---::--- Volume 4, Number 1, Winter 2009 ---::---
|A Publication of the Maryland State Law Library|
|In This Issue:|
By Steve Anderson
There are two primary services that libraries strive to offer users. First, libraries create collections of resources--books or databases--and preserve them as best as possible for future generations and the historical record (and legal precedent). Second, libraries promote access to these resources, through reference assistance, document delivery, subject-oriented cataloging and digitization projects, for example. In this light, information resources might best be seen as tools, kept in the toolshed of librarianship. On some occasions, databases offer the most appropriate access to research; they serve as one type of tool, a hammer, for instance. Other times, print resources are the most efficient tools--when online resources are unavailable or unreliable. Perhaps the print materials act as the nail in the toolkit. Both hammers and nails and books and databases are necessary for the efficient completion of a task.
Both tools have their advantages and disadvantages. Online tools seldom can be preserved at this point because of copyright and licensing restrictions. Aside from public domain, government-created materials, there is little way right now that online resources can be preserved reliably for our children's children. Books, while easily preserved, are only available to one reader at a time--and this reader may need to travel far for that book.
Over the last few years, libraries and database vendors have begun to offer the best of both worlds for a small subset of legal materials. Historical legal treatises in the public domain (primarily those published before 1923) are now very much available online--and also retained in print at libraries for preservation purposes. Of course, some of these databases are only available by subscription and at many law libraries, including the State Law Library. Legal treatises available through Google Books are easy to find by anyone--at least for now and hopefully for as long as Google exists. For those who prefer to browse a book and for preservation or authentication purposes, libraries continue to serve a core function.
The State Law Library recently evaluated approximately 250 of its treatises in print to see how available they were online. Of these, about 70 were available via Gale's Making of Modern Law database. Nearly another 50 could be found on HeinOnline, although there was some overlap. Both of these resources are available in the Library and on the Maryland Judiciary Network via the Library’s CourtNet page. Interestingly, just about half of all of these Library holdings are available in Google Books, a result of a partnership between Google and large academic libraries. There existed significant duplication with the other two databases, however.
Gale's scanned treatises are already linked from the Library's catalog in order to streamline access. Library staff will be creating similar catalog links for treatises found in the HeinOnline and Google Books databases. In this way, researchers using the Library's catalog can choose either the print version or one from a database. Users outside the Library, of course, will have ready access to titles in Google Books. With the database overlap, however, a substantial number of works, approximately 70, continue to be available only in print. While databases have improved accessibility significantly, many texts, especially those related to Maryland law interestingly enough, are only offline. Nevertheless, it is evident that great strides are being made in terms of online accessibility, even as this Library and many others continue to preserve the print record.
By Mary Jo Lazun
HeinOnline has found a niche legal search market by providing image-based historical material. Its collection of legal journals is well known but in recent years HeinOnline has greatly expanded its collections. Here are some highlights.
English Reports, Full Reprint: 1220 to 1865
State Session Laws: Varies—Maryland from 1995 to present
United States Statutes at Large: 1789 to 2006
U.S. Reports—Located in U.S. Supreme Court Library (1754-2005)
United State Code: 1925-26 Edition to 2006
Code of Federal Regulations: 1938 to 2000
Federal Register: 1936 to 2008
HeinOnline is available on the Maryland Judiciary Network via the Library’s CourtNet page.
By Rudolf B. Lamy
Your client, in an explosion of joie-de-vive, decided to get himself into considerable trouble one Friday night while out-on-the-town with his old school pals. The case is now in the courts and you find yourself in a debate on the meaning of a particular word.
Sometimes, the information attorneys need is not always in a law book. Rather, a great deal of helpful information is available in reference books and other non-legal sources. Textbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and databases, devoted to other professions or of a general nature, have become staple of attorneys' research.
In this particular case, useful information could come from a source such as the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). It is an etymological and historical resource that can provide you with just that extra definition you need:
The State Law Library provides FREE in-Library access to Lexis. That access includes databases dedicated to Science & Technology (including the Medical and Biological sciences), Company & Financial, and Major and Regional newspapers and news sources.
Some of the interesting print resources available in the Library include: Dorland's and Stedman's Medical Dictionaries; "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-IV) from the American Psychiatric Association; Manuals of Style (Chicago and New York); books of quotations (Bartlett or Oxford); and even some historical religious texts (Bible, Koran, and Torah). The next time you need to bolster your research, consider asking the State Law Library for assistance in using these exceedingly useful reference materials.
By Mary Jo Lazun
Lexis has a number of features and sources that are new to the Judiciary. Take a look below for a sampling.
Copy w/ Cite allows you to copy selected text and paste that text and the document's citation into a Word or WordPerfect document. The beauty of Copy w/ Cite is that it includes not just the citation but also the pincite. To use Copy w/ Cite just highlight the text you wish to cite, click on “Copy w/Cite” and a new browser window will appear with an option to copy the text with or without a hyperlink to the document. Select the text and copy (CTRL+C) and then paste it into your document.
Quick Table of Authorities: Sometimes all you need is a quick and simple list of all materials cited in a case, statute, etc. The Table of Authorities (TOA link) works for cases, codes, even treatises.
Brief Check with Check Quotes: Brief Check is a great tool to Shepardize your document. Upload your document, let the system run, and your entire document is Sheparidized. One of the tools available with Brief Check is the ability to check quotes. The Check Quote option will appear after the document is uploaded and scanned for citations To find Brief Check go to Shepard’s and look for the Shepard’s Brief Check link under the Shepard’s tag or just bookmark:
Maryland Treatises: Lexis has an exceptional number of Maryland specific treaties available in full text and with a table of contents feature. Note that the supplementation cycle for MICPEL materials varies. Works include the following:
To find the complete list of Maryland specific treatises go to:
COMAR Archive and Maryland Register: Finding superseded COMAR sections is challenging. Usually you need to search back issues of the Maryland Register, but Lexis does have COMAR back to 2004. The Maryland Register is also available on Lexis going back to 2000.
Pick a Single Appellate Court: Lexis has the ability to just search the Maryland Court of Appeals or the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. If you need to limit your search to one of our appellate courts go to:
Everything at your Fingertips
By Katherine Baer
For those who can’t get enough...
Litilaw: Continuing Legal Education Portal
African-Americans in the Law Collection
Need a Legal Citation Refresher?