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Law Library News

Law Library News Archive

Nov. 29, 2004
Mary Whisner, Editor

Get More from Google: Advanced Search

--Cheryl Nyberg is everyone’s favorite search engine. Its superior ranking technology and massive index of more than 4 billion webpages deliver terrific results with almost every search.

But did you know that you can get even better results by using Google’s advanced search features? At the Google homepage, click on the “Advanced Search” link. Use the “Domain” option to restrict your search to webpages from government websites (.gov). Or try the “Format” feature to direct Google to search for documents only in Adobe Acrobat’s Portable Document Format (PDF).

Give the advanced search options a try the next time your Google results are less than perfect.


“Advice for the Lawlorn”

Ann Israel, an experienced legal recruiter, writes a weekly column in the New York Law Journal called “Advice for the Lawlorn.” Recent questions have included:

  • What are the most important things for summer associates to consider when choosing a firm? (11/16/04)
  • How much does being on law review affect starting salary? (8/4/04)
  • I didn't get an offer from my employer after my 2L year. How do I play this in the future? (4/27/04)

The column even addresses core career issues, such as “What are the benefits of being a lawyer?” (5/18/04)

Great stuff! See the archive at


Book of the Week: Garner’s Modern American Usage

-- Pegeen Mulhern, Reference Intern

Have you ever wondered whether “irregardless” is really a word? Or whether the ubiquitous conversational “like” (as in “to be” – e.g., “he was like ready”), should ever be used in written prose? Garner’s Modern American Usage has the answers with a little humor thrown in.

For instance, at the entry for “irregardless” we learn this is actually a “nonword” (despite the cited example from a newspaper) and Garner quips, “careful users of the language must continually swat at [‘irregardless’] each time they see it.” In word entries arranged alphabetically, Garner’s Modern American Usage provides definitions, examples, and explanations of common linguistic errors.  In one, Garner handily explains the distinction between the homophones “hoard” (a stash, or the act of accumulating) and “horde” (a throng or crowd) and provides several examples of journalistic misuse.

Whether you need a word for a brief, contract, law review article, moot court, term paper, or an oral argument, Garner’s Modern American Usage is a great place to turn for assistance in writing with clarity and precision. It includes quick, concise information about current word usage, definitions, syntax, and grammar.

In addition to the enlightening word entries, this handy desk reference also includes a substantial collection of essay entries addressing key points of style and usage, two full pages of abbreviations, and lots of lists.  For example, at “governmental forms” Garner provides a list of 21 types of governments, from androcracy to theocracy.  Punctuation questions are addressed in an entry that spans ten full pages. For those really short of time, a select glossary found at the end of the book defines common language related terms.

More humor is evident in his definition of “like,” where he explains that the spoken “low casualism” started creeping in the 1980s and while currently prevalent in teen speak, in adults is considered a sign of arrested development. How could anyone resist such a useful reference?

There are two current copies of this work in the library, one in the Reference Area (PE2827.G37 2003) and the other in the Reference Office (same call number). Try it sometime soon.

Looking for something similar just for legal writers? See these other books by Bryan A. Garner:

  • A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, KF156 .G367 1995 at Reference Office
  • The Elements of Legal Style, KF250 .G37 2002 at Reference Area
  • The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style, KF250 .G375 2002 at Course Reserve.