Wednesday, May 30, 2012

HeinOnline just keeps getting better

Originally they were a great source for older material - they still are - but they are now getting much more current content, including the Harvard Law Review and all the Georgetown law journals. Apparently 84% of their journal titles are now available with current full-text content. And they index the remaining 16%, so you know about it even if they don't yet have it.
Their recent blog post makes it all clear.
They also index external content, which they describe thus:
The External section type contains links to law review articles that do not reside inside the HeinOnline database. These are electronically published law review articles, usually not distributed in print format and only made available online via the web. As these articles do not fit the typical structure of a bound book with pagination, they do not work within the HeinOnline database model. Therefore, we have included links to these articles in the search results in order to provide you with even greater access to resources that supplement the content available in HeinOnline. Providing links to external law review articles allows you to conduct your research in one place and on one website.
 Get to HeinOnline via the quicklinks on the Law Subject Guide. Definitely worth taking the time to discover what's there, and definitely worth looking at the guides in their Help pages.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thesis information

The Library has updated its Thesis information page.
It now looks like a subject guide, but you'll find it via the same pathway to the old thesis info page: Library homepage>Research>Thesis information.
Lots of practical information there, from getting started to submitting, with everything in between.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

LexisNexis NZ training this week

LexisNexis trainer Trish is here this week, offering free training on the LexisNexis NZ databases. She'll show you things you want to know, with special emphasis on using online looseleaf services like the Family Law Service.
Thurs 24 May, 2-2.50 and Friday 25 May 12-12.50, in the Law Library seminar room (come in to the Law Library & go down to the 6th floor). No need to sign up, just turn up.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summon revisited

Summon is the search box that sits near the top of the Library homepage. It has been there for a while now, so it's time to review it.
What does Summon do? It searches a range of library-subscribed sources. That includes full-text searching within (many) online books and articles. But it doesn't search everything. And it doesn't search the content of the key legal databases (think LexisNexis, Westlaw/Brookers, CCH). 
So how useful is Summon for legal research? In general, the further you move away from New Zealand content, and the further you move away from law, the better it gets.
It's useless if you are looking for primary material (legislation, case law) and/or anything you would find within the major legal publishers' sites. The exception here is HeinOnline, who allow their content to be searched by Summon, bless them. If you want serious law, start with the Law Subject Guide.
It's good for multi-disciplinary subjects - law and medicine, bioethics, tropical timber trade - anything that might be published in non-law journals and books, by mainstream publishers. Be prepared to refine your search - you can get an astounding number of hits.
And it's worth a try if you are looking for something quite specific, like commentary on a  case for which you have an accurate citation. Chances are your hits will chiefly be footnoted references, but you might find something more substantial. Use it in addition to the key databases in the Law Subject Guide.
It's also worth a try if you have a reference to a specific article. It's often quicker than searching the catalogue for the journal title, though that remains Plan B if Summon doesn't work - some journals are available only in print or in those inaccessible legal publishers' sites.
Summon. It's worth knowing about, but the best legal research starts with the Law Subject Guide. If you want any help with that, just ask.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Other (Dark) Side of Social Media

It turns out that too much social media exposure (of a certian kind) can have negative repurcussions. So, if you're starting to look for a job, these issues are well worth bearing in mind.
Here are two recent articles from the teams at Bell Gully and Simpson Grierson, who examine the dark side of social media. Debora Doak and Nikki Donnelly from Bell Gully, write about Facebook - fair game for prospective employers?   and tell the real story of a prospective employee being asked for his facebook login during an interview. Their advice? Don't. 
Then in a similar vein, William Akel and Tracey Walker from Simpson Grierson examines the 2010 Chris Cairns 'twitter' judgment, and "suggest[s] strategies for managing your online reputation and mitigating the risks of using social media" in Protecting your Online Reputation – Walking the Social Media Tightrope. This article focusses on avoiding risk in the workplace, and easily transfers to personal risk aversion. "The beguiling ease of publishing material through social media channels brings with it significant risk."
Both articles provide some very sensible suggestions to avoid future embarrassment with regard to your facebook,twitter, or other social media profiles.