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Posts Tagged ‘legalresearch’

ADR Collection Available in the Law Library

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 9, 2013

The following books were donated to the law library by the Office of Case Management so that they would be more accessible to those who might benefit from them.  They are shelved with the library’s self-help collection located in the aisle that leads to the Family Law Self-Help Center. They were purchased with support money from the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation & Conflict Resolution Office. 

  • Principles of Alternative Dispute Resolution 2nd ed. / Stephen J. Ware (West, 2007).  (ADR KF 9084 .W7 2007)        
  • Renegotiating Family Relationships: Divorce, Child Custody, and Mediation 2nd ed. / Robert E. Emery (Guilford Press, 2012).  (ADR HQ 834 .E48 2012) 
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Conflict Diagnosis Approach / Laurie S. Coltri (Prentice Hall, 2010).  (ADR K 2390 .C655 2010) 
  • Dispute Resolution: Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration, and Other Processes 6th ed. / Stephen B. Goldberg &  Frank E.A. Sander (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2012).  (ADR KF 9084 .G65 2012) 
  • Family Mediation: Contemporary Issues / Howard H. Irving & Michael Benjamin (Sage Publications, 1995).  (ADR HQ 10.5 .N7 I78 1995) 
  • A Guide to Divorce Mediation: How to Reach a Fair, Legal Settlement at a Fraction of the Cost / Gary J. Friedman & Jack Himmelstein (Workman Pub., 1993).  (ADR KF 535 .Z9 F68 1993)Mediation: Principles and Practice / Kimberlee K. Kovach (West, 2004).  (ADR KF 9084 .K68 2004)The Foreclosure Mediation Training Guide / Victoria Ring ( Graphico Pub., 2007).  (ADR KF 697 .F6 R56 2007) 
  • The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict 3rd ed. / Christopher W. Moore (Jossey-Bass, 2003).  (ADR HM 1126 .M667 2003) 
  • The Handbook of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation Theory and Practice / Alison Taylor (Jossey-Bass, 2002).  (ADR HQ 10 .T28 2002) 
  • Essentials of Alternative Dispute Resolution 2nd ed. / Susan R. Patterson & D. Grant Seabolt, Jr. (Pearson Publications Co., 2001).  (ADR KF 9084 .P47 2001) 
  • Stop Fighting Over the Kids : Resolving Day-To-Day Custody Conflict in Divorce Situations 1st ed. / Mike Mastracci (Saint Gabriel’s Press, 2009).  (ADR HQ 834 .M7 2009) 
  • The Practice of Mediation: A Video-Integrated Text 2nd ed. / Douglas N. Frenkel & James H. Stark (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2012).  (ADR KF 9084 .F746 2012) 
  • Foreclosure Nation: Mortgaging the American Dream / Shari Olefson (Prometheus Books, 2009).  (ADR HD 255 .O44 2009) 
  • Help! I’m facing Foreclosure: What Are My Options? / William Tyler (PublishAmerica, 2009).  (ADR KF 697 .F6 .T4 2009)
  • Coping with the Foreclosure Crisis : State and Local Efforts to Combat Foreclosures in Prince George’s County, Maryland (Government Printing Office , 2009).  (ADR KF 697 .F6 .S6 2009) 

Other titles in the law library shelved with the general collection include:

  • Mediation: A Handbook for Maryland Lawyers / Honorable Daniel E. Klein, Honorable Kaye A. Allison & Perry F. Sekus, (MICPEL, 1999).  (KFM1760.3.K54 1999) 
  • How Arbitration Works 6th ed. / Alan Miles Ruben, ed. (American Bar Association, Committee on ADR in Labor & Employment Law, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., Washington, D.C., 2003).  (KF3424.E53 2003) 
  • How Arbitration Works 6th ed.: 2010 Cumulative Supplement / Kenneth May, ed. (American Bar Association, Committee on ADR in Labor & Employment Law, 2010).  (KF3424.E53 2010) 
  • The Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Guide / Betty J. Roth & Randall W. Wulff (West, 1997.)  (KF9084.A93 1997) 
  • The Law of Alternative Dispute Resolution / Margaret Jasper (Dobbs Ferry, NY : Oceana 2000).  (KF9084.Z9 J37) 
  • Mediation in a Nut Shell 2nd ed. / Kimberlee K. Kovach (West, 2010).  (KF9084.K68 2010) 
  • Mediation: Law, Policy & Practice / Sarah R. Cole & Craig A. McEwen (West, 2012).  (KF9084.M44 2012) 

 There is also an AACPLL Wiki page, ADR -Alternative Dispute Resolution, with additionlal information.

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WestlawNext Patron Access

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 1, 2013

Have you tried WestlawNext Patron Access?

This new interface, WestlawNext, is now accessible in the law library’s computer room. WestlawNext is in addition to the “old” Westlaw, now referred to as Westlaw Classic, you may be accustomed to. One big difference that will be appreciated by library users is the ability to download and email results. These features are only available with Next, printing is the still the only option for the Classic version.

With WestlawNext you do not have to begin your research session by choosing a database to search. Instead, you need only type your search terms in the search box at the top of the page. This has a more Google like feel to it. However, you can still use the old Boolean terms and connectors in the search box and you can still select the database in which you would like to search. If you don’t though, your results will be presented to you in an organized manner. In the middle of the results screen will be the Overview. The Overview displays the results by document type displaying the most relevant within each category. Listed first will be cases, followed by statutes, regulations, secondary sources and more. On the left of the screen all of the categories will be listed with the number of results for each showing in parens. As you might guess, the number of results can be quite large, just like a Google search. This is where the ability to “filter” comes in. Once one of the categories of results or even “all results” is chosen, boxes will appear below the results on the left that allow the narrowing of the search. You could search within the results by typing in a search term such as “Maryland” or any combination of terms and connectors.

What if you just want to find a case or use Keycite, the citator? To search for a specific case, you would just enter the citation or case name in that same search box. A bar showing Keycite results will display automatically across the top of displayed documents once it is viewed.

Westlaw and WestlawNext Content

Both Westlaw Classic and WestlawNext have access to Maryland’s cases, code, regulation, Attorney General Opinions and some secondary sources such as the MLE and Maryland form books.

This is in addition to access to all state and federal cases and statutes, too. The general secondary sources include ALR, Black’s, the encyclopedias AmJur and CJS, and the Restatements and Principles of the Law. Titles of interest to litigators are the AmJur Proof of Facts, AmJur Trials and Causes of Action. The law library has a number of form books published by West. These sets along with many other titles not available in the library can be searched through the Form Finder on Westlaw and WestlawNext.

Next time you are in the law library, give WestlawNext a try at the computers labeled with a Westlaw sign. We will be happy to help you with your research using Next or the Westlaw Classic. You can also find out more through the online tutorials available on those Westlaw computers.

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Try Sailor at the Anne Arundel County Public Library for Access to Journal Articles and Non-Legal Information

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 8, 2013

The Anne Arundel County Public Library is a good resource for those times when your research requires non-legal information.  Through the AACPL website you can access Sailor.  As explained on the website: “Sailor is a service of Maryland’s public libraries that provides broadband Internet access for public libraries, schools and local government in Maryland, and an extensive collection of research databases for the use of Maryland public library customers.”

The Research Databases “button” provides access to a number resources  that might be of interest to legal researchers. Links and the database descriptions from Sailor follow:

Business Source Premier  for “business related newspapers and journals. Non-journal content includes company profiles, country reports, industry reports, market research reports, and SWOT analyses.”

MasterFile  for “a wide variety of journal articles, magazine articles, primary source documents, reference book entries and images.”

Regional Business News   where you can “search articles from Crain CommunicationsBusiness PhiladelphiaDaily Record (Baltimore Edition), New York Observer andWashington Times.”

Science Reference Center   where you can “search science oriented reference sources, science journals, biographies, and science related animations, videos, and images.”

In order to access you may have to enter the number on your library card or choose your library system from a drop-down menu.

Please remember that when you need non-legal information for your research you can use your public library right from your desk.

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Self Help Guide for the Maryland Court of Appeals

Posted by Joan Bellistri on August 31, 2012

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has published “A Guide for Self-Representation: Maryland Court of Special Appeals.”  The library has added copies as part of the library collection (KFM1755.G85 2012) and has copies available for distribution.  The manual is also available online: http://mdcourts.gov/cosappeals/pdfs/cosaguideselfrepresentation.pdf

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FDsys : The Source for Free Online Government Information

Posted by Joan Bellistri on March 19, 2012

Starting today, March 16, 2012, FDsys is the site for online official  and authentic federal government information.  FDsys is replacing the former GPO Access site which is has been archived and is no longer online.

Today the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013 is featured on the home page.  However, you can find information from all branches of the federal government including the Code of Federal Regulations, the United States Code, Congressional Reports,  and U.S. Court Opinions.  To get a good picture of all that can be found here, it is a good idea to use the “Browse Collections” feature.

