Amicus Briefs - News from the Alexander Campbell King Law Library  
September 2004
In This Issue

Game Day Security

by Sharon Bradley

You might have noticed that home game Saturdays can be kind of exciting on campus. Despite the heightened level of activity the law school is committed to keeping the library open on home game Saturdays. You should be able to continue using the library in the usual manner. Our alumni should be able to enjoy revisiting their alma mater.

Because of the central location of the law school we receive a considerable number of non-law school visitors. They primarily use our restrooms but some visitors are just curious about our building. This year the school will open the ground floor and the second floor of Hirsch Hall for game day restroom accessibility. The back classroom hallway of the second floor and the entire third floor will be locked. The exterior doors to the ground and second floors of Hirsch Hall will be open from 9:00am until one half hour after kick-off on football Saturdays. After kick-off, all exterior doors except those by the Law Library will be locked and for safety and security reasons cannot be propped open.

In previous years the Athletic Association provided a security guard on home game day. This year there will be two guards in the school building and one in the library. Members of the Georgia State Defense Force will also be circulating through the buildings.

What does this mean for you?
1. There will be unfamiliar faces. Be helpful giving directions but notify a security officer or staff member if you see a problem. Members of the housekeeping staff will be working.
2. Doors should not be propped open (if you see one please close it).
3. Carry your student I.D. The security officers have no way of knowing who is part of the law school community and who are visitors. The security officers do not have keys, they can not let anyone into the locked portions of the building.
4. The library drink policy will be strictly enforced. Visitors have tried to bring plastic beer cups into the library.
5. Do not leave valuables unattended.

An additional note about valuable personal items. During the recent visit by Hurricane Ivan the University closed early. During the closing routine the library staff discovered that a number of people left laptop computers, textbooks, and backpacks in the library while they went to class. We can not be responsible for the safety of these items nor can we leave someone behind to unlock the doors. Take your personal items with you.

We're all proud of this school. With your assistance we can keep it a secure and comfortable environment.

Meet the Reference Staff

by Sharon Bradley


I was just reading our entry in the recent Princeton Review's "The Best 117 Law Schools." One of the highlighted survey responses was"great research resources." Speaking for the library staff we'll take that as a big compliment. We work very hard to provide a good mix of print vs. online and current vs. historic resources. One resource that's easy to overlook is our reference staff. The reference staff are the seven librarians who work at the reference desk.

Between us we've earned ten masters degrees, five J.D.'s and one Ph.D.  Some of us have practiced law and remain members of bar associations, we all teach or make presentations on legal research and research resources, and we are all committed to helping you make the best use of our wealth of resources.


Seated, l to r, Maureen Cahill, Carol Watson, Sharon Bradley; Standing, l to r, Anne Burnett, Wendy Moore, James Donovan, Beth Holmes

Getting to know a reference librarian and taking advantage of our expertise may be one of the smarter things you do in law school. You can read more about our professional backgrounds by going to the staff listing. There is also a more time tested approach, bribery. If we can be bought, and I'm not promising we can, but here's what it would take.

Sharon Bradley - Mrs. Fields Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (actually any cookies with dark chocolate would do).
Anne Burnett - a cake from Celicia's Bakery (edible works of art)
Maureen Cahill - year round access to a cabin in the West Virginia mountains (Mo's really not hard to please).
James Donovan - call him Dr. (he's the one with the Ph.D.)
Beth Holmes - baby sitting ... two nights ... drive yourself (her daughter is a cute kid).
Wendy Moore - a candy bar, any kind (could she be any easier)
Carol Watson - anything from Chico's (when she has enough they give her a free trip)

Decoding Legal Abbreviations

by James Donovan

Reading the legal citation requires equal parts art and science. The science part of legal citation requires the author to put the pieces together correctly, and the reader to decode according to a standardized vocabulary.

Whether referring to a code, case, or secondary legal periodical, the core of any citation is the abbreviated title of the source. The user easily learns the most commonly cited sources of the jurisdiction. For Georgia, those would include O.C.G.A. ("Official Code of Georgia, Annotated"), S.E.2d ("South Eastern Reporter, Second Series"), and U.S. ("United States Reports").

Some abbreviations, however, are neither so familiar nor so obvious, and it can be helpful to know where to look to decipher the true puzzler.

Two resources will be readily available to most law students. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation includes the most frequently used source abbreviations in U.S. jurisprudence, collected in Tables in the blue pages in the back.

The latest edition of Black's Law Dictionary (8th, 2004) contains a "Table of Legal Abbreviations" as Appendix A.

Perhaps the most extensive listing of English-language legal abbreviations is Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations. The latest edition is kept on Ready Reference. A reference librarian will be happy to let you see it.

For foreign legal abbreviations, you might consult World Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations, also in the Reference collection (Call Number: K89.K38). This multi-volume treatise has separate entries by country, and lets you find the meaning of abbreviations from that specific system.

Finally, there are abbreviation sources available online. One can be found at the "Abbreviations & Acronyms" page of the Jenkins Law Library, an independent library founded in 1802, and formerly the library for the Philadelphia Bar Association

Almost any but the most obscure abbreviated legal resource will be contained in one of these resources. Assuming, that is, that the material has been correctly cited to begin with. When this has not happened, reading legal citation becomes more art than science. Try to intuit from the context what the author may have meant to refer to: what is the likely jurisdiction, format, author, etc. If you can narrow down the possibilities, it may become possible to decipher even the sketchiest citation.

Wireless Printing

Printing from your laptop is the newest feature of our wireless network. It does require download and installation of a small program, Novell's iPrint client. Click here for specific instructions.

Go to our Computing Services page for more information.