Thursday, December 22, 2011

Five Things You Think Work, But Actually Don’t

Now that final examinations are over, perhaps it’s time to look at some of the interesting minutiae of everyday life outside the legal sphere. For instance, there are many things we encounter in our daily round that we assume (or are led to believe) are functional, but in fact are not. For an interesting look at five common things we think work, but don’t, click here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice Time

While most of you are celebrating the end of exams and the change of semesters, it's also time for a change of seasons, brought to us by astronomical science, not the academic calendar. The winter solstice takes place at 12:30 a.m., EST, December 22, 2011, making tonight the longest night of the year and tomorrow the shortest day. Then every day gets (literally) brighter as winter unfolds. For a quick and very enjoyable review of how the winter solstice comes about, try this short YouTube video set to music.    

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Online Resources: Industrial & Labor Relations Review

If you are looking for a journal that discusses work and employment issues, try the Industrial & Labor Relations Review. Relevant topics in this publication include the organization of work, the nature of employment contracts, human resource management, employment relations, conflict management and dispute resolution, labor market dynamics and policies, labor and employment law, and employee attitudes and behaviors at work.

This site contains the full text of articles and book reviews dating from April 2003 (Vol. 56, No. 3). You can view and download recent and current articles, download (a) any book review archived and (b) any archived article that is at least 18 months old.

To access Industrial & Labor Relations Review:

  • Go to the Library's home page, click "Online Resources"
  • Click the "Labor and Employment Law" link
  • Scroll down to "Industrial & Labor Relations Review"

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fun for today

In keeping with the holiday season, Google created the "Let It Snow" Easter Egg.  Just type in - let it snow - in the search box and Google watch the snow flakes fall.  It will turn into a white out and you can use your cursor to clear your screen or even better to draw pictures.  Not to worry, a defrost button appears when the snow fall is heaviest.

Have fun!
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Recap of 2011 Legal Technology

Legal technology tools have become increasingly popular in the past year and will continue to do so in the future. Although, legal technologies has made the lives of lawyers much easier it has also raised many issues and concerns from privacy, ethics and professional responsibility.  Nonetheless, lawyers should be aware of emerging technologies as well as its pros and cons.  As such, LTN  has created a year of opinions on legal technology. This handy list compiles many articles from the last year that are helpful for attorneys using or thinking about using top tech trends, marketing tools,devices and more . Click here to access the full article.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, December 16, 2011

Time for a Break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You made it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Especially to you first years, take a well earned break.  I certainly need one - I have some serious napping to catch up on.  (I am a cat, I ALWAYS have serious napping to catch up on).

For those of you still awake, the Library will be open on a more limited schedule.  Please remember, starting on Saturday 12/17,  outside of these times, you will not be able to visit the Library since we will be closed with no swipe card access.

INTERSESSION SCHEDULE - Saturday, December 17BThursday, December 22**

**CLOSED - NO SWIPE CARD ACCESS outside of these times
Saturday                             10:00 A.M. ‑ 6:00 P.M.
Sunday                                        Noon - 8:00 P.M.
Monday - Thursday               8:00 A.M - 5:00 P.M.

WINTER BREAK  - Friday, December 23–Monday, January 2, 2012** 


Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Political Calculations

Political Calculations is a different sort of blog. Rather than delivering comments on current events, Political Calculations offers tools that perform computations related to topics that are frequently in the news. Some examples include reckoning the odds of recession and average lifetime earnings trajectories by education.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nationwide Cell Phone Driving Ban Recommended

Exams are almost over, and it will be time to drive away for holidays and a well-deserved break. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) voted unanimously this week to recommend a nationwide ban on driving while using cell phones and other personal electronic devices. Their recommendation is for all 50 states and the District Of Columbia to pass laws prohibiting use of both hand-held and hands-free personal electronic devices for non-emergency use. While the NTSB has no power to implement such a ban, federal and state regulators and legislatures can act to carry out the recommendation. Many states have texting and cell phone use restrictions in place, and a recent rule bans the use of hand-held cell phones by interstate bus and truck drivers. A current table and maps of cell phone and texting laws across the country are provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC)

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Google undocumented search operators

Well, it appears that some of the undocumented Google search operators are dated and may no longer work as they did in 2010. For updated information check out, Reference: Advanced operators for Web Search. Changes keep us on our toes.
LinkErnster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, December 11, 2011

HeinOnline Session Laws Quick Locator Enhancement

The HeinOnline Session Laws Library is a great source for PDF's of the official bound session laws of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and more. In order to make this vast amount of materials more accessible, HeinOnline has recently added the sessions law enhancement. This enhancement allows the user to now select a state, chapter number, enter a year or page number and quickly jump to the page they are looking for. This enhancement is also integrated at the individual state browsing level. Click here to learn more about this new enhancement.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, December 09, 2011

Meow to Text

So, you know that I am a fan of Google. I just discovered the niftiest new tool for Google searching. You can speak (or meow, in my case) your search just by pressing or clicking on the little microphone icon in the search box. For iPhone users, download and use the free Google search app for your searching to use this feature.

In no time I found the ingredients I needed for my recipe while I was in the supermarket without having to type in anything. Typing with my paws can get tiresome.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 08, 2011

New York Legal Research Library

When you are researching New York law, don’t forget about a valuable resource that collects a good deal of information in one place: HeinOnline’s New York Research Library. The Library includes journals, statutes, reports, session laws, as well as a great deal of historical material, and is accessible via our online databases page.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Congress Debates Cameras in the Court

An earlier post this week focused on the pros and cons of whether U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments should be televised. Now Congress has gotten into the act, although it is unclear if Congress has the authority to require the Court to permit televised proceedings. The Senate introduced a bill on Monday that would permit televised coverage of all open proceedings, unless the Court determined that this would violate the "due process" rights of at least one party to the case. Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to debate the issue and the validity of such a bill. JURIST has a good brief summary of the bill and the hearing.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Restyled Federal Rules of Evidence

The Restyled Federal Rules of Evidence became effective on December 1, 2011. The Law Librarian's Blog offers commentary about the restyled FRE and two free and reliable e-text alternatives from Federal Evidence Review and Cornell LII-CALI.

Read about the restyled FRE here.

Read about e-text alternatives from Federal Evidence Review and Cornell LII-CALI here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, December 05, 2011

Google Guide

So you are familiar with Google's Advanced Search and are under the impression that this is the most sophisticated searching that can be done on Google. Turns out this is not the case and the Google Guide lists search operators beyond those offered by Google. This site is not affiliated with Google.

One of the interesting features is the "around(n)" term which functions as a proximity connector. Ex. doctor AROUND(5) malpractice returns pages where the two terms are in very close proximity to each other.

As an undocumented features, Google may always eliminate these options but in the meantime they are useful to know.

Hat Tip to Law Librarian blog.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Cameras in the Supreme Court

The New York Times recently published an article on cameras in the Supreme Court. Currently, cameras are not allowed in the Supreme Court. However, C-Span has made a recent request to televise five and a half hours of oral arguments scheduled by the Court to hear the constitutional challenge to President Obama's health care law. The article presents the arguments for and against cameras in the Court as well as thoughts of some of the Supreme Court justices. Read the full article here.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Facebook And FTC Settle Privacy Dispute

The FTC’s complaint filed against Facebook has been much in the news of late. The complaint alleged that privacy settings on the site failed to apply to third-party sites and applications. The suit has now been settled. Read all about the settlement here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lady Justice: Sign of the Law

Is justice impartial, or just foolishly blind? Take a study break with an online exhibit and put the law into perspective. "The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law" features thirteen pages of images from the 500-year history of an iconic symbol--a woman, draped and holding scales. The exhibit was created by the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale University using volumes from its Rare Book Collection to illustrate the changing image of Justice and what it represented, from its roots in the 15th century through the next 300 years. Enjoy.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Helpful Tips During Exam Period

Knowing where to find helpful study guides, the archived exam, and study room policies may prove helpful when preparing for final exams.

Click here to access helpful study guides. Most current study guides are located in our Reserve collection and can be charged out for three hour periods.

To access the Exam Archive:

Go to Hofstra Law School Library home page
In the middle column under "Resources," click “Exam Archive.”
You will be prompted to log in to the Hofstra University Portal using your Novell Username and Password.
Click on “OK”
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

Monday, November 28, 2011

National Security Archvie at George Washington University

The National Security Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University, the Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Archive also serves as a repository of government records on a wide range of topics pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States. The Archive won the 1999 George Polk Award, one of U.S. journalism's most prestigious prizes, for--in the words of the citation--"piercing the self-serving veils of government secrecy, guiding journalists in the search for the truth and informing us all."

The Archive obtains its materials through a variety of methods, including the Freedom of Information act, Mandatory Declassification Review, presidential paper collections, congressional records, and court testimony. Archive staff members systematically track U.S. government agencies and federal records repositories for documents that either have never been released before, or that help to shed light on the decision-making process of the U.S. government and provide the historical context underlying those decisions.

(Description from the "About" section of the site)
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Twitter and Lawyers

Social media tools have become increasingly popular in the past few years. Twitter has mainly become a favorite for many and has gained some importance in the legal field as well. Many issues and concerns have been raised in the past year on the use of Twitter by lawyers and the courts. As such, the Legal Skills Prof Blog has created a Twitter reading list for lawyers. This handy list compiles many articles helpful for attorneys using or thinking about using Twitter in their practice and the possible issues that can arise in this area. The list also provides useful Twitter resources and tools. Click here to access the Twitter reading list for lawyers.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Legally Thanksgiving

What's controversial about Thanksgiving? Well, the date used to be. The timing of this celebration as a legal holiday under the U.S. Constitution was anything but consistent between George Washington, who proclaimed the first one, and December 1941, when Congress finally settled on the fourth Thursday in November as the federal holiday. The National Archives covers the twists and turns of legal Thanksgiving history, with some photos and original documents available here.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Library Access During Thanksgiving Holiday - Reminder

Wednesday, November 23: The library will close at 7:30.

Thursday, November 24: Closed -- No access

Friday, November 25: Closed -- No access

Saturday, November 26: There will be SWIPE CARD ACCESS 8A.M.-10A.M.

Regular Hours resume Nov. 26, 10A.M.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 20, 2011

HeinOnline App User’s Guide

If you have taken advantage of the free HeinOnline app and have some questions about it or want to learn more then you will find their recently published "App User Guide" very helpful. The guide provides quick information on how to access content by citation, browse by volume, navigate a volume with the electronic table of contents, how to use full advanced searching techniques and more. To access the guide click here and to learn how to access the app from your device click here.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Week Hours

It is almost time to be thankful for our good fortune and abundance - not to mention eat a bird! (Apologies to vegetarians and ornithologists, but I AM A CAT, after all.)

So, to accomplish all of the above, the Reference Librarians and the Library will have an abbreviated schedule next week as follows:

Reference Desk Hours:
Mon., Nov 21 - 9am - 5pm
Tues. Nov. 22 - 9am - 9pm
Wed. Nov. 23 - 9am - 5pm**
Thurs. Nov. 24 - LIBRARY CLOSED**
Fri. Nov. 25 - LIBRARY CLOSED**
Sat. Nov. 26 - No Reference Librarian
Sun. Nov. 27 - 12pm - 8pm

**LIBRARY CLOSED-NO SWIPE CARD ACCESS - Wed., Nov. 23, 7:30pm P.M. – Sat., Nov. 26, 8:00 A.M.

There will be SWIPE CARD ACCESS Saturday, Nov. 26, 8A.M.-10A.M.

Regular Hours resume Nov. 26, 10A.M.

Have a Happy Turkey Day!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Municipal Codes: Municode Library

Municode Library is an alternative source for finding municipal codes and ordinances online. Just click the state on the map, and then the link to the municipal code you are seeking.

