There’s a New Blog in Town

In the 1930s S.R. Ranganathan formulated his five laws of library science:

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every reader his / her book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. The library is a growing organism.

In 2004 librarian Alireza Noruzi applied these laws to the internet:

  1. Web resources are for use.
  2. Every reader his / her web resource.
  3. Every web resource its user.
  4. Save the time of the user.
  5. The web is a growing organism.

And now I will apply the laws of library science to weblogs or blogs.

  1. Blogs are for use.
  2. Every reader his / her Blog.
  3. Every Blog its user.
  4. Save the time of the Blogger.
  5. Blogs are a growing organism.

Save the time of the blogger? What does that mean? I realize that its not a perfect application of the laws of library science but it helps to illustrate a point: There is very likely a blog about almost anything you can think up. Try it. Just add the word “blog” to your google search. It is surprising how much knowledge, information, insight and advice people have to share.

Recently, Professor Bari Burke created a blog about the first women admitted to the Montana bar called “Montana’s Early Women Lawyers: Trail-blazing, Big Sky Sisters-in Law“.

Professor Burke focuses on women attorneys in Montana between 1899 and 1950 by providing biographical and anecdotal information on each woman admitted to the Montana Bar. Professor Burke also provides some historical statistics and lists significant events for women lawyers in Montana. Her blog is kept up to date with entries that consist of historical newspaper clippings that address some aspect of the status of women practicing law in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Visit Montana’s Early Women Lawyers for a fascinating study of how women participated in the legal profession in Montana’s early years.


All in One Place — Finding Calls for Papers and More

medium_3633878845Have you ever noticed that it’s not all that unusual to find several different car dealerships pretty much side by side along a certain stretch of road?  I asked someone once why this was so.  The reason given was that it benefits both buyers and dealers.  Buyers are lured by having a lot of options in basically once place and dealers end up with more buyers coming through their doors as a result.  When it comes to locating options for scholarly writing the same idea applies — it’s the best of all possible worlds when you can find several options in one place rather than having to hunt down individual Calls for Papers, Conferences, Symposia and the like.

In this post we offer a selection of websites that maintain lists of Calls for Papers and other scholarly writing opportunities for law faculty — and law students.

A word to students interested in scholarly writing opportunities:  In the sites below, you may have to search a bit harder to find opportunities especially for students.  But note:  Cal Western has a site devoted just to student writing competitions.  More on this site at the end of the post.

Keeping in line with the idea of congregating similar products in one area, we’ve included a linked list to each of these sites on our blog for you.  Look in the right column of our blog for “Calls for Papers & More.”  No need to search for this post again or to bookmark anything … well, except for bookmarking our blog site!

Legal Scholarship Blog

One reason why I like this site is because it offers the option to search by area of law, something you won’t find elsewhere.  Other features include:

  • Colloquia Series — list of colloquiums, some of which offer student or junior scholar opportunities
  • Grants — a list of organizations, agencies, and societies providing support for research, project, and teaching opportunities.
  • Research Dean — links to information on law review submissions, law review studies, articles on legal scholarship, research deans, and writing abstracts
  • Teaching — loads of information for prospective law professors and current law professors alike  (categories within include: general information, diversity, fellowships, process, casebooks, examinations, evaluation, pedagogical technology, technique & theory)

Legal Scholarship Network

From the folks at SSRN, this is a clean, no -frills website list.  Within categories, postings are listed by submission deadline date.  A small drawback — you can’t select by area of law.  Use the linked categories at the top of the page to go directly to the type of opportunity you are interested in.  The categories:

  • Calls for Papers and Participants–Conferences
  • Calls for Papers–Research Projects/Proposals
  • Calls for Papers–Journals & Books
  • Call for Applicants — Academic Programs
  • Awards, Grants, Fellowships, and Scholarships Available

Calling All Papers!

The University of Georgia Law Library maintains this list of Calls for Papers and Journals and Conferences/Symposia.  The default opening list is by date posted to the website and provides all details about an opportunity.  But, you can view a quick, unexpanded list by looking at the archive list in the right column and you can narrow your search by date using the calendar by clicking on dates that are underscored.

The Faculty Lounge Blog

As part of its conversations about law, culture, and academia, The Faculty Lounge Blog includes a category devoted to Calls for Papers.  Again, opportunities are listed by date posted to the website.  Each post contains a brief description of the opportunity with a link to additional information.

AALS Workshops & Conferences

The American Association of Law Schools (AALS) posts upcoming workshops and conferences they sponsor, which generally include calls for papers.  Events posted extend far into the future, giving you the opportunity for advanced planning.  Links to details may not always be available for events that extend beyond the next few months.

Just for Students: Cal Western-Student Writing Competitions

Opportunities are organized by title, topic, and submission deadline.  Simply click on the column header to sort by that column. For more information on a particular competition, click on its title.

Photo via morgueFile

Retaining Your Author Rights

medium_3575391687If you are submitting your scholarly work during the fall submission period (or at any point in time for that matter), be sure that you retain your author rights to your work.  You want your scholarship disseminated to the widest possible audience.  Retaining your author rights can ensure your right to post your work to repositories (such as The Scholarly Forum @ Montana Law, bepress Legal Repository, and the Social Science Research Network (SSRN)).  In addition, retaining your author rights can ensure that you can place your work on your faculty webpage, include parts of your article in later works, and give copies to your class.  Traditional author agreements often inhibit your efforts to use your work in these ways.  Thus, it is critical that you take the time to review your author agreement carefully and modify your agreement so that you keep important rights to your works.

Fortunately, most law school law reviews and journals are happy to accede to this request, and usually ask only that you cite to their publication.  Commercially produced journals, on the other hand, can be a different matter and the rights you retain as an author will vary depending on the publisher.

Take the time to identify the rights you have as copyright holder, whether publishing in a law school review or journal or in a commercial publication.  You’ll be glad you did.  Below are some selected resources to assist you.

If you’d like to review a few examples of publisher agreements and author rights pages, take a look below at a sampling of what you may come across when you submit an article for publication.

photo credit: Keith Chastin via photo pin cc

Law Review Online Companions: A Scholarly Publication Opportunity for Faculty & Law Students

If you are searching for an opportunity to publish your scholarly work in a “short form” scale — and a relatively quick publication time frame — a law review online companion may be just the option for you.  The first law review online companion, Yale’s The Pocket Part (now called The Yale Law Journal Online or YLJ Online) was first published in 2005.   When Matthew Bodie wrote his essay on law review companions two years later for the launch of Connecticut Law Review’s CONNtemplations there were eight online companions.   Today, there are over 50.

While variations exist, law review online companions generally have the following characteristics:

  • Short (sometimes very short) in length.  The range is anywhere from 1500 words to a maximum of 10,000 words; a fairly typical average is around 3000 to 4000 words.  A few limit by page number, 15 pages being about average.
  • Lightly footnoted.  Note that the word count above generally includes footnotes.
  • Timely, relevant pieces.  Online companions publish shorter pieces with more immediacy than is possible in the traditional law review process.
  • Quick acceptance and expedited publication.  Again, turnaround varies, but because of the desire for timely, newsworthy pieces, the process is expedited.  Some may notify authors as quickly as within a week of submission, if selected.  A few are more stringent and have a longer more rigorous review process (e.g., North Carolina Law Review’s Addendum).
  • Rolling submissions and frequent publication.  A good number accept submissions on a rolling basis and publish often throughout the year.
  • Submission via email to the editors of the online companion rather than through an online submission service such as ExpressO or Scholastica.
  • Traditional print law review citation to works.  Publication to the website may also be formatted and paginated like the print volumes, but not always.
  • Online publication only — no print versions.  Pieces are placed permanently on the law review companion website.  A growing number are now available on Lexis and Westlaw, and a couple appear on HeinOnline (PENNumbra and Addendum).

The goal of online companions is primarily to provide a forum for thoughtful responses to traditional print law review articles and for the inclusion of shorter forms of original legal scholarship on timely current legal issues.  Here’s what some online companions have to say about what their mission is:

  • Maryland Law Review’s Endnotes looks to “facilitate more robust discussion of [their] print articles and quickly disseminate commentary on important judicial decisions, legal policy issues, and legislative developments.”
  • The California Law Review online companion, The Circuit, states it seeks to publish a “wide variety of timely legal commentaries, essays, response pieces, reviews, debates, and student work.”
  • de•novo, Cardozo’s online companion, says it is a “home for shorter articles on timely legal issues … [and] also hosts ‘mini-symposia’ that feature articles from professors and practitioners across political and sociological lines in order to create a lively debate on a selected legal issue.”
  • Southern California Law Review’s Postscript notes that their online companion permits them to “publish a wider variety of worthwhile material than [they] can accommodate in [their] printed journal.”

The actual content accepted by individual companions can vary quite a bit, although most seek to publish a wide variety of timely legal commentaries, essays, response pieces to print journal articles, reviews, debates, and student work.  Some are more restrictive and may limit pieces to responses and reactions to articles published in their print journal or limit pieces to state-specific and/or federal circuit legal developments and issues.  Texas Law Review’s Dicta, for example, is quite specific — it focuses solely on reviews of “recently published books that are of interest to the legal academy.”

For more complete details, consult the helpful lists below:

  • Colin Miller’s Submission Guide for Online Law Review Supplements, Version 6.2 is available on SSRN.  His list of 46 online companions includes the journal title and link, types of pieces accepted, submission information, and submission format.
  • Texas Wesleyan School of Law maintains a PDF list that includes not only online companions, but also law reviews with blogs, and online-only law reviews (of the over 100 listed, 55 are identified as online companions).  The list provides the publication name, website URL, identifies type of publication, description of works accepted, and whether available on Lexis and Westlaw.  Also, when available, the list indicates whether the online companion is limited to responses and comments, whether it allows creative pieces, how frequently it is published, timeline for response to a submission, information on the submission process, and word length limit/recommendation.
  • Weidener School of Law publishes a list of 43 law review online companions.  The list includes the URLS for the print journal and for submission to the online supplement, the name of the online companion, and a brief description of the submission requirements.

Great Summer Reads 2013

One of the great pleasures of summer is reading a good book on a lazy, sunny afternoon. Here are some recommendations, compiled from the law school faculty. They aren’t necessarily law related, though some are. All are great reads!

Prof. Stacey Gordon

Prof. Andrew King-Ries

Prof. Hillary Wandler

If you want your summer reading to be more law-focused, here are three good reading lists to start with:

HeinOnline — Your Law Review and Journal Go-To Resource

I know.  You’ve heard tell of HeinOnline and you’ve wondered what all the fuss is about.  Well, grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and let’s chat a bit about Hein’s ever-growing collection of legal materials — in particular, it’s extensive collection of law reviews and journals.

Coverage:   Hein has a collection of  more than 1,700 law and law-related journals beginning with the first issue published through the most-currently published issues (although some have a contractual embargo, generally for a year, for the most current issues).

Where to Find Hein:   To access Hein’s collection of law reviews and journals,  go to the Jameson Law Library website and click on the “Law Library Databases” link.   Select HeinOnline from the list and then click on “Law Journal Library” at Hein’s home page (see below).

Hein-1-home page

Locating Publications:  You’ll find it’s easy to locate publications by title, state, country, or most-cited.   For example, if you want to locate the Montana Law Review,  select the letter “M” under “By Publication,” and scroll down to Montana Law Review.   At this point, you can search the title or expand by volume number,  as the screenshot below indicates.   Also notice that the Montana Law Review offers e-Table of Contents (TOC) alert and RSS Feed options, features not provided by  all law reviews or journals.


Searching on Hein:    A variety of search options are available on Hein.   If you have a citation, you can use the Citation Navigator in the left column.  You can also conduct a field search or advanced search.  Hein uses Terms and Connectors searching, which means, for example, quotation marks are required to retrieve phrases and Boolean operators must be in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.   Let’s say you are interested in law reviews about constitutional law in Montana.   You might conduct your search per the example below:

Hein-4-example field search

Search Tip:   When you are looking for law reviews on a particular topic consider selecting “Article Title” from the drop-down box (instead of “Text”).   Generally, if the topic (such as “constitutional law”) is in the title of the article, you are assured of retrieving law review articles with substantial information on that topic.   When you search by “Text,” although you will retrieve more results, it’s also likely that these results will be less relevant or not on point because your topic term or phrase may only appear in a footnote or be mentioned merely in passing.   The results list of our sample search looks like this:

Hein-5-example field search-results list

Refining Search Results:  There are seven results for our search.   Notice that the phrase “constitutional law” and the term “Montana” appear in the titles of the results list.   If you like, you can further refine the results by using the limiters in the left column — by type of article, subject, law review title, state where published, and date.

Article Format:   Articles are in PDF format and Hein offers a nice feature that allows you to search your PDF article.   Look for the magnifying glass at the top of the article page.   After clicking on the magnifying glass you have the option to search for a term or phrase in the section, on the page, or in the title.   Also, a page number drop-down box enables you to move quickly to a desired page.   On the left column is a list of retrieved articles (or you may see a table of contents), as well as links to clear, revise, or return to results.

Hein-6-MtLRev-example of article

There is much more to talk about when it comes to Hein, but it’s time to get back to work.  We’ll pick up the conversation about this unique and useful research resource again on another day.  Stay tuned.

Getting Assistance:    In the meantime, for help and support using Hein, you can visit HeinOnline Help & Support, complete with PDF guides, video tutorials, search examples, and more.   And, of course, you can always ask the friendly Jameson Law Library staff for assistance — don’t be shy!   That’s what we’re here for.

Using PACER to View Federal Court Documents

Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER, is an online service from the federal Judiciary that provides case and docket information from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.

pacerLogoLaw students and faculty have free access to PACER for academic use for the federal district court of Montana.  If you need access to other courts, contact Stacey or Cynthia.

To access PACER for the Montana Federal District Court, go to the law library web page, open the Law Library Databases link, and select PACER.  You will need your UM NetID and password.  (Your UM NetID is the number that begins with the initials of your name followed by numbers and ending with the letter “e.”)

Once at the search page, select Query and enter a case number or party name.  To retrieve the docket for the case, select “Docket Report.”  You can narrow results, if you wish, before clicking “Run Report.”  Documents available to view have a hyperlinked number next to them.  Select the document you are interested in viewing and click “View Document.”  To print a document, select the File tab at the top of your screen or scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the printer icon.