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According to a new post on the Law Library of Congress In Custodia Legis blog, the Law Library of Congress Legal Reports are now being made available on the subscription legal database HeinOnline. They state that they will continue to publish these important historical legal reports on their law.gov site. There are currently 4072 reports on law.gov.
Please note that HeinOnline is a subscription database — and one to which my library has long subscribed and for good reason! — so these law reports are only freely available via the LOC site. I hope the Law Library will continue to make their legal reports freely available via law.gov. It would be a travesty if these public domain legal reports were sequestered behind a subscription pay wall thus taking them out of the public domain for all intents and purposes.
The benefit of having them on HeinOnline is that researchers with institutional access to Hein can find LOC legal reports within a wider corpus of legal materials including case law, law reviews, US code, US Serial Set, international resources and a whole host of other special and specialized legal collections. HeinOnline also makes bibliographic records available so that libraries can include those materials in their library catalogs. But that benefit does not extend to the general public — unless the general public were to go into an Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) library near them (many if not all of the academic and legal libraries who are FDLP members will also subscribe to HeinOnline and allow on-site access to their subscription databases 😉 ).
Among the many resources that the Law Library is renowned for is the preparation of legal reports on foreign, comparative, and international law topics. As we continue to publish contemporary and historical legal reports on law.gov on a weekly basis, the Law Library of Congress is proud to announce that our legal reports will now also be accessible via HeinOnline. These reports are written by foreign law specialists at the Law Library and cover 300+ jurisdictions, addressing specific legal issues in a particular country or providing a comparative analysis of legal and legislative approaches to an individual problem across a multitude of countries. They are often written in response to requests from Congress or executive branch agencies and may be cited as expert resources. Some of the reports on the Law Library’s website date back to the 1940s, providing a historical glimpse into important legal questions from that time.
To access the Law Library of Congress Legal Reports when visiting HeinOnline, you can simply search “Law Library of Congress Legal Reports,” or browse the databases by name where the Law Library of Congress is currently at the bottom of the left column … The oldest law report in the collection was published in 1911, and there are currently 4,000 legal reports published by the Law Library of Congress on HeinOnline.
More than 160,000 new accounts in the federal judiciary’s Public Access to Electronic Court Records (PACER) service were established in fiscal year 2011. That’s an average of more than 3,000 new accounts each week.
The PACER service center, located in San Antonio, responded to about 165,000 telephone calls and about 42,000 emails in FY 2011. More than one-third of the existing 1.3 million PACER accounts were active over the course of the fiscal year that ends September 30, 2011.
Nice article on the Electronic World Treaty Index and related sources:
- The Electronic World Treaty Index, by Daniel Martin Katz, VoxPopuLII, Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute (May 6, 2011).
Gary has a not-to-be-missed article over at Resource Shelf about how the new feature in Google Scholar, which allows you to search within a set of papers that cite a particular paper, works on legal opinions and articles in law journals. He gives tips and examples.
- New from Google Scholar: Search Within Cited Articles, by Gary Price Resource Shelf (July 2nd, 2010).
See also the post on the Google Scholar Blog, Search within citing articles, that announces the service (but which does not mention legal information).
Big hat tip to Gary!
As announced last year, Google Scholar searches now include legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate, and supreme courts. An earlier review said that it would not replace commerical case law providers but that it does offer is an amazing place to start case research. A new review echoes those findings:
- Google Scholar: A New Way to Search for Cases and Related Legal Publications, By David Tsai and Courtney Minick, LLRX (December 30, 2009). [Previously Posted by: The Bar Association of San Francisco, republished with permission.]
…Google Scholar will not replace commercial legal publishers such as LexisNexis® or Westlaw® any time soon. The value in paid services lies mostly in the editorial work they provide on top of caselaw — e.g., headnotes and cite checking features…
Something else to keep in mind — Google Scholar is limited to case law, and does not include statutes or regulations…
All together, many lawyers have concluded that Google Scholar is a great place to conduct preliminary research, or to review new cases that have not yet been affected by precedent.