Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Exam Prep Resources

Feel unready for exams? The library can help! 
little dog with big eyes looking puzzled

The Gallagher Law Library maintains an archive of exams (and some model answers) from dozens of classes and professors. All you need is this link and your UW login. Happy studying!

Photo by Michelle Tresemer on Unsplash

Thursday, October 22, 2020

United Nations Day — #UN75

This Saturday is a special UN Day: it's the 75th anniversary of the international body, which was founded as World War II was ending. The Charter was signed in June 1945, just after fighting had ceased in Europe and two months before Japan surrendered. It came into force October 24, 1945.

Graphic with white "75" against blue background. "United Nations: Shaping Our Future Together" UN.org/UN75
Graphic from UN Card.
The other half of the "card"
lists 11 UN actions, illustrating
the organization's wide

For a walk through the UN's history, visit 75 Years, 75 Documents, an online exhibit prepared by the Dag Hammarskjold Library. (Maybe you never thought about the United Nations having its own library, but it does, and it's a cool one!)

The United States has had a strong role in the United Nations, serving as a permanent member of the Security Council and hosting the headquarters in New York City.

But the relationship has sometimes had strains. Most recently, the Administration announced withdrawal from the World Health Organization, one of the UN's specialized agencies. A CRS report reviews the issues: Blyther et al., Cong. Research Serv. R46575U.S. Withdrawal from the World Health Organization: Process and Implications (Oct. 21, 2020). (Following the  Bluebook, I'd only give the publication year, but I want to show that this was published just yesterday!)

The US is the single largest financial contributor to the UN. The Administration has sought to reduce US funding. See Luisa Blanchfield, Cong. Research Serv. IF 10354, United Nations Issues: U.S. Funding to the U.N. System (March 10, 2020). 

Want to do some research? Try these databases:

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

National Day on Writing

The National Council of Teachers of English has declared October 20 the National Day on Writing "to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives." Law students and lawyers might not need much of a reminder, since putting words on paper (or onto a computer screen) is one of their key activities, but why not celebrate the day anyway?

To hear a lot of interesting people talk about writing, visit Bryan Garner's LawProse website, where you can choose "Judges, Lawyers, Writers on Writing" or "Supreme Court Interviews." The first collection includes law professors, judges, and one person from outside the law—the novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace.

You can also watch Bryan Garner's Writing Lessons on YouTube.

You probably already know a lot about writing sentences, but this short video, "6 Ways to Start a Sentence" can help prepare you for Halloween (just eleven days away!) as well as help you think about, well, different ways to start a sentence.

Are you tired of watching videos on your computer screen? Yeah, me too. I think a lot of us are Zoom-weary. So why not observe this National Day on Writing by picking up a pen or pencil and writing something on paper?

3 pens on table


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

International Translation Day #ITD2020

 In honor of International Translation Day, take a look at the UW Language Learning Center's site.  I'm intrigued by the streaming video options, particularly SCOLA, a non-profit educational organization that receives and re-transmits television and radio programming from around the world in native languages.

In the section for on-demand video, you can search by language and by genre. Just for fun, I tuned in to a children's program in Farsi. I don't know any Farsi, but it was interesting to see some cute Iranian kids, puppets, a woman dressed up in colorful robes, and a cartoon. Of course, if you know another language (or are learning it), these videos would be even more interesting!

cartoon of boyriding paper airplane, sun, rainbow
Image from the opening credits of فرزندان ایران originally broadcast 3/5/20.
Google Translate tells me the title means "Children of Iran." 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Access to Information - There's a Day for That?

The United Nations has declared September 28 to be the International Day for Universal Access to Information. Even before UNESCO made that announcement in 2015, an international group has been marking International Right to Know Day since 2002. I'm afraid I've been too busy to plan a party, so let me just mark the occasion with a couple of notes about access to government information. 

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives everyone the right to request information from the federal government. The Department of Justice set up FOIA.gov as a central site to learn about FOIA procedures. 

Each agency has an Electronic Reading Room where it posts frequently requested records. So you don't have to start from scratch requesting CIA materials relating to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg  or the FBI's file about Muhammad Ali's relationship with the Nation of Islam, because they're already posted. To browse, just search for an agency name and FOIA reading room.

But what if what you want hasn't been posted already? You can submit your own FOIA request. To help you, Emily Willard from the UW's Center for Human Rights wrote How to FOIA: A Guide to Filing Freedom of Information Act Requests (2019).

In Washington, use the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56. For guidance, see Eric M. Stahl & Michael J. Killeen, Washington Open Government Guide, from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. UW users also have online access to WSBA's Public Records Act Deskbook: Washington's Public Disclosure and Open Meetings Laws (2d ed., with 2020 supp.). 

