|A Quarterly publication of the South Florida Association of Law
Fall 2000 SFALL
Newsletter in Adobe Acrobat format.
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This has been a warp-speed summer for your SFALL president but I am
most encouraged about our Association and about our profession in the coming
I recently returned from the 19th annual meeting of the International
Association of Law Libraries in Dublin on the subject of A Common Law for
Europe: Legal Systems and Legal Information. The European Union is having a
huge impact in Ireland. The Europeans have an entirely new and highly complex
superstructure overlaying their law that can be used to trump their local and
national law, public policy and precedents. Europeans lawyers will need a great
deal of help from legal researchers and law librarians to manage these changes.
There will be many opportunities for publishers and law librarians to produce
elegant tools, finding aids, and checklists in this challenging regime.
The IALL group itself was a small but impressive collection of mostly
academic and government librarians. At the Conference, participants shared a
drink with the Lord Mayor of Dublin in the ancient meeting hall. We also enjoyed
a private reception at the Long Room at Trinity College Library.
The Philadelphia AALL conference was my first opportunity to attend a
national AALL meeting.
Many great ideas were harvested from the chapter leadership conference, and I
managed to put in a pitch and a handshake agreement for a visit from one of the
AALL board members for our Annual meeting that I think everyone will enjoy.
We made a deal in Philadelphia at AALL with the British Library
for our members. BR has a first class document delivery service, and they are
willing to waive the $750 sign up charge per password for our members and other
AALL members. BR provides a rapid service for searching documents at article
level and electronically ordering. BR handles all the copyright clearance and
for many scientific and oddball documents it will make a lot of sense to use
them. They operate 20 hours a day and have three levels of turnaround time with
three price points. They will be invited to come talk to us at our winter
meeting in January or February. If anyone wants to learn more about it now,
please call or email me.
We would like to have all the members we can get, and I think we
should invite paralegals and other para-professionals in those small law firms
and corporate organizations which have no law librarian to get involved with our
chapter. These individuals need to assist their institutions with research and
can benefit from learning about us, our skill sets, and adding an MLS perhaps to
their own resume or staff.
This will add to our profession and the networking will assist us in
or own reference work. I would like to hear your reactions to this idea before I
ask our membership chair, Douglas Jones, to go out beating the bushes. With a
larger membership and wider interests, we can all benefit in our program and
Until next time, I love our group and wish you every success.
Florida Legal Materials Via the Internet
Nova Southeastern University
Many of Florida’s recent legal materials can be found on the Internet.
Decisions from Florida’s Supreme Court and Second and Fourth District
Courts of Appeal can be found at the Florida State Courts
(formerly JOSHA) Internet site at http://www.flcourts.org/.
Maintained by the Office of State Court Administration, this site provides
access to the full text of Florida Supreme Court opinions from October 1, 1999
to the present. Searching is by date. Information about the Justices as well as
the Court’s oral argument calendar is also available here. Archived opinions
for the Supreme Court can be found at the University of Florida Levin
College of Law site at http://www.law.ufl.edu/opinions/supreme/index.shtml. Opinions are organized and searchable by date from 1995 onwards.
The full text of all opinions published in 2000 by the Second and Fourth
District Courts of Appeal are also available at the Florida State Courts
site. Again, searching is via date. There are links to Florida’s DCA, Circuit,
and County Court Internet sites as well. The mirror site is hosted by the Florida
Information Resource Network and can be accessed at http://www.firn.edu/supct/.
The Seventeenth Circuit Court (Broward County) can be accessed at http://www.17th.flcourts.org/
. Administrative orders, local court rules, and
brief judicial biographies can be located at this site.
Gavel to Gavel, (http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel),
is a site sponsored by WFSU and Florida State University. It provides audio and
video of Florida Supreme Court oral arguments from September 1997 onwards. In
addition to the audio and video, it provides the full text of Supreme Court
opinions and briefs. Searching is by date.
A commercial publication, Florida Law Weekly, is available
through the Law Library & Technology Center in both print and electronic
formats. This publication contains the full text of Florida Supreme Court and
District Courts of Appeal decisions. The electronic version provides access to
decisions from 1995 to the present. Searching is by keyword. Summaries of
Florida Supreme Court decisions are also available with this publication.
Decisions from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal can be found at
Emory’s Federal Courts Finder at http://www.law.emory.edu/FEDCTS/.
Decisions are available from 1995 on and can be searched via keyword, date, or
Florida’s statutes, pending legislation, Constitution, lists of lobbyists,
and Senate and House Journals can be found at Online Sunshine at http://www.leg.state.fl.us/
. This site is maintained by the Florida Legislature. Current statutes can be
searched by Table of Contents or keyword. Historical versions (1993-1999) of the
Florida Statutes are here as well. Current Florida House and
Senate Committees, committee members, and journals are also available at this
The Governor’s Office as well as many of Florida’s regulatory agencies
can be accessed at My Florida at http://www.myflorida.com/.
This site is the State’s new gateway to Florida government information. While
you can email the Governor from this site and read the full text of his
speeches, there is not access to either current or past Executive Orders.
The Florida Attorney General’s site can be accessed at http://legalfirn.edu/.
The full text of opinions from 1974 onwards can be found here. Searching is
by year and opinion number.
The Florida Department of State can be accessed at http://www.dos.state.fl.us/.
This site’s Corporations Division now provides the full text of
several Florida corporation forms but it no longer provides access to the
database of information about corporations, including status, address, and
registered agent. Rather this information must now be purchased.
Finally there are numerous Internet sites for the various bar organizations.
Two sites of interest include the Florida Bar Organization and the
Broward County Bar Organization.
Information about the Florida Bar Association can be found at http://www.flabar.org/
. At this site, you can search for Florida attorneys by name or city. You can
also search for Ethics Opinions by opinion number or keyword. Information about
CLE seminars, lawyer advertising, and legal standards is also located here.
The Broward Bar Association’s site at http://www.browardbar.org/
provides assess to the Bar’s calendar as well as the full text of its
newsletter, the Broward Barrister.
There are numerous Internet sites with Florida information. If you cannot
remember the appropriate URL, use Florida’s new information portal, My
Florida, at http://www.myflorida.com/
Library Catalogs On the Net
Mary Paige Smith
Nova Southeastern University
Most libraries in the United States, and many libraries around the world, now
offer their online public access catalogs (OPACs) via the Internet. These
catalogs are a great source of information to those who know where to look! Not
only can you discover what books, journals and other resources another library
owns, you can often access full-text databases as well. University OPACs also
contain links to the library and university home pages, offering access to
bibliographies, pathfinders and other finding aids, and links to numerous other
sources of information.
Here are a few selected collections of library catalogs on the ‘net. Happy
Library Web-Based OPACS
This comprehensive site provides geographical, library type and OPAC vendor
indexes. This site is hosted by Northern Lights Solutions, and maintained by
Library of Congress Gateway to Library Catalogs
In addition to searching the Library of Congress’s catalog, you can easily
search library catalogs around the world. Z39.50 is the American National
Standards Institute/National Information Services Organization protocol which
enables us to search many different kinds of OPACs using the same search
language. This site is maintained by the Library of Congress.
WebLUIS: Library User Information System, State University System of Florida
Created and maintained by the Florida Center for Library Automation, WebLUIS
provides access to the catalogs of all libraries in the State University system.
You can also access other Florida libraries, and research sites such as the
Center for Research Libraries.
Law Students’ Views of Lexis and Westlaw
University of Miami Law School Library
Law students’ views of Lexis and Westlaw have evolved considerably since
the early days of computerized legal research. In the early days of CALR
(Computer Assisted Legal Resarch), students felt more comfortable with books and
were a bit intimidated by the mammoth Westlaw and Lexis machines they were shown
but rarely used during their law school careers. Law students’ views of legal
research are important because they indicate the direction legal research and
ultimately the practice of law will take in the future.
Today’s law students are extremely computer-savvy, and they routinely surf
the web to obtain information. Most law students feel very comfortable with
Lexis and Westlaw. In fact, students now prefer computers, and they would rather
avoid researching in books. The Lexis system, developed in 1973, gave attorneys
the ability to pull legal information from databases. It was a major revolution
in legal research because, for the first time, attorneys could search the full
text of legal documents to find particular words or phrases. No longer were
attorneys bound by the indexing of book publishers.
Lexis was followed by Westlaw. Westlaw, created by the venerable West
Publishing Company, became available in 1975. Both used software-based systems
for twenty years, introducing web sites for research a few years ago. Law
students have readily migrated to the web sites.
Here at the University of Miami Law School, I attempted to gauge law students’
attitudes about Lexis and Westlaw with a voluntary survey. Unfortunately, only
14 of our 1250 law students responded to the questionnaire. However, the
responses of the students correspond to my observations of student preferences
gleaned from years of teaching them and helping them with their CALR.
The survey results show that a majority of students prefer the web sites over
the software. The Westlaw software still makes a very strong showing, with 43
percent of respondents stating that they prefer Westlaw software. An impressive
36 percent of respondents prefer the Lexis web site, and 29 percent prefer the
Westlaw web site. None of the respondents prefer the Lexis software.
(Percentages total more than 100 percent because some students prefer more than
A number of students stated they prefer the web versions because "I can
use the web site from anywhere-no need for software." Law students
considered the Westlaw software and web site as well as the Lexis web site to be
"user friendly" and "easy to access." Students choose Lexis
or Westlaw in part because of their contents. One law student is partial to
Lexis because it includes "NALP/Martindale-Hubbell/Shepard’s." A few
respondents favor Westlaw because it includes Key Cite, Westlaw’s competitor
with Shepard’s. One student remarked, "Lexis needs to become more user
friendly. It is difficult to search for information in the format it is set up
My own experience teaching Lexis and Westlaw shows that students are very
receptive to the web site version of Lexis, especially the database links which
have a number of databases subsumed under a broad heading like "Secondary
Sources." The researcher simply clicks on links, getting more and more
specific databases with each click. In this way, the user does not have to
memorize or look up database names, and has only a few choices on each screen.
Students also like the "Search Advisor" function on the Lexis web site
which suggests to them terms to use in their research. The students who seem
particularly responsive to the Lexis web site are, as might be expected,
students who are uninitiated about law and legal research: new 1L law students
and paralegal students.
Established researchers are more likely to gravitate toward the software. One
survey respondent who recently graduated from law school (and thus was not
included in the survey results) states that he prefers the Lexis software
because "it was the first one I used, and it is the most comfortable."
It has been my experience that veteran researchers (people who are skilled at
Lexis and Westlaw) are sometimes frustrated by the web sites because these
experts cannot perform all the functions with the web sites that they could with
Fifty-seven percent of the survey respondents used Lexis and/or Westlaw in
their jobs. Forty-three percent of the law students use Westlaw software in
their jobs. Twenty-nine percent use the Westlaw web site and 7 percent use the
Lexis web site in their jobs. (Some law students use more than one, which is why
the percentages add up to more than 57 percent.) Some employers, including law
firms, have difficulty accommodating the web versions of the products for
various reasons. For example, some law firms’ computer systems cannot support
the web sites. For other law firms, billing for the time spent on the web site
(hourly pricing) is problematic.
When asked how the services could be improved, the vast majority of the law
students gave no suggestions. One student offered only praise of the Westlaw
representative: "excellent service by the representativeĽgracious
and available always." The recently graduated attorney suggested that the
services could be "cheaper," a point well taken since some databases
are priced at as much as $9.00 per minute.
Students answering the survey used anywhere from 0 hours per week to a
whopping 34 hours per week of Lexis and/or Westlaw. All but one of the
respondents used at least two hours of Lexis or Westlaw per week
CALR is driven by law students who eventually become attorneys. It is
interesting and worth noting, particularly for the vendors, the issues that
students perceive about CALR.
News From the Vendors
According to Deidra Payne, Southern Regional Information Manager for Lexis,
Lexis has added the following enhancements to its service:
LEXIS began to move law review footnotes to the end of each article! There is a link to "jump" you
to the footnote at the end of each article. The following law reviews have the new enhancements on both Classic LEXIS and
- Harvard Law Review
- Yale Law Journal
- Stanford Law Review
- Columbia Law Review
- California Law Review
- University of Chicago Law Review
- Virginia Law Review
- Cornell Law Review
- New York University Law Review
- Vanderbilt Law Review
- Texas Law Review
- Ohio State Law Journal
- UCLA Law Review
- Northwestern University Law Review
- Georgetown Law Journal
- Minnesota Law Review
- Washington & Lee Law Review
- William & Mary Law Review
- Arizona Law Review
- Tulane Law Review
- Alabama Law Review
- University of Tennessee Law Review
- Wake Forest Law Review
- Arizona State Law Journal
- Utah Law Review
- University of Cincinnati Law Review
- Connecticut Law Review
- Baylor Law Review
- Georgia Law Review
- Hastings Law Journal
- Brigham Young University
- Washington University Law Quarterly
This is a work in progress. LEXIS will be adding approximately 10 law reviews
each day until all journals are in this new format. As of August 4th, the top
fifty law reviews will have this new format. How big is that? Well, the top
fifty law review files contain 600 -1000+ articles each. I was told that by the
end of this week, 30-40% of the 108,000 retrospective articles in this project will have the new footnote
According to Mitza Djulvezan, Westlaw Account Manager, Westlaw celebrates 25
years of incredible innovation and growth this year. According to Mitza and her
Not too long ago, libraries acquired Westlaw terminals and printers; users
learned the Westlaw Terms and Connectors search method to search West headnotes-only
databases. Today, Westlaw comes to you on your terms. Natural Language is
spoken. Newswires, cases, bills and other documents can be clipped while you
sleep. Results are printed, downloaded, faxed, sent by e-mail or distributed on
law firm intranets. Westlaw access has grown from WALT® to Web to wireless and
Here are a few of the extraordinary Westlaw innovations from our recent past:
In the last three years, citation checking has been transformed-KeyCite has
breathed new life into citation research. When a case or statute is displayed,
the researcher is warned by a KeyCite status flag if history is available that
should be investigated.
West Group offered the first full-featured research service on the Web.
Westnews sources on Westlaw include 6,900 newspapers, magazines, newswires,
trade journals, investment analysts’ reports and other business news and
With WestCiteLink, you can turn the citations in your brief into links to the
original documents on Westlaw.
Since 1998, you can access Westlaw from any computer connected to the
Internet, whether it be a laptop, PC or Macintosh®. You can even connect to
Westlaw on the hand-held, wireless PocketParalegal.
So what does the immediate future hold for Westlaw? Some exciting
developments are already in the works, including
- more powerful searching, faster rendering and more intuitive navigation
of westlaw.com, through enhancements personalized to the user
- further integration of Westlaw and Westlaw services (such as WestFind&Print,
WestNewslink and WestIntraClip)
into law office intranets, word processors and document management systems
- a new Westlaw Directory, including features personalized by the user
And the next 25 years? A few things are certain. In both design and content,
Westlaw will be form-fitted to the information needs of our society-to-be. It
will be compatible with the technology of the era. It will reflect the structure
of daily life of tomorrow's lawyers.
A quarter-century of innovation stands behind these predictions.
