Friday, September 25, 2009

Can't find a book? Try ILL!

By Heather Waltman, Interlibrary Loan & Reference Librarian

You may not be aware that the library provides interlibrary loan services to all South Texas College of Law faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students. If you need a book or article that we don't own, we are usually able to locate it in another library and borrow it for you (if a book) or send it to you electronically (if an article). And it's easy! Just go to the Library tab in Stanley, scroll down to the Interlibrary Loan channel on the left, and click on the link to ILLiad, our automated ILL request system. You will need to create an account with a unique username and password, and then you can start submitting requests. The system is very user friendly and convenient, and you can track the progress of your request throughout the whole process. For more information, take a look at the ILLiad FAQ page or email the Interlibrary Loan Librarian at

You can also view a very short tutorial here.

Even if you're already an ILLiad user, you may not know about one of its features that makes submitting requests even easier. After locating an item in OCLC FirstSearch (WorldCat or ArticleFirst), view the full record display. Under the section labeled "Get This Item," you will see a link that says "Send Request to ILLiad." When you click on this link, the ILLiad Logon page will open in a new window. Logon as you normally would, and the form (for Book or Photocopy, depending on your request type) should open, and all fields will be populated with the bibliographic information from OCLC. Click the submit button. It's that easy, and it saves you the trouble of keying in all that info yourself! If you've already used this feature, you'll know how convenient it is. If you've experienced problems submitting requests through OCLC from off campus, you will no longer have any difficulty. Any snags in off-campus accessibility to ILLiad via OCLC have been repaired.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Banned books Weeks: Celebrate the Freedom to Read, September 26 – October 3, 2009

By Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian

On October 27, 1553 Michael Servetus, a scientist and theologian, was burned at the stake with the last known copy of his heretical book, the Christianismi Restitutio, chained to his leg. Three copies of this work survived the flames and can be found today at the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, and the library of the University of Edinburgh. While authors no longer face such extreme punishment when their work is deemed objectionable, they are sanctioned nonetheless when libraries, schools, and communities are pressured to remove their books from shelves and classrooms. For these authors, and in recognition of all censored authors before them, Banned Books Week is celebrated each year.

"History is an ocean that books help us to navigate. It is the permanence of the printed word that has allowed ideas to travel from place to place, from age to age." (Lawrence Goldstone & Nancy Goldstone, Out of the Flames 325, Broadway Books 2002) Today books are banned mainly because of sex, offensive language, violence, religion or politics, particularly in school districts. The American Library Association and the Fred Parks Law Library want you to celebrate the freedom to read. Check out the list of the most frequently banned books of the 21st century, and the list of banned Classics. How many have you read?

A selection of banned books from the librarians’ personal collections is on display in the lobby, along with books from the Fred Parks Law Library. Come see the exhibit and join us in celebrating our freedom to read.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BNA For Law Review

Are you a South Texas College of Law student looking for a topic for a research paper? Would you like to become more familiar with some of the databases offered by the Fred Parks Law Library?

The Fred Parks Law Library will be holding a review session with a BNA representative in the library for any students who are interested in learning more about BNA databases.

Where: Fred Parks Law Library, Room 2018
When: 2:15 pm, September 17th

  • Independent publisher of more than 300 print and electronic news, analysis and references services.
  • Intensive coverage of legal, legislative, regulatory, economic and international developments on a wide range of topics.
  • Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with reporters covering Capitol Hill and the world for over 75 years.
  • Publications include the highly respected United States Law Week.

Celebrate Constitution Day!

From the Government Documents Department...

Every year on this date, Constitution Day is observed to commemorate the formation and signing of our nation's guiding document. Schools and public offices are encouraged to promote Constitution Day and to engage in activities that recognize our country's legal origins, as well as the responsibilities and opportunities that come with United States citizenship. The Law Library of Congress has compiled an excellent site about the origins of Constitution Day, and the National Archives has created a number of fascinating sites about the Constitution itself. See especially: Our Documents, Constitution of the United States and Charters of Freedom, Constitution of the United States. And finally, don't miss the Interactive Constitution presented by the National Constitution Center.

Also, see the post dated September 2, 2009 for discussion about another wonderful resource that interprets the Constitution through Supreme Court case analysis.

Happy Constitution Day!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New collections available on FDsys

From the Government Documents department...

The Government Printing Office, the agency that publishes our nation's official documents, recently announced the availability of several new collections on the Federal Digital System website (or FDsys). FDsys will ultimately replace GPO Access as the source for electronic government information; the migration should be complete by the end of the year. Visit FDsys to access the following collections:

  • Congressional Directory (105th Congress to present)
  • Congressional Record (Bound) (1999 to 2001)
  • Congressional Record Index (1993 to present)
  • Economic Report of the President (1996 to present)
  • GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions (1994 to 2008)
  • History of Bills (1983 to present)
  • United States Government Manual (1995/1996 to present)
  • United States Statutes at Large (2003 to 2006)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

U.S. Constitution analyzed and interpreted

From the Government Documents department…

Spotlight on: The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation: Analysis of Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of the the United States

This annotated, one-volume edition of the Constitution is published every ten years, with biennial supplements published in the interim. The library has just received the 2008 supplement, and as I reviewed it, I discovered just how wonderful this source really is. Each article, section, and clause of the Constitution is presented, with annotations and commentary prepared by the editorial staff at the Library of Congress Constitutional Research Service. It is not a comprehensive treatment of all Supreme Court cases, but it does offer analysis of the most significant decisions, making it an excellent starting point for research on constitutional law. Be sure to browse the extensive index and the many tables included in the volume:

  • Proposed amendments not ratified by the States
  • Acts of Congress held unconstitutional in whole or in part by the Supreme Court of the United States
  • State constitutional or statutory provisions and municipal ordinances held unconstitutional or held to be preempted by federal law
  • Supreme Court decisions overruled by subsequent decisions
  • Table of Cases

Find this source on the fourth floor of the library at KF4527 U54 or online on GPOAccess.