Our subscription to WSBA deskbooks is a site license, so the servers need to recognize you as a UW user. If you aren’t on campus (and most of us aren’t, these days!), use Husky OnNet. Then, on the library’s homepage, look under Selected Databases for Washington State > Deskbooks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Newsletter Interview #2: Interview with Head of Public Services, Alena Wolotira

This is our latest interview in a series of UW Law School faculty and staff interviews. Each interview will be highlighted in the Gallagher Law Library's *new* Newsletter. Keep your eyes out for our new back-to-school edition coming out soon!

Interview #2 Alena Wolotira, Head of Public Services        
photo of Alena Wolotira
Alena Wolotira

Can you introduce yourself and your role as Head of Public Services at Gallagher Law Library?      

I am Alena Wolotira, Head of Public Services at Gallagher Law Library. I oversee the operations of the reference and circulation functions of the library. I supervise all of the reference librarians and am in charge of the facility. Overseeing the policies and the people of the front-facing side of the library is probably the best way to put it. 
So, how can the library help students? Has anything changed now that UW Law has gone virtual? 
There are a few things that have changed. Obviously, there isn’t the facility available. Which really stinks because our library was a really wonderful space to get work done in. It’s quiet, there’s lots of great seating. And so it’s a bummer that we don’t have that right now, but we’re going to open it up as soon as we can. 

As for the rest of our services, they’re totally the same! We’re still available to help people find information. We’re still available to get people access to books. We’ve shifted our recent collection expenditures to acquire more eBooks since the pandemic hit, so that’s great. We’re there for research help and that’s totally do-able remotely. So, that’s good, too! 

Are there specific services that would be helpful for students working on law journals?  
There are! This summer I actually started a liaison program. Basically, I reached out to all of our law journals and asked them how the library can better help them in their work. So, we’ve opened up really good channels of communication between the library and the journals. 
I’ve been doing Bluebooking office hours for when they’re in their QA Process, which is quality assurance: double checking Bluebooking citations in articles they are trying to prepare for publication. That’s been really successful! We’ve had a lot of student editors attend and try and stump me. So far, I’ve only had one or two stumpers but I’ve been able to handle everything else. I’ve also been working with them on how they can do source gathering in a remote environment. So, it’s been good!

I would also like to add that any time a student has a question about the Bluebook or source gathering, lawref is there to help them. They can just email lawref and anybody on my team would be happy to help! 

A new edition of The Bluebook came out this year. Are there any new changes or specific updates that stick out to you? 

Yeah, there are! Check out the video I made for the full scoop.. But the big ones are that you are no longer required to use the year in citations to the US Code. And then T-6 and T-13.2 have combined. Big Stuff! And the final thing is that T-2, Foreign Jurisdictions, is now online on the Bluebook’s website. 

When was the first time you used The Bluebook? How do your blue booking skills now compare?  

I first used the Bluebook when I was a 1L in LRW, or LARW is what it’s called at UW, and I found it really confusing and difficult. I pretty much had no idea what I was doing. I would write my papers and then go in with, you know, 15 minutes to spare before the deadline and quickly and inaccurately approximate what a citation should look like. Then I was on two journals later in my law school career and that’s when I really learned the beauty of the Bluebook. I came to understand that the rules are there for a reason and the point of the Bluebook is to help your reader find the source that you’re citing and evaluate the accuracy and determine whether or not the author has accurately characterized it. Uniformity in citations helps readers understand the types of sources that are being cited, and helps them easily locate the source themselves. 

So, would you say that your Bluebooking skills are a little bit sharper now, than they were then?  

Yes, definitely! After I finished law school, I also was the Bluebook editor for the Journal of Legal Education for a year. So, I did all of the work that a law student editorial team would do just by myself for that journal. I think I did three issues and that definitely sharpened my skills as well. So now, I would say… I don’t know if there is ever a Bluebook expert because there are so many rules, but I would say I’m coming close.  

The Bluebook and legal citations can be intimidating. Can you help students get used to the format and develop their own blue booking skills? 

Yes. So, we have the Bluebook 101 Guide. It is designed to help people get their training wheels and learn the underlying spirit of The Bluebook. Then, you know, librarians spend a lot more time with The Bluebook than the average student. So, we are here to help with those tougher questions.  

This month sees a new class of students entering UW Law. Is there something you wish someone told you when you were first starting law school? 

