Students taking the International Information Sources course at Pratt Institute, School of Information and Library Science created the following three tutorials for learning how to use the these United Nations materials:
Tag Archives: research
Researching a federal statute’s legislative history? CQ Almanac is a great new tool for you! (Posted by Kathy Darvil)
Recently, the Brooklyn Law School Library added CQ Almanac to its CQ Press Electronic Library subscription. For those of you who are unfamiliar with CQ Press, originally known as Congressional Quarterly Press, it is a highly regarded publisher of Capitol Hill news, congressional member profiles, legislative tracking services, specialty publications, congressional transcripts and much more. The CQ Almanac, originally published in 1946, publishes the legislative history of every major piece of legislation that Congress considers during a session. The histories are arranged thematically and are cross indexed for reference.
The electronic version combines sixty years of congressional reporting into one source making researching a piece of legislation or a policy matter much more efficient than before. You can research an issue by browsing by subject, by browsing by congressional session, or by performing a key word search. One of the great new features of CQ Almanac online edition is its Policy Tracker. The Policy Tracker allows you to explore a specific policy to see how it has evolved over the years. For example, if you are researching animal rights, you can click on the Policy Tracker link and then browse the topics alphabetically, eventually finding the topic “Animal Rights and Animal Research.” Under the selected topic, you will see a list of the all the major pieces of animal rights legislation passed, since the inception of the CQ Almanac, which is 1946. You can explore each piece of legislation individually and see how animal rights have evolved over the past sixty years.
To access the online version of the CQ Almanac, go to the Brooklyn Law School Library’s Electronic Resources page and click on the link for the CQ Press Electronic Library. When you arrive at the CQ Press Electronic Library page, click on the link to the CQ Almanac. If you are accessing this site from off campus, you will need to implement the proxy instructions on your home computer or lap top.
Web Guides for Researchers
Explore the range of web guides now available at http://guides.brooklaw.edu!
My colleagues in the library have created research guides such as:
- New York Civil Practice: Selected Resources (by Kathleen Darvil)
- New Jersey Legal Resources (by Harold O’Grady)
- Federal Judicial Nominations (by Karen Schneiderman)
- Applying for Grants (by Rosemary Campagna)
These guides describe, and link to, sources ranging from online treatises to RSS feeds.
In conjunction with Maria Okonska, I recently published two guides to help BLS students identify and develop international law-related paper topics:
In these guides, we discuss new tools, including Law.com International News, Oxford Reports on International Law (subscription database), and subject-oriented RSS feeds that describe BLS Library’s recent acquisitions. We also highlight highly useful publications of BLS faculty, such as: Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes, and Law Review Competition Papers (Elizabeth Fajans and Mollie Falk); the Information, Law, and the Law of Information blog (Derek Bambauer et al.); and the Interactive Outline of the Law of War (Judge Evan Wallach).
We hope that you will use our guides and will provide authors with comments. When Brooklyn Law School unveils its portal in Fall 2009, there will be links to these web guides on the BLS Library’s portal page.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: