Category Archives: Using the Law Library

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

 

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.

Resource Review: The (New) Library Catalog

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Recently we, along with a very large chunk of the other colleges and universities in South Carolina, made a major switch in the software that we use to manage and search our library holdings. You may think of it as our “catalog program.” This software includes a lot of new features and quirks, so this issue will be dedicated to highlighting some of them.

screenshot of Advanced Search view of the catalog (image is linked to the page shown)

Things to note include:

  • Always sign-in using your university login credentials and the light blue link in the upper-right corner. Signing-in allows you to request items (including from partner libraries), save searches, and more easily access electronic resources.

 

  • Search filters appear in a column to the left of results. The filter under Availability called “Held by Library” filters to show you only items in our print collection.

 

  • Unless you know the Library of Congress subject heading for your topic, browsing by subject is best done through the “New Search” tab in the top ribbon using keywords. Author and title browsing can be done through the “Browse” tab.

 

  • “UofSC Databases” in the top row of tabs means the databases supplied by the main campus library. Law Library-supplied databases are under “Law Databases.”

 

  • Boolean search operators must be placed in all-caps.

If you have any trouble with the new catalog, please reach out to our reference librarians for assistance. You can reach us at lawref@law.sc.edu, M-F 9AM-5PM.

If you have ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

Remotely Prepare for the Bar with UofSC Law Library

by guest author Melanie Griffin

Bar exam season is in full swing, but there’s no need to panic. We miss not hosting studiers in the library because it’s closed, but since South Carolina has not rescheduled its summer dates so far, we’re here online to help you find the perfect remote learning solutions for preparing.

Check out our Bar Prep library guide to start, and if you have any questions about bar prep, Alex Ruskell and the Academic Success office are set up to help you achieve!

  • Practice exams and questions: One way to study for a structured test such as the bar exam is to practice answering in its exact format. Fortunately, troves of old questions (and detailed answers) are available for free on the web. Academic publishers Quimbee, Barbri, Bar Prep Hero, and Kaplan all give you free access to practice questions (check out the Free Practice Questions for the Bar Exam tab in our Study Aids LibGuide). Both the Minnesota State Bar and the National Conference of Bar Examiners have free access to past questions and scored answers as well. Kaplan has a “start small” free access plan with a bar question of the day to ease into your studies.

 

  • Electronic study aids: Along with practice questions, UofSC law students can take advantage of several bigger-picture electronic bar exam study systems. Alex Ruskell of the Academic Success office is instrumental in helping with this. He’s given law students access to The Bar Prep TWEN bar prep web series to walk you through what to expect when taking the exam. And the 2020 Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements is now online as a PDF in the same layout as its physical study guide. In addition to its daily bar question, Kaplan gives you free access to 1L and 2L topic study guides for subjects you’d like to review from those years. Our Remote Services guide has all the details on which study guides are available in electronic form.

 

  • Financial help with prep courses: If you’re going into or are already working in public service law, Barbri offers a scholarship for its full bar exam prep package. It’s worth $1,995, and the deadline is June 15 for the summer exam. Read the application’s fine print to see if you qualify.

 

  • Specifics about South Carolina: The Course of Study on SC Law is not a suggestion but a requirement as part of your SC bar exam process. Fortunately, these eleven videos are excellent study aids as well. They discuss the details of how South Carolina law differs from regional or federal law in certain areas. They’re free, available on any computer with internet access, and you can go through them in any order you wish, as long as you correctly answer the three questions at the end of each video. Plus, the South Carolina Courts website has a section dedicated to the state bar and bar exam, which you should keep an eye on in the event that any details change for the July 2020 session.

Resource Review: The Practice

by guest author Dan Brackmann

This month’s issue highlights The Practice. The Practice is a bi-monthly publication from Harvard providing research and commentary on the legal profession. Each issue explores a particular theme related to the practice of law and is produced in a format that aims to be accessible to busy students, faculty, and practitioners.

2020 issues: Lawyers on the Board; Approaching Lawyer Well-Being; Clinical Legal Education

The Practice is not just for practitioners; much of its content pertains to teaching and different areas of scholarly interest.

For example:

You can access the journal using the link in the first paragraph or through the law library’s electronic resources page at: http://guides.law.sc.edu/Databases. The Practice can be accessed from off-campus using your university login credentials.

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

What to Do With Your Library Books

by guest author Andy Kretschmar

Several of you have come to us asking a very understandable question: With campus closed, what do I do with my library books?

First, please know that the health and safety of our patrons is first on our list of priorities during this time. Receiving our materials by their assigned due dates is far lower on the list right now.

Second, now that the university has begun outlining plans for the fall, we now feel comfortable addressing some of the questions you may have regarding library materials.


I have a book that was due during the closure—do I need to return it now?

No. So long as we are being asked to stay off campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be requiring that you return your books until it is safe to do so or until you return in the fall semester.

Will you be automatically renewing my library books during the closure?

Yes! Whether your books belong to the law library or another institution, we will be automatically renewing items.

While it’s very rare during this time that a renewal request will be denied, we will contact you directly if any complications arise.

Will I receive any fines, fees, or blocks on my registration or diploma for books that are due during this time?

Nope, nope, and nope.