Get in a study group! Don’t be shy! I know it’s harder with the pandemic when you’re not seeing people in person, but these are difficult concepts that you’re learning. The casebook method is very confusing at the beginning because you’re learning how to to think like a lawyer. But having other people who are the same level of expertise as you to talk to, talk through concepts, bandy about the terminology, and get used to talking like a lawyer is really really beneficial. And there are a lot of studies showing that students are a lot more successful when they are able to work in student groups to get through assignments and concepts. I didn’t join a study group because I was too shy, and I had a lot of Imposter Syndrome in law school and so I didn’t want to bring anybody down with my “inferior legal mind”. And that was stupid because I could have benefitted so much from working with other people. I would even go so far as to say they could have benefitted from working with me.   

Finally, as this blog post by Mary Whisner explains, reading for fun can help folks improve their writing, stay informed and motivated on issues they find important, and bring some pleasure to their days. As a librarian, is there a book you’ve read for fun recently and would like to recommend?  
I recently read The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. It’s about, you know, all of the secret houses at Yale like “Skull and Bones”, well this imagines that there is a ninth house and that magic exists. So, the ninth house’s job is to keep all of the other houses from misusing their magic. It talks a lot about New Haven and what it’s like to be a student at Yale because the author did go to Yale. It’s fun and very dark but good. 

I’m also taking a course on anti-racism in libraries. There’s a PhD student, Samantha Hines, at Peninsula College who has put together a four week online course for Pacific Northwest librarians who are supervisors to learn more about anti-racism in a library setting. The book that’s assigned for the course is How to be an Anti-Racist (by Ibram X. Kendi).  So, I’m working my way through that. 

There’s another one I’ve read. The Last Tribe (Brad Manuel). It’s about a pandemic and a family finding each other. It’s a positive pandemic apocalypse story with a happy ending.

Is there anything else you would like to mention? 

The library is here to help. Even if you don’t know if it’s a library-appropriate question, just ask it. We’ll tell you if we can’t help you but there are a lot of ways. Librarians are resourceful! We know a lot of things about how law school works, how UW Law works, how libraries work, about the legal system. So, we can connect people with the resources they need. They just need to ask us! And it’s our favorite thing to help students!

Monday, August 17, 2020

How Law Students Are Helping During COVID-19

Illustration of Computer Screen

Illustration by Alondra Pulido

The pandemic has put a halt on many people’s lives, but legal assistance is still an essential need and numerous communities have been made vulnerable due to COVID-19. Due to these urgent needs, Law students around the country are actively providing legal research during the COVID-19 crisis. For instance, the ABA Journal reports “more than 300 law students, paralegals, and student paralegals have offered to provide remote pro-bono support for coronavirus-related matters." At the UW Law School's Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, students and advisors are working to help small businesses and non-profits find and leverage the right opportunities and application information during the pandemic. The People’s Parity Project, a national organization, even gives you a chance to volunteer for research projects via a web form!

While many of the work requires immediate assistance, clinics and faculty from law schools have also been looking ahead to long-term systemic problems and researching policy improvements. Gallagher Law Library provides an extensive collection of topics and online databases useful for research during this time. Below is a list of high-demand topics that students can learn more about by accessing the many databases and resources available from our website.

  • Wills and Estate Planning

  • Research regarding paid leave

  • Drafting bail motions

  • Immigration Needs

  • Release from Immigration custody

  • Emergency Unemployment Expansion

  • Cash Transfers

  • Paid sick leave and paid medical/caregiving leave

  • Create Know Your Rights materials

  • Support legal action and advocacy for the release of incarcerated people 

Since the COVID-19 crisis has affected so much of our daily lives—and therefore impacts legal issues—you might find some useful resources in our Law in the Time of COVID-19 guide.

Whatever you’re doing during this time—externships, pro bono work, or paid work—remember that you can still ask for research help from the library, via phone or email. Check out this page for information about online access to Bloomberg Law, Lexis, and Westlaw.

For more information on this subject check out these websites:

COVID Legal Research Natural Disaster Aid

How can Law students help in the midst of COVID-19

For some law students, clinic work during COVID-19 feels more real than ever before

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

UW Libraries Reopening Plans

Vice Provost for Digital Initiatives and Dean of University Libraries Betsy Wilson released this statement today about our current plans for reopening library facilities and in-person services. Please take a look at the full letter here:

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Newsletter Interview #1: Interview with Public Services Librarian, Mary Whisner

This is our first interview in a series of UW Law School faculty and staff interviews. Each interview will be highlighted in the Gallagher Law Library's *new* Newsletter. Our Summer 2020 edition will be coming out soon!

Interview #1 Mary Whisner, Public Services Librarian
Photo of Mary Whisner

Can you introduce yourself and your role at Gallagher Law Library?

