Yearly Archives: 2020

Historic SC Courthouse Reopens

sepia photo of classic two story building. "Old Court House Camden, S.C. Erected in 1820. Now used as D.A.R. and U.D.C. Relic Room"

undated postcard

The City of Camden, South Carolina, has reopened its historic courthouse for use as a courthouse for the first time in more than 100 years, according to the city’s website and the Associated Press.

The building was used as a courthouse from the 1820s until the 1900s. After that, it served as a relic room, as the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, and as a rental venue for meetings and weddings. The first floor still houses the City of Camden Welcome Center. The second-story courtroom has now been restored according to its 1845 renovation and is in use for weekly municipal court hearings. 

modern photo of classic white two-story building; historic marker in front

2004 photo by Wikipedia user Pollinator

The historic courthouse was designed by architect Robert Mills. Robert Mills also designed the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., as well as several buildings in Columbia, South Carolina. His work influenced the design of the new UofSC School of Law building.

For more photos: scpictureproject.org/kershaw-county/robert-mills-courthouse.html

Directions to the Robert Mills Courthouse in Camden, from UofSC School of Law in Columbia: goo.gl/maps/fWieEJyJAPeQKYQT7

Resource Review: HeinOnline’s Electoral College Subcollection

by guest author Dan Brackmann

As the 2020 election hurtles towards us, HeinOnline has released a timely subcollection of Electoral College materials in its U.S. Presidential Library.  The subcollection includes hearings, committee prints, CRS and GAO reports, books, treatises and more on the Electoral College, explaining it, exploring it, and criticizing it throughout its history.

Dropdown menu from HeinOnline showing the U.S. Presidential Library and the Electoral College subcollectionTo access the subcollection, navigate to HeinOnline via the library web page, locate the U.S. Presidential Library in the list, and select the Electoral College subcollection. Browse the materials or use HeinOnline’s advanced search tools to perform targeted searching. (Make sure to select Electoral College as the document type.)

Some examples of the subcollection’s contents include:

  • Congressional hearings from the 91st Congress on constitutional changes to reform the Electoral College.
  • Contemporary analysis and perspectives on a contingent election if no candidate gets enough Electoral College votes.
  • Documents relating to other election issues, including election security and barriers to voting.

The opening menu of the Electoral College subcollection including the advanced search option.

Read more about it at: https://home.heinonline.org/blog/2020/10/new-addition-electoral-college/

Haunting Testimony

by guest author Melanie Griffin

One West Virginia case made U.S. legal history by a witness with haunting testimony.

In 1897, Elva “Zona” Heaster died under mysterious circumstances. Her doctor first called it an “everlasting faint” (19th century speak for “something just stopped working, we don’t know what”), then changed his ruling to childbirth. He ignored the markings on Zona’s neck and didn’t investigate her head wounds further at the insistence of her new husband, Erasmus Shue.

faded black-and-white photos of unsmiling 19th-century women

L: Zona Heaster Shue, murder victim. R: Mary Jane Heaster, victim’s mother. Photo from the Occult Museum.

Zona’s mother Mary Jane Heaster was suspicious of her son-in-law from the start, but she had no proof to take to court until, she said, Zona told her the truth herself—after the burial.

Mary Jane insisted to the county prosecutor that Zona visited her four consecutive nights after her death and gave her mother all the details about abuse she received from Erasmus. During her final visit, Mary Jane said her daughter gave a detailed account of how Erasmus killed her.

After learning that Erasmus had prevented a true post-mortem exam, the prosecutor ordered an autopsy, which brought up sufficient evidence to take the case to court.

Mary Jane told the court all about her nightly conversations with Zona, making history as the first time a ghost’s statement was allowed as evidence in a trial.

But don’t worry if you’ve made any ghosts mad—she was actually called as a defense witness to make her sound crazy and discredit her testimony. Erasmus was found guilty, based on evidence that was clearly tangible in this realm of existence.

Read news articles from the area and time with transcripts of the testimony, courtesy of the West Virginia Archives and History department.

Open Access Week 2020 – Part 2

See Part 1 for What is Open Access? and How can Open Access support equity and inclusion? 

How do UofSC Law librarians support Open Access?

There is no shortage of ways in which librarians at UofSC Law (and in many other libraries) support Open Access. Here are two examples:

Open Casebooks 

catalog search: Evidence Best Evidence Rule Miller, Colin author; Open Textbook Library distributor 2012 / Evidence Jury Impeachment Miller, Colin author; Open Textbook Library distributor 2014 / Evidence Rape Shield Rule Miller, Colin author; Open Textbook Library distributor 2014

Three Open Access casebooks by Dean Miller

Despite the high prices of casebooks, most casebook authors are not getting rich from those sales; they typically rely on a salary from other full-time work. Because Open Access textbooks help cash-strapped law students without significantly harming authors, authors are increasingly opting to create Open Access casebooks.

Law librarian Andy Kretschmar notes that there are currently some Open Access casebooks findable in the UofSC Law Library catalog, including three by Dean Colin Miller.

Scholar Commons

screenshot of https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/law/ with world map

scholarcommons.sc.edu/law

Law librarians work with law faculty, law student journal editors, and UofSC librarians to get permissions and upload works to scholarcommons.sc.edu/law. Law faculty can choose to make their articles freely available at scholarcommons.sc.edu/law_facpub, no matter where those articles are published, as long as the faculty have not given up their right to do so. Both the South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business (SCJILB) and the South Carolina Law Review have chosen to make back issues freely available via Scholar Commons, and SCJILB also makes its current issues available.

Approximately 37,000 times per year, articles are downloaded from UofSC Law’s Scholar Commons. The work of the UofSC Law Library (especially Lillian Bates, Dan Brackmann, Melanie Griffin, and Candle Wester) in digitizing back issues from print, obtaining permissions from authors and publishers, and putting articles online in an organized, findable way is making a difference.

Open Access Week 2020 – Part 1

What is Open Access?

open access logo (unlocked padlock)

Open Access logo, PLoS

The term Open Access refers to scholarly work that is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions,” in the words of Peter Suber.

Open Access typically only applies to research by scholars because most other types of authors and creators make a living by charging users for access to their work. However, scholars may receive little or none of the fees academic publishers charge. Often when scholars choose to provide Open Access to their work, their bottom line remains stable, their audience expands, and the impact of their ideas increases.

How can Open Access support equity and inclusion?

The theme of Open Access Week 2020 is Open With Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion. Just to mention two aspects of Open Access, putting works online lowers some barriers and removing purchase and subscription costs lowers others.

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2020 | October 19-25 | Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion (other languages)Nick Shockey / SPARC

Digitization to Reduce Barriers

When works that are not currently of mass interest only exist in printed format, they may go out-of-print. This can mean that the few existing copies are prohibitively expensive to purchase, or only available in a few libraries. Then researchers who cannot afford the cost of a rare book or travel to a distant city may not be able to refer to those works. Researchers who rely on screen readers or other accessibility technology may encounter additional barriers to using a printed format. Digitizing works and putting them online can help overcome these barriers.

Free or Affordable Textbooks

Students and faculty know how expensive textbooks are, and textbook prices continue to rise. Using Open Access textbooks is one way to help make education more affordable, and therefore more inclusive of students facing financial constraints.

Access Beyond Wealthy Institutions

Many researchers access scholarly works online via an institutional login. They may be unaware of the high rates their library pays academic publishers for group online subscriptions. Meanwhile, independent researchers or researchers whose institutions cannot pay for certain expensive subscriptions often cannot afford access to the sources they need for their research.

In Part 2: How do UofSC Law librarians support Open Access?

Resource Review: HeinOnline, ORCID, & U.S. News Redux

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Emblems for ORCID; William S. Hein, Inc.; and U.S. News and World Report

Most of legal academia has heard by now that U.S. News is going to start publishing scholarly productivity rankings based on data imported from W.S. Hein. Previous editions of this publication have encouraged faculty members to set up HeinOnline Author Profiles and to get (and use) ORCID ID numbers. In the last few months, we have seen announcements that make it worthwhile to re-visit those topics.

ORCID is a unique identifying number for a scholar, basically a scholarship social security number. Associating this number with your scholarship helps ensure that you get credit for it

In August, Hein completed its integration with ORCID. That means Hein data on legal scholarship associated with ORCID IDs is exported to ORCID. It also means that Hein is importing data about an author’s works from ORCID!  This integration provides Hein with more data on non-journal legal scholarship by ORCID ID holders to pass on to U.S. News when the latter pulls data for its scholarly impact rankings.

Hein’s Author Profiles and ORCID were both low-hanging fruit before the integration, but now they are even better for making sure that both you and the law school get credit for your scholarship. The faculty administrative support staff can help you get them set up too.

Here is Hein’s announcement: https://home.heinonline.org/blog/2020/08/phase-ii-complete-orcid-records-appear-in-heinonline/

Here is a Wisconsin Law Blog on the topic in more detail: https://bit.ly/34fESwG

 

Election Workers Needed in SC

South Carolina Needs More Election Workers

Many election workers from past years are in high-risk categories for COVID-19 and understandably do not feel safe participating in person this year. The South Carolina Election Commission has posted this plea on its website:

“If you are willing and able to serve, South Carolina needs you.  The fact is we must have poll managers to have elections. Unless new poll managers step up to serve, we expect counties will have to close and consolidate polling places, which can cause large crowds and longer lines for voters.”

The American Bar Association (ambar.org/vote) and the South Carolina Bar (@SCBAR) also encourage law students and lawyers to step up and ensure voters can cast their ballots on Election Day.

What Do South Carolina Election Workers Receive?

The SC Election Commission specifies this pay breakdown, which does not include the supplement that some counties offer:

Poll Managers (and poll manager’s assistants): $60 for attending training + $15 for COVID-19 training + $75 for working on election day + $15 for additional COVID-19 related duties on election day = $165 Total

Clerks (the lead poll manager):  Poll Manager Pay + $60 for additional training and responsibilities = $225 Total 

For everyone’s safety this year, the SC Election Commission will provide:

  • masks
  • gloves
  • hand sanitizer
  • sanitizing wipes
  • disposable cotton swabs for making touchscreen selections
  • an online election worker training option

No Class on Election Day

University of South Carolina School of Law’s academic calendar has no classes scheduled on Election Day—Tuesday, November 3, 2020. 

How Can Law Students Be Election Workers?

Law students who meet the necessary criteria are encouraged to apply to be election workers. Poll Managers must be registered to vote in South Carolina. A Poll Manager may not serve at any polling place where they are a candidate or the spouse, parent, child, or sibling of a candidate on the ballot. A Clerk (the lead poll manager) must serve either in the county where they are registered to vote or an adjoining county.

More on South Carolina Elections

Laws governing South Carolina elections can be found in Title 7 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. To do further research on these laws, try starting with an annotated version of the South Carolina Code (such as through subscription providers Westlaw, Lexis, or Fastcase), or ask a law librarian for help navigating free online or print resources related to Title 7.

Resource Review: PlumX Metrics Come to Scholar Commons

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Scholar Commons is the University of South Carolina’s digital institutional repository, and many of our faculty have agreed to let us post copies of their scholarship in the law school’s portion of the repository.  Over the summer, a new tool called PlumX was integrated into Scholar Commons. PlumX was developed by Plum Analytics as an aggregation tool for impact metrics that tries to look beyond just citation counts published in journals to measure impact. Below is a snapshot of the PlumX report for our faculty publications page.

The PlumX Snapshot bar showing the five PlumX categories: Usage, Citations, Captures, Mentions, and Social Media

As you can see, among the things that PlumX tries to capture are statistics on how many times repository scholarship is mentioned on social media and if an article is cited by a policy document, both of which are impact measures often overlooked by more conventional impact metrics. PlumX also provides more detailed information for anyone wanting to drill down into the data a bit.

Here is information about PlumX metrics on Scholar Commons: https://bepress.com/reference_guide_dc/measuring-impact-plumx-metrics-digital-commons/

Moreover, authors can gain access to their “author dashboard,” allowing them to access their PlumX (and other) metrics for their articles.  To have an author dashboard you only need to have one article posted in Scholar Commons and linked to your official USC email address.

The vertical icon directory from the Scholar Commons Dashboard highlighting the third option which is the PlumX iconHere is a video telling you more about the Author Dashboard at USC: https://guides.library.sc.edu/scholarcommons/impact.  The video pre-dates PlumX, but to see your PlumX statistics, you only need to select the “plum” icon in the left-hand column as shown in the image to the left.

 

Find Your Focus with the Law Library

by guest author Melanie Griffin

Finding a focus topic is when law school really gets interesting. No matter where you are in your program or where you’re accessing your classes, UofSC Law Library has a number of ways for you to take a deep dive into specific types of law that catch your attention, require further research, or seem like the path you want to take after graduation.

  • We’ve got a library research guide for that: If the sheer amount of available information about different types of law makes you wonder where to start, check out our list of legal research guides. This lists links to all of the law library’s guides by topic in alphabetical order, and each topic has its own wiki dedicated to introducing a type of law and showcasing relevant materials that will take your understanding to the next level – including official websites you can use now (such as the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission if you’re interested in worker’s comp), UofSC Law Library books you can check out in person, and UofSC Law Library e-books you can use remotely.

