Friday, May 31, 2019

HeinOnline Introduces Venn Diagram Visualization

When you were introduced to searching, someone probably drew a couple of circles to show that searching for one term AND another term gives you the intersection of two sets. Now HeinOnline has introduced (in beta) a way to generate those circles (Venn diagrams) in actual searches in its databases.  Just go to Advanced Search and select Venn Diagram Search.

Suppose I'm interested in articles about potential Rule 11 sanctions for sloppy legal research. Searching for "rule 11" AND "legal research" AND shepard* AND keycite give me a list of articles (as always) but also shows me the comparative frequency of the terms in the database. "Legal research" and "rule 11" have big circles that intersect in a sliver. "Keycite" has just a little circle; "shepard*" has a bigger circle, both because Shepard's is a much older product and because "Shepard" is a fairly common name. The intersection is the result of the search.

intersecting colored circles labeled "legal research" etc. (as in text)

Just for fun I tried "star wars" AND "bob dylan" AND elvis (again, in the Law Journal  Library) and got this:

intersecting circles labeled "bob dylan" (small circle), "star wars", and "elvis"

You can use Venn Diagram Searching across all HeinOnline databases or within one. For instance, in U.S. Congressional Documents Library, I searched for obamacare and "pre-existing condition."

In the U.S. Supreme Court Library, I searched for "burger king" AND "international shoe" AND penoyer AND "personal jurisdiction" and got this nice diagram:

colored circles - largest is labeled "personal jurisdiction"

You can click any of the circles or intersections to see the documents that have those terms. 

Try this out: it's fun!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Law Librarian Research Hack: There's a research guide for that!

Hack #8: Using non-law research guides from other disciplines and other institutions

Photograph of assorted colored wooden road signs going in different directions.
Photo by Bit Cloud on Unsplash
The Gallagher Law Library has a list of research guides to help you navigate your way through researching a spectrum of legal topics and areas of law. Research guides are compiled by librarians or subject specialists who have done the work of finding relevant and authoritative resources for you. They're the perfect jump start to help direct your research process and make it more efficient and organized.

But what if there's not a legal research guide on your topic? Getting started can feel overwhelming. Most legal topics are inter-disciplinary, so you can look to non-law research guides for help. Fortunately, our friends at UW Libraries have 468 research guides in 56 subjects that are available to you!

Researching the history of animal rights or gender rights and can't find a legal research guide? Guess, what? UW Libraries has research guides on these subjects! If you're researching animal rights, start by looking at the guides alphabetically by subject and you'll find the Animal Studies guide. This guide includes a link to Michigan State University's Animal Legal & Historical Center where you can find information and resources on animal issues by legal topic, compare laws across 50 states, as well as find articles and other resources. It's a guide within a guide! If you're researching gender rights, consider consulting the Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies guide, also available to find by subject. In addition to traditional print and online resources, guides like this one include video and image resources, too.

You might be thinking that this is all really great, but what if the Law Library and UW Libraries do not have a research guide on a topic you're researching, like autonomous vehicles? You can look to research guides from other institutions! How do I do that, you ask? Here is a very scientific way: Go to Google, type research guide [enter your subject/topic] into the search bar, and press enter.

Photograph of Google with research guide autonomous vehicles typed into search bar.
Voila! There's a research guide for that! In fact, within the first page of results there are three great research guides for autonomous vehicles (consult your friendly librarian for help determining a reputable research guide): the NCSL Guide on Autonomous Vehicles, the AAMVA Autonomous Vehicle Information Library and Northwestern University Libraries guide on Motor Vehicles & Drivers: Autonomous Vehicles.

Research guides outside of your institution may link to freely accessible resources, but they may also link to resources only available to patrons of that institution. For example, the Northwestern University guide lists a book titled Autonomous driving: technical, legal and social aspects that is hyperlinked to their library catalog. Of course you can't check this item out from their library, but you can copy the title of the book into the UW Libraries catalog to see if we have it, and we do!
Photograph of title search for "Autonomous driving: technical, legal and social aspects" in UW Libraries catalog.

Practice exercise!
See if you can find a research guide from UW libraries on a topic of your choice. Under Start Your Research, click on research guides and look By Subject, All Guides, or enter your subject or keyword(s) into the Search for Guides search bar. Did you find a research guide on your topic? Or related guide(s) with relevant information and resources?

Now see if you can find a research guide from another institution by searching in Google as described above. Did you find legal and non-legal research guides? See if you can find a book in one of the research guides that UW libraries has, too. Maybe you just found your next book to read!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Research Hack: Ways to Browse & Search for New Articles

Want to follow new scholarship in your area? Want to search for articles? Want to do it free? Check out the Digital Commons Network and SSRN.

Digital Commons Network

Hundreds of colleges and universities use Digital Commons, a platform for posting publications by faculty, students, departments, and so on. The institutions pay to use the platform, but finding papers and downloading them is free to users.

UW Law is among those hundreds of institutions: UW Law Digital Commons has a growing collection of papers by faculty, articles and comments from the Washington Law Review and the Washington International Law Journal, and more.

Of course it's fun to browse UW Law's pages, but for research it's much more powerful to browse or search whole Digital Commons Network. A colorful wheel gives you a graphical way to visualize the different fields that are covered.

Digital Commons subject wheel. The caption in the center is
"Explore 3,166,425 works from 586 institutions."
A pop-up over part of the orange ring says "Explore Judges."
At the upper left is data about what's in the collection under Judges—
Works: 5,463; Institutions: 144; Downloads: 1,874,756

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