2016 Law Student Survey of Law Library & Technology Services

Please take a few minutes to answer this short survey about the Law Library and Technology Services and let us know how we are doing and what services that you’d like to see added or improved.

Our staff carefully reviews the results of these surveys each year, and we have made a number of changes to the library and it’s services over the years based on the feedback from our annual surveys. Some things are not within our power to change, but whenever we can make improvements or needed changes, we will. We just need to hear from you.

Click here to take the 2016 Student Survey of Library & Technology Services.

The survey ends on Monday, May 2, 2016.

Survey Response: Longer Hours Please!

In response to student requests, we will again be offering expanded hours during reading days and exams. Insider tip: if you like expanded library hours please take advantage of these extra hours! We are paying attention to how many students are actually using the library late at night. So far, the numbers have been small.

For those who want to study after the library closes, there is 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.

Survey Response: Printing

A number of survey responders were—not surprisingly—unhappy with the end of free Westlaw printing. This change was made by Westlaw, and the company has discontinued free print services at all law schools. Lexis continues to offer free printing from Lexis Advance.

One positive spin on this is that Westlaw and other major legal research databases provide robust features for saving and storing your research (i.e. folders, workspaces) that can both help you organize your work and save some trees! If you need assistance using any of these features, please stop by the Reference Office.



Survey Response: What About Current Legal News and Other Sources for Job Hunting?

GMUSL students have access to a number of subscription resources to keep up to date on legal news and employers including:

  • Vault Online Career Library:  This database is a compilation of career information and management tools. It provides access to industry and company profiles, including extensive coverage of law firms and the legal profession. To use this database, you must set-up an individual username and password.
  • Leadership Directory: This service allows users to find contact information for 400,000 individuals at 40,000 leading U.S. government, business, professional, and nonprofit organizations.
  • Bloomberg Law:  Career Articles and Resources:  This large dashboard of information includes links to research people, companies, and law firms.
  • WestlawNext: Profiler of Attorney & Judges: Includes more than 1,000,000 profiles of law firms, offices, and lawyers.

For additional information please see the resources on the CAS Intranet.

Law Library Survey Results

A huge thank you to the more than 100 law students who completed the 2013 Survey of Law Library and Technology Services. Every response has been read by the library and technology staff, and we appreciate your valuable feedback and suggestions.

Check back here in the upcoming weeks for responses to some of the commonly raised issues in the survey responses. Also, we are happy to receive comments about our services throughout the year either through our online suggestion form or in person. Please contact Debbie Shrager, Reference and Outreach Services Librarian (dshrager@gmu.edu) with any questions, comments, or concerns.



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



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.

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.