In a paper soon to be published in the American Economic Review, economists Scott Stern and Jeffrey Furman studied biology scholarship and found that making research materials easily available to others has a viral effect. When the research materials were placed in a Biological Resource Center easily accessible to other researchers, “the post-deposit citation boost is estimated to be between 57 percent and 135 percent.”
Would making legal research easily available to other researchers have the same viral effect on legal scholarship? It just might—ask Professor Brandon Garrett. With the help of the law library, Professor Garrett has made much of his research accessible online, including the research for his book Convicting the Innocent, the set of corporate prosecution agreements he used for a 2007 article “Structural Reform Prosecution,” and the corporate plea agreements used for his 2011 article “Globalized Corporate Prosecution.”
We do not know the exact effect of making his research publicly available, but the pages for these materials have been accessed more than 16,000 times. Professor Garrett’s research has certainly received national attention. Convicting the Innocent has been featured in the New York Times (and here and here), cited by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor in a recent dissent on eyewitness testimony, and used by the New Jersey Supreme Court to support its sweeping changes in how eyewitness testimony will be treated in New Jersey courts. “Structural Reform Prosecution” has been cited over fifty times in law reviews and other secondary sources.
If you would like to think about making your research similarly publicly available, just contact Jon Ashley in the law library. He and Professor Garrett are currently working on making the data sets even more accessible by adding faceted and full-text search functions.
– Ben Doherty
The Law Library is about to debut a new legal research database that’s gaining rapid adoption by law firms and select law schools. Bloomberg Law, or “BLAW” as it’s known to friends, offers a growing body of legal information such as court opinions, statutes, regulations, secondary sources, and news, as well as the range of corporate and financial information you’d expect from a product by Bloomberg.
One particularly noteworthy feature of BLAW is its exceptional dockets database. Federal district, appellate, and an increasing number of state court filings can be searched and retrieved through the site. You can even sign up for email alerts to keep on top of new docket activity.
If you’re a law student or faculty member and you’d like to have a password for Bloomberg Law, please drop by the library computer lab on January 31 or February 1 between 9 and 6. Representative Beth Goldfinger will be here to register new users and help them get started. Beth will also hold a training session in the Fox Seminar Room (WB114 in the library) on February 1 at 2 p.m.
– Jon Ashley
In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Law Library will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, and remain closed through Friday, November 25. We will resume regular (8 a.m. to midnight) hours on Saturday, November 26.
Do thoughts of Thanksgiving have you in the mood for Turkey? If so, the Law Library holds a number of resources that may be of interest. See, for example, Introduction to Turkish Law (Tugrul Ansay & Don Wallace, Jr., eds., 5th ed. 2005), Ergun Özbudun’s The Constitutional System of Turkey: 1876 to the Present (2011), or foreign law journal articles on Turkey via the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) on HeinOnline. Or if you’re so excited about Turkey that you’re planning a trip there, don’t pack your bags until you’ve perused our Eyewitness Travel Guide for Turkey. If you prefer to enjoy Turkey from home, you might check out the Turkish film Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) (2007) on DVD.
However you’re planning to enjoy Turkey this Thanksgiving, the Library Staff wishes you a safe and happy holiday.
– Amy Wharton and Cathy Palombi
Since its publication in 2005, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s two-volume Customary International Humanitarian Law has been widely cited by scholars and human rights practitioners seeking to establish customary rules for armed conflict. The ICRC has now provided a free online database of these volumes, providing easier access to researchers around the world.
The online version incorporates information about national and international practice through the end of 2007, with further regular updates planned.
Find links to this database and many others in our International Law Guide.
– Ben Doherty
With its tasteful use of orange highlights, WestlawNext has been taking UVA Law by storm. At the library we’re enthusiastic about this new direction for legal databases (and are looking forward to Lexis’ future contributions to the trend). If you’ve hopped on the WestlawNext bandwagon, we say good for you, but make sure you are using it as a critical researcher: taking advantage of everything it has to offer and noting what it may not provide.
While WestlawNext’s main search box works well for many searches, be sure to take advantage of its advanced search screens. The advanced searches available in specific databases are particularly robust. For example, try selecting the “Federal Cases” database under the Federal Materials tab and then clicking on the “advanced” button at the top. That opens up all of the document fields and a list of “connectors and expanders” to which expert Westlaw and Lexis searchers are accustomed. You can do the same types of advanced searches from Next’s main search screen. However, you have to know the right connectors or field abbreviations to enter, kind of like having to know to order your burger “animal style” at In-N-Out Burger, even though it’s not on their menu. Using the advanced search option in the different WestlawNext databases gives you the menu, so that you can take advantage of those more precise search tools.
Keep in mind too, that WestlawNext is a work in progress. There is a lot of information that you can get in Westlaw.com (or Lexis) that has not yet migrated to WestlawNext, such as foreign or international legal material. As a savvy researcher it is as important to realize what Next cannot yet do as it is to take advantage of all it has to offer. Finally, our law firm colleagues would have our heads if we did not remind you that once out of law school you’ll need to pay attention to cost. Like its content, WestlawNext’s pricing structure is evolving, but upon arriving at a firm or other organization, asking the librarian or whoever is in charge of Westlaw or Lexis there how the pricing for your organization works is always a good idea.
– Ben Doherty