Legal Research March Mania-ness: definitely not madness

Printable (PDF) 2022 Legal Research bracket

Brackets, brackets, and more brackets. The GSU College of Law Library is doing its part to add to March’s bracket noise. This year we are hosting a battle of legal resources by putting our favorite ones (including print, online, and Georgia resources) in a seeded, knock-out bracket and allowing the internet (via our Twitter account @GSULawLib) to decide who advances. A PDF printable bracket can be downloaded to fill out and follow along.

Resources have been selected and ranked by a mysterious committee that neither has to define its criteria nor is accountable to anyone for mistakes and down-right bias. The committee is working under the fiction that it is infallible, so they do not want to hear any whining about ranking or who got snubbed. They also seem to have a predisposition for the established, larger programs. See, we are making this almost exactly like another March event.

Legal resources will face off against one another and based on Twitter polls, advance in the tournament. In the improbable event of a tie, our copy of Randomness by Deborah J. Bennett will be tossed in the air. If it lands front-cover up, the first resource wins. If it lands back-cover up, the second resource wins, and if it lands open on a page, we will apply the example of randomness discussed therein.

Round one voting will begin Monday, March 21, 2022. Unfortunately, GSU’s spring break is this week (the week of March 14), so our students are not around. Subsequently, we’ll wait for them to get back and start the week of March 21. That said, everyone out there is welcome and encouraged to join in the Mania-Ness. All voting will take place via the law library’s Twitter account, @gsulawlib. We encourage you to follow the law library on Twitter to not miss any of the “games”.

Each “game” will last one day, and voting will open around 8:30 AM. The tournament schedule is:

  • Monday, March 21, 2022, First Round (Online 1 Section)
  • Tuesday, March 22, 2022, First Round (Online 2 Section)
  • Wednesday, March 23, 2022, First Round (Georgia Section)
  • Thursday, March 24, 2022, First Round (Print Section)
  • Monday, March 28, 2022, Second Round (Sweet Sixteen, Online 1 & 2 Sections)
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2022, Second Round (Sweet Sixteen, Georgia & Print Sections)
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2022, Third Round (Elite Eight, All Sections)
  • Thursday, March 31, 2022, Fourth Round ( Final Four, All Sections)
  • Monday, April 4, 2022, Fifth Round (Finals)

The legal resources that are competing in our March Mania-Ness, their sections, and seeding are as follows:

Online 1 Section:

  1. Westlaw Edge
  2. HeinOnline
  3. CALI
  4. SSRN
  5. VitalLaw
  6. TRACfed
  7. Making of Modern Law
  8. Docket Alarm

Online 2 Section:

  1. Lexis+
  2. Bloomberg Law
  3. FastCase
  4. Govinfo.gov
  5. LII
  6. ProQuest Congressional
  7. Municode
  8. LLMC Digital

Georgia Section:

  1. Daily Report
  2. Georgia Jurisprudence, also available on Westlaw
  3. Pindar’s Georgia Real Estate Law and Procedure, also available on Westlaw
  4. VerdictSearch (formerly Georgia Trial Reporter)
  5. Georgia State University Law Review Peach Sheets
  6. Redfearn Wills and Administration in Georgia, also available on Westlaw
  7. Georgia Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press)
  8. Kissiah & Lay’s Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law, also available on Lexis+

Print Section:

  1. American Jurisprudence (Am. Jur.) Library, available on Westlaw and Lexis
  2. American Law Reports, available on Westlaw and Lexis
  3. Restatements of Law, available on the ALI website
  4. Moore’s Federal Practice, available on Lexis
  5. West Digest System, available on Westlaw
  6. Bluebook, also available via their website
  7. Prince’s Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations
  8. Words & Phrases

Congratulations and good luck to all of our legal research competitors. Questions can be directed to Librarian Manion and he will relay them to the mysterious committee.

Illustrating the Law on Exhibit

The Georgia State University College of Law Library recently unveiled its new book display, Illustrating the Law. This collection showcases law library print materials that include illustrations. The exhibit is on display for the remainder of the month and is located on the fifth floor of the College of Law Building, just past the reference and circulation service desks on the short shelving that hosts the DVD and leisure collections.

May, John Walker. Inside the bar and other occasional poems. Hoyt, Fogg & Donham, The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800–1926.

The practice and study of law are incredibly writing-intensive. As such it comes as no surprise that the materials supporting these endeavors generally consist entirely of text, offering very little to break up its dense prose or offer even a cursory nod to the visual learner. Law is written. Our codes, cases, regulations, practice materials, formbooks, treatises, law review articles, legal encyclopedias, and casebooks rarely include an illustration, but there are some exceptions. This exhibit brings together those unique legal resources that opt not to rely entirely on verbose, sesquipedalian prose and instead include an illustration or two. These types of publications range from legal medical dictionaries detailing injuries for tort litigation to technology instructional guides for lawyers peppered with screenshots and flow charts to modern graphic novels tackling legal issues and instruction to somewhat more-refined coffee table books that celebrate a place, time, legal body, or actual library.

Take some time over the next month to explore this temporary collection. Consider how legal publishing uses (and does not use, for that matter) illustrations and graphics to better support the practice and study of law. Evaluate whether these examples add value to their respective areas of law and why so few resources include illustrations.

This exhibit is part of the law library’s revolving series of book displays promoting the breadth and value of its print collection. Not everything is online, after all. Past law library book exhibits include:

This display was inspired by Law’s Picture Books: The Yale Law Library Collection by Michael Widener and Mark S. Weiner.

PowerNotes Helps Manage Research Across Multiple Research Services

The GSU College of Law Library recently added PowerNotes (Premium) to its Database List. This is perhaps somewhat misleading as PowerNotes is not a research database, per se, but rather a research outlining and management tool. There is a stripped-down free version of PowerNotes; however, the law library acquired institutional access to its premium service (including unlimited projects and other upgrades) for the GSU College of Law community.

PowerNotes uses a browser extension to help with online research, specifically gathering and keeping track of source materials, and organizing and creating a writing outline. Users can install either the Chrome or Firefox browser extension; these are the only browser options at the moment. Once installed, use your campus email address to create an account. Now, you can create a project and begin searching on a preferred research platform or across the web, generally. PowerNotes works with any webpage you browse, including legal subscription services such as Westlaw Edge, Lexis+, and HeinOnline (which provides a LibGuide on how to use PowerNotes on its platform). This is perhaps its most significant feature– centralizing your research regardless of where the source material resides online.

When users find relevant information, they can highlight the text, save it, assign a topic to it and annotate it. The text is saved with a link back to the source. Citation information is automatically collected and put in a preferred citation format, say bluebook. At any time during the research process, users can revisit their projects and reorganize, rename, or expand their topics and quotes.

PowerNotes has compiled a helpful instructional video library. Also, the law library will host training on PowerNotes on Tuesday, March 1 @ 3:15 PM and Wednesday, March 2 @ 5:10 PM. Both sessions will be 45 minutes and satisfy a topic session for the Law Library’s Applied Legal Experience, Research, & Technology (ALERT) Program.

In the interim, if you have questions or problems accessing PowerNotes, contact Librarian Manion. Do good research.

Dear My 1L Self- You Are in the Right Place

The GSU College of Law Library is excited to post another exciting installment of “Dear My 1L Self.” In this series, Librarians, Law Library GRAs, Law Students, and other interesting folks write actual, time-traveling letters to their 1L selves, giving them advice and telling them what to expect from law school and the practice of law. We hope that some of this advice will be helpful for our readers. Today, we get to hear from Terrance Manion, our Discovery & Research Services Librarian and a GSU Law graduate…

Dear 1L Terrance,

I want to offer you a couple of words of encouragement and reassurance as you begin your law school career.

Law school is a challenge, yes, and attending the part-time evening program at Georgia State Law while working full time is a truly unique challenge. The program is a marathon that runs for four to five years, depending on whether you take your summers off. Pace yourself and do not count the hours until nearing the end (particularly after that second calendar year). Take comfort in the following:

First, Georgia State Law is dedicated to the part-time evening program being as academically rigorous and meaningful as its full-time day program. It is not a satellite program taught by adjuncts or a less ambitious program as some part-time law programs seem to be. It will be the same curriculum. All Georgia State Law faculty will teach in the evening program. All of the college’s educational opportunities (Law Review, Moot Court, experiential learning, study abroad, etc.) are accessible to evening students, albeit you may need to prioritize which opportunities are most important to you. Take confidence that you will be on equal footing at graduation with your full-time counterparts, if not better because you have actual life and work experience, right?

Dear My 1L Self- You Are in the Right Place

Second, in the part-time evening program, you will not find professional students but student professionals, each facing the same challenges you are facing. They are juggling jobs, classes, personal lives, and copious amounts of reading and outlining. Their days start when they get to their jobs in the morning and do not end until classes wrap up around 9 PM (and 10 PM when you take evidence). They commute home (sometimes making a stop at a bar) knowing they will do it all over again tomorrow. They have the same anxieties about managing their time and energy. They have the same questions about whether they still have the intellectual stamina and aptitude for learning. They, too, have been out of school for a couple of years, if not longer. Because of this shared starting point (and the fact they will be in all your classes for two years), there is an inherent camaraderie in the part-time evening program. You will learn soon enough that your fellow students are not your competition. They are your safety net. They are your foundation. You will look after each other. They will become some of your closest friends and remain a resource and support network for the rest of your career.

Former GSU Law Library Director (& Associate Dean) Nancy P. Johnson

Third, you are incredibly fortunate, and I am not talking about having the most manageable commute from your office in the law library to the classroom. You have a mentor and boss in Nancy Johnson that also navigated the part-time evening program at Georgia State Law. At the very least, she will offer a little misery-loves-company, but you know she never does the very least. She will be your advisor, cheerleader, coach, sounding board, counselor, and yes, teacher. You will take her class, and you will not get the highest grade in that class. It will haunt you the rest of your days; however, knowing your study partner, good friend, and fellow part-time evening student got the highest grade makes it a little more bearable. She’ll have you teaching the class in the a year or so anyway.

Nancy will provide the space and support foundation for you to be successful, both in the part-time evening program and at your day job. While not all of our part-time evening students are fortunate enough to have a mentor of Nancy’s caliber, I’m nonetheless confident that the support of their friends, colleagues, teachers, and librarians will be a defining feature of their success.

In short, you are part of this community, you can do this, and you found the right place to do it.


Librarian Manion

P.S. While in law school keep a list of the books you want to read for your own enjoyment. You do not get much time to read recreationally in law school but when you graduate, you will go on a reading binge like at no other point in your life. Have the list ready.

New Database List: Looks a little different, but does the same things and then some

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021 (just in time for the start of the summer semester), the Law Library launched its new database list tool aptly titled “Law Library Databases A-Z.”

For the most part, students might not even notice or experience much of a change. The new service should look remarkably familiar for a couple of reasons. Namely, it shares the same platform with the Law Library’s existing Research Guides. Further, the University Library also uses the same tool to host its database list.

As such, we do not expect students to have too many issues accessing the databases they rely on for research. That said, the new platform presents a number of new features and potential integrations with other systems.

The new database list offers a powerful interface to browse, sort, search and share the law library’s licensed databases. Users can still browse databases alphabetically, by subject, access type, and vendor, as well as search the entire collection. We retired the obscure and confusing access codes (GSU, GSR, LL, COL, etc.) for more descriptive access types such as College of Law only, All GSU, and Law Library workstations. Did you really ever know the difference between a GSU and GSR database?

