Author Archives: Sara Burriesci

Federal Court Rules Research Guide updated

Our  Federal Court Rules Research Guide has just been updated. The guide describes resources for finding both common (e.g., Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) and obscure (e.g., Rules of the Courts of Military Criminal Appeals) federal court rules. It also briefly explains the rule-creation process and describes sources for researching the legislative history of the rules. Finally, it recommends secondary sources that help with rule interpretation and practice.

Federal Web Sites May Begin Tracking Users

An article in yesterday’s Washington Post reported that the federal government has begun to reconsider its ban on the use of cookies by federal agency web sites. Instead of banning cookies, the government may implement other user privacy safeguards. Critics of the move wonder if it is motivated by requests from private companies such as Google. An OMB-initiated comment period for the possible policy change closed on Monday, Aug. 10.

For more information, see Spencer S. Hsu and Cecilia Kang, U.S. Web-Tracking Plan Stirs Privacy Fears, Wash. Post Online, Aug. 11, 2009, at, and the OMB’s request for comments (now closed), available from

California Lawyers challenge Westlaw’s and Lexis’s posting of their briefs

A group of lawyers in California are challenging the California Supreme Court’s practice of giving briefs to Westlaw and Lexis for uploading. Lexis and Westlaw charge fees for their users to search and use the briefs, and the lawyers who write them receive no payment. This is a copyright violation, according to the California lawyers. For more information, see Legal Research Plus Blog.

Westlaw password changes

Westlaw is moving away from the use of lengthy, alphanumeric passwords that don’t require user names, to the new "OnePass" system of custom user names and passwords. A timeline for this transition is available at
Alphanumeric Westlaw passwords will no longer be active after September 29, 2009. If you now log in to Westlaw with your Westlaw password, please create a OnePass username and password or update your exisiting OnePass accounts prior to September 29.

New Judicial Nominations Database on the Web

Yale Law School has created a new, web-based judicial nominations database, available at The database covers nominations from the 103rd Congress onward, and provides nominee names, nomination dates, nominating President, hearing dates, and nomination result. The database also provides RSS feeds of new nominations. Currently biographical information is provided only for nominees who are Yale graduates.

Library of Congress launches free historic newspaper search in beta

The Library of Congress today announced the beta launch of its free Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers database, available at The database allows users to search and view American newspapers from 1880-1910, and to find basic publication information (e.g., title, publisher, place and dates of publication) about newspapers dating from 1690 to the present.

Cost Effective Legal Research Training Offered by the Library

It’s hard to believe, but summer is nearly upon us. If you would like a refresher on how to do efficient and cost effective research before you leave for your summer or permanent positions, consider attending one of the law library staff’s Cost Effective Research Training sessions. Each session will cover how to receive research assignments and craft a research plan, how to use Lexis & Westlaw efficiently, and what free/lowcost options exist for research beyond Lexis & Westlaw.
The 50 minute sessions will be held at the following times in the Williams Library’s Computer Learning Center (CLC):

· Wednesday, Apr. 22, at 3:30 p.m.
· Thursday, Apr. 23, at 4:30 p.m.
· Monday, Apr. 27, at 1:00 p.m.
· Wednesday, Apr. 29, at 4:30 p.m.

Registration is not required, but the library staff asks that students register so they can better control the size of the training sessions. Registration is now open at