Law Library

2010 Law Library Student Survey

During the Spring 2010 semester, the Law Library conducted a survey asking students to comment on various aspects of the library.  607 students responded. This is valuable input, and we want to thank everybody who completed the survey. The Library is reviewing all feedback, and we plan to publish a detailed response by the end of the summer. The response will be posted on this page and announced on our blog.

Below you can view several charts summarizing quantitative elements of this year''s survey followed by the law library response to representative comments from the 2010 survey.

Quantitative Survey Results

Year and status of students who responded:


Reasons for visiting the Law Library:


Level of satisfaction with research assistance using LiveHelp (chatting online with reference librarians):


Level of satisfaction with service at the Law Library Circulation Desk (in either location):


Level of satisfaction with obtaining materials from other libraries:


Level of satisfaction with the Library''s collection of print materials:


Level of satisfaction with the Library''s collection of electronic databases:


What users are looking for when visiting the Library''s website:


Law Library Survey Response

Library Environment

We asked for your ideas on improving study spaces. Among the hundreds of thoughtful suggestions we received, comfortable furniture (couches, chaise lounges, etc.) predominates, whether for napping or casual study. Respondents also requested study space where eating and talking would be allowed, as well as small study rooms that could be reserved by one or two people. We have some ideas on where these areas might be located, and will work with other Law Center departments to secure funding and resources to create them. Your comments give us the evidence we need to make our case.

On a smaller scale, we will be using recently updated maps and additional signage to make it easier for you to find locations and call numbers in both libraries. We will also look for ways to add more power outlets to your favorite study spots.

Website Design and Navigation

With input from student survey comments, the law library is collaborating with the Law Center to redesign the Georgetown Law website. Any changes and improvements to the Law Library site will be coordinated with the Law Center''s redesign. This summer, we changed our website navigation menus in response to student comments about menu performance. The new menus now work on iPhone and iPad platforms.


Last year we installed three scanners: in the Williams Reading Room, near the Williams technology help desk and a third at the Wolff circulation desk. They have been a huge hit with over 49,000 scans completed last year. While most of the comments were positive there were a few comments about memory issues and the size of files that could be sent via email. Scanned documents are sent through our email system which limits file attachments to 10 MB. Please consider dividing large documents into separate, smaller scans. We are in the process of installing a new book scanner that will provide new features, such as scanning to a user-supplied USB drive.

Research Instruction

Students overwhelmingly praised our program to offer personalized research consultation with professional librarians. One student commented that she was able to write a successful law journal note about a topic she knew nothing about because of guidance from a research consultation. We are thrilled our service contributed to another published student work. Making an appointment for a research consultation allows us to match your research to the right librarian, who can customize a consultation.

The students who get the most out of an instructional session are those who follow up the class with an individual research consultation with a reference librarian.

Most students find that the research sessions we do both in and out of classes helpful. We''ve found that students are more efficient at their research after a short class and can take advantage of all of our resources.

Interlibrary Loan and Online Access

Some students responded that they are "pleasantly surprised by the speed of receiving articles unavailable in our collection." Each year we find new ways to borrow items faster and more conveniently. Our goal is to deliver articles the day they are requested, usually through electronic delivery.

A couple of years ago the library implemented a Direct Borrow program that allows our law students to borrow books from Georgetown main campus libraries and have them delivered to either law library location. This service filled almost 2,000 requests last year. While we received positive feedback about this service, we did have a few negative comments concerning the time it takes to obtain material. We''re continuing to monitor inter-campus borrowing to improve performance.

Online Research Guides

Here are some representative student comments about guides and tutorials on our site: "The online research tutorials are very helpful to understand certain areas of research that students do not normally do." and "I use the research guides constantly and the LiveHelp feature when I''m having trouble with a particular issue."

We''ve built a suite of resources to help students learn to be better researchers. Our tutorials teach you how to conduct specific types of research (e.g., case law or legislative history research). The library''s research guides help patrons find resources for a particular topic. Talk to the librarians online or in person for better insights and research guidance.

Past Exams Online

One question in the Spring 2010 survey asked students what they use most on our site. Not surprisingly, almost every student response picked past exams. Exams are available online from 1998 to the present. Survey responses show that students are "very satisfied" or "mostly satisfied" with the current access. A few narrative comments indicate several features that make exam access difficult. We will refer to these comments in considering a replacement system.

Availability of Journal Articles

A few students requested the ability to access journals in subjects other than law. We have approximately 50,000 electronic journals, on topics from Astrophysics to Zoology, plus additional electronic serials. To search for only e-journals, use the search box on the Classic GULLiver main menu that says, "Search for e-Journals by Keyword," or do a keyword search in GULLiver Encore, then click on the "e-journal" category at the left of the screen.

Access to Casebooks and Study Aids

Several students asked about access to the reading room collection. Each semester the library purchases casebooks and other monographs that are required or recommended by the faculty for their classes. Current editions of Study Aids such as Hornbooks, Examples and Explanations, and Nutshells are also kept in Reading Room Reserve. Because our goal is to provide access to these books to all students, we keep them in our Reading Room Reserve section. They cannot leave the Reading Room or be checked out. Although this system does not provide freedom to use the materials in other parts of the library, it provides broad access to the largest number of students. We will look into providing more copies of books in heavy demand.

Popular Reading Collection

We are updating the Popular Reading Collection located beyond the Reading Room Reserve in the Williams Library. We have added several popular DVDs to this collection, and we are replacing some older titles. We gladly welcome suggestions for new books and DVDs for your casual reading interests and viewing pleasure.

Library Catalog: Encore and GULLiver

The Law Library catalog has two forms: Classic GULLiver allows searching by author, title or subject. GULLiver Encore uses a simple keyword search, like Google, but you can then refine search results by using the categories in the left pane that include the format of the material, location and more. You can also use the subject tag cloud at the right side of the screen to focus on the resources organized by subjects.

Several students found it challenging to find only recent materials, or only electronic materials. Limiting a search by date or by format is easy to do. In Classic GULLiver use the Advanced Search to apply limits before the search; in GULLiver Encore, use the categories shown in the left column to do the limit results after the search.

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