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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What’s on Class Reserve in the library?

Currently there are two principles guiding class reserve materials for law school courses. Keep in mind I am not addressing Moodle materials or facpacs – just the materials kept behind the circulation desk in the Law Library.
1. Required texts for required classes.
This category is straight forward. These are the same required books you will find at the bookstore.
2. Materials that are placed on placed on reserve at the request of the course instructor.
This category is less straight forward because it often includes the required texts for non-required classes. This sometimes leads people to believe that all required texts are on reserve in the library – not true.
Can I have it right now?
There is an easy way to ascertain exactly what is on reserve for any law school course and whether or not it is currently available.
1. Go to the law library home page.

   library homepage 

2. Find the link to the library catalog (in the lower left).

3. Select course reserves.

library reserves

4. Click on Courses.

If your class is listed in the pop up menu, then there are materials placed on reserve for that class. If your class is not listed in the pop up menu, there are no materials on reserve for that class.

If you select and search a particular class you will learn which materials are on reserve for that class.

last pic

And if you select one of the items listed, you will learn whether or not it is currently available.
the real last pic
If you have further question about Law School class reserves, ask a library staff member or email me at

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Summer Hiatus

"Near Great Falls" Courtesy of Ed Wrzesien

“Near Great Falls”
Courtesy of Ed Wrzesien

The Jameson Law Library Blog will be on hiatus for the summer. Join us again in August.

Until then, enjoy the Great Summer Reads suggested by law school faculty and staff.

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Great Summer Reads 2014


Courtesy of samarttiw and

Don’t let the snow in Montana today fool you– it’s almost summer! And that means it’s almost time for summer reading. Again this year, law school faculty and staff share some of their suggestions.

Green GovernanceEduardo Capulong
Wave: A Memoir of Life after the Tsunami by Sonali Deraniyagala
Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families by Anthony Lukas
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights, and the Law of the Commons by Burns H. Weston & David Boiller
Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson

Younger Next YearGreg Munro
Younger Next Year  and Younger Next Year for Women by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge


GoldfinchCynthia Ford
The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Painter by Peter Heller


Banker to the PoorIrma Russell

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty by Mohammad Yunus


ZenPatience Woodill
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon (due out in June)
The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Making a Living Doing What You Love by Mary Ellen Bates

UnsaidStacey Gordon

Unsaid by Neil Abramson
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Inferno by Dan Brown


Passion for NatureMichelle Bryan Mudd
A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster


Calling Me HomePeggy Tonon
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
Any novel by Camilla Lackberg
Any novel by Jo Nesbo



Wild OnesMartha Williams
Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story about Looking at People Looking at Animals in America by Jon Mooallem
Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee
Encounter with the Archdruid by John McPhee


Want a few more suggestions? Check out the 2012 and 2013 Great Summer Reads.

Add your own suggestions by commenting on this post.

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