Law Library News for the Week of Oct. 13, 2008

Cheryl Nyberg, editor

Finding the Three Bears' Books

Last week, the Story of Goldilaw and the Three Bears described three types of books in the Law Library that are useful to students who are preparing for classes or writing papers. Baby Bear's books—Nutshells and Outlines—include short, quickly read bits of information. Slightly larger, with more pages of information are Mama Bear's books, called Hornbooks. And Papa Bear's books are the biggest of all with the most information: Treatises.

Goldilaw was guided to each type of book by her friendly law librarian, Wise Owl. But what would she do if Wise Owl wasn't around to help her?

She (and you!) can search the Law Library catalog to find these materials.




For Baby Bear's books, search the catalog by keyword. Include the subject you want (property or torts) and the word nutshell or outlines. For instance, the keyword search "criminal law nutshell" finds Criminal Law in a Nutshell , 4th ed.  by Arnold H. Loewy, located at KF9219.3.L63 2003 in the Reference Area. Hint: All of the current editions of the Nutshells are located in the Reference Area.

The same type of search works for identifying Mama Bear's books. A keyword search for "property hornbook" finds Introduction to the Law of Real Property, 4th ed. (Hornbook Series), in the Reference Area at KF570.M6 2005. Hint: All of the current editions of the Hornbooks are found in the Reference Area.

So Papa Bear's books must be easy to locate in the same way, right? Not so much.

Long ago and far away, British legal scholars who wrote big books on law by subject almost always titled their works "A Treatise of the Law of . . . ." Over time, the word Treatise came to be used as a code word for this particular type of law book. Many current authors no longer include Treatise in the titles of their books.

Fortunately, some Wise Owls have assembled lists of Treatises by subject. Visit one of these lists to identify a Treatise on your subject. Then look in the Reference Area under the call number given on the list. Chances are good that you will find the Treatise you need. Most of the Treatises on traditional law school subjects are located in the Reference Area.

Remember to check with your local Wise Owls if you don't find what you need.

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