Saturday, June 21, 2014

Magna Carta Anniversary

Although it never guaranteed liberties to all Englishmen and was actually reissued by later kings in many versions, the Magna Carta remains an icon in Anglo-American legal history for what it has come to represent--individual liberties, the rule of law, and a limitation on the power of rulers.

The original agreement at Runnymede, a meadow by the Thames River, was actually known as "The Articles of the Barons" and was sealed (not signed) by King John on June 15, 1215.  During this anniversary week, the librarians of the Law Library of Congress remind us of some of the realities of the occasion, along with revealing photos of crafted replicas of the King's great seal and the rope which attached the seal to the vellum document.

From November 6, 2014, through January 19, 2015, the Library of Congress will have on display one of the remaining four original copies (of the 40 issued at the time and sent out to the English counties) of the King John charter, on loan from its permanent home in Lincoln Cathedral, England.  It will be part of a special library exhibit honoring the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta next year.

You can read the Magna Carta at Yale Law Library's Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, a wonderful source for key legal history documents from ancient times through the 21st Century. 

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bloomberg/Lexis/Westlaw Summer access reminder

Any Law student may use access Lexis Advance or Bloomberg Law during the Summer for any purpose. Graduates, you have access to Bloomberg for 6 months after graduation.  For Lexis, graduates may register for an additional 6 months access at

For Westlaw Next access, law students may register their ids if they doing Law School work.  You may not use your Westlaw account for your Summer job.  Graduates - you may extend your access for 6 months.  Go to and sign in with your current user id to register/extend.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Advice For Ocean-Going Time Travelers

Traveling not only by sea, but back in time this Summer break (if only in imagination)? Then have a look here at some of the ocean-dwelling perils the cartographers of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance would have warned you about.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Research Resources: Family Law Reporter

Are you looking for a family law resource? Try Family Law Reporter (BNA). The Family Law Reporter is a weekly publication containing new federal and state cases, legislation, trends, and issues in the area of family law.

To access Family Law Reporter (BNA):

* Go to the Library's home page, click "Online Resources"
* Click the "Family Law" link
* Click on "Family Law Reporter (BNA)"

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Better Google Searching

Google returns very good search results with basic effort, but as a graduate student you can make Google results even better with some helpful tips and tricks.  Legal Productivity has a great list of ways to improve your search results here.

And don't forget the Hofstra Law Library's Spring 2014 workshop which goes over even more ways to improve your Google skills.  View the archived webcast here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, June 16, 2014

Appeals to the Privy Council from the American Colonies

We want to bring to your attention  a new electronic resource --  it allows a user to access materials for American appeals to the Privy Council without traveling to London!

Appeals to the Privy Council from the American Colonies:
An Annotated Digital Catalogue compiled by: Sharon Hamby O’Connor and Mary Sarah Bilder with the assistance of: Charles Donahue, Jr..

As described by the site: 

Ships, slaves, debts, widows, inheritance, bastards, privateers, treason, customs, land companies, minors, orphans, governors . . . the appeals to the Privy Council from the American colonies contain these issues.

In the century before the creation of the Supreme Court of the United States, the British Privy Council heard appeals from the 13 colonies that became the United States and from the other ‘American’ colonies in Canada and the Caribbean. This catalogue focuses on all currently known colonial cases appealed to the Privy Council from the future United States. For the appeals from the 13 colonies, the catalogue provides links to original documents in England and the United States. Most significantly, the site includes images of surviving briefs filed in 54 of these appeals.

There is also a memorandum guide to assist the user.  It provides information on the materials that may be found in this database. 

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat