Something for Nothing

When the three year lease ended on our library photocopier last spring, we opted for a new machine with a document feeder, scanning capabilities and network connectivity. Using the document feeder, you can scan both sides of loose documents in a single pass and either print them out on paper, save them to a thumb drive, or email them to yourself. Saving to your thumb drive and emailing documents are both free of charge. Printing things out the old fashioned way entails the old fashioned price structure: 10 cents per page. While that may not be the best price on campus, I can honestly say that the price of photocopies has not gone up in the law library in over 13 years.


The Minolta 454e will not print in color, three hole punch or staple but with a little effort it will collate and sort print jobs and zoom or resize an image. In addition, the basic functions of copy, save, send, scan, and print are very intuitive and easy to execute. The best part is that unless you really need that piece of paper, its free. It may be true that there is no free lunch, but free scanning? Yeah, we have that technology.

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Law360 Legal News Service Now Available to UM Law Students & Faculty

Law360 is a widely-read daily legal news and analysis service from LexisNexis. Law360 provides continuous coverage of major U.S. litigation in 43 practice areas. Through their monitoring of federal dockets and regulatory filings, Law360 is often the breaking-news source for litigation and major transactions involving the world’s largest companies as well as federal court opinions in all their practice areas. In addition, Law360 provides links to documents and expert analysis.

Law360 will allow students and faculty to monitor up-to-the-minute developments in the areas of law they are interested in as well as search for expert analysis of issues in the news. It is a great tool for classroom current-awareness. Major law firms and corporate counsel rely on Law360 so students can begin now to learn a source many will encounter in their legal careers.

Law360 is available only in the Law School building. It can be accessed from the Lexis Advance search page or by going to www.law360.c0m (there is a link on the Law Library Databases webpage). Students and faculty can quickly & easily sign-up to receive daily email newsletters in 23 practice areas, including appellate, environmental, legal ethics, and tax, and 14 industries such as energy, health, and technology. To sign-up for a newsletter, just click on the University of Montana link in the top right corner of the screen and select Newsletter Signup. Users can also register to receive alerts when new articles are added that match their specific search terms. For example, if you are writing an article on wind energy, you can create a search that will find articles on that topic then alert you any time in the future a new article is added. This allows you to track new developments in real time.

To learn more about Law360, stop by the Law Library, attend a Lexis training, or visit with the Lexis rep next time she is here.

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What about those numbers?



I’m sure you are aware that books in a library are arranged in a very specific way, but from my observation post at the Reference Desk, it seems to be a fairly common occurrence that someone will come in the library, look around in a rather confused manner, and then start wandering through the stacks row by row thinking they will be able to somehow spot the book they need out of the thousands and thousands of books here. There is a better way, and it’s not that hard. It’s those numbers on the books, the ones you probably think look weird, intimidating, and incomprehensible. However, take my word for it that with very little effort in understanding those numbers, you can save tremendous amounts of time and open up a world of information for yourself.

Libraries have been around for a long, long time, but a standardized system of library organization is a rather recent development. It used to be that all libraries were different. Some were organized by title, some by author, some by size of book, some by order in which books were received, etc. It was a nightmare of different systems, and in order to use a library, you had to spend a lot of time learning its organization system before you could find anything, and when you went to a different library, you had to start over.

To rectify this situation, along came one of my personal heroes, Melvil Dewey. As a student attending Amherst College, he worked in the college library and started developing an idea for what would become the Dewey Decimal system. When he graduated in 1874, the college hired him to reorganize the library and he got to put his theoretical system into practice. He went on to work in several other large academic libraries and began putting his dream of universal information organization into practice. His vision went beyond academia, however. He was instrumental in the idea of starting public libraries in every city, town, and village across the country. He saw libraries as a great democratizing force, allowing everyone to become educated and informed whether they could afford college or not. He fundamentally changed the nature of libraries forever and greatly impacted education in general. By the way, he created and taught the first Library Science course, but was greatly criticized for allowing women to take the class.

Having been influenced by Dewey, Herbert Putnam created the Library of Congress Classification system in 1897. It was to be used to reorganize the Library of Congress and replace the shelf location system originally developed by Thomas Jefferson.

Both systems are in use here at the University of Montana. The Mansfield Library uses the Dewey Decimal system. The Law Library uses the Library of Congress system. Though slightly different, they have the same basic concept and are similar enough that if you know one, you can easily learn the other. Since most material you need will be in the Law Library, it would make sense to learn Library of Congress first, but there is also a wealth of material at Mansfield Library that will be relevant to your studies at some point, so you should become familiar with it too. You can easily learn the basic system of either in about half an hour, but that half hour will be of tremendous benefit and allow you to access all the information you ever need.  If you know both systems, you can walk into any library in the country and find whatever you want very quickly.

Most people consider the creation of the internet as the information revolution, but the creation of those weird little numbers was an information revolution that changed forever accessibility of information and they are as useful and relevant in the age of Google as they ever were. Hats off to Melvil Dewey! He did a great thing for you!

HOW DO I read LOC call number


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Remote login

I was recently surprised to learn that several very knowledgeable people in the law building were unaware how easy it is to access our electronic resources from off campus. You don’t need VPN or any special hardware: all you need is access to the internet and your UM NetID username and password (the same credentials that you use to login to Cyberbear).

Here’s how it works. Start from the Law Library website:

library homepage

Click on Law Library Databases:


law library databases

Click on any of the starred databases. If you are on campus when you click on one of the starred databases, you will be taken directly to the resource and you may begin using it immediately. If you are off campus, you will be routed to the Remote Login Page:


remote login page

From here all you have to do is login with your net ID and password. Once you are logged in with your net ID, you will be routed to the resource originally selected.

Using your net ID to login remotely not only makes all of your Law Library favorite databases available, it also works with the Mansfield Library’s A-Z list of databases. So JSTOR, LegalTrac, and Lexis Academic just to name a few, are also available.

More details on the remote login process can be found here:


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If It’s Not Broken…

The new ALWD Guide to Legal Citation, 5th edition, is a significant rewrite of ALWD citation rules. The new ALWD Guide retains ALWD’s  signature style with clear and plentiful examples, excellent visual cues, and plenty of white space. The new manual keeps some of ALWD’s best features: the fast formats and snapshots. ALWD’s style and features mean the ALWD Guide mean is still the best manual for teaching legal citation.

The “new” citation rules aren’t new at all–  ALWD rules now conform to Bluebook rules. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, written by the editors of the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review and Yale Law Journal, is now in its 19th edition, making The Bluebook a standard in legal citation since 1926. The Bluebook had little competition until 2000 when the ALWD Citation Manual emerged and many law schools adopted it to teach citation. Although some of the finer points of citation rules did differ from Bluebook rules, the general formats were very similar. The major distinction between the two systems was that while The Bluebook had two distinct citation formats– one for legal documents and one for academic writing– the ALWD Manual had only one.

Without any competition for 75 years, The Bluebook became the standard and many attorneys believe they have to use The Bluebook even though most courts do not have rules requiring any specific citation manual. Some law schools thought teaching the ALWD Citation Manual put students at a disadvantage since the rules they learned were different than the ones they were told they had to use in practice and they didn’t learn The Bluebook‘s separate system for law review footnotes at all. The new ALWD Guide to Legal Citations eliminates that concern and there may be some efficiencies there that recommend ALWD’s “new” rules. The reality, however, is that students don’t learn all the rules in any citation manual. What they do learn is how to use a citation manual, a skill that is transferable to any citation manual.

But although the new ALWD Guide to Legal Citations may be better than The Bluebook to teach citation, it is no longer a better way to do citation. Just because rules are standard does not mean they are logical. Take, for example, the rule about citing to periodicals that are not listed in the appendix of legal periodicals. The previous ALWD rule was that you formed the abbreviation for the periodical name by abbreviating words in a list of standard ALWD abbreviations. The new rule is that you search the appendix of legal periodicals “for abbreviations for individual words from the periodical’s name. For geographic terms, use abbreviations from Appendix 3(B). Otherwise, spell out the word. Do not use an abbreviation from another appendix, as it may be a word that should not be abbreviated in a periodical name, or it may be abbreviated differently.” Rule 21.2(e). The rule regarding the different citations for consecutively paginated and non-consecutively paginated periodicals is similarly less-than-streamlined. Under the old ALWD rule, for non-consecutively paginated journal you simply put the month or season of the issue in the date parenthetical. Under the new ALWD rule that conforms with The Bluebook, the formats are completely different even though the only difference in the actual publications is whether each issue begins on page 1 or not.

Still, the oddities in individual rules are easy enough to get past– even if a rule does not make sense, you can learn and follow it. The larger problem is a philosophical one: requiring legal practitioners– lawyers and judges– to use a separate system of citation when they want to write for law reviews reflects a bias toward publishing articles by academics. Lawyers and judges have to dig back into the citation manual to cite sources that they cite every day using a different set of rules. Of course, they can do this, but what is the good reason they should have to, besides tradition? What is the purpose of a separate set of rules for academic citation other than to discriminate (meant in non-pejorative sense of the word) between legal documents and academic documents? Especially since the differences in the formats are usually in typeface– they are not substantive differences that convey meaning.

The legal academy is rapidly modernizing legal education. Law schools are developing and adopting practice-based curricula that teach students not just the substance of law but also the practice of law. Law schools are hiring faculty that have previous practice experience. The new ALWD Guide to Legal  Citation– and The Bluebook its rules are based on– are failing to support practical legal education and failing to encourage legal practitioners to engage in the published legal discourse.

I will happily continue to use the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation to teach citation because I believe it is a superior teaching tool. My frustration is that I now have to go back to teaching what I believe are outdated rules. I think the previous edition of ALWD had the formula right.

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What if we don’t have it?

You’ve probably noticed by now that there are a lot of books in the library. Chances are good that you will find anything you need right here, but occasionally the need for a very specific book arises. You’ve checked the library catalog (make sure you checked Mansfield Library too) and we don’t have it here. What are your options?

The next step would be to again use the catalog to see if it is in the library of a UM affiliate campus. This could be Missoula College, UM Western in Dillon, Montana Tech in Butte,or Helena College. The catalog will tell you these locations, and you can place a hold on the book through the online catalog. The book will then be sent here through  the UM mail system. This is true of Mansfield Library books as well.

If what you need is still not here, ask a librarian for an interlibrary loan. We can use the library network to find what libraries have a particular book across the country. We’ll ask that they send it here for you to use. Expect about a week in the mail for the book to get here. The lending library sets the due date and renewals are generally not allowed, so when you get an e-mail notice that your ILL book is here, it’s important to pick it up promptly and return it on time (yes, the other library can charge us overdue fines)


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Stand Up Stand Up…


What do Winston Churchill, Virginia Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway and Ben Franklin have in common?

Give up? They were all fans of the standing desk


  standup desk

To provide UMSL students with the same level of comfort that Winston et al enjoyed, the Jameson law Library has purchased three standing desk risers that turn any old desk or table top into a stand up desk. These stand up desks are available for check out (to UM Law students and Faculty only this semester) at the law library circulation desk and circulate for 4 hours.

Here are a few product details: you get a 20 by 24 inch desktop that can be raised from 10.5 inches to 14 inches high. Total weight is 14 pounds and the surface can be angled by setting the front legs lower than the back legs.  They are solidly built and (should) last many semesters.

The standing desk has all kinds of purported health benefits:  burning an extra 50 calories an hour, lowered risk of varicose veins, heart disease, diabetes, and (maybe) even living longer. Besides, sometimes it just feels good to stand up.

So if reading that legal treatise or facpac is making you drowsy, then stand up! Stand up and come to the law library and check out a standup desk.         

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