Resource Spotlight: Perma.cc

Ever heard of link rot? Or reference rot? If you’ve used the internet, you’re guaranteed to have encountered it whether or not you’ve heard of it by name. Link rot happens when a URL no longer works, instead displaying the dreaded 404 error or bogging down your browser until it inevitably fails to load anything. Reference rot is a similar but equally frustrating problem: it’s when a URL works but the content to which it should be pointing has been moved or removed. Both of these digital preservation curses are a festering plague for legal citations everywhere, as this Harvard Law Review Forum post details, but thanks to the Harvard Library Innovation Lab there is a simple solution: Perma.cc.

 If you’re citing to web-based references in your legal writings, you should be using it.  In fact, if you’re working on any of our law review journals, we already created a Perma.cc guide just for you. Why? Because Perma makes an archival copy of the web page and gives you an indelible, i.e. permanent, link that will always lead the reader back to the exact material they’re supposed to find. Through a consortium of academic libraries and nonprofits, Perma divides the burden of retaining the archival cache while also increasing the likelihood of its endurance through the longevity of academic institutions. Rest assured your Perma links will be viable for many years to come thanks to this ingenious design.

How does Perma.cc work? Three simple steps. 1) Find a web resource you want to cite and log in to your Perma.cc account. 2) Copy the URL and paste it into the Perma.cc creation box.

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3) Click ‘Create Perma Link’ and wait a few seconds for a new permanent URL to appear at the top of your screen.

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From then on you use the new Perma link in your writing, ensuring the reader can always find the archived version of the web resource you cited. On the back end you can organize your Perma links in the same fashion you organize files and folders on a network. With our institutional account, there are no limits on the number of Perma links you can create.

And for the record, The Bluebook encourages the use of an archival tool when there’s a reliable archival tool available (see Rule 18). With Perma.cc, there is! If you haven’t already discovered Perma, contact the PLRC to get your login and join the good fight against link and reference rot in legal scholarship!

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Posted in Resource Spotlight

New Resources in June 1018

RainbowThe Pritzker Legal Research Center added over 230 new items to our collection in June 2018.  Check out what we’ve added on our New Books List.

Posted in Library Resources

Prepare to Practice Research Review

If you weren’t able to make the Prepare to Practice research sessions in April, we will offer an encore session on Wednesday, May 9th from 12:00 – 2:00 pm in RB203 (lunch provided). If you can’t make it to campus, the session will also be streamed online (join meeting at https://bluejeans.com/359940842)  and the materials are available on our Prepare to Practice Research Guide.

For research help all summer long, reference librarians are available to answer your questions Monday-Friday 9:00 am – 5:00pm.  You can email us at law-reference@law.northwestern.edu or call the reference desk at 312-503-8450.  We are also available to respond to quick questions via chat.

Posted in Uncategorized

Resource Spotlight: Gun Regulation and Legislation in America

The best researchers know that you can spend your time advancing your own good ideas if you leverage the work of others.  So let’s say you have some good ideas about gun control or you want to have good ideas about gun control.  Hein’s new database, Gun Regulation and Legislation in America, is an excellent tool to get you started.  Hein has gathered scholarly articles, congressional hearings, CRS reports, Supreme Court briefs, legislative histories, and more relating to the topic of guns in America.  There’s even a bibliography to help you find additional materials at libraries and elsewhere online.

The power of a collection like this is to surface information that you might not have otherwise seen and to search across documents for terms or concepts.  For example, a researcher getting started with the topic of gun control might know that the assault weapons ban was contained in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.  This Hein collection, unsurprisingly, has a legislative history of that act.  But when a researcher goes to find that legislative history, she is a tab away from a CRS report titled, “Assault Weapons Ban: Review of Federal Laws Controlling Possession of Certain Firearms.”

A researcher could also search across multiple documents at once to see, for example, every instance in which the AR-15 rifle is mentioned.  Here is my results page for that search:

Search results for search of Gun Regulation and Legislation in America database returns 165 results for "AR-15" across several document types

You can see how this search surfaces discussion of the AR-15 in CRS reports, hearings, and elsewhere.  This search is faster than searching individual documents one by one and searches information that you might not have known even existed.

Although I think this collection is a powerful tool for research, I think that Hein could have made the collection more usable.  For example, the “Supreme Court Briefs” tab within this collection is organized by title of the brief without any reference to what case it was filed in.  The first entry is titled “Brief for Asista Immigration Assistance . . . in Support of Respondent.”  If I click into it, I can see that it was filed in support of the respondent James Alvin Castleman in United States v. James Alvin Castleman.  The collection contains several briefs filed in that case.  It would be helpful to see them all listed together.  Listing all of the documents alphabetically means that the researcher has to rely more on full-text search.

If you are looking to research guns in America, I highly recommend that you start with Hein’s collection.

 

Posted in Resource Spotlight

New Resources in April 2018

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The Pritzker Legal Research Center added over 180 new items to our collection in April 2018.  Check out what we’ve added on our New Books List.

 

Posted in Library Resources

Resource Spotlight: Foreign Law Guide

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Looking for a place to start when researching the law and legal system of a country outside the United States?  Start your research with Foreign Law Guide.

Under the general editorship of Marci Hoffman, associate director at the University of California, Berkeley, Law Library, and updated by a global team of experts, this resource covers the law and legal systems of approximately 190 worldwide jurisdictions.  It offers relevant information on both current and historical print and online sources of foreign law, including complete bibliographic citations to legislation, the existence of English translations and selected references to secondary sources.

Users can search for desired concepts and countries, or may browse by country name or by one of over 60 subject categories.  The subjects provide a useful entry to comparative law between and among different jurisdictions.

Posted in Library Resources, Resource Spotlight

Student Library Assistant Positions Available for Summer

The Pritzker Legal Research Center is looking for reliable law students to work at the library circulation desk in the evenings and on Saturdays during the summer. Duties include the following:

  • Check out and check in books, journals, reserve books and other library materials
  • Answer basic informational, directional and library policy questions, help patrons locate materials in the stacks, provide basic printer and copy machine assistance
  • Help troubleshoot public computers according to directions
  • Record and tally usage statistics
  • Search the stacks for books reported missing
  • Assist with opening and closing procedures

Interested students should send the completed application form and resume to James Driscoll, Circulation Services Manager.

Posted in Employment

Spring Break Hours

The Pritzker Legal Research Center will be open the following hours during Spring Break:

  • Saturday, March 24: 9am-5pm
  • Sunday, March 25: CLOSED
  • Monday, March 26-Saturday, March 31: 9am-5pm

Northwestern Law faculty, students and visiting scholars will continue to be able to use library facilities after the circulation desk closes.

Regular academic year hours will resume on Sunday, April 1.

Have a wonderful spring break!

Posted in Access, Holidays

PowerNotes: a tool to organize your research

Northwestern Law students, faculty and staff now have access to PowerNotes.  This tool helps you organize your research and keep track of your sources.

Organize Research Sources: With PowerNotes, you can gather information from any online resource.  You highlight the relevant text, add any wanted annotations and PowerNotes will save the content to an online research project, similar to a folder on Westlaw or Lexis.  But with PowerNotes, you can save content from any website or subscription databases such as Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, HeinOnline, etc. in one place.

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Quickly Create and Revise Research Outline: As you are adding sources to your research project in PowerNotes, an outline will be built for you as you go.  As you are working, you can easily restructure your arguments by dragging and dropping sources to move them around within the outline. When you are ready to start writing, you can download your outline to Microsoft Word.

Manage Citations: PowerNotes saves the links to all your sources so you won’t forget where the information came from and you have all your citations saved in one place.

To get started, visit powernotes.com and download/install the PowerNotes extension into your Chrome browser. Create an account using your northwestern.edu email address.

Posted in Library Resources, Resource Spotlight

New Resources Added in February

We added over 150 new books, journals and government documents to our collection in February. See them all at: http://www.library.law.northwestern.edu/collections/new-books

Posted in Library Resources