I recently received an overdue notice. What do I do with it?

Overdue notices should not be sent during this time, as we are renewing all items, but if you do receive one, please forward it to me, and I will ensure that you do not receive them again.

I’m either currently undecided about returning to campus in-person in the fall, or am unable to do so, and/or I REALLY want to return my books now—can I mail them to you?

If you’d like to return library materials in the mail, please send them to:

Andy Kretschmar

University of South Carolina Law Library

1525 Senate St. #120D

Columbia, SC 29208

Our mail is still being delivered—Dean Alford is a seasoned courier at this point!—and we will discharge your materials from your library account shortly after we receive them.

If I mail my books to you, do I need to include any additional information?

Nope! So long as it’s a book that you borrowed from the law library (no matter which institution it belongs to) we’ll have all the information we need in order to discharge it from your account.

Please be sure to include a return address, and we’ll contact you if we have any questions.

My books are in my journal office. Do I need to go and get them?

If you are not able to safely do so, please do not worry about retrieving them.

When we return to campus, the law library will contact your journal’s EIC about receiving the books.

I’ve been given permission to enter the building, and am able to safely retrieve my library books. Is there a place I can return them?

Since the library is closed, the Student Services suite has graciously allowed for students to return their library materials there.

Please ensure that there are staff present before taking advantage of this option.

I just graduated, and will not be coming back to campus. What do I do with my books in that case?

If you graduated this semester and have library materials checked out to you, you should have received an email from me with info on returning books. If you fall within this category but did not hear from me, please let me know!

I live near campus—can I just place my books in one of the book drops?

No. All campus book drops are closed at this time.

I have other questions, or did not see my question addressed. Who do I contact?

Please feel free to contact me with any and all questions you have at kretschm@law.sc.edu.

I’m always happy to assist!


We hope that you all are staying safe during these uncertain times. Your law library staff continue to be impressed by your resilience and dedication, and no matter what form it takes, we very much look forward to seeing you again.

How to Bring the UofSC Law Library to You

by guest author Melanie Griffin

The UofSC Law Library extends its usefulness way beyond its physical walls, now more than ever. Here’s how to bring our resources to your home base, whether you’re still in the middle of distance learning or preparing to come back to campus in August.

 

  • Electronic study aids: We know how difficult it is to suddenly have no access to your usual method of studying. But finding an electronic copy of your favorite study aid is easier than you think. Several major law school materials publishers give you access to their study aids online with your law school login. West Academic, for example, also lets you download study aids for offline use and access online case studies for free until June 1. Wolters Kluwer, publisher of popular series such as Examples & Explanations, are giving law students free electronic access to their library of study aids through July 1. And CALI (the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) continues to offer free online tutorials in a number of legal subjects with no expiration date. Look through the Course Materials section of our Remote Resources guide to find your old favorites, plus new ways to keep your brain ready.

 

Use an image of the UofSC reading room for your Zoom study group background to feel like you never left!

  • Bring the library to your virtual study groups: If you’re feeling restless and lonely without your in-person study partners, set up virtual study times to bring everybody together again. The best part is that video chat services like Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Skype are free and easy to access, plus distance learning has made everyone familiar with them over the last few months. We can’t give you your favorite carrel in the basement or lamp in the reading room, but these library Zoom backgrounds come close to the ambiance you’re used to.

 

  • Law Library Chat service: Our law librarians are as ready as ever to answer your reference questions and guide you to the right resources, bringing their extensive knowledge to wherever you’re current set up. Our Law Library Chat is an instant messenger service that’s monitored Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you have a question outside those hours, don’t fret – you can send an email to lawref@law.sc.edu at any point, and it will get answered during the next set of business hours.

 

  • Circuit Riders basic legal research guide: If you know anyone who is looking for help with their own legal issues, point them to our Circuit Riders research guide on basic legal research in South Carolina. We can’t give out legal advice, but we can give you and the public information on processes in this state so that you stay informed on your journey through the South Carolina legal system.

 

  • COVID-19 remote services: Above all else, we’re here to help you through these unusual circumstances with minimal interruption to your law education and information needs. Our research librarians have compiled a complete resource guide to the remote services we’re using through our COVID-19 schedule, updated as warranted. Even as our campus is scheduled to re-open for the Fall 2020 semester, UofSC is working with students who won’t be able to make the physical trip back for any reason. If you have needs for remote library services this summer or beyond, check this resources guide first to get the most updated information on how we’re handling materials and research assistance.

Resource Review: Digital Public Library of America

by guest author Dan Brackmann

This month’s issue highlights the Digital Public Library of America at https://dp.la/. DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, etc. are free and immediately available in digital format. 

screenshot of DPLA logo, search function, browse by topic > Civil Rights Movement > Legal Battles

DPLA allows scholars to search the digital collections of thousands of libraries, archives, and museums nationwide, all in one website. The site contains over 6,300 e-books as well as digitized primary material from various institutions on topics such as civil rights and immigration.

screenshot of Draft of W.E.B. Du Bois' speech re: 14th Amendment, 1947

Here is a link to their Scholarly Research Guide: https://dp.la/guides/the-scholarly-research-guide-to-dpla

In addition to the scholarly uses of the site, it also contains lessons and books for children.

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.