Saturday, December 20, 2014

For a More Cosmic Perspective...

Exams are over, and it's finally time to relax and to take in the peace and beauty of winter landscapes and the universe beyond law books. Some of the most stunning natural formations are those photographed in outer space, as this recent "Astronomy Picture of the Day" from the NASA image gallery demonstrates. Cosmic phenomena such as the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) also change earthly landscapes into spectacular displays. Take some time to enjoy more of the breathtaking views from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, December 19, 2014

You Are Done!!!!

Congrats - you made it through the semester.  First years, you have survived the most difficult part of Law School.

Now, I can go on serious winter nap/hibernation (in other words, the Library is closed) starting Tues. 12/23 at 5p going through until 8am on January 2nd.

Enjoy your celebrations, the holidays and the break

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Today In Legal History: International Migrants Day

December 18 is International Migrants Day. This day marks the adoption in 1990 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Read more here.

Acknowledgment to Jurist.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Extended Hours During Exam Period End Tonight

Tonight marks the last day of extended hours during exam period.  Please make note of the Library's hours during Intersession:

Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
8 AM - 6 PM
Circulation Desk
INTERSESSION SCHEDULE: Friday, December 19 - Tuesday, December 23
Monday - Thursday
8 AM - 5 PM
8 AM - 5 PM
10 AM - 6 PM
10 AM - 6 PM

Enjoy your break!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Food Law Latest Blog

Finals should be ending soon and the holidays are just around the corner!  For most, that will mean lots of eating!  And if you are a foodie then check out the Food Law Latest blog which provides answer/questions related to food regulation in Europe, reports on food safety, and news of food products sale in countries around the world.  Latest topics include menu and vending machine labeling rules in US, berry contamination, palm oil control and more.  Click here to access the blog.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Last Sequential Date of the Century

Yes, today is 12/13/14, at least for those of us writing our dates in the preferred American format. And it will be the last sequential date of the 21st century, with the next one not arriving until 01/02/2103, 89 years from now.  Most law students will not be around to see that one, so enjoy a break from exam outlines exploring our popular fascination with calendar dates and other number sequences.

A good place to start is an article by Jessica Contrera in the Washington Post, covering the sequential date as a recent social phenomenon--the sequential date as "cool." Other types of special calendar dates are featured on  And for those interested in number sequences as intriguing mathematical tools, Victoria Jaggard's recent article at the Smithsonian Magazine site covers some of the basics. It even includes a quick and easy way to convert kilometer road signs into miles using the "Fibonacci sequence."  But, of course, I really liked the cats holding the 1897 calendar best. 

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, December 12, 2014

Study (or napping) area suggestions

Hang in there, you are almost finished with the semester.

As you know, one of my many areas of expertise is napping - which requires quiet.  So, if you require quiet for napping, studying or anything else, go down the stairs by Room 104 and check out the lower level of the Library.

Also, just a reminder, check out the Library's list of available Study Guides.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

New Uses for Old iPhones

Are you getting a new iPhone for the holidays? has a list of interesting ways to repurpose your old iPhone, using apps and/or the tech that already comes with your current iPhone.  Download a free app like Presence and turn your old iPhone into a high-quality security camera and motion detector.

Read about more ways to get more life out of your old iPhone here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Lexis Case Law Games for Exam Preparation

Lexis Advance provides Case Law Game which is designed to help law students spot and analyze issues in preparation for exams. This free fun tool allows students to compete against their friends and compare scores against other law schools.  It includes games for 1L's and upper level courses.  Click here to play.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, December 04, 2014

This Day In The Law: Federal Alcohol Control Administration Established

"On December 4, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt established the Federal Alcohol Control Administration (FACA) by executive order under the National Industrial Recovery Act just prior to the formal end of Prohibition.

FACA was charged with guiding legitimate wineries and distilleries under a system based on brewers' voluntary codes of fair competition. It effectively vanished from history after just twenty months, when President Roosevelt in August 1935 signed the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act, lodging alcohol regulation exclusively with the US Treasury Department, where it currently remains under the jurisdiction of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, formerly the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)."

Acknowledgement to Jurist.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

New CRS Report: The Evolving Congress

This new CRS report on “The Evolving Congress "is a compendium of 22 reports that examine how and why Congress evolved over the previous decades to where it is today.
  • Congressional Research Service. 2014. The Evolving Congress. Senate. Committee on Rules and Administration. Senate Committee Print 113–30 (“89–394”) (Y 4.R 86/2) Washington: Government Printing Office. (December 1, 2014).

"The goal of this project is to inform the legislative debate moving forward by examining how and why Congress evolved over the previous decades to where it is today."

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Illustrated Courtroom blog

Ever wonder about those art illustrations made during trials? We usually see one or two illustrations during news coverage but at the Illustrated Courtroom blog you can check out numerous illustrations of newsworthy trials and cases. The blog contains illustrations by Howard Brodie, Aggie Kenny, Bill Robles, Richard Tomlinson and Elizabeth Williams.  According to the blog, "much of the artwork is used for TV news, but not seen in print or online, so here it is available to the public."  Click here to access the blog.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Turkey Data

Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to focus on turkeys--and the surprising data available on the bird and the turkey industry from government web sites and trade associations.  Did you know, for example, that American turkeys have been getting bigger and bigger every year for at least 40 years, doubling in weight since 1929?  Check out this 2013 synopsis of interesting turkey facts from the  Economics & Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. For some different data and turkey history, the National Turkey Federation, a turkey farmer trade association, is a good source.  A overview of today's turkey industry, which the United States leads as the world's largest producer and exporter, and the legislative and policy concerns of turkey farmers, is available in the Federation's 2013 Annual Report.  

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Lawyers Use Evernote

Are you already using Evernote, but wonder how colleagues are using it?  Or are you new to productivity apps and want to gauge how you might use Evernote in your clerkship or legal job? has a blog post with real world stories of lawyers and Evernote here. See how lawyers are using a mobile app, Evernote, to streamline their productivity and consider the ways you can begin to take advantage of the convenience of your mobile device or add to your productivity.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 23, 2014

CALI Lessons for Finals

Finals are almost here, and most students are heavy into outlines, study guides, and past exams. But don't forget CALI (the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) which has interactive computer-based lessons keyed to typical IL and upper level law school courses. Check out the CALI welcome page, where you can search for “Lessons” by topic, casebook, subject outline, new lessons and more. You will need to register online with a password the first time that you use CALI lessons. Contact or visit the Law Library Reference Desk to obtain this password from a reference librarian.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hours next week

For those who want to rest in between feasting next week here are the Library access hours.  Please note that there will be times when there is no swipe access.

Wednesday, November 26 -  8:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Wednesday, November 26  - 6:00 P.M. – MIDNIGHT (Swipe Access only)
Thursday, November 27 (Thanksgiving) CLOSED (No Swipe Access)
Friday, November 28 SWIPE ACCESS ONLY - resumes at  8:00 A.M.
Saturday & Sunday, November 29-30  -  10:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M.

Safe travels to your Turkey day celebrations.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, November 20, 2014

This Day In The Law: Justice Department Brings Antitrust Action Against AT&T

On November 20, 1974, the Department of Justice filed its final antitrust suit against AT&T, signaling the end of the “Bell system”. United States v. AT&T was ultimately settled out of court, under an agreement that the corporation would split and thereby end its monopoly on telephone service throughout the United States.

Source: Jurist

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mobile Law Dictionaries A-Z

Now it is easy to have all the legal language you need at your fingertips with mobile law dictionaries! But, as the app world grows and more choices are available out there, it can be difficult to know which is the best for you.

Thanks to, you can get some guidance in choosing the best mobile law dictionary for you here. Available for Android, Apple and other platforms, legal definitions are now just a button away.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 17, 2014

Google Trends

Google Trends visualizes the popularity of search terms across time.  The front page will inform you what searches are trending at the time of your visit.  It is a Google search function so you can look for the trend over time of your interest.  Once you have done the initial search, a number of menu options appear.  You can make comparisons across time or regions.

To learn more, check out the Google Trends Help Center.

Hat Tip to Online Searcher

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, November 15, 2014

How Americans View Privacy: New Report

This week the Pew Research Center published a fascinating report, "Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era."  The Center's Internet Project commissioned a representative online panel of 607 adults to take four surveys over the course of a year.  The findings of this report are based on results from the first survey, conducted in January 2014, and reflect Americans' views of how secure they feel various channels of communication are for sharing private information. According to a recent BBC News article by Jane Wakefield based on comments from report author Mary Madden, a Pew Internet Project senior researcher, "the next survey, due next month, will look specifically at attitudes to how information is stored and secured and the following one will focus on behavioural changes in the post-Snowden world."

Read the report, and engage with the profiles and views of survey participants via this interactive created by the Internet Project.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, November 14, 2014

Google tricks

does so much more than just search the web.  Try a few of these Google tricks 

  • use Google as a timer
  • play zerg rush or Atari Breakout
  • get movie times, translations, conversions to/from metric, currency conversions
  • narrow your web search to a particular site - a really useful research tool, btw

For more, check out 20 Awesome Things Google Can Do from {Life}Buzz

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, November 13, 2014

This Day In The Law: U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Bus Segregation Laws

On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court (352 U.S. 903 [1956]) affirmed a lower court’s ruling in Browder v. Gayle (opens PDF) that Alabama’s racial segregation laws were unconstitutional.

Read a brief summary of the context here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Research Resources: Guide to Law Online

The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thanksgiving Holiday Shuttle Service to JFK for Hofstra Students

Are you making your holiday plans to go home this year?  Hofstra has shuttle service to JFK!

November 26: Student Thanksgiving Shuttle Service to JFK
On Wednesday, November 26, the Department of Public Safety will offer Hofstra students shuttle service to JFK airport on a first-come, first-served, reservation-only basis.  There will be three trips leaving from the Student Center at 7 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Seating is limited to 20 students per shuttle, as space is needed on the bus to accommodate luggage.

Students who want reserve a seat should send an email to Maryann Sarro at with their 700#,  cell phone number, requested shuttle time, and the airline they are flying.  They should leave enough time to account for traffic and check-in time at the airport. The shuttle will stop at the terminals in the order they are along the route, not according to flight times.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Supreme Court Mapping Project

The Supreme Court Mapping Project is under the direction of University of Baltimore School of Law Assistant Professor Colin Starger.  The mapper software enables users to create sophisticated interactive maps of Supreme Court doctrine.  The Project is building a library of implicating doctrinal territories in diverse areas including the 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments as well as in commerce power, patents, campaign finance, civil pleading, stare decisis, and more.

 The SCOTUS Mapper Library contains the maps created to date and an Intro page for a more in-depth explanation of the maps and how it all works.

And last, is the blog "In Progress" to keep you up-to-date with the project's activities.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, November 09, 2014

HeinOnline Tax Foundation Archive Publications

HeinOnline's Tax Foundation Archive collection provides the complete archive of the Tax Foundation's publications, which contain information on taxation, fiscal policy, finance and more.  The collection can be browsed by publication title or subject, or use HeinOnline's other capabilities to search for specific topics.To learn more about the collection click here, to access the collection click here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Oral Argument Video Launched on CourtListener

CourtListener, a free legal research site, is now providing audio podcasts of oral arguments for 10 federal appellate courts: the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal for the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Circuits, as well as the D.C. Circuit and Federal Circuit. Oral argument audio appears in results for court cases and may be searched by case name and docket number. Audios are made in real time and loaded to the site on the day they take place. The site plans to add oral argument audio for other courts, including state courts, in the near future.

To learn more about oral argument audio on CourtListener, read the announcement from the Free Law Project, sponsor of the CourtListener site.  Bob Ambrogi has more at his Law Sites blog.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat