Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Achieve Your Resolutions at the Library

Did your New Year's resolution list include "learn a new language" or "read more books"? While these two goals don't top the survey results of New Year's resolutions for 2018, they're certainly a few smaller ways to help you keep the most popular resolution in America this year: "Enjoy life to the fullest."

Thanks to the NC Live consortium, the Duke University community has new tools to help you achieve your 2018 goals. NC Live offers access to more than a hundred subscription databases through a user's "home" public or academic library (meaning that North Carolina residents without a current Duke NetID may also be able to access the site through their public or academic library at https://www.nclive.org/). NC Live has long included helpful resources for searching articles, consumer information, and other resources, and more than a dozen new sources have been added for 2018-2020. Two particularly notable new additions are:
  • Mango Languages includes courses for 70 world languages and more than a dozen English as a Second Language/English Language Learner courses. (This database replaces "Pronunciator," which was previously available through NC Live.) To set up an account, visit Mango Languages while on the Duke network in order to authenticate as a valid subscriber. After your username and password has been created, you can access the site or mobile app without authenticating through Duke first.
    Note: The Duke community also has access to a similar language database, Transparent Language Learning, which includes more than 50 world languages as well as English language learning modules designed specifically for native speakers of more than two dozen languages. Like Mango, it requires setup of a unique username and password while connected to the Duke network, and then seamless access via the web or a mobile app.
  • If you're hoping to read more books in 2018, NoveList Plus is designed to help you find the perfect titles. The site offers read-alike and listen-alike recommendations for fiction, nonfiction, and audiobooks. So if you just finished a title that you enjoyed, or have already burned through everything by your favorite author, a NoveList search for the title or author can help you find recommendations by expert reviewers for something along the same lines. You can also browse by subject/theme.

Explore other NC Live resources through the Duke Libraries or via your North Carolina public library. For help with finding library resources to help you achieve your 2018 resolutions, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Laws for the New Year

Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year usually brings some new laws, as previously enacted legislation often takes effect on January 1, unless otherwise specified in the act itself or in the jurisdiction's laws on effective dates. Some of the highest-profile state law changes around the country include California's legalization of recreational marijuana sales and New York's sweeping family leave plan for businesses. Additional highlights of state law changes can be found on CNN and NPR.

In North Carolina, the legislature provides a PDF of 2017 legislation, sorted by effective date, with links to the enacted laws. Twenty state session laws enacted in 2017 took effect as of January 1. Most notably, the North Carolina driver's education curriculum has been revised to include instruction on handling vehicle stops by law enforcement. The full text of this new law can be found on the legislature website at S.L. 2017-95.

Another law change which has caused confusion is the REAL ID, minimum federal security standards for identification documents enacted by Congress in 2005. Most states, including North Carolina, have already begun to issue REAL ID-compliant drivers licenses, which require additional documentary proof of identity. As seen in airports around the country during the busy holiday travel season, January 22, 2018 marks the end of a planned "grace period" for federal agencies to accept identification documents from states which are not yet compliant with federal standards. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was granting an additional extension to nine non-compliant states until October 2018. As noted in the TSA's fact sheet, this means that passengers may continue to use their current state-issued ID for domestic air travel; by October 1, 2020, all travelers must use a REAL ID-compliant form of identification.

For help with locating recently-effective legislation, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Introducing Nexis Uni

LexisNexis Academic, the campus-wide version of the Law School's Lexis Advance platform, will be retired at the end of the year. In preparation, the Duke University Libraries have already switched over to the new campus-wide Lexis platform, dubbed Nexis Uni. Links on the Law Library website and research guides have been changed to this new platform.

Nexis Uni contains case law from the federal courts and all 50 states, as well as current statutory and regulatory codes, law reviews and journals, news resources, and company information. The easiest way to view available materials is by the link to Menu > All Sources in the top left corner, although the home page's search builder and the Advanced Search feature will help format a search across Nexis Uni.

A key resource in Nexis Uni for campus legal researchers is the encyclopedia American Jurisprudence 2d, a helpful starting place for unfamiliar legal topics (also available in print in the Law Library’s Reference collection). The Shepard's citation search feature, which was previously limited to only case law in LexisNexis Academic, has expanded: Nexis Uni users can now Shepardize citations to case law, statutes, court rules, regulations, and law review articles. The Shepard’s shortcut shep:[citation] in the main search box (e.g., shep: 58 Duke L.J. 1791) works in Nexis Uni as well as Lexis Advance.

One important note for Law School users of either platform: if you attempt to access both law school Lexis Advance and campus-wide Nexis Uni during a single browser session, your browser will most likely point you to whichever version of Lexis that you accessed first. (That is, if you log into your law school Lexis account and later click a link to Nexis Uni during the same browser session, you'll see…law school Lexis instead of Nexis Uni, and vice versa if you accessed Nexis Uni first.) Closing your browser completely should allow you to access the second platform without difficulty.

For help with using the new campus-wide LexisNexis interface, or with any other legal research questions, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Commemorating the National Conference on Crime

At Washington, D.C.'s Memorial Continental Hall, a distinguished group of federal officials, legal academics, and law enforcement representatives gathered to discuss crime prevention strategies. They traded the latest police investigation techniques, expressed concerns about the exploding narcotics trade, and debated the effects that media coverage of crimes has on society. While it sounds like this could be happening right now, it was actually at the Attorney General's National Conference on Crime, which took place more than 80 years ago: December 10-13, 1934.

Attorney General Homer S. Cummings (biography) announced the conference plan in July 1934, shortly before boarding a ship from Los Angeles to Hawaii ("in connection with land condemnation proceedings of the government," according to the Chicago Tribune). The Wall Street Journal reported that the planned December "crime parley" would include discussion of "prisons, paroles, bar ethics, and other problems." Throughout the fall, organizers arranged a notable group of speakers (including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, whose addresses would be broadcast to the nation on every major radio network). Attendees included state and local government officials, university presidents and law school professors, and representatives from law enforcement agencies and news organizations.

Duke Law School had a particularly important connection to this event: Justin Miller, on a leave of absence that year from his duties as Law School Dean while serving as Special Assistant to the Solicitor General, helped to organize the Conference on Crime. Dean Miller served as the conference's official Secretary, calling sessions to order and overseeing audience discussions. Dean Miller was also recognized during the conference for his seven-year tenure as Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section.

The Proceedings of the Attorney General's Conference on Crime can be found in the library at KF9223 .A17 1934 or online in HeinOnline. Among the fascinating discussions and prepared remarks are "Firearms: An Address" by former Massachusetts Attorney General J. Weston Allen, who described planned legislation to implement registration requirements for the permit or purchase of firearms, all of which had been thwarted by the lobbying of the National Rifle Association. In "Why Print Crime News?" Cleveland Plain-Dealer editor Paul Bellamy defended newspapers from criticism that the coverage of crime stories glamorized crime, inspired juvenile delinquency, and impeded police investigations. In "Importance of Criminal Statistics," University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Thorsten Sellin lamented the difficulty in finding reliable state and local crime statistics, with even the federal government’s relatively-new Uniform Crime Reports publication "handicapped by the poverty of local records [and] lack of complete cooperation" – issues which persist into the present day.

In his closing address to the conference (also available at the DOJ website), Attorney General Cummings stated "It would be idle, of course, to expect that the problem of crime could be solved by a single conference or, indeed, by a series of conferences, or, for that matter, in our generation." The continued relevance of many of the issues at hand certainly proves his point, but the 1934 conference is a fascinating look back at how law enforcement and legal professionals in the Depression era handled many of the same concerns which face American society today.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Free & Low-Cost Legal Research Options

It's about that time of year when May graduates lose their extended access to Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law. Both services allow recent Law School graduates to continue using their academic passwords for 6 months. (Westlaw's post-graduation access lasts a little longer; see Library Services for Recent Grads/Alumni for an overview.) No need to despair, though – several legal research options are available for no cost or low-cost.
  • First, check with your state or local bar association, which may offer free access to the low-cost legal research services Fastcase or Casemaker. Currently, the bar associations in 49 states and the District of Columbia include at least one of these research services as a membership benefit (California, the only holdout, contains many county and local bar associations which provide members with access to one or the other). The Goodson Law Library's map of Legal Research via State Bar Associations has been updated to reflect the latest changes in bar offerings at the state level. (Since the last update earlier in 2017, Delaware became the 29th state to offer Fastcase to its bar association members.) The Duke University community can check out Fastcase before heading into law practice; law students can also create an account on CasemakerX (an educational version of Casemaker).
  • Google Scholar is another starting place for research which is commonly used by practicing attorneys. The "Case law" radio button includes state appellate opinions since 1950, federal lower court opinions since 1923, and U.S. Supreme Court opinions since 1791. "Articles" includes scholarly and commercial law reviews, legal journals, and journals in other disciplines as well. (Users currently affiliated with Duke can add "Duke University Libraries – Get It @ Duke" to Settings > Library Links, in order to access restricted articles with a current NetID and password.)
  • In You're a Researcher without a Library: What Do You Do?, Jake Orlowitz at Medium recently outlined a number of options for scholars who encounter paywalls and affiliation requirements. Orlowitz's article contains helpful reminders of resources available through your public library, such as the databases and e-books available to all North Carolina residents via the NC LIVE consortium. Orlowitz also covers resources like the Unpaywall browser extension, the Internet Archive's massive library of public domain works, and WorldCat, all of which can help you locate the full text of a needed book or article.
Additional free and low-cost legal research options are listed in the library's guide to Legal Research on the Web. These include Cornell's Legal Information Institute and the free law website Justia. For additional help with locating free or low-cost research resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Federal Tax Guide Updated

The Goodson Law Library's research guide to Federal Tax law has recently been updated. Tax is a complex area of the law, with frequent changes and unique sources. For new researchers, it may be beneficial to begin with one of the research guidebooks listed in section VI, such as the BNA Tax Management Portfolio Legal Authorities in U.S. Federal Tax Matters - Research and Interpretation (online in Bloomberg BNA & Bloomberg Law), for more guidance about specific sources and their authoritative weight.

Although the legal research services Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law contain valuable tax research primary and secondary sources, specialized resources like Thomson Reuters Checkpoint  are commonly used by tax practitioners. Checkpoint contains Federal Tax Coordinator 2d and United States Tax Reporter, both of which provide detailed guidance on all aspects of federal tax practice. Checkpoint also includes Citator 2nd, which connects researchers to subsequent case law which has cited or discussed a particular opinion.

The titles above in Checkpoint can also be found in print in the library's Gann Tax Alcove on level 2. The research guide lists these as well as other recommended treatises on income tax, corporate tax, and other specialized tax topics. Additional treatises can be found with a search of the Duke University Libraries catalog.

The research guide also includes a detailed overview of tax authorities and the various places that they can be found. Also included are links to popular tax policy think tanks, and other sources for tax-related legislative policy information.

For help with locating information about federal tax law, consult the updated research guide or Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Financial Times Group Subscription for Law Community

The Goodson Law Library has created a group subscription to Financial Times (FT.com) for the Law School. Current Law students, faculty, and staff may use their Duke Law email address to register for an account, which will allow access to the full text of unlimited articles.

To take advantage of this group subscription, you will first need to visit FT.com on a networked Law School computer (e.g., library workstations or office computers). When you attempt to access a desired article from a networked computer, the following message should appear:
Duke Law Library purchased a group subscription to FT.com.
Current Law School students, faculty, and staff may join the group subscription using their school email address, which includes unlimited access to FT content on your desktop and mobile.
Scroll down to the "Join Now" button and follow the steps to register an account with FT.com. If you had previously created an account using your Duke Law email, in order to access free articles each month, the system should recognize your prior use of the email address and connect the old account to this group subscription. Once created, your account will work on FT.com from non-networked computers, including on mobile devices. FT also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Not a member of the Duke Law community? Financial Times currently allows registered users to read 3 free articles per month. In addition, readers may be able to access the full text of some stories through social media links, such as via Twitter, without counting toward that total.

For help with setting up a Law School FT.com account, or locating other sources for financial news, be sure to Ask a Librarian.