Saturday, October 22, 2005

Law, Society and Lawyers...the American Bar Foundation

The intersection of the law, the legal profession, and society—that’s the focus of the cutting edge research going on every day at the American Bar Foundation.
For over 50 years, this independent nonprofit research institute has gathered some of the finest scholars in law, psychology, economics, sociology, history, political science and anthropology to conduct research and publish leading studies about lawyers (their demographics and careers), and the impact of the law and legal institutions on national and international cultures. The ABF is a great resource for law students. If you are wondering about life after law school and where you will fit in, take a look at After the JD: The First Results of a National Study of Legal Careers. This downloadable study tracked law school graduates nationwide from the class of 2000, and reports on their job satisfaction and turnover, salaries, mentors, debts, family life, and demographics. And for research papers or personal interest, the ABF web site features recent and forthcoming publications by the ABF research faculty: journal articles, statistical studies and books on a variety of topical issues.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 21, 2005

Einstein's Wisdom

And on the lighter side for a Friday. . .

I am certainly no Einstein, but I recognize smarts when I read it. At there are many pithy thoughts worth contemplating believed to have originated with Albert Einstein. Some examples:

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

And being virtual, one of my favorites . . .
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

For those with a more serious interest in physics or Einstein's "annus mirabilis" (miracle year of 1905), try the website of the 2002 Einstein exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History . It gives an explanation even a virtual cat can understand of the theories of Special and General Relativity and, of course, the famous e=mc2.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 20, 2005

SuDoc Classification System Explained

Have you ever wondered how to decipher the Federal government's Superintendent of Documents classification system for government documents? Courtesy of GPO Access, a lucid explanation awaits you here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

National Hurricane Center

The National Hurricane Center is a part of the National Weather Service. One service they offer are charts/maps which show predictions and probabilities of a hurricane's (or other major storms) path.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Research papers and sources

Lexis and Westlaw and Google, oh my! So many tools and so much information, legal research in some ways has never been easier. But! Can you trust what you find? You know what you are getting with Lexis and Westlaw as one of the functions of these services - a function not often recognized - is to act as information gatekeepers. Both are always looking to add information content, but it has to be from known sources. They don't accept content from any Tom, Dick or Harriet.

Just to be clear, Lexis and Westlaw know their sources, but they can't verify the content of the sources. News articles, journal articles, etc. are written to make a point. What Westlaw and Lexis do is tell you what newspaper or which law review published the articles.

The Internet is also a wonderful resource tool and has a wealth of good information also. The problem of course is that any Tom, Dick or Harriet can publish a website and many do. So you google and find what looks to be a really good site, but can you use it? Maybe or maybe not, but you have to be information savvy. Fortunately there is a website that provides pointers on information evaluation. Yes, we know who publishes the Virtual Chase: Teaching Legal Professionals How to Do Research and link to them on our site under "Legal Internet Links" - "Selected Comprehensive Sites". It is a virtual place we like to visit!

The section on Evaluating Quality and the checklists are primarily for web sources, but are useful information tips in general. Yes, legal research in some ways has never been easier, but it also means that we have to be information smart.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, October 17, 2005

International Legal Research Tutorial

If you need extra help in the area of International law, this website was made for you. The Duke University School of Law and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law designed and created an International Legal Research Tutorial. The tutorial includes both print and electronic resources and provides methodology for locating International legal materials and documents.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat