Bridging the Gap — preparing for summer practice research workshop

Bridging the Gap Research Workshop

The Law Librarians’ Society of DC and the Young Lawyers Section of the Bar Association of DC are co-hosting a legal research workshop to prepare students for summer work. The workshop will be held on Friday, April 8 at Georgetown Law Center. Registration is $30, including lunch. You must register by April 1, 2011. Details and registration are available here.

Can You Trust Your Google Search Result?

Using Google as an easy way to access known information sources makes good sense.  Type the name, click on the result, and review the content.  But blindly browsing on Google in the hopes of finding reliable information requires extreme caution. 

Unlike subscription databases that are evaluated by information professionals, Google’s content is malleable by profit-seekers skilled at search engine optimization (SEO).  They seek to capitalize on the exploding e-commerce market with no regard for accuracy or reliability.  As a recent article in the New York Times reveals, Google faces a huge challenge to remain impartial.  

The bottom line: always consider the reliability of each source of information.  Ranking on Google is not indictive of trustworthiness.


Explore the Blawgasphere

Interested in reading more blawgs? The legal community churns out musings on myriad topics. The ABA Journal recently announced its 4th annual list of the top 100 blawgs.  And the Journal’s website has a blawg directory that is searchable by topic.

Here are a few blawgs that may be of interest to law students:

ABOVE THE LAW — Covers the latest news from around the law school community with an emphasis on controversy and scandal.

BRIAN LEITER’S LAW SCHOOL REPORTS — Written by two law professors, this blog covers “news and views about legal academia and the legal profession.”

SOCIAL MEDIA LAW STUDENT — Provides information on new technology relevant to the legal community.

SCOTUS BLOG — “The” blog covering the U.S. Supreme Court.

Legislative History On WestlawNext


WestlawNext now includes federal and state legislative history materials (coverage varies by source). 


After retrieving the desired statute, click on the History tab. Then select one of the options for viewing the available sources.  


Also included are 31 compiled legislative histories for frequently referenced federal statutes. From the homepage, click on the All Content tab, and then Statutes and Court Rules.  From the right tool bar, select Legislative History.  Under the heading Federal, select Compiled Legislative Histories. This page also has links to other categories of federal and state legislative history materials to be browsed or searched.


U.S.C. Now Has 51 Titles

United States Code Title 51

In December, 2010, Congress passed Public Law 111-314, which authorizes the addition of Title 51 to the United States Code. Title 51 is entitled “National and Commercial Space Programs,” and it is comprised of existing provisions of the United States Code related to that topic. The House Law Revision Counsel, the group that maintains the United States Code, has drafted plans for additional new titles: 52 (Voting and Elections); 53 (Small Business); 54 (National Park System); and 55 (Environment), which you can see here. While PL 111-314 is not currently available on, Thomas has a link to the House Report and status of the underlying bills here.

Computer Lab Improvements

A new lab opens & an old lab is partially converted to a videoconferencing space.

Lab 211 with 33 computers in Founders Hall is now open and available for use by GMU law students. Hours will be 9AM to 10 PM, M-Th, 9AM to 6PM, Friday, and 9AM to 5PM, Saturday & Sunday. The easiest way to access Lab 211 from the law school is to walk through the double-doors connecting Hazel and Founders Hall on the second floor. The lab is on the right-hand side of the hallway on the Founders side.

Lab 350 in the Library is being downsized, and a part of it will be renovated for videoconferencing. A wall will be constructed sometime in the next month to divide the room into two sections. One section will be an open lab for law students that will house 6 computers and the Lexis and Westlaw printers. (The Pay-for-Print workstation has been moved to just outside of Lab 350.) The videoconferencing portion of the room and its equipment will be available to law students to use for job interviews that can be scheduled through the Career Services office.

Law students can continue to use the 10 computers in Lab 342 whenever this room is not being used for training.  Generally, there are only a few training classes scheduled during the course of a week, and the schedule is posted on the door to this lab and on the Law School’s online Events Calendar. Lab 342 has a Pay-for-Print workstation.

Finally, the second set of Lexis and Westlaw printers are located at the back of the first floor of the library in the Microforms Room.