Saturday, March 25, 2006

Xrefer--Online Reference Answers

Reference librarians are some of my favorite people, but law students also need quick and authoritative answers when a librarian’s help isn’t available. Thanks to Xrefer, an online reference database provided to Hofstra students through the Axinn Library, there's a fast and reliable guide to understanding new terms and concepts, and retrieving factual information across many subject fields. Xrefer draws its content only from some of the world's best and most respected source providers, such as Barron's, Harvard and Cambridge University Presses, Elsevier Science and Technology, and the Bridgeman Art Library. A cool feature called the Concept Map allows users to type in a key word--try the business term "poison pill" as an example--to produce a dynamic visual display of topics related to the search term. Within each cluster of terms and concepts displayed, the items represented by fuchsia dots are the most relevant. You can interact with the map immediately as results appear by moving the mouse over the top of the graphic and clicking on any of the active results, highlighted in yellow. Each click brings you directly to a source within Xrefer providing a definition, article, image or factual information about the term. A direct link to Xrefer is provided on the "Libraries" page of the Hofstra web site, under "Research Databases." Off-campus access requires a network user name and password.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, March 24, 2006

One Certainty in Life

The bad news is that yes, it is that time of year again, tax time. The good news is that getting the forms is easier than ever.

For Federal forms, go the IRS' tax forms website - where you can download forms and instructions in pdf format.

For New York tax forms, go to New York State Dept. of Taxation and Finance (which has a link for New York City forms, as well).

For other states' tax forms, go to the Federation of Tax Administrators site.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quick Access To State Primary Legal Materials Online

Cornell's Legal Information Institute provides a useful Web page that brings together links to the primary legal materials (constitutions, statutes, cases) of the fifty states and the U.S. territories. Simply click the link provided here, then click the link to the state whose materials you seek. Within that state's listing, you will then find links to the state's primary legal materials helpfully gathered in one place.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


It is officially Spring! Actually, it was officially Spring yesterday, but I tend to think of Spring as starting on March 21st instead of March 20th. Spring begins with the vernal equinox. This is when the sun crosses over the equator and technically the length of the day and night are equal. Seasons are scientifically defined by the Earth's distance and tilt towards the Sun, but we notice through the change in weather. The severe weather occurs as warm air is moving north and encounters the cold air still being pushed down from the polar regions. It is why we say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Spring ends with the Summer Solstice where Earth's orbit is most tilted towards the Sun. Spring, a wonderful season with the promise of renewal and growth.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Google Finance

Today Google released a beta version of its new financial site~ Google Finance

While one could always enter a stock symbol into the Google search box for a quote, this new service is far more evolved. One interesting feature is an interactive chart correlating news and other events with stock price movement. Charts can be changed to show stock activity for different time periods by clicking and dragging, and they can be zoomed in on to get further information. News stories appearing on specific days are displayed on the side and are automatically adjusted to reflect the time period selected. Google Finance incorporates blog postings as an important feature on the results page. There are also a number of personalization and other options which are better seen then described.

There are presently many players providing financial information online. Please let me know if you think that Google Finance represents a true advance!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, March 20, 2006

New York statutes online

To find the print version of New York statutes in the Deane Law library you would go to the Reading Room and look at either McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York or New York Consolidated Laws Service. If you want to find them online you would go to the New York State Assembly's website. However, once here, it is not very clear how to get to the statutes. First click "Bill search & Legislative information" on the left. Then, on the new page, click "New York State Laws" on the right. This will bring you to the statutes or the Laws of New York. You can then either search or browse the laws.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat