Finding Journals and Law Reports

A row of leather bound books fills the frame from left to right. The title 'Session Cases' and the year are embossed on the spines. The leather is blonde and each spine has a red and black square.

Session Cases, image courtesy of the Supreme Court Library team, SCTS

Law reports and journal articles become increasingly important as students progress through their studies and research, and finding them can be tricky at times.

The library has access to a plethora of reports and journals but not everything is available online. Although we continually look for online access wherever it is available there is material that we can only receive in print.

The main places to get online access to law reports and journals is through our legal databases – mainly Westlaw, LexisLibrary and HeinOnline.

The Law Subject guide includes a section on Law Reports and access to eBooks. There is also information on the hierarchy of law reports to help students decide which reference to use when citing cases.

What to do if we do not have full online access?

Students often contact us asking why they can only get an abstract to the item they want in the online databases. This is because we do not get full text (full online) access to everything within all the databases. Sometimes we only have access to the bibliographic details such as the reference and abstract. So how can you get a copy of the full item?

Staff and students can use the interlibrary loan service to request items. This service involves us requesting material from partner libraries. There is a limit on how much can be requested and full details are on the interlibrary loan pages:

In Edinburgh staff and students also can get access to the National Library of Scotland who have a great range of resources available from their own collection and also through their relationship with the Faculty of Advocates’ Library.

If you’ve tried all the above avenues and are still struggling to get access to what you need, drop us an email on law.librarian@ed.ac.uk for some help.

 

Media Hopper, aka UoE YouTube!

If you’ve attended any of the induction sessions we’ve run in the past few weeks, you’ll have heard us mention Media Hopper (and specifically the Law Librarian Media Hopper Channel) many times as part of our introductory material.

Okay, but what is it?

Vector graphic image of a computer monitor which has a video play screen visible in the centre-left. Several smaller rectangles are displayed to the right of the main box on-screen, indicating a playlist or videos queued up.

‘Video stream’ image by febrianes86 via Pixabay

Media Hopper is like the University’s own version of Youtube. It’s an online storage repository and player for videos, and it means we can upload videos and recordings that you can watch to find out about more about library services, subscription databases, and many other resources. If you study online you may be used to watching videos or pre-recorded lectures that have been made for you on your course; the great thing about Media Hopper is that it’s not just for your coursework, it can be for other things too!

What does the Library use it for then?

Loads of things! We upload recordings of sessions, promotional videos for our online information skills course, and demonstrations of databases. We can also create playlists which link together useful videos on popular themes. For example, on the Law Librarian channel we have the following:

  • Recordings of the introductory sessions we offer for UG, PG and PhD students
  • Westlaw demonstration (with more databases demos to come)
  • Using Legal Databases training
  • Using news databases
  • Simple search in DiscoverEd
  • Referencing help, including demonstrations of the latest version of Endnote.

Sounds great! But do you have a video for….?

If there’s something you think we should make a video about, why not contact us to let us know. We take requests! Email us on law.librarian@ed.ac.uk with your suggestions. We want the resources we make to be as useful as possible, so all ideas are welcome.

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!

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.

Three new things: Dissertations

It’s around the time where many of our students will be planning and beginning the research for their dissertations. If you’re at the start of this journey and looking for a bit of help we’ve got three new things which we hope will help you on your way.

1: Llm Dissertation : How to Maximise Marks for Your Practice Focused Dissertation by Suzanne Reece.

Book cover, which features an orange background and a student sitting at a desk facing away from the viewer. Visible on the desk are a laptop and many open books, and there are number hovering around the student's head, implying they are surrounded by research data.

This book is brand new to the library and while it is focused on specifically LLM dissertations, it contains useful information about how to plan for any large research project in Law. Chapters include helping choose your topic, planning and timing, and #SurvivalTips. Reece identifies top tips and common mistakes in students’ work and suggests activities to help you explore your research thoroughly. As such it’s more of a handbook than a set of rules to follow, but we think it will help answer many of the frequently asked questions that students have early in the process.

