Amicus Briefs - News from the Alexander Campbell King Law Library
September 2010
In This Issue datasets 
LexisNexis Datasets
New Resource: LexisNexis Datasets

The cutting edge of legal writing today involves the use of empirical data. The underlying goals can be to link changes in legal policy to actual behavioral consequences, or to identify correlates of behaviors lawmakers hope to modify, to increase the new law's chances of achieving the desired aims.

Whatever its ultimate purpose, empirical legal research requires both access to relevant data, as well as a means to usefully manipulate those data. Among the tools the Law Library makes available to its patrons is a new product from LexisNexis.

LexisNexis has long maintained a statistical package, which could be accessed through the main library's GALILEO link. This basic package, Statistical Insight, compiles from state, federal and international sources information on a wide variety of topics. While many of the entries provided only the citation to the needed data, Insight often also provides the data tables themselves.

Datasets addition takes these resources one step further. It adds a graphical interface that represents data in a variety of user-specified ways, and can plot one set of data against another. The results can then be exported directly in several formats, for easy insertion into papers or presentations. While most users will be satisfied to take the data directly as offered, the tool does allow the data to be manipulated and combined in whatever way may be necessary.

Due to the source material to which LexisNexis Datasets is restricted (i.e., for the most part publicly available governmental information), not every patron will find here what they need. But for those who do, this can be an amazingly efficient method to incorporate relevant data into your research.

Finding LexisNexis Datasets: From the Library's Research Resources page, choose LexisNexis DataSets. This will default to Statistical Insight first; atop this page, find the Related LexisNexis Subscriptions dropdown, and choose Statistical. You will need the latest JAVA on your computer to run this tool.

Keep GAVEL in Your Pocket
Ever been in the Annex or the Basement and can't find the book you're looking for? Maybe you wrote the call number down wrong -- that's a rather common problem.

Now you can pull out your smartphone and check that call number. Our online catalog GAVEL has a mobile version called Pocket GAVEL. In addition to keyword searching for library items, you can check your patron record for due dates and find library hours and contact information.

Pocket GAVEL is available at       

Lunch-n-Learn with the Law Library on October 11

Student Services Librarian Maureen Cahill will provide tips about staying healthy and happy as a law student and beyond.

Date: Monday, October 11, 2010
Time: 12:30 - 1:00pm
Where: Classroom B

We'll provide the pizza - you bring a beverage!
Law Dawg of the Month
The September Law Dawg is Ernie, described as "the man" by his person, 2L Oliver Pryor.

All members of the Law School Community (students, faculty and staff) are invited to submit a photo for possible selection as the Law Dawg of the Month in upcoming issues of Amicus Briefs. The featured entry for each issue will be selected at random from all entries received by the issue's deadline. Please note that honorary Law Dawgs (i.e. those of the feline, equine, porcine, avian, etc. persuasion) are eligible as well. Send your Law Dawg photo to

Law Dawg Ernie
September's Interactive Puzzle
by Stanton Porter, Research Fellow


Constitutional Trivia

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