Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

One more way to find the library

In Check This Out on September 29, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Schmid Law Library



In Check This Out on September 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Ever wonder what your eReader can download?  Why it will work with an online bookstore but not your local library collection?  Check out this handy eBook Device cheat sheet from OverDrive, a ebook library provider for a great visual.

Justice Breyer interview on NPR

In News & Notes on September 17, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air, interviewed Justice Breyer recently.  They discussed his upcoming book, Making Our Democracy Work:  A Judge’s View.  The interview was fascinating, and I can’t wait to read the book.  An article about the interview and an audio link to the interview are available from NPR’s Fresh Air.

Library Brown Bags

In Check This Out on September 10, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Schmid Law Library is offering brown bag discussions over the lunch hour.  Each Wednesday or so, throughout the the Fall Semester, a librarian will share information on a particular library or information resource.  We hope you can join us, we look forward to discussing what Delicious can do for you or how to research a seminar paper or what Casemaker is.

See you at lunch.

Check out Bag It for the topic & date details.

What is WestlawNext?

In Check This Out, News & Notes, Read This on September 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Returning students should have noticed that Westlaw looks different. There is an option for something called WestlawNext. Its name implies that it is new and different. It is. Is it simply a fancy new interface or a whole new way of doing online legal research?

Interestingly, even the folks at West have a hard time answering that question. After countless questions and conversations with the good people in Eagan, MN, this much is clear: It is an entirely new system. WestlawNext is an entirely separate database carried on separate servers from the “old, classic” Westlaw. West intends to ultimately phase out classic Westlaw. At present they say that it will disappear in a “few years.”

The contents of Westlaw classic and WestlawNext are <i>not</i> the same. How they are different isn’t completely clear. It seems that the two systems are about 85-90% identical. Differences are largely reflected in access to third party databases.

The search engine that’s driving WestlawNext is very close to the kind of “cloud” algorithms that Google uses to rank search results. That is, some users’ searches, search results and browsing behaviors are valued/weighted higher than others. For example, information about an attorney’s searching and browsing patterns are gathered and used to weight subsequent searches using similar key words. The algorithm is extremely complex and West is very tight-lipped about all the elements of it.

The best thing about WestlawNext is its clean interface, and the ability that it gives to users to manipulate search results.