Monday 26 August 2013

Chronicle of Higher Ed on library databases

There's an interesting post via the Chronicle of Higher Education titled "The 3 Click Dilemma: are library databases nearing the tipping point of obsolescence?"  The author tells us that he recently had a conversation with a history professor (and library lover) during which he was told that "it’s getting harder for me to get students to use the library— especially the databases— anything beyond three clicks is just too many.”
The article goes on to explore what this evolving attitude towards databases might mean for libraries. 

Thursday 22 August 2013

New: study room reservations

The Barco Law Library is looking forward to a good year.  And with the start of the new year we introduce Study Room Reservations, new for 2013-14. Study rooms are now available by online reservation using an online form.
Some things to know:
You must be a Pitt Law student, faculty or staff to reserve a room
Please use your Pitt email address to make the reservation
Please have your reservation confirmation handy
Individuals can reserve a maximum of one 2 hour slots in any given day
Individuals can reserve a maximum of five 1 hour slots per month
If a room is not reserved it's available on a first come/first served basis
Minimum occupancy of two persons; maximum occupancy for each room listed on the reservation form
Please be courteous and respect others' reservations

Monday 5 August 2013

ProQuest Congressional webinars

With the school year fast approaching, you might like to brush up your research skills with these useful August webinars from ProQuest Congressional (the links will take you to a registration page for the webinars):
Executive Branch Documents 1789-1932 Wed. 8/7/13 3:00 pm and Wed. 8/21/13 10 am. Content targets the entire range of executive branch publications listed in the authoritative 1909 Checklist, created in 1911 by the U.S. Superintendent of Documents. The 1909 Checklist is the only systematic effort to provide a complete listing of all documents published by the U.S. Government in its first 120 years. Executive Branch Documents 1789-1932 includes all of the 200,000+ executive branch titles listed in the 1909 Checklist that were not included in the U.S. Serial Set, as well as an additional 200,000 titles from 1910-1932. The webinar will cover what the product is, how it relates to the other ProQuest Congressional Digital Collections, and what's in this rich resource.
Reviewing Congressional Basic Fri. 8/9/13 3:00 pm and Fri. 8/23/13 11:00 am
   Congressional Basic is a resource for 1970-present research with content ranging from the Daily Congressional Record, indexing for Reports, Documents, Hearings and Prints (and a lot of full text in there too), and information on Members of Congress ranging from voting records to campaign contributions.
Are You Ready for Reference: Statistical Insight and the Statistical Abstract of the U.S.: Wed. 8/14/13 3:00 pm
Find out how to use Statistical Insight and the Statistical Abstract of the U.S. effectively at the reference desk. Note: there will be a brief overview of the various modules customers might have in Statistical Insight at the beginning of this session.
 Are You Ready for Reference: Congressional Mon. 8/19/13 1pm
Use  ProQuest Congressional to answer ref questions about laws and legislation, as well as find answers related to the many topics that Congress considers. Includes how to use citations, names, and dates to retrieve bills, laws, reports, hearings, and related documents.The database is an effective source for general research in many academic disciplines, in addition to research related to specific legislative proposals and laws.
Legislative Insight: Recent Supreme Court Decisions Fri. 8/30/13  1:30 pm  
Will discuss recent or important Supreme Court opinions that involved research into Congressional documents and legislative materials. Despite well-known disapproval by at least one justice for looking to legislative intent, we'll look at when and why they look at legislative history and how we can use Legislative Insight to do that research.
Using the ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the U.S. Online Edition Thurs. 8/8/13 11:00 am and  Wed. 8/21/13 11:00 am
Questions come across the reference desk on all topics: how many hate crimes were there in 2008? Are there many book clubs in the U.S.? Do you have the GDP for the U.S. for the past ten (or so) years? How many people use facebook? All of these questions can be answered by the new ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States online edition. The webinar will demonstrate how to browse for content, search for content and how to personalize the spreadsheet files available for every single table. We have updated hundreds of tables since the online product was released so we will look at updated tables and learn how ProQuest is archiving past data. 

Thursday 1 August 2013

Lexis Advance tips

You can still do Boolean search in Lexis Advance.  The "Help" menu at the upper right corner of the page has lots of information about working in Advance.  Go to the page "Searching with Lexis Advance" and you will see links to pages where you can learn how to use Search Connectors and Commands, limit your Sources, use Filters, and search Segments.  For Segment searching, there is a very helpful Excel spreadsheet you can download that shows what segments can be searched in which type of documents.  

WestlawNext tips

Here are a couple of tips on WestlawNext that our rep has provided.
1. Printing snippets: You now have the option to print less than an entire document.  It's a bit of a workaround but it does work: Highlight the paragraph(s) or whatever snippets you want to print and Save to a folder. You can then select the snippet in the folder and print it.
2. Uniform Commercial Code State Variation Service: There is a database for the UCC that contains a state-by-state and section-by-section analysis of variations from the official text of the UCC as adopted in each state, called the Uniform Commercial Code State Variation Service published in the UCC Reporting Service (identifier is UCC-VAR). There is a nice template you can use to search with the UCC section number, a state's section number, or by selected states.