Monday, May 20, 2019

Games in the library!

To anyone who thinks gamification is a 21st century phenomenon, West's Great American Case Race would beg to differ.

Published in 1984, this game leads 2-4 players through the peaks and pitfalls of legal research. Advancing around the board, the players can draw Westlaw and Lexis cards to earn points and purchase cases to win the game.

Image of the Case Race game board

Of course, the cards pretty clearly reflect who the game publisher is:
  • "Use West Key Numbers from your Reporter to locate latest cases on point in WESTLAW. Easy, Fast, Efficient. Score 3 points or advance up to 2 spaces" 
  • "LEXIS service is easy to learn and changes little over time, because it's rarely improved. Score 3 points or advance up to 2 spaces."
  • "Your LEXIS mug leaks, getting coffee on your keyboard. Lose 3 points."  
They're also pretty indicative of the era:
  • "The telephone company goes on strike, knocking out all data networks. Lose 3 points."
  • "Your IBM PC is compatible with WESTLAW. Score 5 points or advance up to 4 spaces."
  • "Your fingers are too big to type on the UBIQ terminal. Too many typing mistakes cost you time and money. Lose 2 points."

So if you ever want to take a break and be grateful for the ease of modern legal research platforms, you can always check out the Great American Case Race.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Norway Constitution Day in Ballard—and Any Constitution on @HeinOnline

Happy Syttende Mai! Celebrating the signing of the Norwegian constitution in 1814, the festivities were suppressed by the Swedish government for years: although the constitution said that Norway was an independent nation, it wasn't truly separated from Sweden until 1905.

Photo of 2017 Syttende Mail parade, from 17th of May Festival website
You can hop a bus to Ballard for a variety of events today, topped off by a parade at 6:00.

If you want to build your knowledge of the constitution of Norway or just about any other country, visit HeinOnline's World Constitutions Illustrated collection. It includes books, articles, an bibliographies. It even has a page of external links to quickly get you to some great websites about comparative constitutional law.

You can research Armenia or Zimbabwe, but since it's May 17, let's look at Norway
  • Under Constitutions and Fundamental Laws, we find that 1814 constitution (but the only translations are into German and Danish. But we can also find an English translation from 2018, including amendments up to then. The translation is unofficial, since the Norwegians use the Norwegian text, but the translation is by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, so it's probably pretty good.
  •  Under Commentaries & Other Relevant Sources, we find various works, some comparative and some just on Norway (e.g., H. L. Braekstad, Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway: An Historical and Political Survey (1905)).
  • Another tab gives us articles curated by the HeinOnline editors.
  • Finally, we see a bibliography and links to other sites.
And remember, you can get this range of material for lots of countries! We can all drink to that! As they say in Ballard (and Norway too): Skol!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Law Librarian Research Hack: Survey Says!

Hack #6: Using 50-State or Multi-State Surveys

A little girl looks at a map of the United States
Photo credit: @loney_planet on Unsplash

50-State or Multi-State Surveys are compilations of state statutes or regulations on a particular topic. They can be incredibly valuable when you need to quickly track down laws from multiple jurisdictions.

As an illustration of just how useful they can be, imagine yourself in this scenario: It's 4:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. A partner in your firm just asked you to pull the law on adverse possession for each state in the Ninth and Tenth Circuits before you go home for the weekend. You were hoping to leave the office at 4:30 p.m. to beat traffic as you head out of town for your annual pilgrimage to Viking Fest in Poulsbo, Washington. Two alternate endings to this story are:

1. You Google each state and "adverse possession" and sort through the results hoping that one of them will lead you to the correct statutory citation. You compile the list, fret about whether or not it is accurate, submit it to the partner at 6:00 p.m., get in your car, and eventually make it to Poulsbo (after sitting in some brutal traffic). Throughout the weekend, you are worried about the quality of your work and, as a result, are too nervous to participate in the annual donut eating contest.

