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Moritz Law  /  Law Library  /  Opinio Juris  / January 2013


Opinio Juris - January 2013

Scroll down to read about SSRN's Political Science Network, a report on case law citators, new federal courts statistics, CRS Reports, and the Library of Congress' Twitter archive.

SSRN E-Journals: Political Science Network

The Moritz Law Library now has a subscription to SSRN's Political Science Network in addition to the Legal Scholarship Network. Users who join Moritz's site subscription to these networks can elect to receive email updates about new papers in various subject-specific e-journals provided by SSRN. From SSRN's subscription page, click on the applicable network and select Moritz. You will need to create a free account if you do not already have one. Email updates include abstracts with links to downloading options. Searching SSRN and downloading papers is still available without setting up an account. The subscription service allows additional access to the email updates on particular topics.

Are All Citators Created Equal?

Internet for Lawyers has produced a report titled "Are All Caselaw Citators Created Equal?" comparing services provided by LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg to free and low cost options including Google Scholar, Fastcase, and Casemaker. The report is free to download after filling out a brief form. If you're wondering about the authors' answer to the above question, the short answer is "No." The free and low cost citators missed an important case that the higher-priced services found in the test scenario. However, the authors offer suggestions for alternative searches in the free and low cost services to determine if a case is still good law.

Federal Courts Statistics

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts recently released Federal Court Management Statistics for the last fiscal year, ending September 30, 2012. Statistics are available for the 12 courts of appeals and 94 district courts. Information includes data on overall caseload, cases per active judge, median time to final disposition, and more. Tables break cases down into categories such as civil vs. criminal filings and merits vs. procedural dispositions. An archive is also available, providing access to statistics from 1997 to the present.

CRS Reports

The Moritz Law Library, through the ProQuest Congressional database, offers wide access to Congressional Research Service reports from 1916 to present. CRS produces in-depth reports for Congress through its various divisions, which include American law; Domestic Social Policy; Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade; Government and Finance; and Resources, Science and Industry. Access ProQuest Congressional either on-campus or off-campus. Some CRS Reports are also available through free resources such as the Federation of American Scientists and Open CRS, which advocates for better public access to the reports.

Library of Congress Twitter Archive

The Library of Congress continues to develop its digital archive of public tweets donated by Twitter. As of December 2012, the LOC had received over 170 billion tweets beginning in 2006. The LOC is still working on a way to provide a stable, sustainable archive and meaningful access to researchers. According to a recent white paper, a single search of the 2006-2010 archive could currently take 24 hours. The white paper indicates that the LOC has received many inquiries from researchers interested in using the archive for such topics as patterns of citizen journalism and tracking flu pandemics.