Since 1988, I’ve been helping students, faculty, staff, and the public find information. The tools have changed, but the mission is the same. We help you find individual items and we teach you research skills you can use on your own.

Current book of choice, or book you would like to recommend?

Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race -- a very accessible book addressing many important issues.

Abdi Nor Iftin, Call Me American -- a memoir by a Somali refugee

What is your favorite recreational activity or hobby during this time?

Practicing the trumpet, which I started learning several years ago. It is very humbling to take up a difficult instrument at my age--but it’s too late for me to have learned it in middle school (when I was playing the clarinet).

How have you adjusted to working as a librarian during Covid-19?

I’m used to a good bit of interaction with people, from talking to students at the Information Desk to sticking my head into a colleague’s office doorway. I miss that, but at least Zoom has enabled me to see my coworkers’ faces.

What are some ways that you stay connected with students/patrons?

I wish I had more opportunity to interact with students--answering occasional email messages isn’t the same as saying hi as they come into the library. I feel pretty well connected with faculty through email and Zoom.

Wouldn’t it be nice to share coffee at the Supreme Cup?

Can you describe Libguides and your work producing LibGuides? Specific recommendations? 

LibGuides is a platform used by all of the UW libraries (and thousands of other libraries around the world) that makes it easy to post text, links, videos, information about books, and more, in a consistent, attractive layout. Some of our LibGuides grew out of presentations for specific classes. Others help with common research tasks (like looking up the legislative history of a Washington statute). I’m proud of my Staying Current guide, because we all need to figure out efficient ways to keep up with our fields, and I think the guide can be very helpful.

One challenge with LibGuides is making sure they are up to date enough to be useful, so we have to go in to check links, look for new publications, and so on.

What are some of the more recent tutorial videos you have been working on? Are there more coming soon?

My latest video shows how to find magazine articles in University Libraries databases. I’d like to make some more to help journal students. We’re happy to take suggestions, too--readers, are there any topics you’d like to see explained?

Are there any upcoming collections/titles you would like to highlight to patrons? Or updates to collection development policies and purchases?

I’ve been working with Peggy Jarrett and Maya Swanes to select new ebooks. This is part of what libraries call “collection development” -- figuring out what should be in the library’s collection. Up until COVID, our library tended to buy books in print (in addition to our big databases, like Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, and HeinOnline). Now that the library is closed and people can’t check out print books, we’ve been expanding our ebook collection. Ebooks are challenging, for a lot of reasons--including that they’re usually a lot more expensive than print books! This is a little surprising if you’re used to shopping as an individual when a Kindle book is cheaper than a hardback. But publishers charge a premium to license ebooks to libraries.

Do you have any remarks for law students/patrons during this time or in anticipation of the next year? 

Please remember that we’re still here for you. You can ask us questions by telephone or email. And if you’d like to talk through a problem, we can Zoom with you and share our screen so you see how we’re searching.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Juneteenth - from Galveston in 1865 to around the country

On June 19, 1865, federal troops reached Galveston, Texas, and informed the enslaved people there that they were free. That was two months after the Confederacy surrendered, and two and a half years after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation declared that "all people held as slaves" in states that were "in rebellion against the United States" were free as of January 1, 1863. Since June 19, some African Americans have celebrated June 19 as Juneteenth. So You Want to Learn About Juneteenth?, N.Y. Times (June 18, 2020).

newspaper image

Order for the District of Texas by Major General Granger, June 19, 1865
(as printed in the Dallas Herald, July 1, 1865, at 2:

"The people are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. By order of Major General GRANGER. (Signed) F. W. Emery, Maj & A. A. G.

Washington—like 44 other states and the District of Columbia—recognizes Juneteenth as a holiday (but not the sort of holiday where government shuts down for a day). This year, responding to heightened awareness of racial injustice, some companies are declaring the day a company holiday (see N.Y. Times story above). And Biglaw is joining in. More Firms Opt To Observe Juneteenth As A Holiday, Law360 (June 17, 2020). (UW Law users: log in to Law360 with your Lexis ID.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Video Lessons from LinkedIn - Lots of Skills! Something for Everyone!

The UW’s Career & Internship Center has subscribed to LinkedIn Learning, a vast collection of training videos. It's available to the whole UW community—students, staff, and faculty.

You select areas of interest (e.g., project management or Excel). If you tie LinkedIn Learning to your LinkedIn profile, it might also pick up interests from there; for instance, the algorithm noted that I had writing on my LinkedIn Profile and so suggested some training videos for me.

photo of woman talking, tip (Ask for one-way interview questions in advance); navigation panel
Screen snip from Video Interview Tips lesson

You can set goals—15, 30, 60, or 120 minutes of training per week.  Of course, if you have the time and you're getting something out of the lessons, you can dig in for longer.