2. You pull up the 50-State survey on adverse possession in Westlaw's 50 State Statutory Surveys or through the National Survey of State Laws on HeinOnline. You quickly gather the information for the states in question, consolidate it into a memo to the partner, review the actual statutes to verify the information is accurate and up-to-date, send it off, and hit the road by 4:45 p.m. The partner is impressed with the quick turn-around and your relaxed mindset allows you to handily win the lutefisk eating contest.

Clearly we'd all prefer the latter scenario (perhaps minus the lutefisk), and you can see how 50-State or Multi-Jurisdiction surveys can make your research more efficient.

There are a number of places where you can track down these surveys and many of the available resources are outlined for you in the Gallagher Law Library's 50-State & Multi-Jurisdiction Surveys research guide. By far the most comprehensive listing of available state surveys is the Subject Compilations of State Laws by our very own Cheryl Nyberg. This publication outlines available topical surveys from a number of different sources, including Westlaw, Lexis, law review articles, court opinions or briefs, relevant organizations, and more! You can either browse by topic or (if using the electronic version available through HeinOnline) run a keyword search,

As a practical matter, always be sure to note the date the survey was created and verify that the citations listed are accurate by actually reviewing the statute.

Practice exercise!

Using the Subject Compilation of State Laws on HeinOnline, locate a survey containing state voter ID laws and identify the citation for your home state. Use Westlaw, Lexis, or your state legislature's website to confirm the citation is accurate.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Free Infographic Templates from Piktochart!

Looking for an easy way to create a snazzy infographic without paying a subscription fee?  Try Piktochart!

Many graphics apps have some features available for free, but fancy templates are mostly limited to subscribers who pay a monthly fee.  Earlier this month, Piktochart made all of its templates available to users for free!  This includes templates for infographics, presentations, reports, flyers and posters.  The only catch is that free users can only create up to 5 "visuals."  For a monthly fee, subscribers can create unlimited visuals and get access to additional functionalities.

If none of the Piktochart templates are right for your project, you can build your own visual from scratch!  For example, this timeline (featured on the Gallagher Law Library Employment and Labor Law Guide) was created using Piktochart:

U.S. Labor & Employment Law timeline

It couldn't be easier!  So get those creative juices flowing!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Law Library Writing Hack: Microsoft Word Tip

Hack # 5: Cross-referencing Footnotes (and Endnotes) with Microsoft Word
When working with a manuscript that has footnotes, it is common that a footnote in a document will refer to a source previously footnoted. It is common to cross-reference to that footnote rather than repeating the source information in its entirety in the subsequent footnote, using something like "supra note __" in the subsequent footnote.  But when working on a draft of the manuscript, it is not uncommon for additional footnotes to be inserted in the manuscript between those two cross-referenced notes, making the cross-reference note number incorrect as a result. If you use Microsoft Word's cross-referencing feature you can avoid having to manually correct each cross-referenced footnote note number.  (The same procedure also applies to endnotes if you are using endnotes rather than footnotes.)
Follow these steps:
1.    Enter the text to preface your cross-reference. In this example, we will use “supra,” so you would type “supra note”.
2.    Leave a space after your text, then go to the Insert tab, and click on Cross-reference (see red-boxed items in the ribbon below).

:  Typical for Word, there are other ways to access the Cross-reference feature.  You can also go to the Reference tab and click on Cross-reference.

