Tag Archives: Guest Author

These posts were written by guest authors.

Any post without this tag was written by the blog editor, Eve Ross.

Search for all posts by a particular guest author by typing the author’s name in the search box on the right.

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.

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.