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Law Library News for November 12, 2001

Ann Hemmens, editor

Law Library News Archive


Book of the Week: Scholarly Writing for Law Students

by Mary Whisner

Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes, and Law Review Competition Papers, 2d ed., by Elizabeth Fajans & Mary R. Falk (West Group, 2000). KF250.F35 2000 at Reserve

Two professors of legal writing from Brooklyn Law School have written a little book filled with practical advice for law students who need to write or edit scholarly pieces. Chapter Two addresses one of the most vexing challenges for many students: "Inspiration: Choosing a Subject and Developing a Thesis." If you are wondering where to get started, this chapter might help. Following chapters discuss the research process, the writing process, giving proper attribution, writing with style, and editing.

Periodically we highlight a book in the Library collection that may be of interest to you in your studies, writing, and other academic pursuits. The Book of the Week Archive contains entries from the Law Library News columns from February 2001 to the current time as well as links to articles highlighting judicial biographies and select Pulitzer Prize winning books.

The Constitution of the United States: An Analysis and Interpretation

by Paul Holcomb

Feng Shui, as you know, is an attempt to find harmony with nature. Recently, adaptations of Feng Shui leave the long established area of agriculture to be applied to architecture and interior design.

Reference librarians here in the Gallagher Law Library are ahead of the curve in this situation. We reference librarians have long been aware that volumes in our small collection of information in the Reference Office should do more than just contain important, timely, and factual information. It is, of course, nice to have important information just an arm's reach away. But just how often do we pull every book off the shelf each time we are in the office? Never is a good guess.

Knowingly or not, we do look at these books every time we enter the office. So besides books that contain very important, timely, and factual information, we want books that are, so to speak, Feng Shui. If the Reference Office contained only books of the same color and size, such as the Federal Reporter, from floor to ceiling, you can imagine how boring that would be!

That is one reason the collection in the Reference Office has books that are different in size and color and binding. The collection does have several volumes that are the same size and color like the Revised Code of Washington, Washington Administrative Code, Washington State Register, and Subject Compilations of State Laws, to name a few.

There is nothing to be done about the publications by the State. However, I have suggested to Cheryl Nyberg, author of the Subject Compilations of State Laws series (KF1.S93 at Reference Office), that a change from the quiet black cover currently being used on her publications, to a hot pink or Tartan plaid might be more Feng Shui. Being a gentleman, I won't repeat Cheryl's reply.

Size in books is important. We have a few small paperbound books that have difficulty standing on the shelf. A very large book is necessary to act as a bookend. Take the book, Webster's Third New International Dictionary (PE1625 .W36 1981 at Reference Office & Reading Room), some 2600 pages and weighing in at more than ten pounds. A wonderful bookend and it contains timely and factual information as well. A "two-fer", if you please.

By now you are probably looking at the title to this article and wondering how this information relates to the U.S. Constitution. Well, one of the books in the Reference Office is a big, fat book that adds to the Feng Shui of the office. The book is titled, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (KF4527 .K5 1996 at Reserve & Reference Office). What this book has is size - 2444 pages with another 189 in the supplement, and a lot of great information. The book has cases decided by the United States Supreme Court concerning the U.S. Constitution, up until the book was published. The current supplement is dated June 28, 2000. It is basically an annotation of the U.S. Constitution.

This resource takes the U.S. Constitution and gives an analysis by citing the case or cases that deal with each Article and Amendment. The book is actually a government document placed between hard cover and is prepared by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. A great reference book and it looks good in the Reference Office. Although it won't have the same effect on your Feng Shui, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, is also available free online,

Goddess of Justice

Have you seen the image of a blindfolded woman holding the evenly balanced scales and sometimes a sword? Who is she? And where did the concept come from? For background information on Themis (the ancient Greek Goddess of Justice) and Justitia (the Roman goddess) and other images of law, explore the legal research guide, Themis, Goddess of Justice, created by Barbara Swatt, a former library student and reference intern at Gallagher Law Library.