Monday, December 22, 2008

HeinOnline Tips

The HeinOnline blog contains tips and tricks for navigating and searching the databases. The most recent post contains a recap of the tips and tricks of the year grouped by category. I find it quite handy!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter in Cosmic Perspective

Well, exams are finally over, and the snow is here. In other words, it's time to appreciate winter's beauty as only the web, NASA and the astronomers can bring it to us. It's no coincidence that today's Astronomy Picture of the Day, from the space agency's web site image gallery, captures the northern winter solstice at the Newgrange megalith in Ireland. The 2008 winter solstice at Newgrange happens tomorrow morning (actually 3:30 am Eastern Time in the U.S.), and anyone who would like to follow along can be there via the live streaming webcast at this site. At the very least, take a few minutes to browse the Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive for more astounding photos of our planet and the cosmos, one for every day you were focused on exams. This is a great site for an uplifting look at the universe whenever you need one.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, December 19, 2008


CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!! You made it through exams! First years - it gets easier after this.

Now that you have finished, I can take a much needed break. My reduced prowling hours (and the hours of the Library, coincidentally) will be as follows:

Friday, December 19 – Tuesday, December 23
Friday 8:00 A.M.- 5:00 P.M.
Saturday 10:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Sunday Noon - 8:00 P.M.
Monday - Tuesday 8:00 A.M - 5:00 P.M.

After next Tuesday, I am indeed OUTTA HERE. The Library will be closed and I will be napping from Wednesday, December 24 - Thursday, January 1, 2009.

I'll be back on January 2nd, 9-5pm and will be around Saturday and Sunday as well. For hours, check the hours page on the Library's web site.

Meanwhile, have the happiest of holidays, and happy and healthy New Year. It is a time for lots of naps and purrs.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Is Technology Rewiring Our Brains?

Some scientists are beginning to suspect that the “wired world” may be changing the way that people read, learn, and interact with one another. Click here to read why.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Almost Time To Curl Up With A Good Book

Our holiday break is just around the corner and I’m sure you can’t wait to curl up with a good book. To help you, I'd like to share a few readers’ advisory tolls.

First, check your local library for NoveList Plus. It is a wonderful tool that is accessed through many public libraries. NoveList is a searchable database that provides full-text reviews and annotations for over 20,0000 titles. It allows searching by author, title, series, a variety of traditional index terms, natural language terms or phrases, and Boolean combinations.

Another great resource is This free web site is a compendium of news about books, publishing, authors, and awards. It isn’t as user friendly as NoveList, but it is packed with information. BookSpot provides numerous reviews and a great deal of genre-specific information including links to the book review pages of major newspapers and to book excerpts.
Well, I hope these help. Have a wonderful holiday break.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Comparison of Legislative Resources

A comparison of legislative resources available on GPO Access and other Government and non-Government Web sites was recently completed. Eight Web sites were selected for in-depth analysis including GPO Access, THOMAS,,,, HeinOnline, Lexis-Nexis Congressional, and Westlaw. The report specifically evaluates the availability of legislative resources on all of the databases examined, the scope of the resources on each database, the source of those resources (i.e., whether they house their own content or link to other Web sites for it), and additional legislative resources or features exclusive to comparable Web sites.

The 2008 comparison report and previous reports are available at . This analysis was last conducted in 2003.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gifts for bookworms

Need a holiday gift for the legal history buff in your family? Shopping for a friend that can't get enough American law in society? You might one to check out this list-- the winners of the Littleton-Griswold prize for the best book on the history of American law in society.

The prize is administered by a joint committee of the American Historical Association and the American Society for Legal History and has been awarded every year since 1985 (and once in 1966).

For more gift ideas, take a look at the New York Times list of the 10 Best Books of 2008 and Notable Children's books of 2008.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, December 13, 2008

10 Weirdest Legal Cases of 2008

At this point in the exam period, a little humor and perspective about the law might help. Take a quick break with this London Times article in which Professor Gary Slapper, Director of the Centre for Law at the Open University (UK), has distilled the "ten weirdest legal cases" of the past year from his regular Friday column on amusing and strange legal disputes from around the world. Links to the original articles about these cases and others are provided.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, December 12, 2008

More on Study Guides

For a quick reference to study guides we have available in the library, check out our Study Guide handout . This handout is also available in print in the handout rack near the Reference desk.

Good luck on your remaining exams!!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stanford Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse

The Law, Science & Technology Program at Stanford Law School recently launched the Stanford Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse, an online database that offers comprehensive information about intellectual property disputes within the United States.

This publicly available online research tool will enable users to review real-time data about intellectual legal disputes that have been filed nationally. According to the press release, “the first release, the Patent Litigation Module, includes over 23,000 cases filed in U.S. district courts since 2000. The database includes real-time data summaries, industry indices, and trend analysis together with a full-text search engine”.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

United Nations Audio/Visual Library

The United Nations Audio/Visual Library is not only an excellent collection of links and resources but the multimedia aspect provides additional depth to the collection.

From the Introduction: The Audiovisual Library is a unique, multimedia resource which provides the United Nations with the unprecedented capacity to provide high quality international law training and research materials to an unlimited number of recipients on a global level. The Audiovisual Library consists of three pillars: (1) the Historic Archives containing documents and audiovisual materials relating to the negotiation and adoption of significant legal instruments under the auspices of the United Nations and related agencies since 1945; (2) the Lecture series featuring a permanent collection of lectures on virtually every subject of international law given by leading international law scholars and practitioners from different countries and legal systems; and (3) the Research Library providing an on-line international law library with links to treaties, jurisprudence, publications and documents, scholarly writings and research guides. The Audiovisual Library is available to all individuals and institutions around the world for free via the Internet.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, December 08, 2008


Exam time is certainly stressful! Do take a few moments to stretch out your shoulders and back--your body will love you for it. To help you out, the Mayo Clinic web site offers a video demonstrating a few shoulder and upper back stretches.

Once you have a little more time, perhaps you can treat yourself to a yoga class and learn my favorite pose-- Marjariasana (cat pose).

Good luck on your exams!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Blawg Tips has a good article this week with tips for people with legal blogs. The tips are largely for attorneys with "blawgs" that are attached to their firm's websites, but most of them apply universally.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, December 05, 2008

New exam study guides on CD

We have heard your requests and based on suggestions from you, we have added over a dozen new "Sum and Substance" exam study guides on CD. You can take these out for 3 days to listen to in your car, at home, or on your laptop in the library (with headphones, of course).

New subjects range from Property, Family Law Wills, Constitutional Law to International Law and Exam skills.

Ask a Reference Librarian for help finding other subjects.

Good luck on exams!!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Judicial Humor

Need a few law-related laughs during the stressful period of final examinations? Then have a look at Judicial Humor. This page from the Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library of the University of Washington School of Law “identifies and describes humorous court opinions and related sources”.

Note that, if you follow the links provided to the court opinions, you’ll have to sign on to Westlaw with your individual ID and password.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Interview Suits

According to this New York Times article sales of conservative suits in navy or gray pinstripes (also known as "interview suits") are on the rise. If you are starting to think about what to wear for your next interview, the Career Services @ Virginia Tech web site has some advice on what to wear.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Night Owl Breakfast

The Night Owl Breakfast is today (Tuesday) starting at 7:30 PM. Not only is the food free this is an opportunity for a fun social event with your fellow law students, law faculty and law administrators. Talk with your professors outside the class room and get to know them as people.

You need to eat and take breaks so there is little excuse not to attend. Hope to see you this evening!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Law Student Risks His Life to Save His Outlines

This is a story that's showing up on a lot of legal blogs (or "blawgs," as they say). An ASU 1L recently beat up a baseball bat-wielding burglar to save his laptop and the notes it contained.

Note to 1L's: One or more friends will probably give you their notes if yours are stolen.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, November 29, 2008

India: Legal Research Guide

News this week about India's tragic terrorist attacks reminded us that India is increasingly important as an international business and financial center. India is also an important part of the global legal community with a system rooted in our own English common law tradition. For law students, a great starting point for information and research help on India is "A Guide to India's Legal Research and Legal System," prepared by the Chief Librarian at the Supreme Court of India and just published in October 2008 by Globalex. Globalex, an online publication of the Hauser Global Law School Program of New York University, is dedicated to foreign and international legal research and offers expert guides for many countries and for topics of interest in international and comparative law.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

In recognition of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Deane Law Library will operate under the following schedule:

  • Wednesday, November 26: 7AM – 8PM
  • Thursday, November 27 - Friday, November 28: CLOSED
  • Saturday, November 29: Extended hours resume

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How Congress Works: Resources from the House of Representatives Committee on Rules

Think you know how Congress works? Well, take a look at the How Congress Works site hosted by the U.S. House Committee on Rules for a complete overview of rules and procedures. Aside from links to rules, definitions, etc., there are CRS reports on legislative research and another on tracking current federal legislation and regulations.

This is an excellent reference site when engaged in any aspect of federal legislative research.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 24, 2008

The pardoning of the turkey

It's not too late to cast your vote for the the National Thanksgiving Turkey. The lucky turkeys (the National turkey and an alternate) will be flown to Disneyland and to spend the rest of their lives in leisure.

If you are interested in statistics on clemency actions, such as pardons, the Department of Justice has a web page with statistical tables of clemency actions by administration.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Federal Register's Electronic Public Inspection Desk

Just in time for the Presidential transition period and the final regulatory rush (see yesterday's post), the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) has announced an electronic Public Inspection Desk to provide free online access to all documents--new final regulations, proposed regulations, and notices--that will be published in the next day's Federal Register, and to some that are scheduled to be published at a later date. For 72 years, the OFR has been filing these documents for public viewing as legally required, but only at their Washington, D.C., location. Now anyone in the world with a computer can read, print and download these pre-publication version documents in PDF format, beginning at 8:45 a.m. EST each federal business day. Arranged by agency, all documents include both the time of filing and the date that the regulation or notice will appear in the Federal Register. Documents in the "Special Filings" list for a particular day were filed at times other than 8:45 a.m., such as later in the day on an "emergency filing" basis.

This is a site to bookmark and revisit as a law student and practicing attorney. It is invaluable for keeping on top of federal regulations affecting business, finance, health, energy, the environment, and other areas of public interest.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 21, 2008

Midnight Madness???

Today is the day the Bush administration must finalize regulations in order for them to take full effect before President Bush leaves office. These so-called "midnight regulations" have been used by every president since the outgoing Carter administration, according to the Sunlight Foundation blog . For a more detailed explanation and discussion see Midnight Hour by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker.

This article will also give you a summary of the regulations that the Bush administration plans to adopt which range from implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act by not regulating a contaminant in drinking water, allowing loaded guns in National Parks to changes in how the Family and Medical Leave Act will be administered. For a full list, see ProPublica Midnight Regulations . Go to OMB Watch to find out how to track the status of any of these "midnight" regulations.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Identity Theft Resource Center

Identity theft occurs when someone steals personal information (often a Social Security number) from an individual, and subsequently impersonates that individual. It is one of today’s fastest-growing crimes.

The Identity Theft Resource Center is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the understanding of identity theft, as well as its prevention. The Center offers extensive information regarding the subject of identity theft, including templates of letters and forms for victims of identity theft to send to law enforcement agencies and credit bureaus.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

G20 Meets in Washington

The group of 20 leaders from major industrialized and developing countries known as the G20 met in Washington last weekend. In their final communique the Delegation agreed "to work together to restore global growth."

Click here for additional information about the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 17, 2008

Justice Matters

The Justice Matters web site from the National Partnership for Women and Families is a good place to go if you are interested in legal issues related to women and families. The site monitors Supreme Court cases on matters such as workplace discrimination, equal pay and health care. I like the "cases to follow" feature for a heads up on upcoming cases on the Supreme Court calendar.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Radiohead Price Model Casebooks

Professors are experimenting with how students pay for two new intellectual property law casebooks. See a summary here. One is being offered as a pay-what-you-will download, with a suggested price of $30, and another is offered as a free SSRN download. Most students, however, will still have to pay for books next semester.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 14, 2008

Google Docs

My new favorite Google tool is Google Docs. You can use your Google account (which is the same as your pride account) to share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. This means if you are working with a study group on an outline and you all want to contribute, you can put the outline on Google Docs. The edit functions work pretty much the same as Word and you can read and edit simultaneously.

If you log into your pride account, you should see Documents on the upper left of your screen. Otherwise, go to . Once you upload your document, you can share it with whomever you choose.

There are lots of other good uses - so if you have suggestions, post a comment - especially if your idea involves sharing your cans of tuna fish with your favorite virtual cat.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Congressional Hearings Digitization Project

The Law Library of Congress contains approximately 75,000 volumes of printed Congressional Committee Hearings. Committees hold hearings for a variety of purposes on legislative proposals, the functioning of government programs, subjects of controversy, and other matters.

The Law Library of Congress has recently undertaken a collaborative pilot project with Google to digitize the entire collection of hearings and make it freely available. To date, three collections have been selectively compiled as a sort of beta test:

Census: U.S.
Freedom of Information/Privacy

These selected hearings, presented as PDF files, are samples of a larger group that will be digitized and made available as a result of this project. Ultimately, both the Library of Congress and Google plan to provide full-text access to the larger group of hearings

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Useful Tips During Exam Period

Are you looking for additional resources to help you through exam period? Take a look at Study Guides. The Guide lists study aids available in the Library and it is organized by subject and series title.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

U.S. Presidential Transitions: Resources

The transfer of power from one President to another is a tremendous and complicated affair. Resources have been developed to assist with the orderly transfer. Here are some resources of interest: Office of the President Elect offers the latest news, events, and announcements pertaining to the formation of the Obama Administration.

GSA Presidential Transition offers GSA's role in the transition, laws and regulations, information for appointees and additional resources.

The Plum Book is used to identify presidentially appointed positions within the Federal Government.

The CRS Report Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations highlights some of the political issues of the transition.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nuremberg Trials Project

The Nuremberg Trials Project from the Harvard Law School Library is an incredible source of information for those researching the Nuremberg trials. The project's goal is to digitize and make available documents from the Harvard Law Library's Nuremberg Trials Collection--this collection includes approximately one million pages of trial transcripts, briefs, document books and evidence files from the trials.

Currently, the website provides access to materials from Case 1 (the Medical Case) of the trials.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The New President and the Courts

It is now just a few days after the election, and people are already speculating about what changes President-Elect Obama will bring to the federal judiciary with his court appointments. Of course, most lawyers are curious to see who Obama will appoint if any justices step down from the Supreme Court, but as these National Law Journal and AP articles point out, Obama will immediately have fourteen circuit court seats to fill and about four dozen total federal court openings to fill. This could move a number of courts from having more Republican-appointed judges to having more Democratic-appointed judges. Although, as people know, it can sometimes be hard to predict what a judge will do once he or she is given a lifetime appointment.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Jury Expert

Interested in litigation? The Jury Expert: The Art and Science of Litigation Advocacy, is now online and free. This bimonthly publication of the American Association of Trial Consultants is full of fascinating, social science research-based articles on cutting edge topics such as preparing narcissistic witnesses, understanding "solution based mediation," and using technology to create visual images in the courtroom. Each issue is available to download, or can be sent by email subscription or RSS feed. Take a look, and see what's coming up in the November issue.

Hat tip to attorney Rick Georges' Futurelawyer site for the reference.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Are You Watching?

That is the question that WashingtonWatch poses. WashingtonWatch tracks the bills in Congress (along with estimates about their costs or savings, whenever possible), so that you may watch them and keep track of federal expenditures, bill by bill. To gather more information, or to comment on a bill, all you need to do is to click the link to a bill.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Helpful Policies During Exam Period

The Library has a new exam period schedule! Here is the new schedule:

New Exam Period Schedule - Friday, November 21 - Thursday, December 18

Monday - Friday 7:00 A.M. - 2:00 A.M.
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 A.M. - 2:00 A.M.


Wednesday, November 26 7:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Thursday, November 27 (Thanksgiving) CLOSED
Friday, November 28 CLOSED
Thursday, December 18 7:00 A.M. - Midnight

Exam Archive

Knowing the archived exam and study room policies may prove helpful also. To access the Exam Archive:

  • Go to Hofstra Law School Library Main Page
  • Scroll down. In the lower, left-hand margin click “Exam Archive”
  • In the Hofstra University Library Electronic Reserves (ERes) window logon with your Novell Username and Password (this is the same username and password used to logon to the portal)
  • You will be prompted to enter the password (contact the reference or circulation desk for the password)
  • Click on “Accept”
  • Click the professor’s folder to access the exams.
Library Study Rooms

Click here to access the Library’s study room policy.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Have you voted?

Remember the polls are open until 9 PM so there is time. Thanks to all of you who voted by absentee ballot and so have already performed your civic duty.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hounded, Cowed and Badgered

Hounded, Cowed and Badgered is an animal law blog from an animal rights perspective. The blog contains informative, in-depth posts about legislation and court cases dealing with the rights of animals, as well as current events in animal rights. Although the posts seem somewhat sporadic, the content is fascinating.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Witch Pardons

While prowling the web, I discovered that a petition was delivered yesterday to the British Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, calling for the government to posthumously pardon more than 400 women and men executed as witches in England before the Witchcraft Act of 1735 (9 Geo. 2, ch. 5) abolished the crime of witchcraft. This follows in the wake of an official Swiss government pardon granted earlier this year to Anna Goeldi, beheaded in 1782 and believed to be the last European executed for witchcraft. The petition and summaries of eight historical cases cited to support it can be read here. The petition is the brainchild of Angels Fancy Dress, the British costumer for the stage, performers, and the Halloween public. A London Times article by David Byers provides additional background.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 31, 2008

Librarians in Black

One of our little known duties is to keep an eye on the aliens (intergalactic) in this building. We take the concept of diversity very seriously here. However, on this day some of the resident aliens (intergalactic) like to come out of "hiding" so to speak.

Can you identify any of the aliens (intergalactic) that are walking our halls today?

If you can, please provide us with the names and how you identified them as an alien (intergalactic). Attention to detail and deductive reasoning skills are useful traits for this endeavor.

Add a comment to this post or drop a note in the Suggestion box at the Circulation Desk.

We will post the best "identification" on the blog.

Happy Halloween!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Count down to the election

We keep on hearing that this is an historic election, but what about elections in history. Voting America plots election results over time AND by locality . Not to be left out, good ol' Google has its own Election08 site - with links to YouTube, blogs and mashups with Google Maps and Google Earth.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Political Fact-Checking Websites

Are you still wondering about the factual accuracy of claims made by both presidential candidates? LLRX provides access to and a summary of several elections-oriented “fact-checking” sites.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Keeping track of the financial bailout

Mark Cuban launched BailoutSleuth this month to "keep an eye on our taxpayer dollars and call Bulls**t when necessary." Chris Carey edits the blog, which looks promising. Recent watchdog posts include The Money List and the Next Wave.

Christopher Carey is editor and president of He's been a business reporter for more than two decades. He specializes in digging through SEC filings, court records and other documents to find information that companies try to bury, and in tracking the activities of known securities-law violators.

Mark Cuban is the majority partner in He is co-founder of and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

Hat tip to Law Librarian blog for the reference.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Intelligence Project

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project is dedicated to monitoring hate group and extremist activity. As such, it is an excellent place for information and analysis regarding hate crimes committed in the United States. Resources offered include the Intelligence Report, a map of U.S. hate groups and For the Record, a list of incidents of apparent hate crimes drawn from news sources.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Rough World of Attorney Athletics

This NY Lawyer article, about a negligence suit against the Lawyers Athletic League that was thrown out last week, makes law firm basketball sound a little more competitive than some might expect. The suit alleged that in 2006, a ringer (each team is allowed two) and former college player who was playing for a law firm team was punched and injured by an enforcer who was playing for the Food Bank of New York City. So, if you ever have the opportunity to join a law firm team, try to find out about the team and the competition beforehand.

NY Lawyer is a free site owned by that describes itself as "the free daily news site for young associates."

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 24, 2008

Presidents past

With so much talk about who will be our next President, I found it useful to look at presidents in the past. You can now see the presidential papers and much more at the U.S. Presidential Library available on HeinOnline.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 23, 2008


With the Federal Reserve Bank frequently in the news of late, FRASER might be of interest to readers of this blog.

FRASER--The Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research--is a project by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to expand its mission to provide economic information and data to researchers who are interested in the United States’ economy. Here, you will find links to scanned images of historical economic statistical publications, releases, and other documents, including recent economic indicators.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) is an agency of the United Nations established to assist Member States with issues concerning illicit drugs and international crime. UNODC’s online legislation legal library provides full text of drug control laws and regulations adopted by countries in support of international drug control treaties. It includes legislation adopted since 1948.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat