Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BNA’s United States Law Week is for all Comers.

Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S., Reference Librarian

Prior to the ability to obtain up to date case law via databases such as Lexis and Westlaw, United States Law Week, a print publication of the Bureau of National Affairs, now known as BNA, was the traditional way to get weekly updates of federal case law. It is available in print, KF101.U5 (current volumes on reserve, non-current volumes on main (3rd floor) and on-line.

The print version is split into the Supreme Court and the General editions. Opinions are summarized by the editors. Full Supreme Court opinions follow the case summaries. In the online edition look for links to full opinions in original format (PDF) at the end of the article. It is well worth a user's time to study the search features and customization abilities of the database.
  • Circuit Splits --This very important feature notes circuit splits on various legal issues. This is a tried and true method for identifying research topics.
  • Law Firm Authors -- A student who has an interview scheduled with a firm can search for articles written by firm members.
  • Customization -- Sign in by providing your name and email address. Click on Preferences. You can choose to display highlights or headlines (case alerts). Create folders to save your searches and make notes about search results.
  • Advanced Searches -- Search by headings (terms in headlines and headings), topics (subject thesaurus), case names, authors and states.
  • Split Screens -- This feature makes navigation inside a topic or list easier – the results list appears on the left side, while the selected item appears on the right.

Now that you purchased your dream expresso machine, learning how to actually make latte …?

Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S., Reference Librarian
As a Reference Librarian, I am excited by purchases of the latest and greatest databases. The library has subscribed to a number of BNA online databases for years. But our new BNA Premiere package is daunting in its coverage.

With such expanded online coverage, I am burdened by the need to communicate best practices in conducting research in these databases. The BNA Premiere package contains over 100 separate titles, and within those titles hundreds of separate resources. For example the Tax Planning and Tax Management(TM) databases number about seventeen titles, including the well-known Tax Management Memorandums.

In the future, see my blog postings on these databases, as well as information on the databases in our LibGuides.

Monday, August 15, 2011

So Cool! - SXSW Volunteer Shirt Worn by New Student, Abdul Pasha.

Jessica R. Alexander, JD., M.L.S., Reference Librarian

A new student, Abdul Pasha, a UT Government grad volunteered for the SXSW Film festival. Since I am a big fan of the SXSW Interactive Festival, I was impressed by his volunteer t-shirt. His shirt, pictured on Abdul, at left, depicts a "deer in the headlights." In the library, we try to spot our new students and help them not to feel like a deer facing a Ferrari.

Later, I will be blogging on our BNA databases. We now subscribe to over 100 of these databases, and there is something for every patron in that mix.