Bloomberg Law LogoBloomberg recently joined the online legal research scene with their special brand known as Bloomberg Law.  Law students and faculty at Cornell are already using this subscription Web service that pulls together case law and statutes with the unique financial data, news, and company information that Bloomberg does so well.  Indeed, Bloomberg positions its product in direct competition with Lexis and Westlaw, so if you have a corporate interest, this product is a must for your legal research.  Recognizing the reliability and authoritativeness of Bloomberg Law, the new 19th edition of The Bluebook authorizes citation to Bloomberg for unreported cases.  Here’s a sample citation from Bluebook rule 18.3:

Ortho-McNeil Pharm., Inc. v. Teva Pharm. Indus., Ltd., No. 2008-1549, 2009 BL 181480, at *4 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 26, 2009).

If you don’t have your own Bloomberg password yet, come see our Bloomberg representative next week in the Reading Room on Thursday, October 7, to sign up for access to this treasure trove of legal and financial data.

The National Assembly Library of the Republic of Korea hosted the joint GLIN/International Legal Information Conference from September 6-10, 2010 in Seoul, Korea.  The theme of the conference was “The Future of Legal Information Service: Promoting the Global Open Access.”  Some 22 countries presented reports on how they post laws and court decisions (and sometimes legal literature) online as part of the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), the infrastructure run by the Library of Congress, but with decentralized local workstations.  The process is government to government, transferring authenticated official legal information.  GLIN has been particularly useful in using technology and a common platform/search engine/thesaurus to help emerging countries in Latin America and Africa make their laws available online.  Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Kuwait, and others are major contributors to GLIN.  The slides from my presentation at the conference on “Digitizing the World’s Laws: Evolution and Revolution” are available here.  For more on the conference, click here.

In 2008 Latham & Watkins attorney Kirk Davenport developed a list of 750 need-to-know terms for corporate and deal attorneys.  Now that list is available as a free iPhone/iPad Touch/iPad app courtesy of the IT and business development teams at Latham.  The app, called “The Book of Jargon,” is missing some important terms like “credit default swap,” but it still does a good job of covering the obvious (“common stock”) to the more advanced (“Macaroni Defense”).  You can search or browse for terms.  I would have liked to see an example for each entry as well as links to other resources illustrating the terms–but hey, it’s free.  And how much free time can Kirk Davenport have?  Recommended for aspiring corporate lawyers, perhaps as a supplement to that pricey but highly functional Black’s Law Dictionary app.

Have you ever wanted to borrow a book held by the Cornell University Library system only to find out it is checked out, on reserve, or missing?  Even though Cornell has almost 8 million volumes, this can certainly happen.  What to do?  If the book is signed out to another reader you can recall the book from the reader who has it, which can take up to two weeks.  Or, you can go to Borrow Direct and request it.

The Borrow Direct group consists of Ivy League schools that have agreed to loan each other books for a month–so you have just gained access to seven additional university libraries.  The books generally arrive within four working days.  Now you can even renew books obtained through Borrow Direct.

To obtain a book through Borrow Direct online, go to Requests in the Online Catalog, doing a search, and requesting the book.  Your request is tracked and you are kept informed when your request has been received, when it has been filled by the lending library, and when it has arrived at Cornell.  You can then pick up the book at the circulation desk in the Law Library.

So, not only do you have the libraries at Cornell subject to your requests, you have those other Ivy League Schools library materials available to you.  If you have any problems making a request, please see someone at the circulation desk.  They will be happy to assist you.

PiratesPiracy is funny when it involves parrots with risqué vocabularies, saying “Argggh” a lot, and Johnny Depp proudly debarking from his sinking jalopy of a raft.  Piracy is deadly serious when it is a form of terrorism in which routes of commerce are disrupted, people die, and a sea captain in Swiss Family Robinson makes his granddaughter dress like a boy to protect her from…well, I could never figure out from what when I was eight years old.  But something really, really bad.

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day this coming Sunday (September 19th every year), here are some resources for learning about the not-so-funny legal aspects of piracy.

Digital libraries

Books

  • The Law of Piracy. Alfred P. Rubin. 2nd ed. Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Transnational Publishers, Inc., 1998.  Law Library call number K5277 .R89 1998.  This book traces the development of piracy and piracy law in the Greco-Roman world, England, and the United States.
  • La Piraterie au Vingtième Siècle: Piraterie Maritime et Aérienne.  Corinne Touret.  Paris: Librairie Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence, E.J.A., 1992.  Law Library call number K5277 .T68 1992.  This book takes an international law approach.
  • Patriot Pirates: The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution.  Robert H. Patton.  New York: Pantheon Books, 2008.  Olin Library call number E271. P27 2008.  Patriot Pirates describes of the history of American colonial privateers during the Revolutionary War (like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, except in a different war), their motivations, and the questionable legality of their actions.

