Saturday, December 03, 2005

'Tis the "Wise Giving" Season

Everyone is concerned about getting the best bargains when gift shopping. But getting good value for your charitable donation dollar is just as important—for you and for the people or special causes you want to help. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a nonprofit organization formed from the merger of the National Charities Information Bureau and the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Foundation and its Philanthropic Advisory Service, offers free online "Charity Reports" on hundreds of charitable organizations that solicit nationally or have national or international programs. Charities are selected based upon the volume of donor inquiries. They are evaluated using accountability standards for how they are run, how they advertise and disclose information to the public, and how they spend their money. Another great web site is maintained by Charity Navigator. This independent nonprofit evaluator provides free objective analysis and ratings of 5,000 of America’s largest charities (classified into groups such as environment, arts, animals, and human services), utilizing financial data that the charities are required to provide to the federal government.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, December 02, 2005

BNA - a great new research resource online

The Library now subscribes to all of the online BNA publications. BNA has many useful titles - from Supreme Court Today - where you can find out what's happening at the U.S. Supreme Court every day, to many subject specialty publications, such as Family Law Reporter, C0rporate Practice Library, Health Care Daily Report, etc... These resources are great for in depth research on a topic, for finding what are the latest issues in an area or even for finding interesting paper topics. To see a subject listing and links, go to the Library's Research Databases page and click on BNA. You can also go directly to and click on the Subscriber Access menu.

For access from outside of Hofstra, contact your favorite Reference librarian for the username and password.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Elder Law Resource

The increasing proportion of the population that is middle-aged or older has led to many challenges and changes, some proposed, some enacted, in law and policy. For those who wish to keep abreast of this cutting-edge area of the law, the Boston law firm Margolis & Associates offers a Web page, Elder Law Answers, that provides a starting point.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Supreme Court Oral Arguments

While it's unusual for an oral argument to be posted so quickly after it's heard, today's argument on Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England can be found here.

For those of you doing more Supreme Court oral argument research, remember that there are any number of publicly available sources available including Oyez (audio), Official U.S. Supreme Court site (transcripts), and the Curiae project (briefs). Lexis and Westlaw databases can also provide a wealth of information about the Supreme Court.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Bill in Congress

We read or hear that a bill has been introduced in the House or Senate but may be unsure about what the introduction of the bill means. Is it law? (No) Is it important? (depends). In the 108th Congress (2002-2004) 8,621 bills were introduced, 498 were enacted into law (from article). Lawyers do need knowledge of bills and the legislative process. This article "A Bill in Congress" is a brief discussion that provides information that you probably did not hear in a Civics class. It also links to an article on Amendments that from a "how things work" point of view may be more important.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Electronic Stapler at the Circulation Desk

By popular request, there is now an electronic stapler at the circulation desk. Since staplers (electronic and otherwise) seem to be rather fragile and endangered instruments in the library environment, we ask that you treat them kindly. Should the electric stapler meet an even more untimely end than our regular staplers, it will not be replaced and we will revert completely to manual staplers.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thirteen Rules for Taking Law Exams

With finals almost underway, this seems to be an appropriate time to take a look at this classic article "Thirteen Rules for Taking Law Exams" by Jerry J. Phillips, reprinted at 72 Tenn. L. Rev. 797-806 (2005). Originally published in the Journal of Legal Education in 1971, it is a funny, sarcastic list of what (not) to do while taking law exams. You can find this article in both Lexis and Westlaw and a paper copy of the journal in our library. If you want both good advice and a chuckle, this is the place to go.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Another crown jewel available on the free web is offers a breathtaking collection of literary and reference works, encompassing everything from quotation compendiums to poetry and short stories. It's divided into four main sections - Reference, Verse, Fiction and Nonfiction. The reference collection is one of the best to be found. Has an extremely clear search interface. By means of drop-down menus you can choose whether to search the whole site, each of the four major categories, or each of the individual works. Extensive, elegant, easy to use and extremely authoritative. What more could you want in one spot?

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat