Stay Up to Date on Legislation and Regulation

Scout, sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation, is a new service (in beta) that offers free searching and customized alerts for federal and state legislative action (including bills & speeches) and federal regulations. Scout searches several government information sources, including:  Federal, GPO (Fdsys), GovTrack, Capitol words, and Open States.

For more information about Scout, please see the OFR Blog here.



Memorial Day 2012

In observance of Memorial Day, the law library will be closed Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28.

A brief Memorial Day History is available on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Website.  Also of interest may be two famous Memorial Day speeches delivered by Oliver Wendell Holmes, one in 1884 and the other addressed to the graduating class at Harvard Law School in 1895.  PDFs of these speeches are available using The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises Database (GMUSL users may link to this database here).  Select Advanced Search>Enter Title “Speeches,” Author “Oliver Wendell Holmes.”

And where is Memorial Day officially designated a Federal holiday? Title 36 of the United States Code includes statutes relating to “Patriotic and National Observances.” 36 U.S.C. § 116 designates the last Monday in May as Memorial Day.

Survey Response: Why Are Virginia Materials in Multiple Locations?

The main collection of Virginia materials is located on the second floor, shelf ranges 228 and 229. In that area you can find: the Virginia Code (both Lexis and West editions), the Virginia and West Virginia Digest, Michie’s Jurisprudence, form books, rules, jury instructions, court opinions, legislative materials, treatises, and Virginia Continuing Legal Education materials.

As a convenience to patrons, the library also has a small Virginia quick reference collection on the first floor, Range 121, providing duplicate copies of frequently used items, including:  the Virginia Code (Lexis edition), Virginia Forms, Rules, Michie’s Jurisprudence, and the Virginia & West Virginia Digest. Some heavily used Virginia titles are on permanent or faculty reserve behind the circulation desk



Google Introduces Knowledge Graph

Google continues to try to read our minds.  It has introduced the “Knowledge Graph”  — a search enhancement for finding people, places or things that interprets the meaning of keywords to offer popular facts and alternative queries.

For example, search “Thurgood Marshall” and to the right of the search results Google provides basic biographical data from Wikipedia along with suggested related searches:

Click here for more information about this feature.


Survey Response: Can the Library Provide Access to Pacer?

Many suggested that we provide access to PACER, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, so that students can download litigation documents, such as complaints and motions, in federal court cases. We do provide PACER access! Because the library pays a charge for every page downloaded, we ask you to see a Reference Librarian for assistance in using PACER for academic purposes (class, note, journal, etc.).

What’s more, though, all PACER documents are available for free to academic users through Bloomberg Law. Search Dockets on BLaw. Be sure to “Update” your docket at the top of the page. Download the document(s) you want. When the notice of PACER fees pops up, ignore it, and submit your document request. BLaw does not charge academic users to retrieve these documents. The document will arrive in your email inbox within moments.

Summer Semester Library Hours

Regular Summer Hours, May 20-July 4:

  • Sunday  11:00am -11:00pm
  • Monday – Thursday  9:00am – 11:00pm
  • Friday  9:00am – 6:00pm
  • Saturday  10:00am – 6:00pm

Reference Librarians will be available Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 9:00pm, Fridays 9:00am – 5:00pm.  Sunday reference services will resume in August.  

Congratulations Graduates!

The law library staff congratulates 2012 George Mason University School of Law Graduates!

Please remember that library services continue to be available to you after graduation. Student IDs are valid through October 8, 2012—so recent grads may reserve study rooms, check out books (until Sept. 30), and use the computer labs.

The library is open to the public, so please feel free to use our print resources and publicly available databases (includes in-library access to Keycite, Shepards, Bloomberg Law, and Westlaw Patron Access Terminals).  Reference librarians are also happy to assist you in person, by phone, or via email.

Best of Luck Class of 2012!!



Survey Response: Why Don’t I Always Receive Email Reminders About Overdue Books?

Courtesy emails about overdue books are sent from an automated system. Normally, the reminders are sent one week before a book is due and one day after the due date. But occasionally the system goes down, and a reminder is not sent.

So, please make a note of due dates to avoid fines. If you need to check due dates for library materials, the circulation staff is happy to help in person or by phone (703.993.8120).  Items may be renewed online via the library catalog if they are not overdue and do not have any holds or other renewal restrictions.

Survey Response: How Can I Get More Access to Google Books Content?

Google Books is able to provide access to digitized materials consistent with U.S. Copyright Laws. In short, the only titles that are available in full-text are those in the public domain—i.e. their copyright protection has expired or they are not copyrightable.

A very brief history: Google developed a project to create an online digital library of the world’s books. Google launched this project by partnering with a number of major research libraries that allowed Google to scan their collections—both those books in the public domain as well as books still under copyright. Google’s scanning of books and offering them up on a searchable database led copyright owners (authors and publishers) to bring a copyright infringement claim against Google. On March 22, 2011, a U.S. District Court Judge rejected an amended settlement agreement.

So while the law library cannot provide greater access to titles via Google Books, if a book is not in our collection, students may be able to acquire a copy through Inter-Library Loan from another GMU library or other university libraries.


Survey Response: Where Can I Study Late Night?

For those who want to study after the Library closes, we offer an After-Hours Study Hall in classrooms 120 and 121. These rooms stay open until 2:00 a.m. If you are in the building after 11:00 p.m. (when it closes to the general public), please keep your ID with you, and don’t lock yourself out of the building or prop the building doors open. The police officers are on duty 24 hours per day, and they are accommodating of GMUSL students here until late in the night, whether you are in the two study hall rooms or in the atrium.