New features include “Popular Law Student Databases” and “New and Trial Databases” lists located on the website’s right rail. These features offer easy access to commonly used law school resources and new library acquisitions, respectively. The new database list also allows for the simple sharing of resources –by this, we mean sharing with yourself for later use or sharing with your fellow students. After each database, there is a share icon that will allow users to email the database name, description, and link to themselves or another user. The “Top Resource” feature allows librarians to tag a database as a preferred or suggested resource and spotlight it in the browsable subject list display. Finally and arguably most important, now that the Law Library’s database list shares a platform with Research Guides, databases can be better leveraged and integrated into the research guides.

This is all good news, but it is somewhat bittersweet sunsetting our old Database List. This was a clever in-house application built by a handful of intelligent people (other than myself). The administrative side of the database list also managed Law Library’s proxy server. Pretty cool, right? While I cannot identify the actual launch date, the Wayback Machine suggests the database list served the College of Law Library and its patrons for at least fifteen years. That is a long life for a web application. So it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.

The new database list can be found at https://libguides.law.gsu.edu/az.php. All links on the Law Library webpage will direct researchers to the new service. The look of our research guides and Law Library Databases A-Z may change in the coming months as the Law Library moves to a new website presence more in line with the College of Law’s website. That said, the functionality will remain the same.

Do good research.

120 Days?

Flickr Photo by ChatWithMatt.com

As some students have come to realize their time is up, or more so their CampusID password’s time is up.

Georgia State requires its users (faculty included) to change their CampusID password every 120 days. The application of this time limit is unfortunate, to say the least. It means that students that changed or created their account passwords in mid-August—say at the beginning of the fall semester—found their CampusID password expiring in the middle of December. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of anything going on in December that might cause a problem. Oh, I almost forgot students were taking finals in December. Silly me.

Please avoid the headache and panic of learning your CampusID password has expired at an inopportune time. Before finals come back around, take a moment and change your password now or when you are procrastinating studying for that next exam. Directions on how to change your CampusID password can be found here.

Your new passwords must:

  • Be between 10-32 characters in length
  • Start with a letter
  • Not be one of your previous passwords
  • Contain at least one lower case letter, upper case letter, and a number
  • Not contain one of the following characters: @ / () “ * ‘

It makes it awfully difficult. For help on creating a strong password take a look at these sites:

McAfee
xkcd

Finally do not forget to update your CampusID and password on your various devices, e.g. laptop, mobile phone, tablet, etc. Some directions on updating devices can be found here.

CampusID accounts allow students to sign in to the majority of the online systems at Georgia State University including Campus Email, PAWS, iCollege, and InsideLaw.

Meet Cassandra Patterson

This is the long-overdue continuation of an “in-depth” interview series with new librarians at Georgia State University College of Law Library, See earlier installments here, here, here, here, and here.

We introduce our new librarians in the same way we introduced their colleagues at Georgia State Law Library– with a questionnaire invented by Austin Williams which is borrowed in spirit, if not in part, from Marcel Proust.

Austin (if he were still here): What is your name and what do you do?

Cassandra: Cassandra Patterson, I provide reference services, teach one class of legal research (Research Methods), and oversee the library’s outreach services.


A: How long have you been at Georgia State University College of Law Library? 

C: It will be three months next Tuesday. Time flies when you’re having fun!


A: What books are currently on your nightstand (or Kindle)?

C: I am currently reading books that focus on leadership and vulnerability. (I love self-development books!) This month, I am finishing up Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.


A: What is an interesting fact about yourself that you would like to share with our readers?

C: I love college sports, especially basketball. My love for basketball started when I played basketball in my “younger” days. I also played on a team during law school (1Ls vs 2Ls)!


A: When you are not saving the world here at GSU Law Library, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?

C: I enjoy watching sports and movies. I also love to travel and visit new sites.


A: Lastly, what is your favorite vacation spot? The place you go to leave it all behind for a few days.

C: My favorite vacation spots are the Isle of Palms in SC and Wrightsville Beach in NC.


There you have it, folks. The complete, unedited, behind the scenes interview with Cassandra Patterson.

Meet Gerard Fowke

This is the long-overdue continuation of an “in-depth” interview series with new librarians at Georgia State University College of Law Library, See earlier installments here, here, here, and here. 

