Friday, December 2, 2011

Oxford - journals, reference, scholarship

Still working with the idea of targetted browsing, and now looking at some specific sites. I'll start with the Oxford sites. These are subscription sites (i.e. the library pays for them), so you need a university username and password.
Oxford journals - allows you to browse journals by subject. And for each journal you can view the current issue - abstract and full-text; you can browse the archive, and you can search.
Oxford reference online. The law section includes dictionaries and companions, and covers Australian, English and American law, international law and legal history. You also have the option to explore other subject areas.
Oxford scholarship online law - includes monographs, with the option to browse or search within each book. You can search or browse other subjects too.
You can register for a personal Oxford account, with which you can set up alert services, including advance access. I tested this with a journal table of contents alert, and sure enough, the emails turn up in my in-box. But the links within the email bypass the university's ezyproxy username/password process, so I can't directly access the full text. So, I know there is new material out there, but to get it, I need to access the journal via the e-journals list (or the Oxford journals site, or the catalogue). Not hard, just a bit confusing.
One last word about the E-book/E-journal's electronic collections. We don't always subscribe to every title in a collection. Hopefully it's obvious, sometimes it's not. So, you might know that there is useful material out there, but to get it, you might need a Plan B (search the library catalogue) or a Plan C (BorrowDirect) or a Plan D (the document delivery service). Or you could just ask!

e-books, e-articles, e-serendipity

We recently added an e-books and articles section to the Law Subject Guide.
It's designed to help you find something useful when you don't know exactly what you are looking for.
There are links to several publishers' sites (Cambridge, Hart, Oxford, Wiley) so you get some brand recognition and a relatively small pool of material to look at. You can search or browse. Often you can branch out into their other subject areas - philosophy or ethics or medicine, for example - without straying too far from something recognisable. You can get access to online books as well as journals; and you can get advanced (i.e. prepublication) access to some journals.
I think of it as targetted browsing - it's as close as you can get to the traditional print browsing experience, when you saw only high-quality academic sources relating to your discipline, and browsing was a legitimate and necessary part of your academic work.

There are other ways to find clusters like these.
You could start with the e-journals/e-books page; explore the subject index or browse the long list of clusters. Many of these sites also allow you to set up table of contents alerts and/or saved searches, so once you find something useful, it just gets better.

Back to blogging

We're blogging again! With roughly equal parts of optimism, shame and irony - most of our blogging seems to happen when most of the students aren't here.
We're also working on the Law Subject Guide, mongst other things. The Books and articles page now has section on e-books and articles and a section on dictionaries and reference.
I'll elaborate on these, and the specific tools they link to, in future posts.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday's lexisnexis training - blown away

I'm sure we would have been blown away by the training, but today's strong winds have blown the trainer off course. She'll be here tomorrow (we hope) for sessions at 11, 12 and 1. But today's training is cancelled, sorry.

LexisNexis training

Trish, the LexisNexis trainer, is running free training sessions Thurs 12 May and Fri 13 May. Time: 12 noon and again at 1pm, each day.
Place: Law Library seminar room, on the 6th floor (enter the library via the 8th floor and use the internal stairs).
This is a great opportunity to see an expert put the databases through their paces.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tomorrow's lexisnexis training cancelled

Tomorrow's LexisNexis training is cancelled, due to ill health. Sorry about that.
But wait, there's more. Further (repeat) sessions are planned for Fri 13 May; Mon 29 August and Thurs 3 November.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lexis trainer here Wed 6 April

Trish Andre will be here next Wednesday, offering free 50-minute training sessions on LexisNexis NZ and
It's a good chance to see what the Lexis databases can do for you, and what a Lexis expert can do with the databases.
Available times: 11am and 12 noon.
Place: Law Library seminar room (6th floor).
Sign up at the Law Library Desk.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

EndNote clinic

We're offering an EndNote clinic aimed at helping you get started with EndNote.
Pretty much everything you need to know is on the EndNote for NZLSG mindmap so have a look at that first. But the mindmap is a bit confusing, so if you want help with customising EndNote for the New Zealand Law Style Guide, come to the EndNote clinic: Law Library seminar room (6th floor) Friday 1st April, 11 o'clock.
If you have EndNote on your laptop, bring it with you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The art of EndNote

We're running a couple of sessions for anyone interested in using EndNote and the New Zealand Law Style Guide. Not exactly training so much as the art of the possible, to help you decide whether EndNote is worth it. My guess is that for anyone doing research at LLB Hons level or above, it is worth it.
Interested? Come along to the Law Library seminar room (6th floor, but access is through the main library entrance on the 8th floor) -
  • Thursday 10 March at 9 o'clock; or
  • Thursday 24 March at 10 o'clock (repeat session)
If neither of those times work for you, let me know and I can arrange something to suit.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Legal System tours

Next week we'll be seeing a lot of Legal System students in the Library, as they all get a mini-tour as part of their first tutorial.
It can be a bit chaotic, especially if there is more than one tutorial group here at a time. So just to be clear, here is what we'd like you to know:
  • You're all welcome!
  • We have sound recordings of the Legal System lectures - though there seems to be a slight hiccough with those at the moment - hope to have it sorted soon.
  • We have staplers and printers and photocopiers, all near the Desk.
  • The stuff behind the Desk is the Reserve collection - stuff that can be borrowed for a couple of hours at a time. You can find out what is on Reserve for Legal System (or any other course) via the Course Reserve tab of the library catalogue .
  • You can find out more about the library via the Law Subject Guide.
  • The best way to learn how to use the Law Library is to ask - at the Desk. That applies to all law students.

Summon old, summon new

Introducing Summon, the new widget that sits at the top of the Library's homepage. It's a database aggregator, meaning that it searches across a host of databases - the library catalogue, and lots of full-text databases. Which means that it doesn't really matter if you are looking for a book or an article - it should find either.
Definitely worth a look, though it often happens that the major legal publishers aren't included in these one-size-fits-all sorts of deals.
I tried putting it through its paces with our standard search: material on Lange v Atkinson. Simply typing: lange and atkinson got a huge result, full of authors called Atkinson and weird medical tests, often cited in German articles, that somehow included Lange. Second attempt was "lange v atkinson" - so, searching for an exact phrase. Much better - 7 hits, all of which were relevant, roughly half of which were for books. Compare this to a LegalTrac search - also 7 hits, but none of them the same as the Summon ones. Compare this to Linx - 35 hits (that's for articles).
And then I tested it with one of the Laws 498 questions, looking for articles or casenotes on the 1964 Rookes v Barnard case. Again, I searched for it as an exact phrase. Didn't really expect to find much but there were 113. At least the first few seemed relevant. A lot of them seemed to come from HeinOnline.
So, it's a new toy. Worth playing with, but don't throw away the old ones yet, especially if you are looking for New Zealand material, or primary material.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Welcome, welcome back!

So the new academic year has started, ready or not.
There are a few changes, most notably the new law subject guide. It has had a bit of a makeover, thanks to the libguides software we are now using. So we've taken the opportunity to change a few other things as well. What that amounts to is that each page has a column of quicklinks down the left-hand side, so if you know what you want, you should find it pretty quickly. The main column of each page puts it all in context, so if you're not sure what you want, we'll talk you through it. At least, that's the aim.
It's a work in progress. Some bits are simply copied from the old subject guide; some bits are still in note-to-self form; all of it needs checking - so expect a few glitches.
The old subject guide is still there and still available via a link from the home page of the new guide.
Let us know what you think, and what we can do to make it work for you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Foreign law: digests

We often recommend secondary sources (texts, commentary, articles) as a good starting point for finding the law, and this is true of foreign law too. By foreign law, I mean the law of another country or jurisdiction.
If you want something short and sweet, try the Martindale-Hubbell law digests. You'll get a brief digest (i.e. overview) of the government and legal system, and a brief overview of of each of the main areas of law (criminal, employment, environment, family etc). The digest information is well worth the effort it takes to find it. So, go to Lexis (you need a university username for this); select: Find a Source and search for: martindale-hubbell law digest. When you browse the results list, you'll see that each American state has its own digest; and that there are regional digests e.g. Asian law digests, within which you will find digests for individual countries. Take your time and explore a bit, look for the browsable TOC (table of contents), stay away from the "listings" (unless you are looking for a lawyer rather than a digest) and sooner or later you'll find what you want. If you don't, just ask.
Other options for foreign law:
  • search the library catalogue for an introductory text on the law of your chosen country - we don't have many print texts outside of the common law countries but you may find a useful e-book.
  • try the LegalTrac database for articles - probably better for specific areas of law.
  • try the (free) GlobaLex research directory - good for international and foreign law.
  • try the (free) WorldLII databases
  • just ask - at the desk, or via email or phone. Foreign law can be tricky but with time and effort, we can usually track it down.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Web feeds make keeping up to date easy!

Keep up to date with changes in NZ legislation using web feeds.
The New Zealand Legislation website allows users to subscribe to ready-made feeds, or to design their own to match specific research needs.