The Internet and Online Ordering
Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad
Online ordering via the Internet is a dream come true for most Acquisitions
Librarians. We no longer have to depend on the US mail, telephone calls where
you get automated messages, fax machines where numbers are often busy or modems
that require direct analog telephone connections. At Nova Southeastern
University Law Library, we use several web sites in addition to our INNOPAC
system known as Novacat. We connect to Novacat via the Internet so all of our
online ordering is actually done via the web.
Some of Nova’s online ordering is done through the Acquisitions module in
Novacat. The Acquisitions module is part of the Innopac system that includes,
Circulation, Cataloging and the OPAC. All of these modules are integrated to
form what is commonly know as our Catalog or Novacat. In the Acquisitions
module, records are downloaded from the Library of Congress’s online catalog
system known as OCLC. Once the records are in Novacat, they are sent
electronically to the vendors via email. The records show the items as ordered
in the OPAC until they are cataloged. Once the items are cataloged, the OPAC
informs the public of their locations and call numbers.
Ordering Online via the Web
Amazon.com is a web site that is designed to order all kinds of material
online. In this web site orders can be made for; music, DVD’s, videos,
electronics, software, toys, video games, and home improvements. They even have
an auction and a zshop where diamond rings can be purchased. All it takes to
order is to register in their web site at www.amazon.com. After registration, a password is issued and used whenever shopping is done at
Amazon.com. Nova primarily uses this system to order books and/or videos. Amazon
has a comprehensive collection that is easily accessed by using a dependable
search engine; the program is very intuitive and no real training is necessary.
First time users need to fill out a customer profile where payment and shipping
information is recorded. The profile even includes information for shipping
requirements. The profile can be marked in order to ship the material in
regular, express or overnight mail. The site uses a secure server, so credit
card information should be safe. Credit card companies have good policies when
fraudulent purchases are made so there shouldn’t be any problems with entering
the information in the profile. Once this is done, orders can be sent
electronically with simply one click of a button. Amazon confirms the orders
with an email that gives the appropriate invoice and shipping information to the
Barnes and Noble also has a web site where shopping online is available for
books, music, ecards, prints & posters, software or magazines. They are
located at www.bn.com and registration for password
protection is also necessary. Profiling, searching and one-click purchasing are
very similar to Amazon.com. The differences seem to be in the products offered
by each web sit. At Amazon you can purchase home improvements and participate in
an auction while at Barnes and Noble you can send electronic greeting cards,
purchase prints and posters. The service and inventory with regards to books,
videos and CD’s are excellent in both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Technology has made ordering materials faster, easier and more efficient. The
future will enable us to practically eliminate telephone calls that are time
consuming, the use of fax machines that are often busy, and the costly paper
purchase orders. More and more vendors and companies are offering web sites
where one can purchase everything needed to enhance and update a library. The
Internet and online ordering will keep improving as more Vendors offer these
services and technology keeps improving speed and access.
Call For Papers Committee Announcement
Have you been thinking about writing an article about law librarianship? Or
are you already writing an article and just need an incentive to finish? If yes,
read on! The AALL/LEXIS Publishing Call for Papers Committee eagerly solicits
your articles for its annual competition. Up to three winning authors will
receive a prize of $750, generously donated by LEXIS Publishing, and the
opportunity to present their papers to their colleagues at the Annual Meeting.
Winning papers also are considered for publication in the Law Library Journal,
the scholarly journal of the law library profession. Visit AALLNET at http://www.aallnet.org/about/award_call_for_papers.asp
for more information, including selection criteria and application procedures.
Submissions are due by March 1, 2001. Good luck!
Questions? Contact a member of the Call for Papers Committee: Adeen Postar
(chair) at email@example.com, Karen Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Maria
Protti at Maria_Protti@ci.sf.ca.us.
Information for the Newsletter
Sfall Newsletter is the official publication of the South Florida Law
Librarians Association. It is published quarterly and distributed free to all
Sfall members. Editorial comments or submissions should be sent to:
Lisa Smith-Butler, Associate Law Library Director
Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center
Law Library & Technology Center
3305 College Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314