New York offerings on Municode are a little thin, but the site remains a worthwhile alternative source for municipal codes and local law.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Daily Chart

While prowling the Web I came across a blog that is both fun and enlightening while providing key facts and statistics that illustrate current world issues. The Economist blog, Daily Chart, is true to its name and provides a graph or chart to illustrate the topic of the day. It also cites the sources behind the graphics, many of which are useful for law student seminar papers. Recent posts have offered a graphical view of subjects as diverse as the distribution of corporate wealth, world population growth, trends in U.S. city murder rates, and the world's leaning buildings. Of course, a few minutes with Daily Chart also makes a great study break.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Civil war: a Marvel Comics event

Exam period is near. Take a study break to consider the legal issues that arise in Marvel Universe when Capital Hill proposes that all costumed heroes unmask themselves before the government! In Civil war: a Marvel Comics event, superheroes clash with one other as they struggle towards a decision that will change the Marvel Universe ... forever!

Civil war is located in the library's reserve collection, ask for it at the the circulation desk.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 14, 2011

Message from Hofstra Law IT

This is the text of an email sent from Dean Moore earlier today:

Attention All Students;

It has come to our attention that some of you may not know how to access your class podcasts. This week, we will be promoting our iTunesU podcast site. Today, Monday November 14 and Wednesday, November 16 from 12:00 to 2:00 PM, we will have a table in the Student Lounge showing students how to access the Law School’s iTunesU podcast site.

We will also have a display in the Law Library, featuring our iTunesU site complete with a QR code that you can scan. It will take you to our iTunesU instructions page. We also have the iTunesU site advertisement on the display screens throughout the Law School.

Finally, attached are easy to follow instructions on how to access your class podcasts. If you have any questions about accessing podcasts, please stop by our Podcast table on the aforementioned days and times. You can also contact us at or visit our Information Systems Help Desk located in Room 221 of the Law School.

Dean Moore

Please look for your email for the attached instructions on how to access your class podcasts.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Online Resources: BNA Employment Discrimination Report

If you are looking for a source that reviews legislative, regulatory, and judicial developments in key areas of equal employment opportunity from across the country, try Employment Discrimination Report (BNA).

The Report provides cases from all courts, summaries of briefs filed by the EEOC, up-to-date coverage of news and legal developments, reports from experts in various areas, and more.

To access the Employment Discrimination Report:
  • Go to the Library's home page, click "Online Resources"
  • Click the "Labor and Employment Law" link
  • Scroll down to "Employment Discrimination Report (BNA)"
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 11, 2011

Legal Research App

Continuing with my explorations of HeinOnline, you can take advantage of the advantage of the One-Box Search feature and other HeinOnline resources on you iPhone or iPad using the relatively new (and free) app.

To access HeinOnline from your device you either must get the username and password from the Reference Desk librarian or you can access HeinOnline while on campus through a wireless connection. If you access via wireless on campus (authenticate) , you will be able to access HeinOnline on your device from anywhere for 30 days. After 30 days, you must return to campus authenticate your app again.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mississippi Voters Reject “Personhood” Amendment

Mississippi voters recently rejected a ballot measure that would have amended the state constitution to define the word person or persons to include "every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof." Read more here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

GPS Surveillance Case Argued Yesterday

One of the most closely watched cases of this Supreme Court term, for both its Constitutional and criminal law implications, was argued yesterday before the nine Justices. The case of United States v. Jones presents a simple but profoundly important question related to individual privacy, Fourth Amendment, and new technology: Does the installation of a tracking device on a vehicle by police, without either a warrant or the suspect's consent, violate a suspect's Constitutional rights? The attorneys sparred about the Orwellian implications (or not) of permitting this practice with the Justices. SCOTUSblog has a recap of the argument. The official transcript at the Supreme Court web site also makes for interesting reading.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Research Resources: Justis

Justis is a full text online legal library of UK, Irish and EU case law dating back to 1163 and legislation from 1235.

Justis offers access to a wide variety of authoritative legal sources. The Justis legal library provides up-to-date case law, legislation, and EU information. Case law is available as a printable PDF, replicating the pagination of the hard copies exactly.

To access Justis:

Go to the Library's home page, click "Online Resources"
Then, click on the "International Organizations" link
Scroll down, click the "Justis" link

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 06, 2011

New HeinOnline One-Box Search Feature

HeinOnline has recently introduced a new enhancement called the One-Box Search option. It appears on the HeinOnline welcome page and was created to begin research when users are not sure which collection would be the correct option to start researching in. The One-Box search allows users to search across all of the subscribed libraries at the same time and also acts as an advanced search box. Click here to access the advanced search guidelines brochure and click here to begin using this feature.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 04, 2011

Law Student 24/7 Swipe Card Access HAS CHANGED

You will now use our main library doors to gain access to the library at all times.