Articles (links to HeinOnline)

Web sites

Image: “The Pirates” Under False Colors-Can They Capture the Ship of State? from Cornell University Library’s Collection of Political Americana, available on flickr.com.

BNA is providing training for Cornell Law students on Monday, September 27 at 2:30 in room 279. The training ends at 2:55.

A special training for members of the law journals will be held in room 279 from 3:00 until 3:25.

The BNA representative will be passing out information in the foyer from 11a.m.-2p.m.

BNA publishes looseleaf services that help lawyers stay abreast of the latest developments in their practice areas.  BNA employs attorneys who report on legal news. BNA also publishes articles from high-profile attorneys analyzing the latest developments.  Some BNA resources include primary law sources such as cases and verdicts.

There are BNA resources for a wide variety of topics, from international trade to intellectual property, from environmental law to securities law, from employment law to criminal law.  View the full list of BNA titles available at Cornell Law School here.

A good BNA publication for all law students to subscribe to is United States Law Week, which provides a weekly report on the most significant U.S. legal news for all areas of law. Get the news delivered to your inbox by clicking “Sign Up For E-Mail” on the U.S. Law Week home page.

CUL mobile siteIn a move designed to make online information more accessible to library patrons, Cornell University Library (CUL) recently launched CULite, a new mobile interface for the library’s website.  The Law Library is grateful to the mobile team that designed this feature for the benefit of all libraries on the Cornell campus, including ours.

Two alternatives are available to users: a device independent mobile site (http://library.cornell.edu/m) or an iPhone/iPod Touch app available free from iTunes.  Both options allow users to search the Classic Catalog, check individual Library hours, locate contact information for each Library, submit a question to an individual reference desk, and more.  Check out the promotional video on YouTube.  Your research just became a little easier.

At the recent International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, access to information was reaffirmed as a basic human right.  Many countries now provide online access to legal information such as statutes, codes, regulations, court decisions, and international agreements.  The big question is whether the digital version of this information is official like the print version, and whether the digital version has been authenticated through a secure server or digital signature to ensure that the content has not been altered.  Another issue that has emerged is the fragility and obsolescence of the digital medium and the need for preservation and long-term access, particularly for born-digital legal information which has no paper equivalent.  Why does it matter?  In an environment where online sources are replacing official print versions of legal information, citizens need to be able to trust the “official word of the law.”  More information at http://www.ifla.org/files/hq/papers/ifla76/96-germain-en.pdf, and in French at http://ifla2010ulaval.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/seance-1-sur-les-bibliotheques-de-droit-et-les-publications-officielles-ou-gouvernementales/.

WestlawNextBeginning September 13 you’ll notice an additional link when you sign on to Westlaw at http://lawschool.westlaw.comWestlawNext (WLN) debuts at Cornell Law School on Monday, and it is the newest platform for the Westlaw research service.  WestlawNext was years in development, and West is hoping that it will make legal research easier.  One of the goals of WLN is to make the legal research experience more Google-like.  The interface has been streamlined and takes on the look one often sees on the free web.  You no longer need to select a database and search queries can be kept simple.  West claims that they have developed the “world’s most advanced legal search engine” based on their editorial enhancements, Key Number taxonomy, and state-of-the-art search technology.  They have created a dashboard for navigation and users may create folders into which they can drag and drop documents for future access.

Perhaps the most significant distinguishing feature of WLN is that much of the research process is handled behind the scenes.  This may make research faster and easier in some instances, or seemingly so, but it also wrests control from the researcher.  So, give it a try.  Do some sample searches to compare it to the current iteration of Westlaw.  Is WLN a better system?

Some things to know: Westlaw will be here on Monday the 13th to promote the rollout of WestlawNext.  Current Westlaw will still be available, and you will use your same username and password to access WLN.  Also, be aware that you will not be able to print to the dedicated printers from WLN.  Of course, you will be able to e-mail, download, and print to an attached printer.

If you have questions, let us know.

Have you noticed anything different about searching Google lately?  On September 8, 2010 Google announced the gradual rollout of Google Instant, an enhancement to its search engine.  Google Instant speeds up search time by predicting possible search results while you are still in the process of typing in your search terms.  If one of the predictions is what you are looking for, you can just click on that item in the list, without entering the remainder of your search.  For example, if you’re searching for macaroni salad recipes, you need only type the first four letters “maca” into the Google search box, and “macaroni salad recipe” appears below the search box in a list of clickable links (see image below) along with search results.  Google claims that Google Instant “can save 2-5 seconds per search.”  You can find more information about Google Instant, including FAQs and a short video introduction, at http://www.google.com/instant/.
Google Instant

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