  3.  This will bring up the Cross-reference dialogue box (below). Under Reference type, select Footnote. Under Insert reference to, select Footnote number. The “Insert as hyperlink” box is checked by default and you will want to leave it checked.
Note: If you are working with Endnotes rather than Footnotes in your draft, you would chose the “Reference type” of “Endnote” from the drop-down menu instead of Footnotes to see your list of endnotes.
4.    At the bottom of the Cross-reference dialogue box, you will see a large area titled “For which footnote.” Listed in this area is every existing footnote in your document. Select the footnote that you wish to refer to by scrolling through the list to highlight the one you want. Click “Insert.” A hyperlink to the selected footnote number will appear where your cursor is in the document.
5.    Close the dialogue box, and continue composing your footnote as usual.
6.    The cross-referenced footnotes do not self-adjust every time you add or delete a footnote between the references. In order to update the cross-references, when you have completed the draft, place your cursor in a footnote and select the text of all footnotes by pressing Ctrl + A. Once all of the footnote text is selected, press F9. A dialogue box will open saying “Word cannot undo this action. Do you want to continue?” Select Yes, and your cross-references will be updated!
Cross-referencing footnotes has some limitations. For example, Word will not change cross-references if you edit the content of the footnote referred to so as to remove the original source you were cross-referencing. Cross-referencing only picks up footnote number changes when footnotes have been added or deleted. However, cross-referencing is still a valuable time-saver because you will not have to manually update each footnote (or endnote) cross-reference.

Do you have questions about features in Microsoft Word for future Law Library Research Hacks? Send your questions to For more guidance with Microsoft Word, see the Gallagher Law Library Guide
Word Tips for Legal Writers.

Practice time!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Law Library Research Hack: Library Links

Hack #4: Linking Your Library to Google Scholar

You might be aware of the powers of a library's catalog. You may also be aware of the advanced search engine of Google Scholar. But did you know that you can combine the two to make one superpower advance research tool? That's right! You can add your academic library's collection to your Google Scholar in three easy steps! Follow the steps below and Google Scholar will remember to search through your chosen library's full-text resources.

1. Open Google Scholar in your browser of choice and click on the three horizontal lines in the top left corner. Next, you will click on the "Settings" button. 

Google Scholar browser showing the menu (three horizontal lines) and select the settings option

2. Then select "Library Links."

Google Scholar Setting's menu, select "library links" option.

3. In the search bar, type in the University/College/library that you have an affiliation with* and then click the search button. Google Scholar will give you a list of academic libraries to choose from, select your library and click "save."

"University of Washington" is typed in the search bar and "University of Washington -Full-Text @ UW is selected and "save" is highlighted.

Voila! You have successfully linked your library's catalog to Google Scholar! To double check, or to add more libraries (you can link up to five), click on the "library link" and repeat! You will notice under the search bar which libraries you have already saved! 

Under Settings, Library links is selected and "University of Washington- Full-Text @UW" is saved

Practice time! 
Follow steps 1-3 to add your library's catalog to Google Scholar. Then type in a book or article title to see what results are retrieved from Google Scholar AND your library. Google Scholar will display a link to the free, full-text version of the resource on the righthand side. You will need to do this for each of your devices and does not automatically change each of your Google Scholar search engines. Hopefully, this will streamline your research and cut down on the places you need to look for resources! 

"Superheroes and the law" are typed into the search bar, there is an article and on the right-hand side there is "Full Text @ UW" option highlighted.

*Most library subscriptions are limited to users affiliated with that library. Once you select an item on Google Scholar that is provided through the library link, most libraries will ask you to login with your credentials before you can access their online materials

Monday, April 29, 2019

World Intellectual Property Day (plus 3)

How did you celebrate World Intellectual Property Day Friday? Yeah, I missed it too. But we can always celebrate a little late.
World Intellectual Property Day logo

WIPO—the World Intellectual Property Organization—was established by a treaty that entered into force on April 26, 1970; hence, the annual celebration. For this year's World Intellectual Property Day, WIPO posted a series of articles about IP and sports: IP and the Olympic Games, Understanding Sports Image Rights, and more.

Whether it's World IP Day or any other day in the year, you can use our Intellectual Property Research guide to find your way into patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Law Librarian Research Hack: Searching across all titles in West Academic Study Aids

Hack #3: Using the search bar in West Academic to search across all titles

Have you used the study aids in West Academic? The study aids available to you include series such as Black Letter Outlines, Hornbooks, Gilbert Law Summaries, Sum and Substance Audio and more! You can also search for study aids by subject for 1L, 2L or 3L classes such as Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Family Law, etc.

Searching by subject or series can be useful if you’re studying for a specific class or know the series you are looking for. But what if you’re looking to find out more about dog law, or spite fences? There’s not a subject or series that is easily identifiable to search within for these topics.

Never fear, the search bar is here!
By using the search bar, you are searching across all available titles, subjects and series in West Academic. This is a quick and powerful way to find resources on your topic. For example, enter “spite fence” in the search bar:

West Academic search bar showing search term "spite fence".

Click on search and see the results. The keyword(s) you used in the search bar will be highlighted in blue in the results list. This blue text is hyperlinked and will take you directly to the area in the chosen resource where your topic is discussed or mentioned.

West Academic search results showing that you can choose the series you want, and that your search terms are in blue and hyperlinked to the section of the resource that you have chosen.

Using the Filter Results feature on the left side bar, you can identify the Type of resource. You can click on any one of the options listed within your chosen filter.  Do you want a Hornbook? Outline? Overview?

West Academic search results showing filter Type.

You can also search within a specific subject area, or limit by series: 
West Academic search bar results showing filter by Subject and Series.

Practice exercise!
Now it's your turn! Want to find out more about adverse possession? Enter "adverse possession" into the search bar. How many total results did you retrieve? How many different series does "adverse possession" appear in? In the Short and Happy Series, how many titles cover your topic?

Answers: (total results = 82, total number of series = 20, total number of titles in Short and Happy Series = 6)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Presidents on Earth Day

Today President Trump issued a statement celebrating Earth Day, commenting on America's beautiful scenery and the link between environmental protection and economic prosperity.

photo of White House
Photo credit:

Visit The American Presidency Project, hosted by UC Santa Barbara, to sample other presidential statements. Note that the search syntax is case sensitive: searching for "earth day" won't pick up documents with "Earth Day." You can include other words in your search. For example, I found some of the following when I searched for "Earth Day" and climate:

  • President Nixon proclaimed Earth Week 1974 with a caution that "our land is finite and that our waters and air must be used . . . with care and respect for their value."
  • In January 1990, President George H.W. Bush mentioned Earth Day and also announced a plan to host "an international conference on climate change."
  • In President Clinton's Earth Day remarks in 1993 he said that the United States "must take the lead in addressing the challenge of global warming."
  • President Obama's last Earth Day proclamation, in 2016, devoted several paragraphs to climate change. "Human activity is disrupting the climate, and the challenge of combating climate change is one that will define the contours of our time."
Try out some searches of your own!

For Earth Day, Check out Environmental News

The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, was followed by important legal developments, such as President Nixon's reorganization plans setting up the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (July 9, 1970), the Clean Air Act (1970), the Clean Water Act (1972). It was just a few months after the National Environmental Policy Act (Jan. 1, 1970).

Here are two short videos from PBS about Earth Day, from PBS Kids (if you like cute animation) and the American Experience documentary series (if you like news footage).

Of course, environmental law developments didn't stop in the 1970s. If you want to follow what's going on, check out Greenwire (E&E News). Using the law library's subscription, you can browse recent issues or search for key terms. You can also subscribed to email alerts, such as Climatewire.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Mueller Report on GovInfo, HeinOnline, Elsewhere

The Mueller Report (Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III)  has been archived by the the U.S. Government Publishing Office at It's important to have the official record.

Unfortunately, it's slow to load (demand seems to be high), and once you get it, it's not searchable: it's just a scan.

The folks at HeinOnline have posted it in the U.S. Congressional Documents database. AND they've run it through their character-recognition software so it's searchable.

For example, you can search for "collusion" to be within 10 words of "crime," or "flynn" within 25 words of "comey."

screen snip from HeinOnline
Sample search:
Mueller as Section Author
collusion in Text, within 25 words of
crime in text
screen snip from Mueller Report
Passage in Mueller report (volume 1, p. 180) with "collusion" and "crime" highlighted.

Once you find a page you want to share, click on the link logo at the top of the page. For example, here is a link to volume 1, p.  180, with its discussion of "collusion."

Your colleagues at other law schools and universities probably have access to HeinOnline, too. But for those who don't, Slate posted a searchable PDF you can download. You can also download a PDF from the Washington Post. The Post also offers The Mueller Report, Annotated (updated April 18 at 7:42 PM).

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Law Librarian Research Hack: Go to Oxford for Help

Sometimes you want something more scholarly and deeper than Wikipedia—and yet you still want an accessible source to start with, rather than devoting several weeks to reading a shelf of books. Like Goldilocks, you want something just right

For that certain set of information needs, I'm a big fan of Oxford Handbooks Online (available to UW users through the University Libraries). 
  • If you want to find a good introduction to what law-and-economics scholars say about medical malpractice, start with Ronen Avraham & Max M. Schanzenbach, Medical Malpractice, in 2 The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics (Francesco Parisi ed., 2017). You'll find a 30-page PDF—21 1/2 pages summarizing the area, plus pages of references to lead you to important studies.

The Oxford Handbooks can be especially useful if you want to get an introduction to a concept from another discipline. The law library has licensed a lot of the law titles, but we also get the benefit of using the ones licensed by other campus libraries!
  • If you come across a law review article that's talking about Foucault and you don't know Foucault from Kung Fu, you might try Andrea Mennicken & Peter Miller, Michel Foucault and the Administering of Lives, in The Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory, and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents (Paul Adler et al. eds., 2014).

"Brasen Nose College, Radcliffe Library & Part of the Schools," from
The Perambulation of Oxford, Blenheim, and Nuneham (1824),
available in the British Library's Flickr photostream
When you search the Oxford Handbooks Online, you can choose to search within one subject. Caution: sometimes a handbook might not be where you expect it. For instance, the handbooks on law and economics aren't in Law (they're in Economics).

You can also run a general search and then filter by subject. And you can also search for words to be in certain fields, like an article's headings or summary.

How do you get to Oxford Handbooks Online if you don't have this link handy? 
Now you try it. Search Oxford Handbooks Online for one of these:
  • "star wars"
  • "game of thrones"
  • "hello kitty"
  • seattle

This is #2 in our series of posts with short explanations of some of our favorite legal research and writing hacks (shortcuts and work-arounds that can make you more efficient).

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Law Librarian Research Hack: Google Operators

This series of posts will include short explanations of some of our favorite legal research and writing short cuts and work-arounds. At the end of each post, we'll include a brief exercise so you can put your new skill into practice.

Hack #1 - Using Google to search particular websites or domains

Google is powerful, but did you know that using advanced search operators allows you to harness that power to make your research more efficient? My favorite of these operators gives you the ability to search all of the content of a website (e.g.,, or a particular top-level domain (e.g. .gov, .edu, .org). To use it, simply enter your search term(s) in the main Google search bar as normal, then type site:[website or domain you want to search] (make sure there is no space between "site:" and the website or domain).

So, for example, if you want to search all of the Seattle Times website ( for articles about the proposed permanent daylight saving time, you would enter:

Image showing Google search bar with search phrase permanent daylight saving time

This trick can also be quite helpful if you want to search the content of a website that doesn't have a built-in search feature.

You can also make your searches broader than just one particular website. Let's say you are researching cannabis regulations and you want to find results from all government websites (.gov). You would enter:

Image of Google search bar with search phrase cannabis regulation

Note that using just will retrieve results from both federal and state government websites. If you want to narrow your search and only retrieve results from Washington State government websites, you would use If you wanted to be even more specific and only find results from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board website, you would use

Practice exercise!

Find any government website that mentions Bigfoot. Now narrow your search just to your state's government websites. How about Bigfoot articles from your home town newspaper?

Need more?