An important feature as mentioned above is that you can find authenticated information.  For example, if you look at a section (Sec. 502.5 of  Title 12) of the CFR you will see a certificate of authenticity stating that what you are seeing is “Authenticated U.S. Government Information.”  Authenticated information lets the reader know that they are looking at the real thing.  This important feature is not found on many other government websites.  Hopefully other government entities will follow this example for online government information.

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National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials

Posted by Joan Bellistri on June 10, 2011

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) believes that the public should have “no-fee, permanent public access to authentic online legal information on government Web sites” as stated in the Government Relations Office Issue Brief, AALL Working Groups to Ensure Access to Electronic Legal Information.

The Government Relations Office of AALL has coordinated a major project, the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials, to collect information on the availability of all primary legal materials in the United States at every level of government from the judicial, legislative and executive branches.  Once information from all fifty states, D.C. and the Federal Government is collected, it “will be analyzed and used by experts working with  LAW.gov, the Law Library of Congress and AALL public policy committees according to the Issue Brief.  The data will provide a picture as to the availability of primary legal material.  The inventory collects such information as the availability of online and print versions and whether the material is copyrighted.  Other information collected for the inventory for online materials include provisions for authentication, preservation and permanent public access.

Authentication ensures that online  information is, in fact, the law.  This is done through the use of certifying marks and the establishment of chain of custody of the electronic document.  A more detailed description of authentication can be found in the Executive Summary of the AALL State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources Full Report.

It is important that electronic online legal materials be preserved by an appropriate government entity.  Print resources are easily preserved by court libraries and archives by storing the books in a proper environment.  Digital information presents a problem.  The technology for methods and media for accessing electronic information can change quickly.  Preservation would involve making sure that the digital information migrates to new platforms as technology changes.  The preserved information should remain accessible to the public permanently. The above principles were outlined in  the AALL policy paper, Principles and Core Values Concerning Pubic Information of Government Websites.

Maryland law librarians formed a Working Group to address the issues of authentication, preservation and permanent public access.  The Working Group has contributed to the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials by collecting the information for Maryland primary legal materials.  The project was completed as of June 1, 2011.  All of the information was entered into a Google spreadsheet for the sate, county and municipal levels all of the  branches of Maryland government.  The Maryland Inventory Spreadsheet will be added to the information collected by other state working groups to form the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials.

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“Watson” and legal research

Posted by Joan Bellistri on February 15, 2011

I watched the IBM computer “Watson” compete on Jeopardy last night against the two all time Jeopardy champions.  I have to admit that I was relieved when the evening ended with Watson in a tie with one of the humans.  Still, I couldn’t help but think how this technology could change the way we find information in the future on the Internet and the legal databases we use now for legal research.

Robert C. Weber is an IBM and senior vice president and among other things general counsel for IBM.  His article,  Why ‘Watson’ Matters to Lawyers, published in the Law Technology News today describes the technology, known as Deep QA, behind Watson and how it could  improve the ability to retrieve and evaluate information.  Weber, however, does not see Watson or Deep QA as a replacement for an attorney but as technology that “can unquestionably extend our capabilities …”

Tonight we will see how Watson does in double Jeopardy.

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Google Scholar Adds Option to Search Opinions by Court or Jurisdiction

Posted by Joan Bellistri on January 14, 2011

A recent Google Scholar Blog post, “Search opinions from specific courts,” on January 11, 2011 announced that case law searches now have the option of being restricted to a specific court or jurisdiction.

You would now be able to choose all Maryland courts or just the Court of  Appeals.  This option can be found in the advance search page of Google Scholar.

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Maryland People’s Law Library Announces Redesign

Posted by Joan Bellistri on December 10, 2010

Yesterday the Maryland Judiciary issued a press release announcing that the redesigned Maryland People’s Law Library had been launched.  The AACPLL has relied on the People’s Law Library in assisting the self represented litigant for years.

The home page still has lists of topics from which to choose such as consumer, health, and family.   In the right sidebar there are now links to popular articles and updates.  I like the new left sidebar with quick links to “How do I” topics: evaluate my situation, file a case, prepare a case, and appeal a case.  How to appeal an administrative decision is a frequent question asked by the self represented litigant in the law library and the article, “Appealing an Administrative Decision,” provides the information needed to understand the process.  Another frequent question is how to file a mandamus action for a car title.  “Correcting a Public Record/Court Ordered Vehicle Titling” is a great resource.  The bibliographies listing materials we have in the law library and the links to Maryland rules and code sections bring the pertinent information in one place in these articles.

I appreciate that Maryland law libraries have this resource to rely on in our mission of providing legal information and congratulate the Maryland State Law Library on the redesign effort.