This means to enter the Library after hours, law students MUST USE THE LIBRARY FRONT DOORS ONLY .

The door by the Office of Academic Records will no longer work.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

GAO Reports

If you are looking for reliable sources for your research papers, don't overlook GAO reports. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, investigating how the federal government spends its money and working to increase government performance and accountability. The GAO issues about 800 reports each year, either at the request of Congress or as required by federal laws. In the past month alone, the GAO released law-related reports on topics ranging from consumer product safety and health care pricing to the Federal Reserve System's assistance to AIG (American International Group, Inc.) during the recent financial crisis. Available in PDF on the agency's web site, GAO reports are searchable by keyword or report number, and can be browsed under the "Reports and Testimonies" tab by topic and date.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hein Online: A Research Tip

One can search Hein Online, but as the search functions are different from Google, Lexis and Westlaw one has to learn how to construct search queries for this database. It is not difficult, just different.

Tip: Use a tilde ~ plus a number as a proximity connector. Example, (criminal juvenile justice)~15 means that the words within the parenthesis - "criminal" "juvenile" and "justice" - are to be within 15 words of each other.

If the search is run in the entire database, methods to filter the search results will be to the left of the results list.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Federal Court Opinions on FDSYS

FDsys is the upgraded free online access system from the U.S. Government Printing Office that aims to provide official federal government publications. Many lawyers and law students use FDsys to access the U.S. Code, CFR and Federal Register. Recently, FDsys has added federal court opinions to its system in a pilot program. Currently FDsys provides PDFs of federal decisions for three courts from 2004 to the present (the number of courts will be expanding). The full text of the cases can be searched by party name, court name, case number, nature of suit and other search options. Read the full announcement here and access the decisions here.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 28, 2011

Voting for Judges

Here in New York we elect our Judges. You understand the critical role judges play in our legal system, having read dozens of cases (or is it thousands?). Even though I cannot vote (voting rights for Virtual Cats???), I have found a great site to be informed about judicial candidates - New York State Judicial Candidate Voter Guide .

And, if you are confused (as I was) about the different courts and districts in Nassau County, you can read a brief description on the same page. For more detail on the court system, link to New York State Courts - an Introductory Guide . The first few pages have a great explanation of the jurisdiction of the various courts.

Make sure you go out and vote! I would if I could.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Attention All Students,

Do you have a PC laptop/notebook computer or an Apple MacBook laptop and use the Hofstra Wireless network? Then you can print your documents from your computer to either of our two wireless printers located in the Law School using the PridePrint software.

You can download and install the PridePrint software for the Hofstra Law School specific printers by going to (you will need to login to the Hofstra Portal with your Hofstra username and password). The software supports Windows 7, Vista and XP as well as MAC Lion, Snow Leopard and Leopard operating systems.

One PridePrint wireless printer is located in the 24 hour first floor lab, while the other printer is located in the Law Library, outside of the 24 Hour lab near the public access workstations. You do not need a card swipe for either printer. The PridePrint software automatically deducts the print amount from your account. Remember, the Hofstra Law School printers only charge 5 cents per single sided page.

If you have any questions on this, please contact us at either or by phone at (516) 463-4192.

Dean Moore

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Research Resources: GlobaLex

Published by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU School of Law, GlobaLex is an electronic publication dedicated to international and foreign research. New and updated research guides published by GlobaLex include:

New research guides:
  • Nuclear Law Research Guide By Linda Tashbook

Updated research guides:

  • The Crisis in Darfur: Researching the Legal Issues by Amy Burchfield
  • An Introduction to Sources for Treaty Research By Mark Engsberg and Mary Beth Chappell
To Access Globalex:

  • Go to the Library's home page, click "Online Resources"
  • Then, click on the "International Law" or "Foreign/Comparative Law" link
  • Scroll down, click the "GlobaLex" link

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat