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Indigenous Law Portal Makes finding Tribal Law Easier

Tribal law can be difficult to find for a variety reasons: individual tribes may not have the resources to publish their laws, may choose not to make them available electronically, or even may restrict outside access to their laws.  The new Library of Congress Indigenous Law Portal helps researchers find difficult-to locate tribal law materials by bringing together digitized historic Library of Congress resources with current resources available on tribal websites.  The Portal can be both searched and browsed by geographic region, state, and tribe name.

In addition to this new Portal, when researching tribal … Continue Reading

Free Access to Historical Federal Legal Resources

The Library of Congress and HeinOnline recently announced a unique partnership that makes historical U.S. legal materials now available on the Library of Congress’ web portal, the Guide to Law Online.  While federal materials dating back to the mid-1990s have long been available for free through FDsys, the release of these materials by HeinOnline fills the access gap to the historical documents; generally, the content for each publication extends from its first print edition to the year when free access on FDsys begins.

The newly available content includes:

United States Code (1925-1988)
United … Continue Reading

A New Tool for Online Legal Research – Ravel Law

Ravel Law is a new and innovative (as well as free) online legal search, analytics, and visualization platform that provides access to U.S. Supreme Court and federal Circuit Court case law.  What makes ravel so original is that it displays case search results in both list format (like WestlawNext, LexisAdvance, and Bloomberg Law) as well as in visual graphic format.  The visual display of search results has two elements: (1) a timeline of search results that shows which years had the most cases that fall under a search, and (2) a timeline that represents cases using circles of various sizes … Continue Reading

Free Digital Copies of the Federal Rules

Thanks to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School and the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction’s eLangdell Press, you can download the current versions of the Federal Rules of Evidence, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for free.  The books are available in .epub format, which is compatible with most e-readers including iPads, Nooks, and Android devices.

Here are direct links to each book:

2015 Federal Rules of Evidence
2015 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
2015 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Research Tip Series – Tip #1: Conduct a pre-emption check

We know that it is the time of the semester in which many 2L and 3L students are working on research papers and 1L students are preparing memos for their Legal Research & Writing class, so over the next week we will be providing research tips on the Law Library blog.

Research Tip #1: Conduct a pre-emption check
Before starting to write on your chosen topic you need to determine whether that topic has already been covered, or preempted, by another author. If your topic has not been addressed you can safely pursue your research and writing. If your topic has been addressed you … Continue Reading

Collaborative Research for the Digital Age

While there have been significant changes in the realm of legal research (such as the shift from print to digital resources) conducting legal research is still often a solitary endeavor.  Two new websites are trying to change that, however, and have provided platforms designed to make online legal research a collaborative enterprise: Casetext and Mootus.


Casetext is a “community of lawyers, law professors, and law students helping each other understand the law by annotating key legal documents.”  The website contains a database of over a million cases, statutes, regulations, and contracts … Continue Reading

New Federal Government Websites

Two new federal government websites are making it easier to find government information online.  One of the new websites is Congress.gov, which is in an initial beta version.  This website currently contains legislation from 2001 to the present and congressional member profiles from 1973 to the present.  Congress.gov will replace the Library of Congress’s THOMAS.gov website by the end of 2014 and will incorporate all of the information available on THOMAS.gov. You can read more about Congress.gov and THOMAS.gov here.

The other new website is eCFR.gov.  This website contains a current, … Continue Reading

CFR now on the LII


Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII) recently announced that the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is now available on its website.  The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government.

The LII website allows for searching of the CFR and includes linked cross-references within the CFR to relevant parts of the United States Code, as well as to rulemaking dockets for pending regulations.  It is updated concurrently with the GPO’s Federal Digital System data, and links users to the Office of … Continue Reading

Don’t pay for Federal Rules (if you don’t want to).

CALI (Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction), have partnered with the Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell Law School to bring free .epub files of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence. The downloads will currently work on iPads, iPhones, Nooks, and other devices that can read the .epub format.  Please be aware that these are E-Book formats, so it won’t work in your PDF Reader.

Learn more by clicking here:  The Federal Rules Ebooks by Legal Information Institute

Legislative History Research Resources

Legislative history research got you down? Here are some great resources to help you navigate the waters.

Research Guides:

Law Library of Congress Federal Legislative History
Law Library Federal Legislative History
Law Library Electronic Sources for Federal Legislative History
Law Library Arizona Legislative History


CALI lessons:

Researching Federal Legislative History
Federal Legislative History Research – Compiled Legislative History



LexisNexis legislative history tutorial (and the Law Library’s research guide on finding legislative information using LexisNexis Congressional ).
HeinOnline’s quick tutorial video to search the HeinOnline Legislative History Library

ProQuest has several upcoming webinars for thier Congressional Digital … Continue Reading