Amicus Briefs - News from the Alexander Campbell King Law Library  
January 2005
In This Issue


Newly installed windows and door between computer labs, looking into lab from help desk.


New Look and New Procedure for Computer Labs

Over the break the two annex computer labs were united by windows and a connecting door. The help desk and the printers were moved into the smaller room. Students should see the value of these changes during computer training sessions; room to actually move around. In addition to the physical changes there were important changes to the network.

Beginning this semester, use of law library computer labs is restricted to current law students, staff and faculty. To use PCs in the labs, you will need to log in with your own username and password. Members of the law school community recently received an e-mail with this information, but if you have misplaced it, there are instructions posted on each computer for retrieving your personal password. Also, students now have access to their own network storage space which they can access from any lab computer. Be aware that the PCs will automatically log out after 20 minutes of inactivity, unless there is a document open with unsaved changes. So, save a backup copy of your work to your network drive and be sure to log out when you are finished. Computing Services will be happy to answer your questions. Call 542-0895, e-mail or stop by the newly remodeled computer lab in the law library annex.

New Fulltext Database


The Making of Modern Law provides digital images of every page of 22,000 legal treatises on US and British law published from 1800 through 1926. Full-text searching on more than 10 million pages provides researchers access to critical legal history.

In addition to Basic and Advanced Search modes, you can browse by author or title. To search in the basic mode it's suggested you use at least two or three search terms. By using more search terms to narrow your search, you can locate documents that fit your information needs better. Be specific. When looking for documents about ancient Rome, enter both of those words in your search query. If you enter just Rome, your search may give you essays that discuss modern Rome or Rome, N.Y., in addition to ancient Rome.

Under the Advanced Search you'll find Fuzzy Search. Fuzzy search settings can enhance your full-text search by retrieving near matches on a term or terms. This is a particularly valuable feature, in that it allows you to locate a word or words within documents despite imperfect matches in spelling between the searched term and document content, a common occurrence due to the variant/approximate spellings found in documents of the era.

Three levels of fuzzy searching are offered so that you may fine-tune your search depending on how closely you want to match your term(s): Low, Medium, and High. The Low setting will expand your full-text search results to include very near matches on your term(s), e.g., a full-text search on "harbor" with fuzzy search set at Low will return results containing both "harbor" and "harbour." The High setting will expand your results to include very broad matches on your term(s), e.g., a full-text search on "harbo" with fuzzy search set at High will return results containing "harbor," "harbour," "Harper," and "Harben."

WebBridge Added to Online Catalog

GAVEL, our online catalog, is the primary tool to take advantage of our rich collection. Within the past couple of years we've been working hard to catalog all of our resources, print and electronic. You should have noticed more links to the electronic versions of our print titles and enhancements like book-jacket images. Our most recent addition is WebBridge.

WebBridge uses smart linking capability, which links together related information resources. When a user performs an initial search the results are either a list of choices (a browse list) or the record for a single item. In both cases there is now a WebBridge search box on the right side of the screen. For many searches the list or the single item are all you need. But when they are not satisfactory WebBridge presents several other search options without the inconvenience of going to a new web site and re-typing the search. Carol Watson, Computer Services Librarian and guiding force behind WebBridge implementation said, "I'm enthusiastic about the implementation of WebBridge. Students have access to so many different databases that it's often difficult to know which one to choose. WebBridge allows us to offer suggested databases based on GAVEL search results."


WebBridge presents slightly different options between a browse list (above) or an item record (below). In the item record notice that the searches for LegalTrac and Google are drawn from the subject headings for the item. The pull down list will include all of the subject headings for each item. The Select More Resources option provides easy searching of reference sites such as Encyclopedia Britannica Online, online bookstores such as or Barnes & Noble, article databases such as Academic Search Premiere and JSTOR, and other catalogs.