Visit the Law Library… virtually!

students exiting the Law Library building in Old College quad

Law Library exterior, Old College

As the semester gets going you may be keen to visit our beautiful Law Library at Old College to find materials, use a study space, or generally just soak up the atmosphere.

However we know that after the past year some students may be anxious about coming on to campus, and may be worried about what to expect. In order to help with that we’ve prepared a short Sway as a guide to the Law Library. It includes information on what’s in the collections, photos of the library, and links to other helpful resources you may want to use. You can find it here:

Law Library Library Orientation Guide

We’ve made different guides for each of our site libraries which you can find on the Library Orientation Guide page on our website. You’ll also find a guide to Using the Library Online, which we think will be helpful for our online or distance students, or those who are self-isolating or in quarantine.

Other preparations for visiting campus may include looking at maps ahead of time. Did you know we’ve got an interactive campus map? If you visit the Maps page and use the key to select the Layers tab, and then click the eye icon to make Libraries and Study Spaces visible, you can see all our locations across the city! We’ve highlighted the Law Library icon in the image below in pink.

Map of the central part of campus, with buildings highlighted in a variety of colours. Several black circles featuring white book icons are visible on the screen, to indicate the location of libraries.

We look forward to seeing you on campus soon!

Note: The Microsoft Sway platform uses moving images in their templates, and each of the above Sways use one moving image at the top of the page. If you require the information in an alternative format please contact us by email: law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

Resources Lists- what are they and where do I find them?

At the start of a new semester it is always a priority to find your course reading material.

Many of the Law School courses use Resource Lists to detail the course readings, and the links to these lists are in your Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learn. Look out for the link to Library Resources or Resource List on your course pages.

Not every course uses this type of list for their readings but an increasing number of  courses do. Whatever way your course uses to tell you about course readings if you have an issues about accessing library resources then don’t forget you can always get in touch with your Academic Support Librarians (Law.Librarian@ed.ac.uk).

To see the full details of what you can do with Resources Lists and how to get the best from them (using personalisation features) then go over to the Resources Lists pages at:

https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/research-teaching-staff/resource-lists 

Training: Welcome to the Library!

A pair of converse trainers stand on wooden boards, in front of a door mat which says 'welcome on board'. There are silver coloured bolts on the floor next to the mat which imply that this person is standing on a dock.

Image from PXfuel, licensed for re-use

It’s almost the start of the new academic year which means it’s one of the busiest times of year for Academic Support Librarians. We offer a range of introductory training sessions for students joining the university, and we have some bespoke sessions arranged for each level of study in the School of Law.

14th September: Postgraduate (online) – Using the University Library

22nd September: Undergraduate: Using the University Library

23rd September: Postgraduate (all) – Using the University Library

29th September: PhD – Sources, Materials & Bibliographies

These training events will all be run online using the Collaborate platform, and are often very popular. To find out more and register please use the MyEd Events Booking system and enter the titles above in the search box. Alternatively watch out for direct booking links being circulated via the UG, PG or PhD offices. We will also record these sessions and upload them to our Media Hopper Channel after the event.

When the semester begins we’ll offer one-to-one appointments which you can use to get additional advice to support your studies. These are also available to book via the MyEd Events Booking system, just search for “Literature search clinic” and select the Law specific event, or search for “Law” and select provider group “IS Library and University Collections” to find all our Law related training.

If you have any questions about these or any other training you’d like, please contact us by email: law.librarian@ed.ac.uk. We look forward to welcoming you (or welcoming you back) soon!

Access to Lexis PSL modules

Over the last few weeks the library have been working with the tutors on the Diploma course to set up access to four modules from Lexis PSL.

Aimed at diploma level students it offers practice notes, precedents, forms and current awareness alerts.

Access is provided to four specific modules within this database –

  • Banking & Finance,
  • Commercial,
  • Private Client
  • Property.

Specific Scots Law content is available within these modules which is why they were chosen to compliment the current resources that are available to students undertaking this course.

You can access it from the Law databases page at:

https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/library-museum-gallery/finding-resources/library-databases/databases-subject-a-z/database-law

When you get logged in, you will automatically arrive in the Property module. To switch to other modules, use the dropdown arrow next to the word ‘Property’ in the top navigational bar. The modules we have access to will have a tick next to the titles.

Screenshot taken from the LexisPSL website demonstrating the dropdown arrow on the top navigational bar, and showing the resultant module options displayed in a grey box below the bar.

If you wish to move over to LexisLibrary without returning to the Law Databases page, you can do that using the dropdown arrow next to the Lexis PSL page title.

If you have any problems with this or any of our other databases, please get in touch by emailing law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

BIALL Conference 2021

Although we intend this blog to provide an update to news and services offered by the University which are related to the work of the Law Library, we also would like to let you know what we get up to in our work across the law library sector. Earlier in the summer I attended the British and Irish Association for Law Libraries (BIALL) conference. I was delighted to be awarded a bursary which meant I could attend with a funded place, and so I wrote up a short piece about my experience and the sessions I attended.

Poster for the BIALL 2021 conference. The top half of the image consists of the BIALL logo in white writing on a dark blue background. Under the logo there are the event date and details, and the tagline: Bodies in the library: sleuthing, plotting and making the case. The lower half of the image shows three small figures reading an oversized book, placing a book back into a bookshelf on a computer screen, and a third small figure is sitting on a pile of oversized books. The books and people are colourful and are set on a white background.

BIALL 2021 conference poster

I was delighted to be able to attend the BIALL conference this year with the backing of the GlobalX bursary. As a massive Agatha Christie fan I loved the theme of Bodies in the Library and the event really lived up to my expectations! I enjoyed the parallel sessions on running online escape rooms – which has inspired us to create just such an event with our own library later this year – the courtroom presentation of online vs print resources, and the speakers from Parliamentary libraries. However my favourite speaker was definitely Greg Bennett of Goldsmiths, University of London, whose session ‘A new body, a new library’ spoke to both my interests and experience of working in the Sheriff Courts library service, and my time at the University of Edinburgh.

Greg told us how he’d built a legal library from scratch with a limited budget. He’d had to make tough decisions about which publications and resources were essential, and begged or borrowed withdrawn and duplicate items from other libraries. I recognised many of his struggles and viscerally felt the pain of some of the decisions he’d had to make as in my former role at the Sheriff Courts I was responsible for managing a collection across 37 library sites which had never been managed before! Greg was candid while reflecting on some of the difficulties of justifying his decisions to stakeholders who had only limited understanding of the massive task he undertook. He concluded with some realistic considerations of what will come next for his collection. I think everyone in attendance was astounded by how much he’d done with so little – as fellow law library professionals we could appreciate that his budget for the entire collection barely scratched the surface! I also found it cheering that I could so closely relate to colleagues from different parts of the world with different roles – the usual benefits of networking in-person reached me even in this entirely online event.

Overall I had a really positive experience at this year’s conference and I feel that the organising committee pulled out all the stops presenting a varied programme using an relatively new platform – EventsAir – which I know the University of Edinburgh has also been using for it’s Open Days. It was interesting to use it as an attendee rather than a staff member. I am grateful to have been able to take part in this online conference experience and look forward to my next BIALL event.

 – SarahLouise

Keeping up to date with Library news

The University Library Services throughout the pandemic have had to work within the limits set by the Scottish Government and the wider University. This at times has been frustrating for staff and students as access to resources has been limited.

As government guidance changes in response to the pandemic then the library services have also had to change and adapt.

But it can be difficult to keep up to date with the changes- and that is where the Library Updates pages come in! These pages are the place to go to find out the latest news including re-opening of services, links to more information, help and advice.

As things continue to develop in the run up to the next semester then keep an eye on this page:

New resources: Elgar 2021 ebooks

You may be interested in some of the exciting new ebook packages we’ve purchased recently for use by students and staff in the School.

Edward Elgar Publishing are a well-respected publisher who produce excellent books, textbooks and journals in many subject areas. We often purchase their annual Law ebook package, and this year is no different. Some highlights include:

Book cover for EU Copyright LawBook cover for Comparative Tort LawBook cover for Poverty and Human Rights

For more information about the books included in the Law 2021 package, visit the Elgar Online website, or search DiscoverEd for ‘Edward Elgar’.

If you have suggestions for books you’d like us to purchase for the library, students can use the Student Request A Book (RAB) service. Staff members can follow the procedure on the Library Support intranet page. 

Supplier Help and Training

The university subscribes to hundreds of databases. It can be confusing how to navigate individual databases and resources, and although many can be searched in a similar way they all have unique differences and functionality.

Most resources have help and training pages available to guide you and the Law Library Subject Guide (https://edinburgh-uk.libguides.com/Law) links out to some of the most frequently used including Westlaw, LexisLibrary and HeinOnline. We recently added investorstatelawguide help links – as this platform has recently undergone a refresh.

Screengrab of the home page of InvestorStateLawGuide. At the top of the page 'Welcome back, University of Glasgow' is written, with links to video tutorials below. On the left side of the page there is a navigation pane with a menu which links to different functions of the site.

The help pages on supplier sites are useful as a first port of call – just in case they can answer your query quickly. They also give you access to other materials such as PDF guides, recorded videos, live webinars and online help.

Suppliers encourage users to attend training sessions so if you feel you would benefit then sign up!

Event: House of Commons Library and Briefing Paper Research

If you are interested in legal information and the research that goes into official publications, you may find this upcoming event hosted by the Scottish Law Librarians’ Group to be of interest.

The Scottish Law Librarians’ Group Presents, in association with the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh:

The House of Commons Library and Briefing Paper Research

Thursday 1st July 2021. 7pm-8.30pm

The SLLG Committee and Advocates’ Library are delighted to introduce the inaugural event in our new online lecture series which we hope will be of great interest to law librarians, legal professionals, law students and anyone with an interested in professional legal research.

David Torrance is an experienced researcher at the House of Commons Library and has worked on briefing papers relating to both Scottish Independence and current events in Northern Ireland.

In this talk he will introduce the work of the House of Commons Library, explaining the resources available, how research is conducted, and how briefing papers contribute to the work of the House. We will look at some of the briefing papers David has authored, specifically with reference to issues of relevance for legal professionals in Scotland such as the legality of an independence referendum. The event will also include time for questions after David’s presentation.

This is an online event which will be hosted on Zoom. A link to the event will be sent out to registered attendees two days prior to the talk. The event will be recorded and a link will be circulated to attendees along with additional resources relating to David’s work following the event.

Register on Eventbrite

Library of Congress Law Library

Whilst searching for material you sometimes find a resource that you want to tell other people about! On this occasion it is the Library of Congress  Law Library.

It is based on a print book collection, which is not accessible to us. However as with most libraries today they are digitising their collection. Access may be limited but it still offers alot of interesting material for students of this topic.

One of the sections of most interest was the Indigenous Law Portal, which allowed PDF downloads of some of the materials. This included maps, Constitutions and by-laws, Corporate charters of native villages and Laws.

All in all a treasure trove of material.

If you find any resources you’d like us to share on the blog, please let us know by emailing law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.