Law Library

News and Reports for February 2016

The Georgetown Law Library is an active user of and some of our journals have started to create permalinks as part of their regular workflow, particularly now that perma links are included in the Bluebook.

If you are not familiar with, it is a tool developed at Harvard that "helps scholars, journals, courts, and others create permanent records of the web sources they cite." (See

Creating a account is very simple and quick and with a personal account you can create up to 10 permanent links per month. However, if you are associated with an organizational account, there are no limits.

If you have any questions or would like to have your account registered with the Georgetown Law organizational account, please contact Leah Prescott at or 202-662-4065.


Charles Dudley Warner famously wrote, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." For years, this could also be said of the much reviled Bluebook. Now a group of students at NYU have created a streamlined, open source citation system called #BabyBlue. The new project has not been without controversy, though the Harvard Law Review has backed away from its earlier hardline stance, and the project's progress should be interesting to watch over the next few months and years.

SEO: Choosing Keywords

In the last newsletter, I discussed the importance of links and distributing your work widely for search engine optimization (SEO).  In this installment, I’ll cover the use of keywords and drafting titles and abstracts with SEO in mind.  

In the SEO context, keywords have generally been the means to matching results to queries.  The term “keywords” can refer to those terms that are separately listed, such as the words and phrases supplied by authors to SSRN and the Scholarly Commons, or to those descriptive words and phrases used throughout the work itself.  Historically, the separately listed keywords were extraordinarily important and the primary way to tell a search engine what a work was about.  However, the importance of those keywords is waning as search engines become more adept at latent semantic indexing.  

Unfortunately, the move away from those author-highlighted keywords means that more care is needed in the choice of words used in the work itself.  In short, it means that you should consider what words and phrases potential readers – especially non-legally-trained readers – will use to look for works on your subject, and then use those phrases throughout the work.

So, how do you decide which keywords to use?

  1. Think about what terms your target audience would use to search for your article.  If you’re trying to reach readers in a different discipline, consider how that discipline describes your subject.  Run your possible keywords through Google Scholar.  Which keywords return the scholarship most related to your work?  

  2. Be specific and consider using keyword phrases.  Search behavior has changed so that people are much more precise in their search terms than they used to be.  Be equally specific in the keywords – or phrases – you use.  This advice may seem to conflict with the advice given in pointer #1 above.  Choosing keywords that appeal to a broad audience yet are technical and specific enough is often referred to as the Goldilocks problem.

  3. Use the most important keywords in the title, in the abstract, and in headings throughout the article.  Although Google is getting smarter about deriving the meaning of works, it still uses internal indicators of importance. 

  4. Don’t overdo it.  Fortunately, Google is smart enough to recognize when it is being gamed and will penalize those who overuse keywords and phrases.  

  5. Use descriptive titles and abstracts.  Drafting titles and abstracts is an extension of the keyword process.  In addition to being used by search engines, titles and abstracts are how searchers decide to click through to the work itself.  

Titles should be short, clear, and descriptive. Catchy titles are fun – but they do not always help a reader determine whether the work’s content is relevant. Harkening back to days when authors would hook readers skimming tables of contents with clever titles, many authors start their titles with an interesting clause, followed by a more descriptive clause.  Google isn’t so impressed and prefers shorter titles.  (An interesting find: in the Altmetric list of most talked about (not legal) papers in 2015, all have dry, short, factual titles (hat tip: Scholarly Kitchen)).  

Abstracts are also important.  In Google and Google Scholar, the first sentence of an abstract will be visible within the search results and thus must be on point. Writing for SEO is walking a fine line: although I am not suggesting that you should write for a general audience in the text of a piece, you might consider sacrificing complexity in favor of high readability in the abstract if you wish to improve the Googleability of your work.  

As you might imagine, many others have posted on this subject.  Being aware that over half of their traffic comes from Google and Google Scholar, publishers such as Emerald, Elsevier, and Wiley have all produced short guides on effectively choosing and using keywords to help authors increase the findability of their articles.  My favorite advice – that I highly recommend reviewing – is from an ecology conference.

In the next newsletter, I will discuss another component to effective SEO: building a research profile. If you would like to learn more now, please contact me: Jen Davitt.

International Law Publishers and E-book Platforms: the Elgar Example

Which is true:  researchers and students do or do not like electronic book formats? It is hard to tell for sure, and the empirical data on students seems to give us a mixed picture for academia in general. Regardless of what the surveys say, formats such as Kindle and PDF can be very convenient when used for travel and while attending conferences.  The library has been exploring and investing in e-book platforms, and this is a brief report on one of the more successful implementations in the international and comparative law subject areas: Elgar Online, the e-book collections of the well-known British academic publisher Edward Elgar (and no, it appears the founder is not related to the celebrated composer). 

Elgar Online functions as a database for searching across the book content of its collections, that is, those to which a library subscribes, and its simple platform also permits annotation online (of which more below). The publisher also sends us data about the individually titled volumes (and this publisher specializes in monographs), and just as with the print format, one can discover them using keyword and subject searches in the law library’s catalog. Therefore, when you are searching for books on a particular topic, you may find these titles and access them via our catalog without needing to visit any other location on the internet.

However, another feature that may prove useful to the researcher is the ability to access the collection through the Elgar Online database. If the title field is selected in our catalog and one enters Elgar Online as the title, it will take you immediately to our record for the entire database. Once there, an Advanced Search box is presented at the upper right corner to enable searching across titles, mainly from the Law-Academic section listed to the left of the landing page. Entering terms will search keywords across the sub-topics. One can browse by title or search by title if you happen to know it, but the ability to reach into the full text of the books in our subscribed collection, limiting by type (monographs, handbooks, commentaries, for example), enables access to chapters that include the relevant term. A phrase such as “force majeure” would be entered in quotation marks, and the resulting chapters will show a solid green dot for titles to which we have access. Sorting the results may be done in a drop-down menu:  by date, or by author or title alphabetically. Best of all, the publisher provides the PDF format and the chapter may be annotated using Adobe tools via a free account that your librarian can assist with, and a Georgetown student RA can do so as well. This avoids at least one type of restriction that may be encountered using e-books. 

Finally, it is well to remember that if you are working off-campus it is best to go through the catalog link to enter your single sign-on netID and password for Georgetown Law and then see all the titles in our subscription. Titles are continually added, and the publisher can be approached with queries about adding content that you may discover but which shows we do not yet have access. Feel free to contact your liaison librarian, Library Research Services, or either of the reference desks by email or Live Chat with such a query about a title. You may find you enjoy the cloud as much as the codex!

Marylin Raisch, Associate Law Librarian for International & Foreign Law

CALI Author AutoPublish

You may be aware of the large pool of CALI lessons available to our faculty and students on But what if you want to tweak an existing lesson to better suit your class or perhaps create your own lesson? The good news is that CALI offers you the ability to do this with their free CALI Author software.

When you download CALI Author, it comes with a Demonstration Lesson that teaches you how to create your own lesson. It offers tips and suggestions about the different types of media and styles of questions you can use (everything from simple true/false to more complicated category matching and text-based answers).

CALI has also created an extensive author guide and video tutorial to help you get started.

Once you have completed your new CALI lesson, you can upload it to the CALI website and retrieve a private link to give your students. The lesson will not be publicly available for all to use like the CALI lessons you might be familiar with. If you want to create a public, officially published CALI lesson, you have to submit it to CALI for review and approval.

If you would like help with getting started on CALI Author, please contact Jill Smith.

Faculty Scholarship Report

Links to some materials are available below. Following is a list of what the links represent:

  • [HEIN] = Available on Hein Online
  • [W] = Available on Westlaw
  • [L] = Available on Lexis
  • [Gtown Law] = Available in Georgetown Law Scholarly Commons
  • [SSRN] = Available in SSRN Working Papers collection
  • [WWW] = Available for free on the Internet
  • [BOOK] - More information available in law library catalog

Vicki Arroyo

Book Chapters and Collected Works

Vicki Arroyo & Kathryn A. Zyla, Transportation Policy, in Climate Change and Public Health 303-317 (Barry S. Levy & Jonathan A. Patz eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2015). [BOOK]

Hope M. Babcock

Forthcoming Works - Journal Articles & Working Papers

Hope M. Babcock, A Brook with Legal Rights: The Rights of Nature in Court, Ecology L.Q. (forthcoming).

Journal Articles

Hope M. Babcock, What Can Be Done, If Anything, About the Dangerous Penchant of Public Trust Scholars to Overextend Joseph Sax's Original Conception: Have We Produced a Bridge Too Far?, 23 N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. 390-433 (2015). [L] [W]

Sonya G. Bonneau

Journal Articles

Sonya G. Bonneau, Ex Post Modernism: How the First Amendment Framed Nonrepresentational Art, 39 Colum. J.L. & Arts 195-231 (2015). [L] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]

John R. Brooks, II

Journal Articles

John R. Brooks II, Income-Driven Repayment and the Public Financing of Higher Education, 104 Geo. L.J. 229-289 (2016). [L] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

J. Peter Byrne

Journal Articles

J. Peter Byrne, The Social Value of Academic Freedom Defended, 91 Ind. L.J. 5-16 (2015). [L] [W] [WWW]

David D. Cole

Journal Articles

David D. Cole, The Trouble at Yale, N.Y. Rev. Books, Jan. 14, 2016, at 4-8.

David D. Cole, Assessing the Leakers: Criminals or Heroes?, 8 J. Nat'l Security L. & Pol'y 107-118 (2015) (adapting The Three Leakers and What To Do About Them, N.Y. Rev. Books, Feb. 6, 2014, at 7-9). [L] [W]

David D. Cole, Alex Abdo, George Ellard, Kenneth Wainstein & Stephen I. Vladeck, Panel, A New Paradigm of Leaking, 8 J. Nat'l Security L. & Pol'y 5-32 (2015). [L] [W]

Laura K. Donohue

Forthcoming Works - Journal Articles & Working Papers

Laura K. Donohue, The Original Fourth Amendment, U. Chi. L. Rev. (forthcoming). [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Lawrence O. Gostin

Journal Articles

Lawrence O. Gostin, 4 Simple Reforms to Address Mass Shootings and Other Firearm Violence, 315 JAMA 453-454 (2016).

Lawrence O. Gostin & Kenneth W. Lin, A Public Health Framework for Screening Mammography: Evidence-Based Versus Politically Mandated Care, JAMA (Online), Jan. 18, 2016, at E1-E2. [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Lawrence O. Gostin & Anna E. Roberts, Physician-Assisted Dying: A Turning Point?, 315 JAMA 249-250 (2016). [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Lawrence O. Gostin & Daniel R. Lucey, The Emerging Zika Pandemic: Enhancing Preparedness, JAMA (Online), Jan. 27, 2016, at E1-E2. [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Lawrence O. Gostin, Kalipso Chalkidou, Leonardo Cubillos, Rebecca Dittrich & Ryan Li, The International Right to Health: What Does It Mean in Legal Practice and How Can It Affect Priority Setting for Universal Health Coverage?, 2 Health Sys. & Reform 23-31 (2016). [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Lawrence O. Gostin, 3 Critical Challenges for Global Health Security, 314 JAMA 1903-1904 (2015). [Gtown Law]

Neal Kumar Katyal

Journal Articles

Neal Kumar Katyal, Charles A. Murray, Karlyn Bowman, Lanny J. Davis & Rachel L. Brand, Is the Future of the American Dream Bright?: A Panel of the 2014 Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention, 48 Conn. L. Rev. 561-594 (2015). [L] [W]

Gregory Klass

Forthcoming Works - Journal Articles & Working Papers

Gregory Klass, The Rules of the Game and the Morality of Efficient Breach (working paper). [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Margaret Krause

Journal Articles

Margaret Krause, Georgetown Law Research Guides — A LibGuides Conversion Story, Law Libr. Lights, Winter 2016, at 11-13. [WWW]

Paul F. Rothstein

Journal Articles

Paul F. Rothstein & Edward J. Imwinkelried, Just What Evidence of Witness Misdeeds Does Federal Evidence Rule 608(b) Exclude?—Imwinkelried vs. Rothstein, 49 Creighton L. Rev. 121-146 (2015). [L] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]

Steven C. Salop

Forthcoming Works - Journal Articles & Working Papers

Steven C. Salop, The Raising Rivals' Cost Foreclosure Paradigm, Conditional Pricing Practices and the Flawed Incremental Price-Cost Test (working paper). [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Jeffrey Shulman

Journal Articles

Jeffrey Shulman, Meyer, Pierce, and the History of the Entire Human Race: Barbarism, Social Progress, and (the Fall and Rise of) Parental Rights, 43 Hastings Const. L.Q. 337-388 (2016). [L] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Rebecca Tushnet

Book Chapters and Collected Works

Rebecca Tushnet, The Romantic Author and the Romance Writer: Resisting Gendered Concepts of Creativity, in Diversity in Intellectual Property 294-314 (Irene Calboli & Srividhya Ragavan eds., New York: Cambridge University Press 2015). [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [BOOK]

David C. Vladeck

Journal Articles

David C. Vladeck, Charting the Course: The Federal Trade Commission's Second Hundred Years, 83 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 2101-2129 (2015). [L] [WWW]

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