Friends of the Library Newsletter - Winter 2012
Welcome from the Director
As we celebrate the library’s 125th anniversary, we invite all of you to join the year’s activities and to explore the collections that we’ve built over the last century with your support.
Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information. The library is sponsoring a symposium focusing on key issues in future legal information management, data collection and preservation, and the mining of data sets. As technology plays an increasingly prominent role in our everyday lives, data aggregators are collecting disparate data bits, combining them with other information streams, and using the resulting collage to reach conclusions or spur action. Speakers will examine the public good and collective harms that follow from large-scale aggregation of information from public and private sources, and will explore how thoughtful information management policies can maximize benefits while reducing collateral damage.
Special Collections. Over the years, the Georgetown Law Library has sought to collect rare legal materials that shed light on law and its impact on key historical moments or movements. A fine example is the George Finch Collection, which comprises papers from a prominent international law practitioner, scholar, and 1907 Georgetown Law graduate. Among many notable roles, George Finch was a State Department adviser, one of the founders of the Hague Academy after World War I, and a professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. His writings provide a unique glimpse into the attitudes and concerns of leading lawyers and politicians during the first half of the 20th century.
The library’s services, collections, and facilities could not be what they are without your continued support. This year’s celebration is as much about our users as it is about the library’s activities. We thank you, and hope that you will continue to journey with us as we reach towards the next century mark.
Teaching Legal Research
This year the law library issued new online tutorials to teach your students how to use the latest legal research tools. As Lexis & Westlaw continue to introduce new research platforms, librarians worked to incorporate both WestlawNext and Lexis Advance demonstrations throughout the tutorials to familiarize students with the design of these new legal research platforms. Direct your students to the interactive tutorials.
Symposium: Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information
In celebration of 125 years, the Georgetown Law Library looks to the future with a symposium of the academic, advocacy, government, and library communities on Wednesday, January 30 at Georgetown Law.
“Big data” is a term perhaps too narrow for the topic: The size of data sets is not the key to big data issues. Rather, it’s the changes in society that are growing along with our ability to discover meaning by connecting points of information electronically, across numerous, vast, and often unrelated stores of data.
This conference will examine the public good and collective harms associated with the large-scale aggregation of information from public and private sources. During the course of the day, panelists will also discuss how scholars, researchers, and information professionals use very large or complex data sets to distill meaning and develop public policy.
Registration is free and open to all. A complimentary lunch will be provided for registered attendees, however space is limited.
Media interested in attending may email email@example.com or call (202) 662-9037.
Law at the Movies
The Law Library recently co-sponsored an evening with director Eugene Jarecki and a screening of his award-winning documentary The House I Live In. To explain more about the film and its topic, the Library has created an extensive bibliography of resources relating to this film and topic.
New In Special Collections: The George Finch Collection
“As you suggest, history will undoubtedly hold that we suffered a far more decisive defeat at Yalta than at Pearl Harbor.”
— February 7, 1955, letter from Sen. John Marshall Butler to George Finch
Today, little is said of the Yalta Agreement, while Pearl Harbor remains an event of unquestionable significance in American history. The George Finch Collection provides a unique glimpse into the attitudes and concerns of leading lawyers and politicians during the first half of the 20th century. With two world wars, the birth of the United Nations, and the beginning of the Cold War, international law transformed in this period from a niche field to one that stood in the global spotlight.
The Georgetown Law Library is pleased to announce the opening of the George Finch Collection. The collection comprises personal writings from George Finch (L’1907) and his esteemed colleague James Brown Scott (pictured at right), including manuscripts, letters, speeches, academic lectures, and other materials from the careers of both men.
George Finch and James Brown Scott were close collaborators from their meeting at the State Department until Scott’s death in 1943. One close friend and colleague described Finch as the enabling “power behind the throne” during Scott’s tenure as secretary of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the American Society of International Law, institutions where both men served as leaders and trustees from 1911 onward. Following their role as legal advisers during World War I, the pair also helped open the Hague Academy of International Law to students in 1923.
Outside of his work with Scott, Finch is perhaps best known for his work in support of the Bricker Amendment in the 1950s until his death in 1957. An outgrowth of American isolationism and concern over communism following World War II, the Bricker Amendment sought to limit presidential treaty-making power due to a perceived potential for circumventing the Bill of Rights in domestic concerns. The amendment failed in the Senate by one vote in 1954, and similar resolutions were later introduced without success.
Together and individually, George Finch and James Brown Scott helped to shape international law in the first half of the 20th century. The George Finch Collection provides not only a window into the past but also valuable insights into the present international legal system. The collection is open for research and a finding aid is available online.
For more information about the library’s manuscript collections, contact Special Collections at 202-661-6602 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Databases of Note
Bloomberg Law is an online tool which provides access to current awareness materials from BNA. It also provides access to statutes, cases, regulations, a case citator, and secondary source materials. Particular strengths of and unique materials available on Bloomberg Law include:
- BNA treatises, practice manuals, and portfolios;
- Pratice Areas organizing common primary and secondary materials for several specialized fields including bankruptcy, finance, and securities law;
- Corporate and financial news and infomraiton, inlcuding EDGAR access and Bloomberg financial analysis;
- Exclusive access to PLI treatises;
- Transactional law-specific resources such as example documents for M&A and contracts; and
- News searching with well-designed and indexed metadata, which minimizes the need for complicated "terms and connectors" searchiing.
In addition, Bloomberg Law provides access to real-time-updated federal PACER dockets and to many state and some foreign dockets. All court documents available through these dockets (such as pleadings, motions, briefs, and orders) can be downloaded through Bloomberg Law.
TradeLawGuide is a powerful resource for scholars and practitioners of global trade law. Designed by an internationally renowned trade lawyer, this tool can perform all the tasks that the free WTO web site, the major summarizing databases for trade law, and the public international and economic law resources do, but all in one place. Patrons can search by articles of the trade treaties, to gather jurisprudence relevant just to that provision; definitions would be traced back to all the places where terms appear, and principles of treaty interpretation set forth in the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties would be included among the available texts and placed at hand in the database. Citation analysis and updating the latest decisions on a particular issue would be included in the search results. Sounds like re-inventing Lexis and Westlaw? Not really; the database and its new progeny, the Investor-State LawGuide for investment arbitration, both search across PDF formats and bring up text and context that would be found with more repetition and “noise” in the results were it not for the effective use of semantic search. Both databases are designed to pull up related issues automatically with intelligent searching for the related concepts. Because of the unique features of the Tologix Software (http://www.tologix.com) running behind the system, Georgetown Law has subscribed to TradeLawGuide and is finalizing a subscription to Investor-State LawGuide.
Apps of Note
Have you ever had your iPad in class and wished that you could look at something on the desktop in your office?
Splashtop 2 an iPhone and iPad app which allows users to remotely log onto another computer. From your iPad you can control your authorized computer just as if you were sitting in front of it.
If you are looking to expand the size of your desktop monitor but don’t want to purchase a larger one, you can use Splashtop X display to turn your iPad into an extension of your monitor.