We introduce our new librarians in the same way we introduced their colleagues at Georgia State Law Library– with a questionnaire invented by Austin Williams which is borrowed in spirit, if not in part, from Marcel Proust.

Austin (if he were still here): What is your name and what do you do?Gerard

Gerard: Gerard Fowke, I teach legal research, answer reference questions, and manage the library’s digital collections and services, all while drinking copious amounts of coffee and expresso.


A: How long have you been at Georgia State University College of Law Library? 

G: Approximately 2 months. I’m definitely a veteran of the institution 😉


A: What books are currently on your nightstand (or Kindle)?

G: The Dream Songs by John Berryman & The Library Book by Susan Orlean.


A: What is an interesting fact about yourself that you would like to share with our readers?

G: Way before I was a librarian, I was once a singer in a rock n’ roll band.


A: When you are not saving the world here at GSU Law Library, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?

G: I’m a big fan of museums and arts festivals. I also love trying new restaurants.



A: Lastly, what is your favorite vacation spot? The place you go to leave it all behind for a few days.

G: Now that I no longer reside there, I think Boulder, Colorado would be a great spot. The beauty of the place definitely has a relaxing quality I miss in the hustle and bustle of the ATL. 


There you have it folks. The complete, unedited,  behind the scenes interview with Gerard Fowke.

Revisiting the Charging Lockers (or visiting them for the first time)

Got something to say about the charging lockers? We want to hear it.

The College of Law deployed six charging lockers throughout the building to better support students’ use of mobile devices. See an earlier Blackacre Times post announcing the charging lockers arrival . These student resources have been in place now for a little over six months and it seems as good a time as ever to reflect on their usefulness and your experiences/satisfaction (or lack thereof) with them. To do so a very, very quick survey has been created. We humbly ask you to take two minutes to complete it. The survey link is below.

https://gsu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_2ridQmq3wa6NwIR

The endgame here is to learn if you are using them and if not how can we make them more useful, reliable, secure, convenient etc.; consequently, we want to hear from you even if you are not using the charging stations. It would be helpful to know why.

The College of Law charging lockers currently offer Apple Lightning, Apple 30-Pin, Micro USB, USB Type-C connections. They are located:

  • 1st floor, near skills suite
  • 2nd floor, classroom hallway
  • 3rd floor, classroom hallway
  • 5th floor, near printers/cafe
  • 6th floor, near elevators
  • 6th floor, near Law Review (this one was “recalled” for testing but will be redeployed soon)

And they look something like this just in case you never noticed them before:

pl-GeorgiaStateLaw-Rend1.2

120 Days?

passwordAs some students have come to realize their time is up, or more so their CampusID password’s time is up.

Georgia State requires its users (faculty included) to change their CampusID password every 120 days. The application of this time limit is unfortunate to say the least. It means that students that changed or created their account passwords in mid-August –say at the beginning of the fall semester—will find their CampusID password expiring in the middle of December. Off the top of my head I cannot think of anything going on in December that might cause a problem. Oh, I almost forgot students are taking finals in December. Silly me.

Please avoid the headache and panic of learning your CampusID password has expired at an inopportune time. Take a moment and change your password now or when you are procrastinating studying for that next exam. Directions on how to change your CampusID password can be found here.

Your new passwords must:

  • Be between 10-32 characters in length
  • Start with a letter
  • Not be one of your previous passwords
  • Contain at least one lower case letter, upper case letter, and a number
  • Not contain one of the following characters: @ / () “ * ‘

It makes it awfully difficult. For help on creating a strong password take a look at these sites:

Microsoft 
Apple 
McAfee
xkcd

Finally do not forget to update your CampusID and password on your various devices, e.g. laptop, mobile phone, tablet, etc. Some directions on updating devices can be found here.

CampusID accounts allow students to sign in to the majority of the online systems at Georgia State University including Campus Email, PAWS, Brightspace, and InsideLaw.