You can create “collections” that you can share. For instance, I created a Writing & Editing collection. (The videos in the collection are just a taste of what's available!)

You set your own learning priorities. Do you think your note-taking and writing would be easier if you had better Word skills? Are you impressed when your classmates make colorful charts in Excel? Would you like to improve your public speaking? There are lessons for all of these.

Predefined “Learning Paths” offer videos on a theme. For example, Finding a Job during Challenging Economic Times has 13 lessons with over 11 hours of content. If you're still a student, you might skip Recovering from a Layoff and move on to How to Manage Feeling Overwhelmed.

You can search for a topic, such as time management (ooh! Time Management: Working from Home looks good!). You can also browse general categories and drill down till you find something that grabs you.

Summer might be a good time to build some of those professional skills that you don't necessarily get in formal classes. And LinkedIn Learning is a great tool to help you do it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Keeping Track of Books in the Catalog

How many times have you seen a reference to a book and thought, “I’d like to look at that book, but not right now”—and then wondered how you’d find it again? Or maybe you’ve found several books that might be useful for your research project, but you haven’t decided which ones to look at first—how can you save all the maybes?

Great news! Our catalog has a feature that enables you to save catalog records (books, videos, ebooks—anything in the catalog) and tag them to make them easy to find later. It’s like a wish list in a shopping site. How can you use this feature?

Spend a couple minutes with me and I’ll show you:

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Using Google Scholar Off Campus

Google Scholar is a powerful research tool that allows you to search for academic articles using a simple, familiar Google search bar.

  • Public patron tip: Google Scholar also has a database of opinions from court cases, just choose "Case law" instead of articles under the search bar. This can be a great alternative to using print reporters or Nexis Uni to access case law while the UW Libraries are closed due to COVID-19. UW Students, Faculty, and Staff continue to have access to Nexis Uni off campus via the link on the Gallagher homepage.

Using Google Scholar to access academic articles off campus requires a couple additional steps, however. This is because Google Scholar indexes articles but often does not have access to the full text of the articles. Instead when you click on a search result on Google Scholar, it redirects and relies on databases of articles paid for by Gallagher or UW Libraries. This happens automatically when you are on campus; Google and the subscription databases can tell you are on the UW campus and will automatically direct you to the article in a UW database if available.

When off campus, you need to manually tell Google you are affiliated with UW Libraries. For instructions on how to do that, see this Gallagher Research Hack from last year. If you have a Seattle Public Library account, you can follow the same process to affiliate yourself with SPL.

Once you've successfully added the UW Libraries to the Google Scholar Library links, when searching, you'll see a new option to the right of many of your search results that says "Full-Text @ UW."

Click this link to be redirected to a the article in the UW Libraries catalog. From there login with your netid using the link in the green box if you have not already done so and then access the article by following links to a database under the "View It" heading.

Not all articles are available using a "Full-Text @ UW" link. Unfortunately for legal scholars, this includes articles in some law reviews and legal journals on HeinOnline. To get access to these articles via Google Scholar links, you'll need Husky OnNet, UW's free VPN service for students, faculty, and staff. UW IT has instructions for downloading, installing, and using Husky OnNet. To use Husky OnNet to access library resources, you need to select the "All Internet Traffic" server when connecting.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Begins This Evening

Yom HaShoah (יום השואה), or Holocaust Remembrance Day, begins the evening of April 20, 2020, which is the start of the 27th day of Nisan on the Jewish calendar, and ends in the evening of April 21, 2020. You can find more information about the Jewish calendar from Chabad.org. This day of remembrance has been observed worldwide by the Jewish people and their allies since the 1950's. Yom HaShoah commemorates the lives lost in the Shoah. Shoah is a Hebrew word meaning "catastrophe" or "utter destruction" and is used in this context to refer to the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust. This holiday serves as a reminder of the Holocaust and "the horrors that Jews and other persecuted groups faced: forced labor, starvation, humiliation, and torture, which often resulted in death." (from ReformJudaism.org). This day is a time for us to remember those who suffer(ed) directly and indirectly as a result of the Holocaust. 

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, there are many opportunities for you to gather virtually in remembrance of the lives lost, and to learn more alongside other members of your community:

1. Seattle's Holocaust Center for Humanity is hosting a Virtual Holocaust Remembrance Day Program on April 21, 2020 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m via Zoom (https://zoom.us/s/98422030077) featuring Holocaust survivor George Elbaum. 

