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Law Library News

Law Library News Archive

Jan. 10, 2005.
Kristy Moon, editor.

SmartCILP: E-mail Alert for New Law Review Articles

by Jonathan Franklin

SmartCILP is now available to all UW law school faculty, staff, and students. SmartCILP, produced by the Gallagher Law Library, is a service that provides a weekly e-mail listing of recent law review articles on particular topics. It is great for tracking articles on your note topic or to make sure you are not written out. If you want to see the tables of contents from particular journals, you can do that, too. Even better, SmartCILP has embedded links to Lexis and Westlaw, so if the article is online, you can be reading it in one click.

A sample SmartCILP e-mail is at

After setting up a SmartCILP profile, subscribers receive an e-mail message each week that focuses only on the subject headings and journals they selected. This e-mail message is clearly marked as "SmartCILP" to allow easy identification and review of results. SmartCILP profiles can be changed each week, allowing subscribers to tailor the delivery of CILP to their changing research needs.

If you are interested in setting up a SmartCILP profile, come to the Reference Office, call (206) 543-6794, or send an email to to get the password.

Once you have the password, you can set up your profile at

Library Records Are Confidential

by Mary Whisner

Recently a law student was surprised that the staff person at the Circulation Desk wouldn’t say who had checked out the book the student wanted. After all, it was probably somebody in her class, and they were all friendly, so why not?

Well, privacy is a funny thing. Some people feel more strongly than others that certain information is private. And sometimes it depends on the context.

Maybe a student doesn’t care if his classmates know he has looked at Civil Procedure in a Nutshell. But maybe he does, and he’d like to sit quietly with the book and not have people tapping him on his shoulder asking to see it.

Suppose a woman checks out a few books on divorce and asks for information about restraining orders against violent partners. Should we tell the man who comes in a little later what she was researching?

What about when attorneys are in litigation – will they want opposing counsel to be able to tell what books they’ve checked out?

There are many situations where library users would want their borrowing and their reference questions kept confidential, and so our policy is not to tell anyone anything about others’ library records, unless presented with a warrant or a subpoena to do so.

“We uphold a duty to our clientele to develop service policies that respect confidentiality and privacy.”

American Association of Law Libraries, AALL Ethical Principles, April 5, 1999
available at

“We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.”

American Library Association, Code of Ethics (June 28, 1995)
available at

Book of the Week: The Law School Trip

by Mary Whisner

January is often a tough month around here. December exams are challenging, and then there never seems to be a long enough break before the start of winter quarter classes. Getting grades is sometimes disappointing for students who were stars in college. (Amazingly, 9 out of 10 students do not end up in the top 10% here.) And to top it all off, it is doggone dark in Seattle in January. So this seems like a good time to highlight a book that’s just for fun.

Andrew J. McClurg is a very funny guy as well as a law professor. The Law School Trip: The Insider’s Guide to Law School is a compendium of “advice” about everything from applications to job interviews. The tone reminds me the Mad Magazine of my childhood. (The book’s title comes from comparing the law school experience to taking LSD, after all.) McClurg pokes fun at everyone and everything, from pompous professors to obsessive students to goof-off students to Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad. He devotes an entire chapter to The Bluebook.

Torts students, newly alert to product warnings, might be amused by McClurg’s suggested additions to actual warnings. For example, a fish hook package warns: “All fish hooks are inherently dangerous!” McClurg adds: “Years of study have finally disclosed the cause: they’re pointy. We tried making them without points, but the fish started stealing them and using them to hang coffee mugs on.” p. 160. Silly? Well, yeah. But sometimes in the midst of law school, you could use a few pages of silliness.

McClurg does strike a serious note in his preface, when he says that he has found that “the nation’s law schools are exciting learning environments brimming with bright, hard-working and ethical students taught by distinguished professionals.” The humor is just for fun.

The book is available at PN6231.L4M32 2001 in Reference Area.

You can see more of McClurg’s humor at his website, The site includes classroom anecdotes submitted by readers from 49 law schools – but not the UW (so far). Has anything funny happened to you?