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AALL Annual Meeting Roundup: Working With Public Libraries

Posted by Joan Bellistri on December 1, 2010

Two programs at the meeting dealt with the role of public libraries in providing access to legal information: “Partnering with Pubic Libraries to Expand Services” and “Statutes, Cases and Codes, Oh My! Easing Public Librarians Down the Road to Legal Reference.”

Many states do not have an extensive system of court libraries and public libraries can fill the gap.  Where court law libraries are available, public libraries can supplement with additional hours and locations.

Marcia Koslov, of the Los Angeles Law Library, began the “Partnering” program by stating that law libraries are a  means of bridging the gap between the courts and public libraries.  Public libraries and court libraries can complement each other. Public libraries can make legal resources more available to the public with better hours and more locations and have an established user population.  Court law libraries have trained staff, access to extensive legal material and are located within or adjacent to the court building.

Court law libraries can expand service to the public by partnering with public libraries to provide collection support, online services and staff training for public libraries.  Public libraries, in turn,  can provide additional space and extended hours.  Understanding the legal system, legal materials and the difference between legal information and advice can be a challenge for public librarians.

Los Angeles has a model outreach program consisting of three parts:  an introduction to the courts, access to legal information which includes a “civics” lesson, and legal materials in the public library collection.

While there might be concerns that this model could lead to competition, it must be considered that the public library will not be able to provide the extensive law collection or staff expertise found in a court library.  This model of partnering will allow the public library to provide better service to patrons needing legal information.

Liz Reppe, of the Dakota Law Library in Minnesota, described the partnership between the public libraries and law libraries in Minnesota.  You can find law libraries embedded in public libraries there.  This model provides the advantage of having public library substitutes when the law librarian is out of the library.  Other ways in which libraries partner in Minnesota include attorney legal information sessions in public libraries, guides to legal resources on the Internet created by law librarians, self help terminals in public libraries and legal clinics.

Sara Galligan, of the Ramsey Law Library in Minnesota, presented information on grant opportunities that Minnesota has taken advantage of to fund partnerships between public and law libraries.  LSTA grants are a source of federal funds implemented by the State Librarian.  The Gates Foundation is another source mentioned.

The program, “Statutes, Cases…” provided examples of programs developed by law librarians for training public librarians in legal reference.

Brian Huffman, a law librarian in a Minnesota public library, spoke about the “Austin” Conference held earlier this year.  Teams representing states from across the country met in Austin, Texas to address the needs and methods of training public libraries in providing legal information to the public.  He shared a FAQ and template resulting from that conference that could be used by public librarians to develop materials for use in providing access to legal information.  He provided a link to the conference materials: http://www.webjunction.org/legal-information/-/articles/content/93601257.  His overview of Minnesota efforts in developing materials for public libraries included MALL‘s resources, a MLA 2009 Handout, “Access to Justice for All: The Public Library’s Role,” and the Ramsey County Law Library Guide.  Other resources mentioned included a training program for public librarians that deals with the unauthorized practice of law, “What Public Librarians Can Do,” and a handout on the topic for patrons.

In Georgia, the ALLA offers a Legal Research Institute that provides training to public librarians.

Terrye Conroy, of the University of South Carolina Coleman Karesh Law Library, described  South Carolina as a very rural state without a state law library and only a few public law libraries.  Public libraries are needed to fill the gap.  The need for the training of public librarians called upon to provide legal reference service to the public is being addressed by the  Circuit Riders Outreach Program. South Carolina law librarians travel the state to deliver the program and provide the presentation materials online for reference.

Maryland is one of the states that sent a team to the Austin Conference. The team was made up of  Sarah Frush, a Legal Aid attorney who heads the Glen Burnie District Court Self Help Center, Julie Strange who administers Maryland’s Ask Us Now service and Cathy Ashby, the director of the Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County.  They are now collaborating with the staff of the Maryland State Law Library to create a three part webinar on legal information for public librarians.

On a local level, I recently worked with Catherine McGuire of the Maryland State Law Library to present a program to Anne Arundel County public librarians on legal information.  Catherine provided an in depth overview of law and legal materials.  I was able to highlight resources and referrals  specific to Anne Arundel County.

As a result of meeting Wanda Wagner, the director of  the North Area County Library,  at this training we can now offer the “Ask a Lawyer” program in north county on a regular basis beginning  in January of 2011.  Without taking part in that training, the AACPLL would still be an unknown resource to many Anne Arundel County public librarians and it would not have been so easy to expand the program.  The public can only benefit from such partnerships.

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