2. The Israel State Ceremony (which was pre-recorded due to Covid -19 restrictions) was broadcast at 1:00 p.m. EDT (8:00 p.m. in Israel) and is available to watch online. It features stories, music, prayers,
and messages from the Israeli President and Prime Minister. 

3. My Jewish Learning has a great website full of suggested online ceremonies and resources for Yom HaShoah. 

Now, more than ever, it is important to reflect on the impact of unchecked hate in our society and to consider what our personal role is in preventing and taking a stand against everyday acts of intolerance and bias. 

Never again. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Gallagher Videos for Research Skills and Bluebook Tips

An important part of learning legal research—or any other skill—is practice.

But to make your practice productive, it helps to have some guidance, perhaps someone giving you a quick demonstration. Your Gallagher Public Services team can't be with you when you're conducting online searches at your kitchen table, but we're creating some short videos to answer some common questions and demonstrate some useful research skills.
Remember that we're still available, even while we're all sheltering at home. Call 206-543-6794 Monday-Friday, 8-5. UW Law students, faculty, and staff can send email to lawref@uw.edu. And people from outside the law school may use our Ask Us! form.

Gold banner with purple letters: Coming to a Laptop Near You! Legal Research Videos from the Gallagher Law Library!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Corvid Infestation Shuts Down Campus

Crow at Yosemite
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash
After some 150 years of ecological balance among students, faculty, staff, birds, and squirrels, the UW campus was shaken this spring by an unprecedented surge in corvids, mostly the American crow. Early signs of an increasing corvid dominance were glimpsed last year when a pair of crows repeatedly charged at Dean Anna Endter as she walked toward Gates Hall. A bag of Doritos and other offerings propitiated them at the time, but it was clear that they had tasted their power (as well as the Doritos).

Corvids— a group that includes crows, ravens, jays, rooks, and magpies—are exceptionally intelligent animals, said Prof. John Marzluff, a renowned authority. For example, carrion crows in Japan learned to place walnuts in roads so that passing cars would crack them open. In an experiment, New Caledonia Crows figured out how to bend a wire to get food out of a jar. Crows can even recognize people and pass that information along to other crows.*

Stirrings of a corvid uprising began in February among crows nesting in a wooded area near Kirkland. By the end of the month, it was clear that they would have the whole city in their grip. President Ana Mari Cauce made the call to move classes online to protect humans from the awesome corvid onslaught. "The safety of people has to come first. By licensing Zoom for the campus, we can continue classes and minimize the risk of corvid interaction."

Students, faculty, and staff are now sheltering in their homes, while the campus is left to the corvids. Also some squirrels and rats. Just a few essential personnel are allowed in campus buildings.

The Ornithology Team at the Burke Museum (one of UW Law's closest neighbors) was unfortunately at a loss to repel the dreaded corvid menace. "We're very good with feathers and skeletons, even bird DNA," said one of the curators. "But we're not used to working with living birds. And those big black ones are scary!"

By now the corvid threat has spread across the country. New Yorkers, long used to insulting pigeons as "rats with wings" are rethinking their attitudes and giving birds a new respect—at least the corvids, if not the columbidae, or pigeons.

* I'm not making all this up. Prof. Marzluff is a renowned authority. The walnuts-in-the-highway example is from John M. Marzluff, Welcome to Subirdia: Sharing Out Neighborhoods with Wrens, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Other Wildlife 134 (2014). You can see the New Caledonia crow experiment in his TEDx talk. Crows recognized Marzluff when he wore the mask he wore to band them many years before.
Check out the Corvid Research blog by Kaeli Swift, Ph.D., who also tweets @corvidresearch

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Accessing Databases Remotely

Databases for which students create individual usernames and passwords--including some of the most commonly used legal databases, Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law--should continue to work as normal anywhere you have internet access; just log in with your username and password as usual. 

Many other databases provided by the Gallagher Law Library or UW Libraries rely on IP authentication--which requires your computer or device to be on the UW network to gain access. This includes widely used databases like HeinOnline. Luckily there are workarounds to access these databases from home when you can't be physically on campus to connect to the network.

For most databases, the easiest way to access them remotely is to click on their link from the Selected Databases box on the Gallagher homepage or our Law Databases A-Z list or by searching and following links from the catalog. For databases from the main campus UW Libraries, access them via clicking links off of the UW Libraries homepage or searching the catalog. When you access databases and e-books from the library websites rather than searching for the database on Google or typing its URL into your browser, the library website will request you to log in with your NETID if you are not already logged in and will then automatically forward your request through a proxy server to make it appear to the database as if you are on the campus network.

For a couple of databases, you will need to set up UW's Husky OnNet VPN service, which is free for students, faculty, and staff. To use Husky OnNet to access library resources, follow the guide to download and set it up on the UW IT site. Before connecting to the VPN, make sure the server is set t to "All Internet Traffic" and not "UW Campus Network Traffic Only." This will allow access to the WSBA Deskbooks on Casemaker and Law360 (note: law students also have access to Law360 through their Lexis accounts). To access the WSBA Deskbooks, follow the link from the library's home page, then click the carrot next to "All Titles" near the search bar to see the books included in our subscription. Connecting via Husky OnNet will also allow students who want to create a Checkpoint account to do so, which normally requires physically being on campus.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Law in the Age of COVID-19

UW Law is going to have a special topics class on Law in the Age of COVID-19. To support that class—and anyone else who's curious about the legal impact of the pandemic—the library has put together a new research guide. It will grow over the next several weeks, but there's a good start now.

If  you're the sort of person whom a pandemic inspires to read about great epidemics of the past, there's a page listing ebooks that are available through the UW Libraries.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Legal Response to #COVID-19 -- Guide from UCLA Law Library

Wouldn't it be handy to have in one place links to federal and state responses to COVID-19?

See Legal Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19), from UCLA's Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Celebrate RBG's Birthday with Five Facts You Never Knew About Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice

In times of uncertainty, it's important to remember to celebrate the big and small moments that make us appreciate life or that can at least give us some type of distraction from the global crisis. For me, this includes celebrating RBG's 87th birthday on Sunday, March 15th. In honor of the Justice who has served on the Supreme Court of the United States for almost 27 years, here are some fun facts that you may not know about the oldest Justice on the Supreme Court.

1. The story behind the infamous name.

You may have already known that "Ruth" is actually her middle name, but do you know how she started going by Ruth? She was named Joan Ruth Bader when she was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 15th, 1933. When she started kindergarten, there were two other girls in the classroom named Joan. To avoid confusion, her mother decided to have her go by Ruth to help her stand out (like she needed the help).

2. Her first protest was anything but elementary. 

In grade school, Ruth was forced to use her right hand instead of her left hand during her penmanship class. She was told by her teachers that she was supposed to write with her right hand like everyone else. When Ruth wrote, she had sloppy handwriting and received a D (!) on a penmanship test. After receiving her grade, Ruth decided to always write with her left hand, abstaining from the "normal" way to write while still achieving great penmanship.

3. Her justice nomination was stalled by the NBA finals.

In the spring of 1993, President Bill Clinton had the privilege of nominating the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. After the president had a conversation with Ruth, he could see that she not only had a brilliant mind but that she would also bring a human component to the court. Ruth was later told that she would receive a call from the President and to wait by the phone. She waited and waited for her phone to ring. President Clinton planned to call Ruth after he watched the NBA finals. However, the game happened to go into triple overtime, making it a three hour and twenty-minute game (one of the longest games in NBA history). When the president finally called, he said that he would be nominating her for the justice position! In August of 1993, RBG became the first Jewish woman on the highest court in the nation.

4. Her unlikely friendship with Justice Scalia.

Anthony Scalia and RBG worked with each other well before they became Justices and they've always had differing options. On the bench, they argued and disagreed about the interpretation of the Constitution. If one was writing the opinion, the other was writing the decent. However large their differences were in the court, they seemed to have similar tastes in social activities. They would go to operas and parties together, they even went parasailing in France. She considered him one of her best friends because he made her laugh.

5. Two rounds of cancer, zero court days missed. 

Throughout her career as a Justice, RBG has fought (and beat) three different types of cancer. In 1999 she was diagnosed with colon cancer and ten years later in 2009, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Both of these rounds with cancer caused her to undergo surgery and treatment but she never missed an oral argument. She always scheduled her treatments on Fridays so she had the weekend to recuperate. However, in December of 2018, Justice Ginsburg had surgery to treat lung cancer and understandably, she did miss a few oral arguments, but she kept updated by reading the transcripts and she returned to the bench in February of 2019.

Bonus Fun Fact!

Due to her declined health after her first battle with cancer, RBG decided to take more of an effort to take care of herself by becoming a vegetarian (and later on a vegan) and by also becoming a gym rat at the young age of sixty-six! The Notorious RBG can do 2 sets of 10 standard push-ups in one workout (how many can you do?).

This March 15th, make sure you proudly where your RBG shirt, use your RBG mug, or any other RBG paraphernalia and firmly object, resist and dissent until your heart's content.

For more fun facts about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, check out our RBG graphic novel, kids book, and other RBG titles we have at the Gallagher Law Library.

List of RBG books available at the Gallagher Law Library (part 1) List of RBG books available at the Gallagher Law Library (part 2)

Bryant Johnson, The RBG Workout 64-65, 104 (2017).

