

Some past topics include:

  • Leading Economists Criticize Rational Choice Models
  • Why Law Needs Empirical Anthropology
  • Stewart Macaulay's Jazz Picks
  • Legal Research Funded by Big Oil?

For those interested in Macaulay's work, note that in October, the UW Law School is hosting a conference entitled the "Empirical and Lyrical: Revisiting the Contracts Scholarship of Stewart Macaulay."

Analysis of the Proceedings of the Old Bailey Revises the History of the Criminal Trial

This week, the New York Times had an interesting article about a digital archive of the Proceedings of the Old Bailey.

The archive is a fully searchable collection of criminal trials held at London's central criminal court including biographical details of the men and women executed at Tyburn. Contains all surviving editions of the Old Bailey Proceedings from 1674 to 1913 and of the Ordinary of Newgate's Accounts between 1676 and 1772.

According to the article, an analysis of the collection led two historians to a novel discovery:

Beginning in 1825 they noticed an unusual jump in the number of guilty pleas and the number of very short trials. Before then most of the accused proclaimed their innocence and received full trials. By 1850, however, one-third of all cases involved guilty pleas. Trials, with their uncertain outcomes, were gradually crowded out by a system in which defendants pleaded guilty outside of the courtroom, they said.

Conventional histories cite the mid-1700s as the turning point in the development of the modern adversarial system of justice in England and Colonial America... [but] "mapping all trials suggests that the real moment of evolution was in the first half of the 19th century," with the advent of plea bargains that resulted in many more convictions, Mr. Hitchcock said. "The defendant's experience of the criminal justice system changed radically. You were much more likely to be found guilty."

Last month the scholars submitted an article to the British journal Past and Present on their findings.

Hat tip to the Hon. Daniel Anderson for alerting me to the NYT article.

August 11, 2011

Google Pulls the Plug on Uncle Sam

From Government Computer News:

Saying that search technology has made some specialized tools unnecessary, Google has discontinued operation the Google.com/UncleSam tool for searching government websites....

"Today, search quality has advanced tremendously, and based on our analysis we've found that in most cases you're better off looking for this kind of specialized information using the regular Google search box..." Google said.

Government marketing maven Mark Amtower, in a blog post on the subject, says Google doesn't understand what it did. In response to Google's assertion that users can now find all they need in a regular search, Amtower writes: "WRONG!!!! Regular searches include all the non-government sites we were able to filter out through the use of www.Google.com/Unclesam. ... You don't understand the nature of our searches and you are WAY off base."

I tend to agree with Amtower. I was dismayed when I tried searching Google Uncle Sam last week only to find it was gone.

It was the ability to filter out non-governmental sites that was the beauty of Google Uncle Sam. As a legal researcher, I valued being able to zero in just on authoritative government sources.
Update 8/15:
My colleague, Bill Ebbott, reminded me of a good workaround: limiting the domain name to .gov in a Google advanced search. The search results will include both federal and state sites, but the federal sites tend to display at the top for the most part.

August 9, 2011

Feedback Needed on Beta US Code Website

From the AALL Government Relations Office:
The Office of the Law Revision Counsel is seeking comments on the new beta version of its website for the U.S. Code. The Office is looking for feedback from law librarians and members of the public about the site's features, content, and ease of use.

The beta site is located at http://uscodebeta.house.gov and the current site is located at http://uscode.house.gov/. Your comments will help the Office make changes to the website to better meet user needs. Please send your comments to uscode@mail.house.gov.

Some key features of the new website are:

* A new search engine for Code data
* An expanding "Table of Contents" style browse of the Code
* A simple search facility for quickly accessing specific Code sections or performing simple word or phrase searches
* An advanced search facility for sophisticated searching of Code content using delimiters such as field or Code hierarchy restrictions, Boolean logic, and case sensitive searches
* An improved display of search results and Code documents
* Cite Checker, a new tool that enables quick checking of specific Code sections for recent amendments
* Easy access to USCprelim, an advance posting of the next online version of the Code
* New explanatory material about the Code and the functions of the Office

Prospective features include:

* Ability to search previous versions of the Code
* Ability to search USCprelim
* Enhanced internal and external links

August 5, 2011

Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals

If you're considering writing an article for a legal publication, check out Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals.

This guide, compiled by librarians from the University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law, contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers 202 law reviews. The document was fully updated in July 2011.
Update 8/9/11: A librarian at John Marshall Law School has also developed a Submission Guide for Online Law Review Supplements. This document contains information about submitting essays and articles to general online law review supplements. It will be updated on an annual basis and as law schools create new online law review supplements.

If you're at the submission stage, you may wish to use an online law review submission service which allows you to submit your manuscript to your choice of law journals simply by uploading the electronic file.

ExpressO, a fee based service from bePress, is well known and accepted by 750+ law school reviews. Many institutions, including the UW Law School, have an account through which faculty and staff can submit articles.

YIJUN Institute of International Law offers a free submission service called LexOpus. The system allows an author to submit a work to a number of author-selected law journals. An author may also, or instead, invite offers from any journal by choosing to indicate the work as open to offers.

Note that there are a number of law reviews which accept submission with ExpressO but not with LexOpus. See the list of LexOpus participating law reviews.

August 4, 2011

House Votes for Cuts to FDsys

H.R. 2551, passed by the House of Representatives, would eliminate funding for GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys).

"Kirsten Clark, the regional depository librarian at the University of Minnesota and the chair of ALA's Government Documents Round Table, said the bill and the subsequent House report betrayed a lack of understanding of the GPO's role as a "great equalizer," that provides everybody access to "the same key documents of our democracy."

To learn more about this development, review:

by Amy Crowder
LLAW Government Relations Chair

August 2, 2011

UW Law School Introduces 3 Faculty Members

The University of Wisconsin Law School is proud to announce the addition of three new faculty members.

Cecelia Klingele and Mark Sidel join the UW Law School faculty beginning in the Fall of 2011. Paul Secunda will join the Law School for the summer and the fall semester as Visiting Professor.

For more information about these professors, see the UW Law School website.