The False Prophet!” shrieks one cover.  “Confession of Ann Walters, the Murderess!” proclaims another.  “Death in the Mail” is the lurid title of a third.

These are all pamphlets digitized in the Cornell University Law Library Trial Pamphlets Collection, which has just received the American Association of Law Libraries’ Law Library Publications Award, Nonprint Division.

We call them trial pamphlets because most are contemporary accounts of trials of prominent citizens or that dealt with especially controversial or lurid topics.  Some are confessions; some include “execution sermons” (in which readers were given a moral lecture).  As the titles quoted suggest, they were sold to a public eager to learn the juicy details of a recent murder or other crime.

For present day scholars, the pamphlets offer not only valuable evidence, such as trial transcripts, frequently not available elsewhere, but also indications of the political, economic, and social transformation of the United States, especially in the 19th century.

The trial pamphlets are freely available for full-text searching or browsing on the Trial Pamphlets Collection site.  Law Library staff responsible for the project are Thomas Mills, Associate Director for Collections and Administration and Rare Book Curator, and Janet Gillespie, Access Services Manager.  Barbara Berger Eden, Cornell University Library’s Director of Preservation, and the entire project staff made the digital collection possible.

Just posted in Scholarship@Cornell Law is “Unborn Communities,” a working paper by Gregory S. Alexander, A. Robert Noll Professor of Law at Cornell. From the abstract:

Do property owners owe obligations to members of future generations? Although the question can be reframed in rights-terms so that it faces rights-oriented theories of property, it seems to pose a greater challenge to those theories of property that directly focus on the obligations that property owners owe to others rather than (or, better, along with) the rights of owner. The challenge is compounded where such theories emphasize the relationships between individual property owners and the various communities to which they belong. Do those communities include members of future generations? This paper addresses these questions as they apply to a property theory that I have developed in recent work, a theory that we can call the human-flourishing theory of property.

If you’re not familiar with Scholarship@Cornell Law, it’s Cornell Law Library’s digital repository of 1,000 scholarly articles, papers, and presentations, all available online, for free.  Scholarship@Cornell Law is part of bePress’s Law Commons, where Cornell Law Library has one of the top five most popular repositories.

While both published and working papers by Cornell law faculty make up the bulk of Scholarship@Cornell Law, we also have papers by students, including winners of the Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student ResearchPapers from many different law school centers and programs, the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and Dorothea S. Clarke Program in Feminist Jurisprudence and the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative are also found at Scholarship@Cornell Law.

New things seem to keep happening here at the Law Library.  First, we now have a Popular DVD Collection.  It focuses on law, lawyers, public policy and government in feature films.  While we currently have about 50 DVDs, we expect the size of the collection to increase.  You can browse our collection in the soft seating area of the Reading Room or online at http://guides.library.cornell.edu/popular_law_dvds.  DVDs can be checked out for seven days.

We also have a new self-serve online room reservation system for the Law School community.  Easy access is available via your computer, phone, or tablet at http://lawschool.cornell.libcal.com/booking/rooms.  Reservations may be made for the squash court and study rooms 471 and 473, for a maximum of two hours at a time.

Happy new year — welcome to 2013!

We’ve made a few changes in the law library’s database offerings:

  • We now subscribe to Oxford Bibliographies: International Law.  This database includes 48 articles guiding researchers to the best scholarship available in international law.  Examples of topics include Genocide, International Criminal Law, and International Organizations.  This database is available for use both on and off campus for the entire Cornell community.
  • While we’ve subscribed to PKULaw for quite some time, until now it has been available only at the law school.  We’re pleased to announce that it is now available for use by the entire Cornell community, both on and off campus, in its English and Chinese versions.  PKULaw is a comprehensive and authoritative database of Chinese legal information, which contains all the laws, regulations, and cases in Chinese since 1949. It also includes all issues of 35 domestic law journals, with over 100,000 full-text articles in Chinese.  (Note that not all Chinese-language materials are available in the English database.)
  • We have expanded our holdings in Oxford Reports in International Law to include decisions not only on International Law in Domestic Courts but also International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law.  This database is available only using law school computers.
  • We no longer have a separate subscription to Getting the Deal Through.  The resources in that database are now available via Bloomberg Law.  Members of the law school community who would like a Bloomberg Law password should contact Cornell Law Library Reference.

We’re pleased to announce the publication of our annual report, Cornell University Law Library: A Year in Review 2011/2012.  It includes a Message from the Director, reports on Collections, Information Management, Reference and Research Services, and Access Services, an in-depth discussion of our digitization of the Trial Pamphlets Collection, and a list of our librarians’ professional activities.  Some of the highlights from the past year that you can learn more about in the annual report include new librarians and staff, a new popular reading collection (both print and online), library materials on the move, added Sunday reference desk staffing, increased circulation of library materials, and a visit from Cornell Companions, a pet visitation program sponsored by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (a picture of the llama is in the annual report).

For graphs, pictures, and more, visit Cornell University Law Library: A Year in Review 2011/2012.

After last week’s blog posting about the Farewell Reception in the Rare Book Room, we received several inquiries about the future of our rare books and other special collections.  We have good news:  These collections will still be easily accessible.  Certain materials will stay here at the law school in a secure, climate-controlled room.  Most of the collection will be temporarily housed near the Cornell apple orchard in the Cornell University Library Annex, which provides 24-hour turnaround access to materials.  The Annex is well equipped for storing material of this kind; in fact, it already houses some of Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript collections.  Users of our rare books and other special collections will continue to request these materials from and use them in the Law Library.

And we have more good news — our library director, Femi Cadmus, has been working closely with the architects for Phase II of the Law School’s renovation project on a new rare book room.  We’re looking forward to having a new, even better space to show off our treasures like the Scottsboro Train, pictured below.

Fall break is coming soon to Cornell Law School.  If you’re traveling somewhere, have you thought about what you’ll read on the plane or listen to in the car?  Cornell Law Library offers downloadable e-books and audiobooks for check-out via OverDrive to its students, faculty, and staff.

Some of the currently available audiobooks include An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage, discussing food’s influence over the course of history, and  the comic novel Company, by Max Barry.  In e-books we have fiction, including the thrillers 12.21 by Dustin Thomason and Headhunters by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, among others, as well as nonfiction such as Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (“vital reading for anyone serious about confronting poverty”–Timothy Ogden, Stanford Social Innovation Review).

Don’t see the title you want? Make a suggestion!  Contact Nina Scholtz or Dan Blackaby with your suggestions, comments, and questions.

The law library has launched a one year pilot of OverDrive, a service offering downloadable popular and classic e-audiobooks and e-books, for Cornell Law School students, faculty, and staff.

For instructions on getting started and to browse the collection, please go to http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library/WhatWeHave/Overdrive.cfm to sign in with your NetID and password.  E-books and e-audiobooks  can be downloaded to your PC, Mac®, and many mobile devices, including iPads, iPods, and Kindles. Since titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, there are no late fees.

Comments? Title suggestions? Please let us know what you think of this new service!

The Shareholder Value MythWe have posted our new books list for August 1-15.  Among the many new titles is The Shareholder Value Myth, by Lynn Stout, Cornell Law School’s Distinguished Professor of Corporate & Business Law.

 

The Cornell Law School Library has purchased two additional HeinOnline databases, Congress & the Courts and the History of International Law Collection, for use by the Cornell University community.

Congress & the Courts is a collection focusing on the organization, structure, and legislative history of the federal  courts and judiciary.  It includes William H. Manz’s Congress and the Courts: A Legislative History 1787-2010, covering the U.S. Congress’s approaches since 1789 to the composition and structure of Article III Courts.  It also includes Federal Judicial Center publications and scholarly articles about the federal courts.

The History of International Law Collection includes more than 700 titles going back to 1690.  These titles include classic books by authors such as Hugo Grotius and William Douglas, serials such as Studies in Transnational Legal Policy and Judicial Settlement of International Disputes, scholarly articles, and bibliographies.

You can explore the contents of these databases here.

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