We have this ebook on an unlimited user license, which means that there’s no waiting and no queue to take it out. Find access information via the DiscoverEd record for this item.

2: Dissertation Festival (Guide and Festival Bag)

You may have seen that Library Services ran our second Dissertation Festival for the year in March 2021. While the festival events don’t exactly line up with Law Dissertation timetable, the wonderful thing about hosting the festival online is that we can keep the resources around for you to access just when you need them most!

  • Are you looking for some inspiration for which of the library collections can help you with your research?
  • Do you need some support in constructing your search strategy, or managing your results?
  • Would you like some tips from students who’ve previously completed their dissertation work?

The Dissertation Festival subject guide has all this and much more available with the click of a button! Recordings are available for our live sessions and slides have been added.  Plus you can access my favourite part, the festival tote bag (not a real bag) via the link on the front page. We can’t furnish you with free pens and post-its for the next academic year, but we do have an image of a penguin and a bagpiper from our collection that you can use as your Zoom background…

3: A twitter thread on #EdLitSearchTips

Our Academic Support Librarian colleagues have been compiling a list of tips that will help you get started with literature searching. Although you may have used DiscoverEd or our Library Databases to find materials for your assignments before, click through to this series of tweets to get advice from information professionals whose business it is to help you find information!

A screen capture of a tweet which features a black and white image of the corner of a laptop, a mug containing many pens and other stationery, and another mug.  The text in the tweet reads "The librarians often get asked for advice on literature searching - so over the next few weeks we will be tweeting some hints and tips! So look out for our #EdLitSearchTips".

Click this image to find a list of #EdLitSearchTips

If you’re struggling to get started with your research, why not arrange a one-to-one with one of the Law Librarians to discuss your research question and which direction you’d like to go? We can help suggest resources or even just provide advice on the best way to go about searching. Look out for the next available ‘Literature search clinic’ appointment using the MyEd Booking System and find the option for ‘Law’. Further details on how to book can be found on this earlier post on our blog, or just email law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

Five legal news resources in Scotland

A colourful stack of newspapers are folded at the bottom of the screen. The word 'news' in typewriter font is written in black across a blue background at the top of the image.

Image from kalhh on Pixabay

Always keen to show you that librarians know about more than just books, we like to highlight a range of resources for legal information here on the Law Librarian blog. This week we’re bringing you links to five organisations and that can help you keep abreast of current issues in Scottish legal news.

A website: The Law Society of Scotland: News & Events page

The Law Society of Scotland is not only the professional body for over 12,000 Scottish solicitors, but also a valuable site for keeping up-to-date with recent Society News, Legal News, Blogs and Publications, and much more! If you haven’t already got this page bookmarked we highly recommend it.

An email newsletter: Scottish Legal News

Subscribing to the free daily newsletter from Scottish Legal News brings you highlights and current awareness bulletins directly to your inbox. With everything from training opportunities and digests of notable cases, to job adverts and (our personal favourite) the ‘…and finally’ articles, this service is worth its weight in gold. Follow them on Twitter @ScottishLegal.

A YouTube channel: Edinburgh Law School

Whether you subscribe for the promotional videos from your fellow students talking about their experiences at the Law School, or you want to watch back particularly interesting recordings such as the recent Crime, Justice and Society Seminar on ‘Rap lyrics in criminal trials: What does the case law tell us?’, you can be sure to find something interesting and relevant to your study on the School channel. You can, of course, follow the Law School updates on Twitter @UoELawSchool. CJS are also on Twitter @UoECJS.

A podcast: The Scottish Feminist Judgments Podcast

The Scottish Feminist Judgments Project is part of a global series that aims to imagine how important legal cases might have been decided differently if the judge had adopted a feminist perspective. Coordinated by  Sharon Cowan (University of Edinburgh), Chloë Kennedy (University of Edinburgh) and Vanessa Munro (University of Warwick), you can now listen to four excellent episodes of feminist analysis of Scottish judgments via Media Hopper or Apple Podcasts. More information about the project can be found on the website or their Twitter feed, @ScottishFemJP

A student society: Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Society

CrimSoc are a group led by students who are passionate about providing university-wide opportunities to all students interested in exploring all aspects of criminal law and justice. They seek to provide useful information about both legal and non-legal careers as well as regular discussion of current topics of interest with guest speakers. Students can find out more about joining the society using the contact information on the EUSA website, their Facebook group, or by following them on Instagram @uofecrimsoc.

We hope you’ve found something of interest to your studies or your professional development in the above list. If you regularly get your Scottish legal news from another source please leave a comment to tell us where! Alternatively you can contact us by emailing law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

Dissertation Festival: Monday 8th – Friday 19th March 2021

  • Do you want to find out more about the library resources available to support your dissertation question?
  • Are you interested in learning how to manage the bibliographic and research data you’ve found?

Join us in a fortnight of online events and find out what the Library can do for you to help you succeed with your dissertation.

  • Make your dissertation something special : find out about the fantastic collections available at the Centre for Research Collections
  • Discover the full range of digital resources that you can access via the University
  • Take the first steps to learn new skills in managing your bibliographic references and your research data

We know that in Law your dissertation period starts later in Semester Two, but it’s never too early to start planning and see what resources are out there! We’ll also be recording many live sessions which will be available to watch back at a time that suits you.

Find out more at: https://edinburgh-uk.libguides.com/dissertation

For more information about how the library can support your dissertation or research project, contact us by emailing law.librarian@ed.ac.uk, or book a one-to-one appointment with us using the MyEd booking system: search for ‘law’ and find the listing for ‘literature search clinic’.

A person is standing in front of a wall with his back to the camera. The wall is covered with bits of white paper showing images, notes and text, suggesting he is organising his thoughts and constructing a plan.

Forward planning is important! (Image from pexels on pixabay)

Exams and revision

It’s that time of year where everyone is focused on exams and assignment deadlines. In 2020 of course there’s the added pressure of taking a different kind of test and worrying about getting home safely. It is an extremely stressful time.

If you’re struggling to find your studying groove you may find the links in our Exam and Revision subject guide helpful. You will find information about library services and how to access resources online, but there’s also a wellbeing section with ideas on how to take care of yourself.

The Law subject guide has loads of information including links and instructions on how to use many of the subject specific resources we have available.

And of course we’ve been putting videos up on the Law Librarian Media Hopper channel all semester, so if you’ve forgotten how to use Westlaw or need a refresher on referencing take a look.

Here are our top five tips for revision and successful study:

  • Drink plenty of water. It sounds obvious, but the better hydrated you are, the better your brain functions.
  • Take breaks. Make sure you get up from your desk and stretch and move around a bit, ideally for a few minutes every hour. Get outside if you can, or open a window. Even when you’re studying on-campus in a library it’s possible to leave your workspace for a short period to take a walk around.
  • Organise your notes. It’s a well known fact that librarians love stationery! We’re big fans of colourful highlighters, sticky notes and fancy pens. Even if that doesn’t make organisation fun for you it’s a good idea to keep notes from the same subject together and easily accessible when you’re working on assignments. It’s amazing how much time can be wasted looking for that one scrap of paper that had an important case citation on it.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Inevitably if you’re still working on the day your work is due your references will disappear, you’ll miss the bus, your internet will conk out and the printer will jam. Try to anticipate the issues by planning for the worst-case scenario – sometimes this means tricking yourself into pretending the due date is a day or two before the real deadline.
  • Work hard, play hard. When you’re finished studying for the day do something completely different with your free time. Switching off from revision and doing something active, creative or social will help you unwind which will give your brain a rest and will allow you to come back to the task fresh.

We hope some of this information has been useful to you, and wish you the best of luck with your upcoming exams, assignments and submissions. If you have any questions about library resources please do let us know on law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.