Holiday Cheer

Christmas tree constructed from green law books.


Happy Holidays from the Jameson Law Library staff! The blog will be taking a break for a few weeks, but will return in January.


Happy Thanksgiving


Presidential Proclamations remind us of things that are important to us as a nation. They celebrate events and people. . . . Proclamations also remind us of things we should be mindful of. . . . National monuments are established by presidential proclamation and trade agreements are implemented by presidential proclamation.  Public policy may be set through presidential proclamation.

Every President since George Washington has proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday. (And although the history is uncertain, the traditional Presidential pardoning of a turkey may go back to Abraham Lincoln.) Today, President Obama proclaimed that tomorrow, November 24, is a National Day of Thanksgiving.

On this holiday, we count our blessings and renew our commitment to giving back. We give thanks for our troops and our veterans — and their families — who give of themselves to protect the values we cherish; for the first responders, teachers, and engaged Americans who serve their communities; and for the chance to live in a country founded on the belief that all of us are created equal. . . . For generations, our Nation’s progress has been carried forward by those who act on the obligations we have to one another. Each year on Thanksgiving, the selflessness and decency of the American people surface in food banks and shelters across our country, in time spent caring for the sick and the stranger, and in efforts to empathize with those with whom we disagree and to recognize that every individual is worthy of compassion and care. As we gather in the company of our friends, families, and communities . . . let us strive to lift up others, promote tolerance and inclusiveness, and give thanks for the joy and love that surround all of us.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 24, 2016, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.

For more information about Thanksgiving proclamations, Presidential proclamations in general, and researching Presidential Proclamations see our 2013 blog post Proclamations of Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Day to Be Dedicated to the Cause of World Peace: A Brief Documentary History of Veterans Day

c28a5-armisticeday“My fellow countrymen–the armistice was signed this morning.  EverythingNewspaper for which America fought has been accomplished.  It will now be our fortunate duty to assist by example, by sober, friendly counsel and by material aid in the establishment of just democracy throughout the world.”  President Woodrow Wilson proclaiming the end of World War I.

Modern Veterans Day began with the end of  “the war to end all wars.”  The armistice went into effect at 11:00am on the 11th day of the 11th month.  A year later, President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

In 1938, Congress designated Armistice Day, November 11 as a legal holiday, “dedicated to the cause of world peace.”


The hope in 1938 was that there would be no more wars.  In 1954, after World War II, Congress officially changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars.


Officially proclaiming Veterans Day, 1954, President Eisenhower said:

WHEREAS it has long been our custom to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by redirecting ourselves to the cause of peace; and … WHEREAS, in order to expand the significance of that commemoration and in order that a grateful Nation may pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation, the Congress, by an Act approved June 1, 1954 (68 Stat. 168), changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.  NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day.  On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores to preserve our heritage of freedom…

This Monday, November 11, 2013 we will again honor our veterans:



On Veterans Day, America pauses to honor every service member who has ever worn one of our Nation’s uniforms.  Each time our country has come under attack, they have risen in her defense.  Each time our freedoms have come under assault, they have responded with resolve.  Through the generations, their courage and sacrifice have allowed our Republic to flourish.  And today, a Nation acknowledges its profound debt of gratitude to the patriots who have kept it whole…

For more information on the history of Veterans Day, see these sources:

This blog was originally posted to celebrate Veterans’ Day in 2013.

Don’t Forget the Basics


Sometimes the best way to get your mind around a new topic is not by tackling the most complex treatise in the library but by scanning the least complex.  If you were new to copyright law, for example, you may not want to start off with Nimmer on Copyright, a venerable 11 volume, several thousand page looseleaf set under constant revision, when Copyright law in a nutshell is nearby.  Nutshells are generally 300 to 500 pages, assume no real prior expertise, and offer a broad view of a topic.  And that’s why people like them.

Nutshells represent a class of library materials known as study aids. The Jameson Law Library has recently purchased the West Publishing Study Aids package which is available electronically and includes several series such as Nutshells, Stories, Acing, Hornbooks, as well as materials on academic and career success. 1L and 2L/3L course subjects are also covered.

Here is an example of the materials available in the academic success section:


How to Write Law Exams: IRAC Perfected

Strong, S. I. / Desnoyer, Brad

1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the …

McClurg, Andrew J.

Acing the Bar Exam

Darrow-Kleinhaus, Suzanne

A Weekly Guide to Being a Model Law Student

Ruskell, Alex

Mastering the Law School Exam

Darrow-Kleinhaus, Suzanne

The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School

Whitebread, Charles H.

Law School Secrets: Outlining for Exam Success

Batoff, Jeffrey S.

A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student

Franzese, Paula Ann

The Bar Exam in a Nutshell

Darrow-Kleinhaus, Suzanne

Law School Success in a Nutshell

Burkhart, Ann M. / Stein, Robert A

Get a Running Start: Your Comprehensive Guide to the First Year …

Gray, David C. / Gifford, Donald G. / Graber, Mark / Richman, William M. / Super, David A. / Van Alstine, Michael P.

Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success

Shapo, Helene S. / Shapo, Marshall S.

The west study aids package is available to all UM Missoula students and faculty. You can access the package through the Law Library Databases list.

While the Law Library maintains paper copies of many of these titles, using the electronic versions offers two advantageous: they are always available (including the most current edition),  and you don’t have to return them on time.

What’s on Class Reserve in the Law Library?

Currently there are two principles guiding class reserve materials for law school courses.   Note: 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 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.

If you have further questions about law school class reserves at the Law Library, please don’t hesitate to ask a library staff member or email me at

Google Abuse

Google Abuse

[goo-guhl]  [ uh-byoos]


  1. Wrong or improper use; misuse.



  1. Search behavior based on the erroneous belief that Google will find whatever is sought.


Although I’m coining the phrase here for the first time (as far as I know), Google abuse is very common. It happens all the time.  Google abuse happens when people attempt to use Google to answer questions or find things that are better answered or found using some other search engine, query, database, process, method, etc.  Google abuse is like using the wrong tool to get a job done: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work very well, and sometimes it totally botches the job. You would not use a hammer to drive in a screw or an eggbeater to cut your lawn, yet people persist in using Google to the exclusion of other resources, often with poor results. Ask any librarian.

Google is a wonderful tool for a vast number of questions. I use it for personal and professional information gathering all the time. I find it very helpful to verify things and to put thing in context. For example, I was recently asked about the prayer for relief aspect of a civil complaint in Montana.  Since I wasn’t sure what the term prayer for relief   meant, I went to Google and gave it a try. I quickly learned that it is the aspect of a complaint where the expectations of relief or remedy in a civil case are spelled out. Pushing my luck (and committing Google Abuse), I mixed the word “Montana” into my google search.  Of course it was a “Google Dead End” (another Google phenomenon where although you have thousands of hits, none of them are appropriate).

In order to integrate my useful Google results about prayer for relief into Montana’s legal structure,  I had to go to another source, namely the Montana Code Annotated and specifically the rules of civil procedure  to learn that the relief aspects of a complaint are addressed in section  8, rule 54. Finding cases where rule 54 was applied to the patron’s specific situation was simply a matter of moving to the MCA annotations.

In this case I used Google to verify a term and provide a context for that term.  It worked  but asking Google to then provide information about how the term fits together with Montana law failed completely.

Here are a couple of indicators that you either are, or are about to, commit Google Abuse.

  1. Your question is complex and very specific yet you hope Google answers it. My reference question above illustrates this. Another example: A professor wanted to know if his published paper appeared in a certain online resource. A google search did not indicate that it was so he concluded that it was not. In fact it was included in the online resource but Google could not make that determination.


  1. The first couple of pages of Google results don’t answer your question. Usually the most useful results of a Google search are on the first page, sometimes the second. There is rarely anything useful beyond the second page. If you find yourself looking at the 4th page of a google search, vary your search terms or consider a more appropriate resource.

The End of the Internet…

Yep, pretty big news. Was it Trump? Kanye West? Apple? The FBI? No, none of them did it.  It was bound to happen from the beginning. Everything has an end, even the internet (well, except for one thing).  See for yourself.

Now that the internet has ended I guess we’re ready for the next big thing. And what is the next big thing? Spring break, of course!

So put down your laptop and pick up a book. The old fashioned kind, one made out of paper and cardboard, preferably fiction. Pop a top. Relax. Have a great spring break.