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Law Library News for April 9, 2001

Ann Hemmens, editor

Law Library News Archive


Online Help

by Nancy McMurrer

The best way to be an efficient and effective searcher is to plan your research before you go online. Figure out what sort of database you should use to find the information you need to know. List possible search terms, and think about what connectors to use to formulate a couple of good alternative queries.

But even the best preparation is not always enough. That is why LEXIS-NEXIS and Westlaw provide HELP screens, and why both vendors have a direct hotline phone to their reference staff in Room 241. There, you can be online in LEXIS-NEXIS or Westlaw, in the middle of your research, and stay connected while you call for reference help. But, suppose you are in the computer lab, or at home, using your only telephone line to connect to the Internet?

The Law School is part of a pilot program that Westlaw has just started to provide live online help. While in Westlaw, if you click on the HELP button on the top right of the screen, a window will pop up that permits you to establish a two-way "chat room" with a Westlaw reference attorney. You just type your question, click on GO, and the reference attorney responds by typing back an answer. You can try the attorney's suggested answer right then, while you are still in the midst of your research. Give it a try!

Changes in Martindale-Hubbell Access

by Barbara Swatt, Reference Intern

Martindale-Hubbell is an excellent source for comprehensive and up-to-date information on the legal profession. It is currently available in a few different forms at the Gallagher Law Library. There is a print version on Reserve at the Circulation desk and a free web version is available through It is also available to LEXIS subscribers on and at for non- subscribers.

The print version of Martindale-Hubbell consists of international and U.S. materials. The Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory (KF190.M32 at Reserve & Reference Office) includes professional biographies and information about law firms in Europe, Asia, Australasia, Middle East Africa, North America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. It is indexed both alphabetically and by area of practice. The Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest (KF190.M35 at Reserve & Reference Office) includes brief summaries of the laws of most countries ranging from Argentina to Vietnam, as well as references to selected international conventions.

The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (KF190.M3 at Reserve) has practice profiles and professional biographies of attorneys in the United States. It covers each of the fifty states along with Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and a special section on New York City. The Martindale-Hubbell Law Digest (KF190.M34 at Reserve & Reference Office) has summaries of the laws of the fifty states and includes Uniform Acts, and A.B.A. Codes. The subscription LEXIS version of Martindale-Hubbell also has full access to all directories and digests.

The web version,, features a tool called Lawyer Locater that allows free on-line access to the Martindale-Hubbell directories and covers 160 countries. It is searchable by name, geographic location, practice area, firm size, and languages, and has links to law firm websites. You can also search for lawyers working for U.S. government agencies and law school faculty.

Some of the other features of the website include the Experts and Services tool, which is a fast and easy way to search for expert witnesses by geographic area and practice area. The Careers tool is an employment resource for both job seekers and employers. There are links for advice on resumes, interviews, and open job positions as well as comparisons of law firm compensation.

Although the digests are not accessible from the website yet, they are supposed to be on the way. According to the Law Digest link, Martindale-Hubbell subscribers will soon have free, instant access to the international and U.S. digests.

The major change for Martindale-Hubbell access for Gallagher Library patrons is that the directories will no longer be available in the CD-ROM version on the first public computer just to the left of the east facing Reference Office door. The CD-ROM version is being replaced with web versions, and These versions provide enhanced and easily searchable access to the Martindale-Hubbell databases from any computer with Internet capability.

Book of the Week: To Steal a Book Is an Elegant Offense

by Mary Whisner

To Steal a Book is an Elegant Offense, by William P. Alford (Stanford University Press, 1995). KNN1155 .A958 1995 at Classified Stacks

The author looks at the history of intellectual property law in China and Taiwan. He draws on cultural history (the title derives from a Confucian saying) as well as summarizing legal doctrine. Do Chinese culture and history affect how it will address current challenges in intellectual property?

For other book reviews, visit the Book of the Week Archive.