Monthly Archives: September 2012

Supreme Court in the News

Were you surprised by the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Health Care Act?  Does it make you curious about the sort of cases they’re going to be looking at and how they may vote in the upcoming year?  If so, here are a few articles that take a look at the most well-known cases that will come to court:

Above the Law:  A Preview of the upcoming Supreme Court Term (OT 2012)

New York Times:  Supreme Court Faces Weighty Cases and a New Dynamic

Thompson-Reuters: Affirmitive Action, Rights Cases Await U.S. Supreme Court

If you want more in-depth information about where the Supreme Court is headed and what’s current, check out the SCOTUS Blog at


Bloomberg Law Training Next Week

We’ve mentioned it before – interested in learning more about Bloomberg Law?
Will Thompson, ASU’s Bloomberg BNA rep, will hold three training sessions next week on efficient searching using Bloomberg Law.  
If you’re interested in learning how to use this slick new legal research tool, pick a session below (lunch will be served!):
Date Time Location (Armstrong Hall)
Tuesday, October 2nd 12pm Room 105
Wednesday, October 3rd 1:30pm Room 116
Thursday, October 4th 12pm Room 105





You can sign up for a free Bloomberg Law account through the Bloomberg Law website (no activation code needed, just use your ASU e-mail address).

Homeowner Rights


The ASU Homeowner Advocacy Unit at the College of Law is hosting a free conference on homeowner rights October 19th. The conference will feature Joseph A. Smith, the National Mortgage Settlement Monitor, as well as representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Laws concerning homeowner rights can be complicated, so the Law Library has developed research guides related to the subject. The guides include information for homeowners, attorneys representing clients, and students researching this area of the law. They list both primary and secondary sources, with a focus on materials available in the Law Library. Check the guides out:

Foreclosure Law Research Guide

Homeowners Associations Research Guide

Residential Landlord and Tenant Laws

You can find more information about the homeowners right conference and reserve your ticket to the event here.

New Books at the Law Library – America Votes!

Periodically throughout the semester we will be highlighting new books in the Law Library collection on the Library Blog. Today’s focus is on America Votes! A Guide to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights, edited by Benjamin E. Griffith.

America Votes!  is an excellent resource for lawyers, professors, and election officials in advance of the November elections as it offers a snapshot of current key election and voting rights issues.  The book is divided in to three parts: the first part focuses on redistricting, the second on the Voting Rights Act, and the third on registration, ballot access, and reform measures.  Chapters within each part are written by experienced practitioners and address topics such as legislative redistricting, the impact of non-citizens on voting rights issues,  electoral college reform at the state level, and implementation of voting technology.

This book can be found in the Law Library at Law Treatises KF4886 .A86 2012


Citation Sanity Savers

As promised in yesterday’s blog , “Beating the Bluebook Blues,” today we’ll be sharing some tips on how to keep track of all your citations and some Bluebooking shortcuts.

When you’re writing a paper or doing a research project or assignment, it can be difficult to keep track of all the resources you may want to cite.
Have you ever:

  • Realized you read the exact thing you needed several days ago, but then can’t find it again?
  • Gotten to the end of writing a paper and remember you still have to do a works cited/bibliography?
  • Wish there was a way to have all your research neatly organized?
  • Wished for help with putting citations into Bluebook format?

Then a citation management program can help! We’ve blogged about citation management before , but it bears repeating.
There are many citation management programs available, but the three biggies are:

  • Endnote: a software package you purchase and install onto your computer;
  • Zotero: a free web-based, plug-in for your Firefox browser;
  • RefWorks: a web-based program that allows you to create and share databases.

With any of these citation managers, if you come across a book, article, website, or other resource you might want to cite later, keeping it for future reference is (in most cases) as easy as a click of the mouse.

EndNote is a little pricey, and we’re big fans of free stuff here at the Law Library, so let’s compare RefWork and Zotero. Both of these programs have add-ons that you can install in a word processor, allowing you cite while you write, and both offer some assistance putting citations into Bluebook format!


RefWorks Zotero
What is it? RefWorks is a web-based application.Citations are saved online in the user’s RefWorks account. You can also back-up your work by saving to your computer. Zotero is a plug-in for the Firefox browser.Citations are saved both online (to the Zotero server) and to the user’s device (synched
How are citations organized? Folders Tagging
Can I share my research? Yes, you can share a folder or your entire database of researchby allowing permission, then emailing a URL to recipients. Yes, by creating or joining a research group.
How do I get it? Users set up an account (free, through ASU Libraries)RefWorks is supported by ASU Libraries, and as an ASU student, faculty or staff, you can create an account for free. Go to and click on “Download” (free)
Does it do Bluebook? Yes, RefWorks will export citations into Bluebook format.Always double check your citations! Yes (requires separate download). Bluebook format is still under development.Always double check your citations!
More info See our previous blog about RefWorksand the ASU Libraries Guide to RefWorks The Zotero Support site has lots of info:

(For a much more detailed comparison, see this chart from the University of Wisconsin Libraries. )

What about using Westlaw/Lexis?
In either program you can manually enter citations from anywhere, including Westlaw and Lexis (unfortunately no citation manager is one-click-compatible with them). However, RefWorks is compatible with LexisNexis Academic.
But be sure to check out these fabulous guides from Boston University for more info:

Some good words of advice from the Law Library at Duke:

“In conclusion, there’s really no substitute for mastering at least the basic Bluebook citation rules on your own. Citation management software and browser add-ons can provide much-needed assistance to beginners, but only time and practice with the Bluebook would help you spot any inaccuracies or system limitations.”

Don’t forget, if you need help, you can always Ask a Librarian!


Beating the Bluebook Blues

We think the Georgetown Law Library says it best:

 “Few books cause law students as much dread, pain, anger and frustration as the Bluebook.”

If you don’t have a personal copy of the Bluebook, we have extra copies at the front desk that you can borrow. Or if you prefer electronic format, the Bluebook is also available online, and most recently in an app for iPhone and iPad.

We know that 500 pages of citation rules are not easy to master. Fortunately there are lots of resources in the Law Library to help! Such as:

And there are lot of other resources in the library under the subject headings Citation Of Legal Authorities — United States and Annotations And Citations — Law — United States.

There are also some great guides out there from other institutions, such as:

Stay tuned tomorrow for tips on how to keep track of all your citations and some Bluebooking shortcuts!

What the Law Library Did During Your Summer Vacation

Thank you to everyone who took the Law Library Student Survey during the 2012 spring semester. The Law Library staff worked very hard this summer to implement your suggestions and take care of your concerns.  Here are a few highlights of the improvements we made for you:
  • Whiteboards and garment hooks have been installed in all the study rooms.
  • The first floor restrooms have been power washed and sealer has been applied to the tiles which will help block odors and keep them cleaner. (Yes, the smell in the first floor men’s room has been exorcised.)
  • Carrel light bulbs have been replaced
  • All the outlets in the study carrels have been repaired.
  • The Law Library is now open earlier on Sundays. Our new Sunday hours are 8:00am to 11:00pm

For more information on the improvements we made please take a look at  the Law Library Student Survey Report.

We appreciate your feedback, so please let us know if you have any more suggestions or concerns. (

Reference in the Rotunda?!

You read that right!  Beginning this Monday (Sep. 17th), the Law Library will have a Roving Reference service available in the Rotunda of the College of Law twice a week.  Librarians will be available from Noon to 1:30pm on Mondays and Tuesdays through October to answer your reference questions.  Please stop by our table to say hello and ask a question!

Thanks to the Man in Black,we’re shedding some light on finding articles

This day in history, it was lights out for the Man in Black; music legend Johnny Cash died September 12, 2003.
Mr. Cash, of course, was no stranger to the law. He kept lawyers busy with arrests for drug smuggling, setting a forest on fire, and more. Through his legal adventures, he developed compassion for prisoners, performing free concerts in prisons and advocating for prison reform.
While learning a little about Mr. Cash, we found a nifty journal article titled: “Social Justice and Social Context in the Music of Johnny Cash”  (2009 J. Inst. Just. Int’l Stud. 53), which is available on Westlaw and HeinOnline.
If you ever see a citation to an article like this and want to know if the Law Library has access to it, here are a few tips:

Help for Choosing a Paper Topic

Having difficulty choosing a topic for the seminar paper you will be writing this semester?  Then check out the new How to Choose a Paper Topic research guide on the Law Library’s website.  The guide is designed for law students who are writing a substantive legal research paper and are looking for guidance on how to begin. It details sources for help in selecting a paper topic and offers insight in how to check whether your paper will add new information to the field of law.