Debbie Levy, Becoming RBG 2-4, 172-177, 193 (2019).

Debbie Levy, I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark 9-10, 31-32 (2016).

Monday, March 9, 2020

Law Library Hours and Services for Remainder of March

Dear Gallagher Law Library Users:

I want to let you know that the Gallagher Law Library is open but operating with reduced hours for the public, with many services being offered remotely.

The library will continue to offer 24/7 access to Law faculty, staff and students using their Husky card. Book deliveries are available by request.

The library will continue to offer 8-5 access to UW community members with active Husky Cards.

The library will offer many of its services to the public remotely. Public drop-in hours will be unavailable starting Monday, March 9. The library plans to resume normal operations when spring quarter begins March 30, pending public health guidance.

In the meantime, here’s how to access library services:

Borrowing print materials: If you'd like to access a print resource from the Law Library, you may request it using the library catalog and pick it up at any open UW Libraries location.

Ask a reference question: Reference librarians are ready to help you with any Washington State or U.S. legal research question. Ask Us! electronically or call 206.543.6794. Both of these services are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Free Research Guides: The law library provides a number of free research guides on common research topics, such as Finding Washington State Laws, Washington State Family Law Resources, and Library Resources for Members of the Public.

Access to Government Publications: Visit the UW Libraries Government Publications, Maps, Microforms, and Newspapers collections at Suzzallo or take a look at our online collection on the Law Library's U.S. Government Publications research guide.

If you need more information, please call 206.543.4086.

Thank you for your patience and partnership during this difficult time.

--Jonathan Franklin, Associate Dean for Library & Information Systems 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Teaching in the Time of a Shut-Down for #COVID-19

To reduce the risk of spreading infection, Provost Mark Richards announced today that UW classes will be offered online only for the rest of the quarter, starting Monday. Keep up with UW coronavirus news. If you haven't gotten around to it, now might be a good time to sign up for UW Alerts

Of course, many faculty members are not used to teaching online, so there might be a few bumps in the road. Yesterday, Inside Higher Education posted Ensuring Instructional Continuity in a Potential Pandemic, with some tips for faculty who are new to online instruction.

We've pulled together some more tips for online teaching on our faculty and staff services page. Our faculty is getting the link directly, but we're posting here as well, in case people outside UW Law find themselves needing a very quick introduction to distance ed.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Check These Out: Full Height Book / Laptop Stands

In addition to our simple, wooden book stands, the law library has ergonomic, lightweight, high-strength aluminum stands capable of holding heavy textbooks and laptop computers. The library purchased these stands at the request of a few law students back in 2015.

The stands are fully adjustable due to their 360 degree rotating joints that (with a little practice) can be shaped and locked into various positions and heights.These stands, unlike our simple book stands, will easily allow you to work or read while standing. Of course, before placing items onto the stands, it is important to ensure they are secure and level.

Photo of woman using full height book stand.

The video below demonstrates how to use our adjustable stands. The video is also accessible here. All our book stands are available for full-day check out from the Information Desk.


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Resources for #COVID-19, and More

The novel coronavirus disease that emerged in late December 2019 is big news. Now known as "COVID-19," it's affecting communities around the world, as well as industrial supply chains and financial markets.

cartoon of figure with tissue at nose and two other people panicking
"He might  have the CORONOAVIRUS!!!" cartoon,
from Malaka Gharib, Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring
the New Coronavirus
, NPR (Feb. 28, 2020)

Here are some resources to help you keep up:

To follow the news, you can sign up for Coronavirus Briefing, one of the New York Times's e-newsletters.

Coronavirus isn't just a medical problem; it also raises policy and legal issues. How can a government order people to be quarantined or forbid travel to or from affected countries?

This particular virus might be "novel," but an infectious disease that has the potential to affect a large community is definitely not novel, and that's why there's a field of public health law.

In Pox: An American History (a book in our Good Reads collection), Michael Willrich discusses the challenges around smallpox. Could the disease be controlled by quarantine? And by what right could a government order one? When a vaccine became available, could people be compelled to have it? How would government efforts vary between white and black communities? The chapter on the American occupation of the Philippines is harrowing: the Army used brutal techniques in the name of disease control.

In 1996, the Washington Law Review held a symposium on tuberculosis, another infectious disease with legal issues.

If you're curious about public health law, you could get started with Public Health Law in a Nutshell (available through our subscription to West Academic Study Aids).  Or browse The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics (edited by Prof. Anna Mastroianni and others) (also available online). Section 8 is on communicable diseases.

Finally, if you want something quick and easy,  see this comic about coronavirus, from NPR.