Saturday, October 01, 2005

50 Court Systems--One Place to Start

With class assignments and papers well underway, so is the need to get better control of all those sources. Does your research ever involve topics such as jury selection, family or criminal courts, court technology, or death penalty cases in the justice system? Do you sometimes wish you had a basic understanding of how an unfamiliar state court system is organized? Fortunately, there’s the National Center for State Courts, an independent, nonprofit organization serving and enhancing the operation of state courts (and other courts) by providing information, original research, and statistical surveys.

Even from a cat’s eye view, one of the best things about the NCSC web site is its state court structure charts. Just click on any state to view a chart of the state's court system. Blue-highlighted boxes in the chart link to the web site for the specific trial or appellate court described, with further links to related sites. In addition, the Center for Jury Studies and other NCSC projects publish a wide variety of court and society-related papers and reports.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, September 30, 2005

Writing a research paper?

Regular readers know how much I love Google, BUT, when it comes to in depth research, Google is barely a beginning. For excellent resources online on various legal areas - e.g. labor, securities, tax - look at the BNA databases on the Law Library's Research Databases page. For non-legal research, look at the Subject listing of databases available from Axinn.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Search Engine Showdown!

Interested in making sure that your preferred search engine is as efficient as it claims to be? Care to read reviews of various search engines, to see comparative tables of features, and to read the latest news regarding search engines? You'll find Search Engine Showdown to be a Web site that offers all these features, and much more--enough even to hold a cat's attention....

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More Library Construction

Over the next few days you will be seeing workmen in the library. They are installing new electrical outlets for the carrels and tables on the main floor. The Reading Room was wired earlier, and this phase will wire the remaining 3 areas of the main floor. When completed, this will make it even easier and more convenient to use your laptops in the library.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

21st Century Library: Congressional Universe

Just a reminder that this week, the 21st Century Library is holding workshops on Congressional Universe. This is a wonderful resource for researching the activities of Congress not only on current affairs but all the way back to 1789. The older materials are not on Lexis, Westlaw or in any comprehensive manner on the Internet. Want to track a federal issue through the history of the U.S.? This database is one of the must use resources for this kind of research. Journal staff engaged in source gathering and students writing papers discover how Congressional Universe can help you!

Wednesday, September 28 at 12:10 PM, and repeated on
Thursday, September 28 at 1:10 PM

All classes are held in the Lower Level Computer Lab.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts

A Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts is part of the U.S. Courts government website. It was created to aid the reporters that are assigned to cover the courts. This is a great guide for anybody that would like to learn more about the workings of the federal courts, the players involved and the terminology used. There are descriptions of the roles of all the different judges, clerks and attorneys and descriptions of the different types of courts. There are links to almost everything discussed in the guide, such as the Code of Conduct for United States Judges and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

TV & Video Search

When searching the net (for business or pleasure) do not forget to include a search of television programming content, as well as video which has been posted to the web. My current favorite resource for locating this information is BlinkxTV. BlinkxTV uses speech-recognition technology to create searchable text transcripts (Google Video searches the closed captioning text) and allows you to search, find where your search terms are spoken, and then view or listen to the material directly from your results list (Can't do THAT on Google). Thousands of hours of programming are available including material from the BBC, NBC, C-SPAN, and ESPN. Blinkx has MANY cool features, such as smart folders (intelligent folders that automatically update their content as new information based on your search becomes available). This site's innovation are too numerous to mention here, but I suggest visiting their main page, as well as checking out the BlinxTV whitepaper for the whole story. Yet another resource with a huge WOW factor.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

From the Suggestion Box

We have seen quite a bit of traffic in the suggestion box and wanted to post a few of the comments we've recently received.

Regarding noise complaints, we will remind everyone again to keep voices down in the quiet areas of the library.

We also received an amibiguous comment on receiving contradictory information from administrative offices. Unfortunately, this is not an issue that we can answer in the abstract. If details can be provided, we will pass the information to the appropriate department(s) for resolution.

Keep the comments coming!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat