Category Archives: Training

Zotero and your legal research

Brooklyn Law School Library launched its Spring Lunch and Learn with Zotero. You can view the presentation by Karen Schneiderman, Emerging Technologies Librarian and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law here.

What is Zotero? Zotero (pronounced /zoʊˈtɛroʊ/) is a free, open source research management platform. Designed as an add-on for the Firefox web browser, Zotero  manages bibliographic data and related research materials (such as PDFs).  Users can install a separate word processor add-ons, available for Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.org Writer, for automatic in-text citations, footnotes and bibliographies.

How Does it Work? Zotero detects when a book, article, or other resource is being viewed and with a mouse click finds and saves the full reference information to a local file. If the source is an online article or web page, Zotero can optionally store a local copy of the source. Users can then add notes, tags, and their own metadata through the in-browser interface.

Does it Support Bluebook Citations Styles? Yes, but partially. Zotero has a  Bluebook Law Review style in its  list of available output styles.  Specifically, Zotero is also compatible with HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library. Users are able to bookmark articles directly from a search results list in HeinOnline, or when viewing the pages of an article.Hein Online created  a short tutorial on using  Zotero. Unfortunately, Zotero does better with secondary legal materials than with primary legal materials.

What Does the Futrue Hold? In June 2010, there was a Call for Participation: Zotero Bluebook Development. Zotero  is seeking  input from actual legal writers. Unfortunately, there are very few lawyers in the Zotero community now.  With more lawyers and legal researchers involvedin Zotero’s development,it can only become more useful.   The Zotero developers are looking for people to do beta-testing.  Candidate should be comfortable with a few basic things: a) technical things like installing Firefox and installing plugins, b) invest a small amount of time playing with software with limited and occasionally broken functionality, and c) have the patience to report a bit of detail when things do not work correctly.

Brooklyn Law School Library would like to help build a Zotero that is useful and welcome to law students and other legal writers.

Links to the development forum and utilities:

Summer Research Fun!

During the summer months, many of our students gain practical experience, interning or working in law offices around New York.  Frequently, their employers ask them to conduct legal research.  Often our students feel inadequately prepared to conduct the research requested.   In response to a need for advanced research training, two one credit specialized legal research courses are being offered this summer.  Reference Librarians Harold O’Grady and Kathleen Darvil are teaching the courses.  Prof. O’Grady is teaching Advanced Legal Research: Securities Law and Prof. Darvil is teaching Advanced Legal Research: New York Civil Litigation.  Next year, the library hopes to continue and expand this specialized instruction to meet the needs and interests of our students.  Descriptions of the courses are listed below.  Both librarians have also created research guides in these specialties, which all students can access.  Those links are provided below the course descriptions.

Advanced Legal Research: Securities Law

This course focuses on research methodologies and strategies relating to a securities law practice. The class will review the structure of the SEC regulatory environment and develop a familiarity with the various publications issued by, and required to be submitted to, this agency. Students will undertake a review of the primary law, standard treatises, practice materials, and specialized databases to solve securities law research problems presented in class and stay current in this area of law.

http://guides.brooklaw.edu/FederalSecuritiesLaw

Advanced Legal Research: New York Civil Litigation

Students will study the tools of legal research, research techniques and strategies specific to New York civil practice. Students will learn to be proficient in the use of both print and online resources. Among the subjects to be covered are: New York State and City case law, statutory law and administrative regulations relevant to the New York civil practitioner, New York reference materials and treatises, New York form books, pre trial, trial, and appellate practice aids, and New York current awareness resources.

http://guides.brooklaw.edu/newyorkcivil

BLS Bloggers’ Roundtable

Blogging has skyrocketed in the past few years as a means for people to share their experiences and their opinions. In the past few years, Brooklyn Law School  has hosted a series of blogs and bloggers with legal subject expertise in a variety of subject areas.  All  have different backgrounds and perspectives. eff_bloggers2

Brooklyn Law School (BLS) Bloggers’ Roundtable connects faculty, staff and student bloggers and online journalists with each other.  The Roundtable provides training and resources to enhance blogger skills.

We encourage active faculty bloggers  (but are not limited to): Minna Kotkin, Derek Bambauer, Victoria Szymczak and Bill Araiza to join us.  If you are a student blogger, let us know who you are and give us the URL to your blog.

Within BLS Library, we are proud of  this blog and two other blogs authored by:  Harold O’Grady and Rosemary Campagna. Both Harold and Rosemary will be assisting in the training.

Come join us at the BLS Bloggers’ Roundtable, share tips and learn some new ones on December 2, 2009.  We will be discussing  RSS feed readers and news aggregators.  For more information contact Karen Schneiderman, Emerging Technologies Librarian

  • These tools let you follow news and blogs easily, comfortably and efficiently in a dedicated program, on a web site or in your email program.
  • These tools provide either just the blog headlines or the headline and a short description (or even the whole text) of each item. Some readers use a Web interface, some are a desktop program, separate from your web browser. Some readers let you easily post what you’re reading to your own weblog .

Some people call these tools  feed aggregators, they are also known as a feed readers, RSS readers, news readers or simply aggregators.  Technically, it requires a client software or a Web application to aggregate syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing.

Here are some resources about RSS Readers:

Seminar Paper Workshop (posted by Kathy Darvil)

Seminar Paper Workshop Fall 09

At the start of every semester, Professor Fajans and I conduct a two hour workshop to help upper level students prepare to research and write a seminar paper.  This semester the workshop will be held on September 17, 2009 from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm in Room 504.  Topics which will be discussed include research strategies, finding and selecting a topic, developing a thesis, framing arguments, footnoting and plagiarism.  

All are encouraged to attend.  For those students who cannot attend, the workshop will be recorded and made available electronically.  After the workshop, copies of Professor Fajans and my handouts will also be made available electronically.  Check back to this post for future updates.

Lunch & Learn Workshops Fall 2009 (Posted by Linda Holmes)

The Library will again offer a series of “Lunch & Learn” Workshops in Fall 2009.

All of the sessions will be held in Room 113M on the first mezzanine of the Library from 1:00pm – 1:50pm.  Lunch will be provided.  Sign-up sheets will be available at the first floor reference desk September 1, 2009.  The schedule is below:

Wednesday, September 30th: New Term of the United States Supreme Court

Wednesday, October 7th:  Case Law Research

Wednesday, October 14th:  How to Find Articles in Law Reviews

Wednesday, October 21st:  Statutory Research

Wednesday, October 28th:  Administrative Law Research

Fundamentals of Legal Drafting Research Workshop (posted by Kathy Darvil)

On Tuesday, March 3, 2009, Professor Teitcher’s class, Fundamentals of Legal Drafting, will be held in room C36, which is located in the cellar of the library.  This class is a research workshop, which is targeted at the most recent assignment to draft a notice of motion, affidavit and brief in support of that motion.  During this class, students will learn how to exploit the editorial enhancements on Westlaw and Lexis to better interpret statutes and cases.  Students will also learn how to use a variety of free and subscription based resources identify relevant forms for federal civil practice. The slide show for the class is attached below.

fundamentals-of-legal-drafting

Fundamental of Legal Drafting Powerpoint Microsoft Office 97-2000

Spring Seminar Paper Workshop

Each semester, members of the library staff work with Professor Fajans to present a program to help students select, develop, and write an “A” quality paper for their seminars. This semester, the program will be held in Room 504 at 4 pm on February 5, 2009. The first half of the workshop consists of the research portion and Professor Fajans lectures on writing tips and style for the second half of the program.
In the library’s portion of the program, we always offer these tips:

1. Evaluate the time you have to devote to your paper. If you are working, carrying a heavy credit load, have parently obligations, etc., you may not want to choose a topic that will require you to visit an outside library for materials. For example, if you want to write about the economic impact of trade regulation on foreign investment, you may need access to a business library for analytical materials that focus mainly on finance. In that case, you may prefer to write a paper about a recent decision or a circuit court split. We can be quite sure that you will have access to most of your materials online if you choose this sort of paper.
2. Try to focus your topic to a defined issue. Selecting an area – even a discreet area – of law to write about is unproductive. You must select and define an issue within a legal topic. For example, you might want to write about human trafficking; however, this topic is too vague. You will need to learn a little bit more about the legal topic before you define your legal issue. In this example, you might focus on effective tactics to counter trafficking, or focus on child trafficking from a specific region.
3. Pick a topic that will interest you. You should find something in which you have a natural interest, or is of such general interest that it is regularly reported on in the trade press. It is very rewarding to be writing about current legal issues.
4. The process: You should start by picking a topic that interests you. We recommend reviewing legal periodicals and web databases that organize legal news by topic. Then, we encourage you to set up tracking services to alert you should there be a new case, new development, new law, etc… To help you define your issue, you should review books and law review articles. Commentary will really help you learn the lingo and teach you the law.
5. Most important: If you are not sure how to research your topic, make an appointment with a librarian or stop by the reference desk in the library. This is what we do.

Below I have posted links to the handouts that will be provided at the workshop. For those unable to attend, Professor Fajans and I have also placed on reserve a video recording of the workshop and copies of the handouts. You can access these materials at the libraries circulation desk.

Researching Your Paper Topic:

Research Slideshow 

Research Handout

Wednesday Workshops in October (posted by Kathy Wolters)

Every Wednesday this October from 1 pm to 2 pm the BLS reference librarians are conducting lunch time workshops targeted at first year law students.  Today, October 8, 2008, the workshop will focus on learning how to use digests both in print and online to find a relevant case law on a topic.  Next weeks topic is learning how to use legal periodical indexes to find relevant law review and journal articles.  Lunch is provided.  Please sign up at the reference desk if you are interested in joining us.

Slide Show:  Using Digests to Find Cases


Fall Seminar Paper Workshop (posted by Kathy Wolters)

Each semester, members of the library staff work with Professor Fajans to present a program to help students select, develop, and write an “A” quality paper for their seminars. This semester, the program will be held in Room 605 at 4 pm on September 18, 2008. The first half of the workshop consists of the research portion and Professor Fajans lectures on writing tips and style for the second half of the program.
In the library’s portion of the program, we always offer these tips:

  1. Evaluate the time you have to devote to your paper. If you are working, carrying a heavy credit load, have parently obligations, etc., you may not want to choose a topic that will require you to visit an outside library for materials. For example, if you want to write about the economic impact of trade regulation on foreign investment, you may need access to a business library for analytical materials that focus mainly on finance. In that case, you may prefer to write a paper about a recent decision or a circuit court split. We can be quite sure that you will have access to most of your materials online if you choose this sort of paper.
  2. Try to focus your topic to a defined issue. Selecting an area – even a discreet area – of law to write about is unproductive. You must select and define an issue within a legal topic. For example, you might want to write about human trafficking; however, this topic is too vague. You will need to learn a little bit more about the legal topic before you define your legal issue. In this example, you might focus on effective tactics to counter trafficking, or focus on child trafficking from a specific region.
  3. Pick a topic that will interest you. You should find something in which you have a natural interest, or is of such general interest that it is regularly reported on in the trade press. It is very rewarding to be writing about current legal issues.
  4. The process: You should start by picking a topic that interests you. We recommend reviewing legal periodicals and web databases that organize legal news by topic. Then, we encourage you to set up tracking services to alert you should there be a new case, new development, new law, etc… To help you define your issue, you should review books and law review articles. Commentary will really help you learn the lingo and teach you the law.
  5. Most important: If you are not sure how to research your topic, make an appointment with a librarian or stop by the reference desk in the library. This is what we do.

Below I have posted links to the handouts that will be provided at the workshop.  For those unable to attend, Professor Fajans and I have also placed on reserve a video recording of the workshop and copies of the handouts.  You can access these materials at the libraries circulation desk.

Researching Your Paper Topic:

Research Slide Show:

seminar-paper-workshop-presentation-fall-081

Research Handout:

seminar-paper-workshop-fall-082

Writing Slideshow

ucwr-wkshp1