Featured Database – Proquest Congressional

Looking for government documents is an important part of Legal Research.  Whether you’re sourcing for a journal, trying to find an old committee report, or looking for some legislative history, most law students don’t escape the clutches of legal education without having to look through some federal government publications. 

While there are free sources that provide access to government documents, coverage, availability, and location can be challenging to navigate.  Publications can be spread across several different sites, each containing different coverage and search interfaces.  This is why, when a student swings by the reference desk to ask about researching federal government documents, I send them to Proquest Congressional. 

Proquest Congressional is an expansive collection of government documents.  It includes historic congressional bills, member records, hearings, debates, executive orders, and much much more.  Typically the coverage goes back to the 1700’s to the initial publications of the United States and sometimes even before.  If it is a government document cited in a brief, article, or case, I would bet that Proquest Congressional has it.

Beyond containing a lot of information, it also has simple, intuitive navigation.  The advanced search allows you to pick which collection to search without presenting an overwhelming number of options.  It also provides several fields which are incredibly useful if you’re looking for a particular person, date, or piece of legislation.  The “search by number” function, available in the Legislative and Executive Publications dropdown menu, makes searching for a citation a breeze.  Search by number provides prompts for almost any congressional document with fields designed to change with the selected publication.  This way, there is never a question about how to enter a citation, where to put a dash, or how to abbreviate a publication.

Proquest Congressional makes finding citations easy.

Proquest Congressional is something everyone should explore.  While you might not need it on a day to day basis, knowing the navigational basics makes you a much more powerful researcher.  The day that a government publication question comes, and trust me it will, a basic knowledge will let you find what you’re looking for in minutes instead of hours.  You’ll look like a gov docs whiz and impress the boots off of your editor, professor, or boss. 

Time Management Suggestions for 2Ls+

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Image from Google

By Maggie Garrett, Fall 2019 Reference GRA

We’ve hit the Mid-Year Slump!

Things we forget from first-year but are still wildly important.

  • Make a schedule;
  • Complete class readings;
  • Organize class notes by topic (for future outlining);
  • Review each class; and
  • Quiz yourself throughout the semester.

After making it out of your first year of law school alive it may be tempting to ignore, or at least avoid, the academic commitments listed above. Especially if you were lucky enough to perform well. But – don’t sleep on schoolwork. It will pile up, stress you out, and 2L coursework is no joke.

But if your goal was to keep up from day one, and you happened to fall behind, don’t worry. Just move forward. Get a friend’s notes, meet with your professor, make a time-management plan or checklist – but the most important thing is not falling further behind. Don’t let a cycle begin where you try to “catch up” but don’t have time to keep up. Personally, I like to make a weekly check-list. If I don’t get to something, I note what I missed. When finals arrive I just remind myself that I need to review those things more closely.

Remember, balance is key my friend. Remember balance? That thing they preached during first-year orientation (in a galaxy far, far away)? Yeah, it’s still very, very relevant. If you sacrifice time spent cooking, exercising, hanging with friends, or even Netflix-ing you will implode. Make room for these things, or you will regret it.

Also, hate to break it to you, but it’s time to make a finals game-plan. Or at least decide when you’d like to start and finish outlines. But keep in mind – these are just personal deadlines. No need to beat yourself up for not meeting a self-imposed deadline. Instead, just get an idea of when these things should be done to keep you somewhat on-track. This tip is meant to prevent anxiety, not create tension.

Feeling stressed because you’re “not doing enough?” Relax. We (2Ls) have three semesters to figure our futures out (sorry 3Ls). We have time. Don’t overextend yourself now or you’ll be burnt out.

And uh, guys – prioritize. We can do some things, but we can’t do all the things. Unless you happen to have a time-turner – in which case please @ me. Extracurricular activities and part-time jobs are solid resume builders but don’t sacrifice too much academic time. You’ll thank yourself later.

Thanksgiving & Exam Hours

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Image by Flickr user Cathy Liu

As usual, we’re changing up the library’s hours for the Thanksgiving holiday and the upcoming exam period.

During the week of Thanksgiving we are operating with reduced hours, as follows:

  • Monday, Nov. 25th & Tuesday, Nov. 26th: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 27th: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 28th – Saturday, Nov. 30th: Closed

We will reopen for extended hours on December 1st through December 18th. During the exam period, the building is closed to those not affiliated with the College of Law.  Since we are open until midnight, do remember you can call a safety escort when you are here studying late.

After the exam period (whew!), we will again have reduced hours until the winter break, as follows:

  • Thursday, December 19th & Friday, December 20th: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The above is also on our calendar.

If you’re traveling, we wish you safe travels! Remember that our online study aids have Audiobooks available via West Academic – the Law School Legends and Sum and Substance Audio Series. Those study aids, along with the ones from Wolters Kluwer, are available online on our Study Aids page.

True Crime at the Law Library

Looking for a frightful distraction from the stress of law school? Perhaps you should investigate the law library’s true crime collection, currently on display. But don’t forget to think critically about the power of these depictions to shape perceptions of the law.

For the increasing numbers of readers, viewers, and listeners who have fallen victim to the thrills of true crime, the genre is an important source of exposure to criminal justice. So it’s no surprise that many scholars have explored the relationship between the consumption of true crime media, fear of crime, and attitudes towards the legal system.

Some have bemoaned the purported link between the public demand for punitive criminal laws in the late 80s/early 90s and the increased popularity of true crime books. More recently, however, commentators are encouraged by the genre’s capacity for informing the public about our system’s shortcomings (such as the prevalence of wrongful convictions), but wary of risks that that same informative quality could also misinform the public. But those risks might be overstated: when it comes to legal concepts like the insanity defense, true crime addicts are no less informed than the general public.

Others have focused on the genre’s effects on the fear of crime. Compared to viewers of fictional crime dramas, true crime viewers are more fearful of crime, and that fear even appears to undermine their confidence in the criminal justice system. That lack of confidence might even mean that true crime viewers are more likely to acquit criminal defendants. And these effects can vary depending on viewers’ race and ethnicity, perhaps due to the genre’s overrepresentation of white female victims.

As an important actor within the legal system, these intriguing findings should give you something to ponder as you probe our ref-section ‘crime scene’ (pictured). Our display includes some of the genre’s most notorious works, while also highlighting accounts of crimes that occurred here in Georgia, such as the infamous Atlanta Child Murders (depicted in the most recent season of Netflix’s Mindhunter). Check them out!