Wednesday, December 16, 2009

free search engines, free content

The American Bar Association now has a Free Full-text Online Law Review/Law Journal Search Engine.
This will be good news if you don't have access to user-pays indexes like LegalTrac or LINX, especially if it's American material you're after - in which case, you'd also want to search Google Scholar Legal Opinions and Journals.
The WORLDLII Law Journals Project is doing similar things, and includes, amongst others, the Otago Law Review.
These are great - a free way to find free full-text articles.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wikipedia in court

Here's a link to the Law Librarian blog link to an article on citing Wikipedia in court. Interesting, but would you trust an article that you found via a blog via blog? Would you cite it in an assignment, or in court?

Monday, November 30, 2009

The 21st century Law Student

First we gave you The 21st century Law Library, now we give you the student!
The twenty-first century law student by Alison Bone, "...considers the responses to a survey conducted across seven “new” and two “old” universities which was designed to elicit students' views of their experiences of learning on UK undergraduate law degrees... and indicates how the modern law student approaches the study of law and, more importantly, how law teachers can support their learning. "
Lectures and seminars were highly regarded by students as a way to understand law, with the need to buy and use textbooks also rated highly.
The controversial question as to whether the student felt that textbooks gave them enough information so as not to consult primary resources is very interesting (read alarming). The group was split almost evenly in agreeeing or disagreeing - with little difference across years, so even half the 5th year students agreed that textbooks gave an adequate insight into cases.
I'll let you discover the rest for yourself!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Doyle story

In which Doyle steals, is caught, is shipped from the Bay of Islands to Sydney for trial (along with witnesses), and is hanged. We find him briefly mentioned in Foden's New Zealand legal history, and find him again in AUSTLII in the Superior Courts of New South Wales (pre-1900) Case Notes.
The Doyle case is an interesting bit of social history - both for the facts and for how the Sydney Herald presents them.
The Case Notes database is pretty cool.
AUSTLII is amazing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Legal Citations of Aotearoa New Zealand

Just in:
"The University of Auckland Library is pleased to make Legal Citations of Aotearoa New Zealand (LCANZ) available at no charge from its website.
LCANZ provides easy to follow citation formats and examples which complement the newly released New Zealand Law Style Guide.
LCANZ is the first online index to New Zealand legal citation and is likely to be a valuable tool for law academics and students as well as the legal profession. LCANZ provides guidance on the citation of all major New Zealand legal journals and law reporting series. More than 120 law journals and law reporting series are searchable by either title or abbreviation.
Legal Citations of Aotearoa New Zealand (LCANZ) is a service developed by the Davis Law Library team at the University of Auckland Library and is freely available at "
We're still waiting for the New Zealand law style guide itself, though you can pre-order a copy if you want:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New online resources for law students and academics

Google scholar now has a radio button option to search law journals and American cases. It appears the material is coming from Hein Online.

Early English Laws to quote from their website "is a project to publish online and in print new editions and translations of all English legal codes, edicts, and treatises produced up to the time of Magna Carta 1215" and "Early English Laws will provide not only the now standard editions of English legal texts by Felix Liebermann and William Stubbs, but also new editions, translations, and commentary for over 150 individual texts. These texts range chronologically from Æthelberht of Kent’s code (c. 600) to the issuance of Magna Carta in 1215, and include all non-narrative and non-administrative legal records. Some of them have never been edited."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

LexisNexis Service Outage this Sunday afternoon

From the publisher:
"LexisNexis wishes to advise a service outage on Sunday, 1 November from 2pm to 11pm. During this time, you will not be able to access the LexisNexis platform, as maintenance is needed to accommodate for the time change in the USA. We apologize for any inconvenience caused."
Unfortunately this includes the lexisnexis NZ site as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Discussion of a Law Libraries purpose in the 21st Century

In a recent issue of the Law Library Journal entitled the Twenty-First Century Law Library a panel discussed the concept and evolution of the law library in response to the celebration of the renovation of Duke University’s Goodson Law Library in November 2008.

As we have recently refurbished the Otago Law Library, it is a good time to ponder the relevance of the physical space of the library; its online and hardcopy resources, and thoughts about how the library will evolve in the future...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hidden features in the revamped Law Library

We now have three photocopiers available in the Law Library. Two are on the 8th floor almost opposite the Issues and Information desk. The third is down on the 7th floor Central Block, amongst the International Journals and International textbook collection.

Do not forget you can load money on your copy card at the main 8th Floor desk - cash or eftpos.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just Ask!

There are many library-related services that the Law Library staff may be able to provide to you if you ask us. A case in point occurred last week in relation to the Labour Law assignment.

A student asked if she could read the Employment Relations Authority decision in a particular case. Problem was the case at the Employment Court and Court of Appeal level was suppressed name-wise and we did not know the names used in the ERA level. Nor did we know which ERA it was held in (ie the location) or the date (or even the year!). Despite this, we have managed to locate a copy of the decision and get it to the student.

Everybody is happy and it shows that sometimes, we can do the almost impossible. All it takes is you asking us if it is possible.

And for those wondering what decision we are talking about – it is the ERA decision in A Worker v A Farmer and is available electronically at

or in a paper copy in our Employment Relations Authority decisions housed on the 8th floor at KG348.E38 2007 CHCH 111-160

Friday, September 25, 2009

Last Dash for Law Library Refurbishment

The final section of the Law Library - 9th floor central block - is almost complete!

Thank you to all users of the Law Library for being so patient this year.

All books and journals are now in their permanent areas, and will be spread out a bit during the summer break.

Please expect a little more concrete drilling early next week, and by early October, the ENTIRE library will be finished!


New Zealand law journal

Still working with the last post's theme of hidden gems: here's a few clues to finding the New Zealand law journal.
It's in print, on the shelves in the magnificently refurbished Law Library at K211 N333 - most recent issues on Reserve. Plus it's available elsewhere around the system - check the library catalogue for details.
It's online (from 2006) at the LexisNexis NZ site. And this is where it gets a bit tricky.
  1. If you access the LexisNexis NZ site via the Law Subject Guide, you won't see the journal (NZLJ) in the Sources list; but click the Journals tab anyway to get to the Journals search template. You still won't see NZLJ in the Sources drop-down menu, but if you search "All subscribed journal sources" it will include NZLJ from 2006. Or if you know the citation, you can use the Browse option to the left of the search template, and drill down to the year and issue that you want.
  2. If you access the site via the NZLJ library catalogue record (look for the Electronic resource - online options), you get taken straight to the search template and yes, New Zealand law journal appears in the Sources field - at least until such time as you navigate away from the search template, at which point you are in the same situation as at (1) above.
Seriously weird, and apparently LexisNexis have been working hard to solve the problem all year. Any day now.
If you really want to explore the idiosyncracies of electronic access, try searching the CD-based NZLJ archive, (1925-2001), which you can get to via the Law Library computers: Start menu>Library resources>Law databases>NZ law journal archive. It has its own user guide - you'll need it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Zealand law review

We've had a bit of a run on the New Zealand Law Review recently. It's available in print (K211 N355) or online. There are a couple of quirky things about the online version, which have caught a few people out.

1. getting to The simplest way is via the library catalogue - search by title, select the 1995 "electronic resource" record, then follow the link. You can also get there via the Law Subject Guide, but remember that you'll find it in Lexis and not in LexisNexis NZ- doesn't make a lot of sense but that's how it is.

2. navigating your way through It's vast, and US-centric. From the front page, scroll down to the Find laws by country or region section - you're looking for New Zealand, which you'll find via the View more sources link. Once you're in the New Zealand section you should be able to see the New Zealand Law Review link.

3. using the search template.

Try an Easy Search. It's a full-text search, so use distinctive but simple terms, like a combination of author (surname only is the most reliable option) and title keywords.

Or try the Terms and Connectors search. Segment searching allows you to specify where (in the document) you want your search terms to appear. Useful for author and title. And you can use the CITE segment to find a specific article (e.g 2005 NZ Law Review 1); or to find all articles published in a particular volume (e.g. 2005 NZ Law Review) effectively giving you a table of contents for that volume.

You get some examples of segment searching via the information icon (i-in-a-box) next to the journal title in the breadcrumb trail.

4. One more thing. You'll only find articles if they are there. Some aren't - looks like they've missed a few issues here & there.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Refurbishment: the final phase is nigh!

Progress is being made to complete the 9th floor refurbishment before exams begin.

From Friday 18th, Property Services will start working on the 9th floor central block, and textbooks (KN) will be 'staff retrieval only' from Friday 18th to Wed 22nd.

On Wed 23rd, KN texts will be moved to their final resting place in the south tower of the 9th floor.
On Thur 24th, KL-KM texts will be moved from the 7th floor up to the 9th floor.

More desk spaces should become available on the 9th floor by early next week. Access via the south stairs.

There will be intermittent conctrete drilling this week. Our apologies. Earplugs are available.

Speculative requests

Locating the book or document you want traditionally goes something like this:

you get a reference (from a footnote or a lecturer, or a subject search); you search the library catalogue to see if and where we have it; and if it's a book we don't have, you search the Borrow Direct catalogues to see if you can request it from one of those libraries - and if there are any steps here that you're not sure about, you ask us, OK?

If you can't find what you want, you fill out a document delivery request form, and we'll see if we can get it from another library for you. Basically, we use catalogues and indexes to verify that the item exists, then work out where to get it from.

It works pretty well most of the time.

But sometimes we resort to a "speculative request" if we can't find the item you want in conventional indexing tools - maybe because it pre-dates online tools, maybe because it was never formally published, maybe because you have an incomplete reference, maybe because it's an unreported case from a lower court. A speculative request involves us making an educated guess about which library might have the item you want, and it relies on the staff at that library knowing their collection well enough to locate it (if they have it). We recently used this method to get a copy of an early NZ bill - not surprisingly we got it from the Parliamentary Library. Fortunately someone kept the bill, even though parliament threw it out.

So if there's something you want, just ask. Even if you don't have all the details.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eeee! e-Books!

The Library has recently added 44000 eBook records to the Library catalogue, including a fair swag of law-related material. It's a package deal.
You can discover what's there as part of your usual catalogue searching.
Or you can search specifically within the eBook Library - start from the Library's homepage, go to the Article Databases link, browse the letter E and select EBL Ebook Library. Or click this link to take you most of the way. Money changes hands so you'll need to do the username-password thing. Once you're there, the search interface is pretty intuitive. You can browse by category (e.g. Law), or use the Advanced Search. You may need to consult the online manual as well. Let us know what you think of it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

BriefCase just got beefier

Apparently Brookers got some feedback about the new system and have acknowledged the desire for a 'one-stop-shop' by including all available PDFs in ViewCase (the full-text limb of BriefCase). Here's hoping we clearly expressed the desire for an affordable one-stop shop.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BriefCase just got briefer

Brookers/Thomson Reuters have just excised the full-text PDFs (a.k.a. ViewCase) for lower courts (District Courts & tribunals) from Briefcase. Why? Because those judgments are now included in their all-new topical case law databases - ACC, Civil procedure, Family, Fisheries and a few more - which we can purchase (but haven't yet) at additional cost.
BriefCase still has the case summaries, just not the full text. We can probably get the judgment for you, so fill out a judgment request form, available at the Law Library desk.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Printer/Download button in HeinOnline has moved

The Print/Download icon in HeinOnline has moved from the extreme right to nearer the middle of the page

LegalTrac search alerts

We've added a new guide to the collection - LegalTrac search alerts. Search Alert saves your search, runs it periodically to see if any new material meets those criteria, and emails the results to you. Sweet.

LegalTrac magazines

LegalTrac is a great way to identify useful journal articles. And when you get your search results there are tabs for different kinds of literature, which is useful as long as you understand that "Academic journals" means journals produced by academic institutions and "Magazines" (which sounds like the glossy stuff other people get at the supermarket) includes valuable material like the New Zealand Law Journal.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Looking for a space to Study?

The 6th floor contains some quiet study spaces, and the Library Seminar Room, with computers.
Access is via the back of the law library, down the south tower stairs.
In a few days time the rest of the 7th floor should also be suitable for studying again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Old cases

Today we were trying to locate a case with a footnoted reference something like Parish of Eltham v Warreyn (1657) Duke 67. It looks like an early nominate report so we checked the table of cases for the English reports, which reprint a lot of nominate reports. Not there. So we checked a dictionary of legal abbreviations and found an entry for Duke, Law of charitable uses 1676. Sounds more like a book than a report series so off to the catalogue and sure enough, there it is. As an e-book. With the case-note we wanted, on page 67.
A couple of points about this.
  • English reports (KF53 E6; also available online via the catalogue) are usually a good source of early English case law but they don't have everything.
  • Dictionaries of legal citations and abbreviations are beautiful things. And include references to books as well as primary sources. I used the Raistrick book (on the reference shelves at K112 R433) but the online Cardiff index would have solved this too.
  • The library catalogue is also a beautiful thing, even for very old material.
  • And one more thing - the Eltham v Warreyn case is cited in a number of ways - sometimes just like that, sometimes it's the Inhabitants of Eltham or the Parish of Eltham, sometimes with a date, sometimes without. So be a little flexible with your search techniques in case you miss what's there.


The KL & KM sections of the library have moved to a temporary location on the 7th floor South Tower, while their usual 9th floor location gets tarted up. The oversize books (i.e. A4-size) are at the start of the sequence.
If you can't find what you want, just ask! Someone will know someone who knows.

Friday, August 21, 2009

guide me

We're working on updating our library guides. Here's what we've got so far:
Anything else you'd like? Just ask.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why blog?

One of the most effective ways of learning how to use the library is to talk to people. We do it all the time. You may have noticed that if you ask a question, you might get or two or even three library staff members involved in finding the answer. We learn a lot from these conversations - about the library and how it gets used.

The blog is a way for you to eavesdrop on some of these conversations. You might learn something useful - about a recent case, or a new book, or tips for using the databases.

We'd still like you to come and talk to us. The blog is just another way of sharing the conversation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Two to a page

If you want to print two to a page, do it with Properties.

Here's the ITS advice:
"Getting more pages per sheet
You can print 2 or more pages
onto one piece of A4 paper from
Word (and other programs).
Type Ctrl-P to bring up the Print
window and choose Properties.
Change Pages Per Sheet to a
number bigger than 1. Click OK.
printer may just give you blank."

Lifted from the How to Print tipsheet on their website.

They also have a lot of other tips, including a work around for memory stick problems, if that has been bugging you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Open Lectures for Maori Law Week

Te Wiki o Te Ture
Maori Maori Law Week
Te Tumu School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, Otago University
Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 August Open Lectures

Light refreshments served from 5:30pm before the open lectures on the 1st floor of Te Tumu.

John Chadwick
"Travelling the whakapapa highway"
Wednesday 19 August, 6pm Te Paparewa, Ground Floor

Mamari Stephens
"Creating New Zealand's first Maori Legal Dictionary"
Thursday 20 August, 6pm Te Paparewa, Ground Floor

Jolene Patuawa
"The changing goalposts of the Crown in Treaty Settlements"
Thursday 20 August, 7pm Te Paparewa, Ground Floor

Open to all students, staff and interested community members.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Advice to our future lawyers - don't yawn in court!

A Canadian man is facing up to 6 months imprisonment for "making a yawn-like sound" in court.
See the full story at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

8th Floor Here We Come!

"There's a time, and the time is now and it is right for me" Said Jon Andersen from Yes. On Thursday and Friday this week it is time to move!
Come Friday morning we'll be back upstairs in our flash new digs.
Hope you like it!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

From the do you actually expect anyone to believe you file

Man blames cat for more than 1000 pornographic images found on his computer

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday moment for collection development...

In The Dictionary of Legal Bullshit, you will find the definition of such words as:
Bankrupt The state of being that one attains when the government sticks your creditors with the bill for your extravagant expenditures.
Jail Exclusive public housing with lousy neighbors, no view, poor facilities and one of the highest cost per square foot of any living space ever built; but with slightly less violence and fewer drug dealers than the public housing that is available to the populous at large.
Plus, find key Latin translations, like: Res ipsa loquitor Duh. Res judicata You lost, get over it. Respondeat superior Sue the one with the most money.

Young, R. C. (2007). The dictionary of legal bullshit. Naperville, Ill: Sphinx Pub.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moving experience

We've enjoyed camping out on the 6th floor but it's time to move on. And up. We'll be returning to the 8th floor next week. Watch this space!

Last in the Berryman saga available

The final decision in the long-running Berryman saga is now available fulltext from the University of Otago's Unreported Judgment Collection at