 

  • Find a topical electronic resource: The Law Databases Guide is especially useful for furthering your knowledge whether or not you’re physically in the Law Library. The Topical Legal Research section has all you need to know about specific databases you can access with your UofSC login. If you’re looking to learn more about international law, historical legal research, or legislation, each of these sections will lead you straight to a plethora of information about your chosen topic.

 

  • Search UofSC law research by topic on Scholar Commons: The Law Library participates in UofSC’s Scholar Commons research repository, which gathers together UofSC research into one free, open-access electronic database. That means you can search research on a number of law subtopics from our own school regardless of whether you have access to their original journal publications. It’s not a complete list since it’s voluntary for professors to submit their work to be added to Scholar Commons, but it’s an easy way to see who may be working on what without having to go a million different places or running into paywalls.

 

  • Ask a reference librarian: Our reference librarians can help you with your research and find further materials on any legal topic that catches your interest. Send us an email at lawref@law.sc.edu or use our Law Library Chat system to get in touch Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

  • Get in touch with Career Services: You can still get plenty of great advice from our Career Services professionals through their remote access. They’ll talk with you about the number of different ways you can focus your work and the realistic ways your choices may guide your life after law school.

Fall 2020 Law Library Hours, Spaces, Materials & Services

by guest authors Andy Kretschmar and Rebekah Maxwell

Sent in an email to all incoming and returning law students on July 27, 2020.


Here is some information about how the law library will be adapting services and operations this semester.

Please stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Hours & Access
  • The law library will only be accessible to law school students, staff, and faculty. Please have your Carolina Card at all times, as you’ll need it to enter the library.
  • The library will be open 8am—6pm, M-F, from August 3rd to August 20th
  • During the semester, the law library will operate under the following hours:
    • Monday—Thursday 7am-8pm
    • Friday                              7am-6pm
    • Saturday—Sunday    CLOSED (subject to change based on health & safety guidelines)
    • Any unexpected changes to hours due to unforeseen events will be announced on the law library’s Facebook page.
  • Everyone will be required to wear a face covering at all times while in the law library and on the balcony. You may remove your face covering if you are in a group study room with the door closed (see below).

 

Library Spaces
  • In order to create six feet of space between seats, as recommended by the university and the CDC, seating capacity has been reduced to 25% of normal capacity, or 89 seats.
  • Study Tables and Carrels – Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.
    • There will be 18 seats available in the Coleman Karesh Reading Room.
    • The basement will not be accessible for studying.
  • Study Rooms – Group study rooms have been reduced to 1 seat.  Rooms may be booked in advance on the law library’s room booking page. Students who are participating in a virtual class will have priority when booking study rooms. Students may use unoccupied study rooms without a reservation, but must leave when asked to do so by the student who booked the study room. Please note that some study rooms have been repurposed as storage space.
  • There will be extra signage in the library designating traffic flows, space usage, and other COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and protocols. Please follow these guidelines, and ask library personnel if you have any questions.

 

Access to Library Materials
  • For book sanitation reasons, please wash your hands before handling books, and please allow circulation or reference personnel to guide you directly to the book you need.
  • You can check out materials according to normal library policies, but items will undergo a 3-day quarantine period after use to ensure that no items are contaminated. If an item is needed while it’s in quarantine, it will only be available for copy and scanning usage, and users will be required to wear protective gloves when handling these materials.
  • Copiers and scanners will be available. Only one user will be allowed into the copy room at a time. Wearing protective gloves will be required, and users will be asked to wipe down machines before and after use (gloves and wipes will be provided by library staff). Consider using a free app such as Adobe Scan (iOS or Android) or Microsoft Office Lens (iOS or Android) to scan items with your phone.
  • All library items should be returned to the circulation desk when you have finished using them. Please don’t try to help out by reshelving books; we want to ensure that each book is sanitary before we return it to the shelf.
  • If you have questions about getting library materials, please email Andy Kretschmar at kretschm@law.sc.edu

 

Reference Services
  • Reference services will be available from 9:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday.
  • The reference desk will offer a combination of in-person and virtual reference service.
  • Virtual reference service will offer the option of a video chat with a librarian in real time, using the law library’s chat program and Blackboard Collaborate.   Instructions for initiating a video chat will be posted at the reference desk, on the library’s webpage, and at other locations in the library.
  • The reference desk email (lawref@law.sc.eduand text chat (click “Ask A Librarian” at law.sc.edu/library or SMS 803-219-2529) will also remain available as contact points.