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Law Library News for March 26, 2007

Law Library News Archive

Cheryl Nyberg, editor


Entrance Exam

True or False?

Law students can enter the Law Library half an hour before its official opening time by swiping their Husky cards.

The answer is True.

The half-hour early entry is available seven days a week.  You can also use your Husky card to take the elevator down to Floor L1 if the doors at the bottom of the stairs are still closed and locked.

This was a pass/fail test. How did you do?

It’s Time to Back Up Your Files!

by Melissa Fung, Law Librarianship Intern

Sure backing up is annoying, but losing your notes from a computer crash or other disaster can be downright catastrophic. I know one law student who lost her notes (and wedding pictures!) when her motherboard physically melted the week before finals. Another student had her laptop shipped to and repaired by the manufacturer, only to have it be run over by a forklift on its return trip. So start the quarter on the right foot by backing up your files!

Fine I’ll do it…What are my options?

Type of Backup

Storage Capacity

Cost*

CD-R/DVD-R

700MB/8.5GB

$1.00/$6.95

USB Flash Drive

1GB/2GB

$40.95/$70.95

External USB Drive

250GB/500GB

$129.95/$249.95

Email

1GB

Free

Remote Backup Service:
Xdrive.com

5GB

Free

Remote Backup Service:
UW WebFiles

1.5GB

Free

*Prices based on items available at the UW Bookstore Technology Center

CD-Rs or DVD-Rs

CD-Rs can typically hold up to 700MB of data and double-layer DVD-Rs can hold up to 8.5GB. This may or may not be enough for your needs in the long run and you may end up spending lots of time burning multiple disks to cover all your bases. Many people find CDs and DVDs simply to be too much manual work to use over a long period of time.

USB Flash Drives

USB flash drives typically can store 1GB to 2GB of data. Like CDs and DVDs, flash drives also suffer from the need to manually perform backups over a long period of time.

External Hard Drive

More and more users are opting for external hard drives to store their backup files. These are essentially regular hard drives that connect to your PC via a USB port. Although external hard drives are less portable than CDs, DVDs,  or USB flash drives, they can often be configured with software to perform automatic backups and send the data directly to the external hard drive with no input required from the user.

Email

One “quick and dirty” backup method is simply emailing documents to yourself using free services like Gmail or Yahoo. For example, Gmail offers 1GB of storage and will not permanently delete email messages unless you choose to delete them. This is great for temporary or unessential storage, but I wouldn’t rely on it long term.

Remote Backup Services

Another popular emerging option is online remote backup services. These services allow you to upload your data over the Internet to remote servers. If you need to restore lost data, you simply log on to the backup service and download your files.

Xdrive.com offers 5 GB of free online storage along with a software utility to schedule automatic backups. Xdrive.com uses 128-bit military grade encryption, making it effectively impossible for anyone to intercept or decrypt the data.

WebFiles, a free tool within the UW’s web-based Catalyst software suite, provides students with 1.5GB of space for storing files and media. Unlike Xdrive.com, there is no way to automatically schedule backups on WebFiles.

Deciding which option is best for you – Space vs. $

There’s more than one way to back up your data, so just make sure your methods are optimized for your storage requirements and your budget. Most law students keep their notes and class documents as Microsoft Word files. If this is all you want to backup, you probably don’t need more than 1GB of storage. Videos, music, and PowerPoint presentations may use more space. No matter how you backup, make sure you never rely on a single source. Be proactive about scheduling backups and keep a mix of traditional and online sources.

Book of the Week: Culture to Culture: A Guide to U.S. Legal Writing

by Kelly Aldrich, Law Librarianship Intern

Culture To Culture: A Guide To U.S. Legal Writing Jill J. Ramsfield’s book offers a guide to U.S. legal writing for foreign students and lawyers. As Professor of Law and Director of Legal Research and Writing at Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Ramsfield helped develop a United States Legal Discourse class in which she taught foreign law students and international lawyers about the U.S. legal system and writing. As Professor Ramsfield points out, what foreign students often do not know are “the peculiar twists and turns of our system, the expectations of our audiences, and the patterns we use to explain the law, solve problems, advocate, and research.” This book offers foreign students and lawyers an overview of all of these things – and does an effective job putting legal writing into context.

Some highlights include:

  • Maps, charts, and discussion questions to explain federalism, the legislative process, legal sources and strategies, and analytical patterns.
  • A chapter on U.S. English for legal purposes is helpful in defining “terms of art” and providing tips about effective legal writing, including how to minimize use of prepositional phrases and that age-old adage “Use the active voice.”
  • Chapter 5 describes and provides samples of U.S. legal documents, including the legal memo, the opinion letter, the complaint, a brief, a settlement agreement, and a contract – all following a single “case” so the reader has an idea of how the legal issues are handled in each different type of document.
  • Appendices include the text of the U.S. Constitution, a chart outlining useful domestic legal sources, a chart with examples of the twenty principles of English for legal purposes, tips for outlining and writing law school exams, tips on writing a scholarly paper, and a citation reference table (covering Bluebook rules).

Make no mistake–this book is great for American law students, too. So, if you’re new to legal writing, new to the U.S. legal system, or need a refresher in either, check out this book.

Jill J. Ramsfield, Culture to Culture: A Guide to U.S. Legal Writing.
KF250.R354 2005 at Reference Area