Category Archives: How-To

Welcome to the Georgetown Law Library!


All incoming students were sent registration information for Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law to their unique email from the library.  If you can’t find the email, check your SPAM folder or the “Promotions” tab.  Be sure to register before classes begin!

If you haven’t already, sign up for a library tour here.  They’re available throughout Orientation Week.

Information to help you navigate your first week at Georgetown is available in our New Students Guide.  It includes links to your first-week reading assignments, course reserves, library locations to know, library policies, course management systems information, and more!

Don’t hesitate to stop by any of the library service desks with questions, and we’ll be happy to help.  You can find library hours listed online.  Our reference team is available by chat, email, phone, and in-person.

We look forward to getting to know you over the coming year!


New Tool for Copyright Research: Fair Use Index

The U.S. Copyright Office recently launched a new tool for copyright researchers: the Fair Use Index.   This resource provides summaries of major fair use judicial decisions, which are searchable by court and subject matter, including category and type of use.  As stated on the landing page:

The goal of the Index is to make the principles and application of fair use more accessible and understandable to the public […].  The Fair Use Index tracks a variety of judicial decisions to help both lawyers and non-lawyers better understand the types of uses courts have previously determined to be fair—or not fair.

Fair Use IndexThis resource is pretty user-friendly.  On the search page, simply select or deselect the federal circuits for the jurisdiction of interest to you, as well as the categories of fair use cases you’d like to see.  The list of results is displayed right there on the same page, and automatically re-populates as you select and deselect options.  For each case in the results list, the citation, year, court, jurisdiction, related categories, and even the outcome (e.g. “fair use found”, “fair use not found,” etc.) are all displayed right on this page, no additional clicks required.  This allows you to quickly and easily scan your results, narrow or broaden your search, and choose the cases that you think will be the most relevant to your research question.

Note that the Fair Use Index doesn’t include all fair use decisions, and it doesn’t provide the full text of the opinions themselves.  As an index, it’s primarily a finding tool to help direct you to the cases that might be most relevant to your research.  It does, however, provide a handy PDF summary of each case, which is broken down to include information such as Key Facts, Issue, Holding, and Outcome.   If you need help using a case’s citation to find the full text of a case, check out our Case Law Research Guide.  For more in-depth research guidance on this or another topic of copyright law, we also have a Copyright Law Research Guide.  Finally, if you have questions along the way, don’t forget that you can always ask one of our reference librarians for help!

Lights, Camera, Learning

"Green Screen" by Sam Greenhalgh - Creative Commons License

“Green Screen” by Sam Greenhalgh – Creative Commons License

A recent study found that 79 percent of students view educational video on their own time to assist in their learning.  Do you know that Georgetown Law Librarians create our own tutorials to help you learn valuable research skills?

Visit our tutorials page to see what we have to offer on topics ranging from basic Bluebook citation form to conducting complicated legislative history research.  And if you need a tutorial on a subject we do not cover, please contact Jill Smith to suggest a new title.

“Well, that’s *almost* what I’m looking for…”

Have you ever looked for a book in our catalog and found a slightly promising title, but it wasn’t quite what you were looking for? If you have spent time in the stacks, you know that volumes on similar subjects are shelved together, and you can use the almost-right call number to find something more on point.

Did you know you can do that from your laptop, too? Our catalog has a “shelf browse” feature that lets you see what is nearby – here is how it works:


As you can see, the tool offers you the option of looking at it graphically or as a list. Try it the next time you are looking for books on a new topic.

Organizing Your Research and Writing with Advanced Zotero Tools

If you use Zotero to help manage your research, you may be interested in two add-ons to the popular citation manager: Multi-Lingual Zotero (MLZ) and Zotfile.

Creative Commons image by

Creative Commons image by

MLZ is not just useful for people engaged in foreign and comparative law: it also has a much better Bluebook style parser than the three Bluebook styles that are available in the Zotero styles library.  Zotfile enables you to automatically rename attachments, store attachments in alternative services to make them easily accessible on mobile devices, and can extract your highlights and annotations into Zotero notes.

You can view a short video on the use and installation of these tools, or just head over to their respective websites to download MLZ or Zotfile.

New Tutorial – Borrowing Materials from Non-Georgetown Libraries

While Georgetown Libraries’ resources are vast, there are times when the materials you need are held by other institutions.  The library has just added a short tutorial to help you identify and borrow these materials.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License by leff

The library has a long and ever-growing list of tutorials to help you perform a variety of research tasks – if you need information about how to use an unfamiliar research tool or search for a new type of resource, consult our directory of tutorials.  If you would like to see a new tutorial on a topic, please just let us know.

Doing Research? Manage Your Citations with Zotero

About to start a big research project? Managing your research materials can be a huge headache.  Luckily, there are a few software options to manage citation data, notes, and other information, then start inserting citations into your work using automated tools.*

The library has just completed three tutorials on one of these tools, a citation manager called “Zotero.”  You can learn how to get started, how to get organized and collaborate with other Zotero users, and how to use Zotero to insert citations into your writing.

If you want hands-on or in-depth help using these tools, please contact Jill Smith.

The library has a long and ever-growing list of tutorials to help you perform a variety of research tasks – if you need information about how to use an unfamiliar research tool or search for a new type of resource, consult our directory of tutorials.

* Automatically created citations should be checked carefully for errors in the data or formatting.

Mobile Apps for Law Faculty and Students

The library maintains a database of useful apps for iOS and Android mobile devices at  Suggested apps can help users research, organize, write, and follow news and blogs.  The database is presented as a spreadsheet which can bmobile_appse browsed, sorted, or filtered depending on whether you are just curious as to what is recommended or are making a more targeted search for a specific type of app.

If you have an app that you find particularly useful or if you are looking for a type of app that is not listed, please contact Jill Smith.