There are many other Google advanced search operators and you can find articles (like this one) that list available operators and their function.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Setting the Section Symbol as a Shortcut in Word

As any law school student can tell you, the default settings in Word aren't optimized for legal writing. With a bit of tinkering, however, we can make our lives a lot easier. One way to get started optimizing Word for legal writing is to set the section symbol as a shortcut. This video will show you how.

If you're looking for more tips on getting the most out of Word as a legal writer, check out Gallagher's guide on Word Tips for Legal Writers.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Foreign Law Guide Japan Updated

I edit the Japan section of the online resource from Brill, Foreign Law Guide (FLG). Recently I completed a major update of this section, including repairing broken links and other fixes and improvements. The newly updated Japan section went online as of April 4th. A description and link to the Brill FLG Japan can be found on my Japanese Legal Research A-Z page, here:

For additional detailed information about East Asian legal research (China, Japan, Korea, or Taiwan), see the EALD page:
--Rob Britt, Coordinator of East Asian Library Services, Gallagher Law Library

Monday, April 1, 2019

Law Library Has Spring Break Makeover

Returning students were surprised to find that the Gallagher Law Library had replaced all of its carpet over spring break. "It was almost sixteen years old," noted library director Frank Johnson. "So when a generous alumnus approached us with an offer to replace it, we jumped at the chance. My staff sprang into action to organize the installation over break, to minimize disruption to students. They did amazing work."

photo of library main floor with carpet altered to obnoxious purple & gold print
Joseph "Joe Husky" Johanson, class of '69, said he was motivated to give back to his law school, which had given him the foundation for his successful career as general counsel for a chain of carpet retailers. He also wanted to make sure everyone knew they were in Husky territory. "A strong dose of purple and gold always perks me up when I'm down," remarked Johanson. "I wanted to share that with the law students." He acknowledges that the print matches that of a certain shirt he wore throughout the 1968-69 school year.

Dean Claudio Stables expressed gratitude for the gift. "Alumni like Johanson help this school maintain its excellence. Carpet is just a part of the educational experience, of course, but we're creating committed, capable lawyers from the floor up."

Asked to comment, several students standing in line for coffee this morning had varied reactions:

"As a loyal cougar, I think it's a little in your face," said one. "I'm happy to be at this law school, that much purple and gold makes me queasy."

"We're all for it," said two students who seem to speak as one. "Go! Huskies!"

"It certainly makes a visual impact," said another student. "Perhaps it's not soothing, but I could use an energy boost when I'm hitting the books."

The final student approached about the carpet asked simply: "We have a library?"

Photo by Mary Whisner

Friday, March 1, 2019

20 Years of the Rome Statute

Logo of International Criminal Court - scales with olive wreath
Source: International Criminal Court

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute which created the International Criminal Court (the “ICC”), a standing judicial body which would try the worst crimes under international law – namely, war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression.
The ICC is intended to be a “court of last resort,” utilized when national courts are unwilling or unable to pursue cases. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC has authority to investigate situations (i) located in state parties (countries that have ratified the Rome Statues), (ii) referred by the United States Security Council, or (iii) referred by individual countries themselves. Many are concerned that the ICC may take a broad view of its jurisdiction, which risks limiting the ability of countries to take military action in defense of themselves or their allies, whether or not they are a state party to the Rome Statute.

The United States signed the Rome Statute under the Clinton Administration but never ratified it. The Bush Administration subsequently “unsigned” the treaty when then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton sent a note to the U.N. Secretary General stating that the United States has no legal obligations under the treaty and has no intentions of ratifying. Shortly thereafter, the American Service Members Protection Act 22 U.S.C. 7421-7433 (also known as "The Hague Invasion Act") was passed, which authorizes the President to use all means necessary to release U.S. personnel who may be detained by the ICC.

Now as National Security Adviser, Bolton has continued his criticism of the ICC. The situation may come to a head as the ICC contemplates opening a formal investigation into the war in Afghanistan, including the actions of U.S. military personnel and allies.