Tag Archives: Law Kiosk

Students, scholars explore African-American archives in Chicago

(From left) Black Metropolis Research Consortium fellows Sonja Williams, James West and Douglas Williams discuss their research at a community presentation event at the Stony Island Arts Bank. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

UChicago serves as host institution for Black Metropolis Research Consortium

Second-year College student Megan Naylor spent the past summer as an intern in the Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University, organizing a new collection of materials from Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

The internship was part of a program offered by the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, a Chicago-based association of libraries, universities and archival institutions, including the University of Chicago. The consortium members hold collections related to African-American and African diasporic culture, history and politics, with a special focus on materials relating to Chicago.

Naylor hadn’t considered a career in archival research before the internship, but she now sees herself as possibly entering the field. She recently was selected for a second internship with the archives at the Chicago History Museum, which is a member of the consortium.

“I really like the internship program because I think it’s important getting young African-American students into a field where they are underrepresented,” Naylor said. “It’s also doing good work preserving history and giving people access to it.”

Megan Naylor and Melanie Chambliss

UChicago student Megan Naylor (left) stands next to former BMRC fellow Melanie Chambliss with materials from the Carol Moseley Braun Collection.

UChicago is the host institution for the consortium, which was founded in 2006 by then Dean of the Humanities Danielle Allen. Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian, said it is an important part of civic engagement initiatives for the Library and the University.

“It gives us the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in the Chicago region, to forge stronger connections with the Chicago community, and to offer unique research and internship opportunities to undergraduate students, graduate students and scholars from University of Chicago and around the world,” Johnson said.

In addition to preserving and preparing historical materials related to African-Americans for research, the consortium is focused on training new archivists through their Archie Motley Archival Internship Program, designed to address the underrepresentation of people of color in the field.

“We are seeking to diversify the profession and really provide exposure to students,” said Andrea Jackson, the executive director for the consortium and former head of the Archives Research Center at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library. “We want students of color to go into fields like archives or library science or museum studies.”

Jackson hopes to build upon the success of the consortium, while offering new opportunities for future archivists by extending the internship program.

“Right now we are working with undergrads, but we’re hoping to grow the program and work with graduate students, as well as reaching out to high school-level students to share what we do as archivists within the profession.”

Summer fellowship program brings researchers to Chicago

Ida B. Wells with her children

Ida B. Wells-Barnett with her children, 1909, 13.7 x 9.5 cm. Ida B. Papers, Box 10, Folder 1, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

For more than a decade, the consortium has worked to preserve the archives of the African-American experience in Chicago while extending opportunities in the field for undergraduate and graduate students and offering research opportunities to scholars from around the world.

Researchers also can take advantage of the wealth of collections available at the consortium’s member institutions through a summer program that has supported 95 fellowships since 2008. Among the valuable resources held by consortium members are the Ida B. Wells Papers at the Special Collections Research Center at UChicago Library and the Harold Washington and Timuel D. Black Jr. papers at the Chicago Public Library.

One of this year’s fellows was Sonja Williams, a professor of communications at Howard University. Twenty years ago she produced a documentary for NPR on affirmative action in higher education, using UChicago as a case study. This past summer, she conducted archival research at UChicago on student experiences in the 1960s and 1970s when affirmative action policies were instituted at the University.

Williams said she benefited from the resources of several member institutions, including Special Collections at UChicago Library.

“Resource-wise it’s rich being able to have access and utilizing the minds of the archivists at the institutions,” Williams said. “Being able to collaborate and hear about projects from scholars and other fellows was fantastic.”

A University of Chicago news release

New Library Guide: Data Sources for Empirical Legal Research

Do you have a research hypothesis or question you’d like to test, but aren’t sure about which data to use or even where to begin looking? Thinking about including some empirical analysis in your substantial paper requirement or journal comment, but don’t know where to find the right dataset? Mastering linear regressions or the Monte Carlo method and need more sample data to crunch?

Consult the D’Angelo Law Library’s “Empirical Legal Research: Data Sources & Repositories” guide to help discover the right data for your next empirical project. This periodically-updated research guide compiles and describes a vast array of data sources (available through Library databases or on the open web) on a wide variety of legal and law-related topics, including U.S. and global economics, law enforcement and criminal justice, litigation, intellectual property, civil and criminal case filings/dispositions, bankruptcy, finance, securities filings and enforcement, and U.S. government agency data.

Check back soon for D’Angelo Law Library’s upcoming research guides, “Empirical Legal Research: Tools and Methodologies” and “Empirical Legal Research: Getting Started.

Introducing Ian Williams, new Access Services Assistant

If you study in the library during the evening, you may have seen a new face at the circulation desk. Ian Williams joined the D’Angelo Law Library at the beginning of January as our new Access Services Assistant. Scott Vanderlin, Student Services Librarian, interviewed Ian to find out how he found his way to the library world and what keeps him busy when he’s not at work.

What were you doing prior to coming to the D’Angelo Law Library?

Prior to coming to D’Angelo, I had two part-time positions: working as a circulation clerk for Evanston Public Library and as a Library Assistant for the Oriental Institute Museum here at the University of Chicago.

What has been the biggest difference you’ve noticed between libraries you’ve previously worked at and D’Angelo?

The D’Angelo Law Library is very committed to providing a comprehensive experience for students. D’Angelo supports students in their academic careers with instruction, remote reference, and paging and ILL services, while also providing great spaces and materials for students to relax and take needed breaks from studying. Because of that, I think D’Angelo feels like the best parts of an academic library and a public library merged together.

What originally got you interested in libraries?

When I was young, my parents worked long hours and were unable to pick up my sister and me after school. The local public library was a safe place for us to work on assignments and socialize with friends. Because of that experience, I’ve always viewed libraries as an important part of strong communities and later decided that I wanted to be a part of that experience for new generations of library users.

What are some of your interests outside of work?

I enjoy exploring the city, sightseeing and finding new restaurants or interesting places to visit. I have an affinity for libraries and museums and want to see every new exhibit that I can. I also enjoy spending my time reading during my daily commutes.

What’s the best thing you read, watched, or listened to recently?

Read: A collection of short stories by Josh Weil titled The Age of Perpetual Light. Weil’s prose is so detailed, and his storytelling is so compact that each story feels like its own novel. Though all are fiction, each story made me reflect on aspects of history, society, and modern living.

Listened to: The podcast series More Perfect about interesting cases handled by the U.S. Supreme Court. Every case is fascinating and leaves me questioning whether I agree with the court’s decision and how I would have voted if I were a Supreme Court justice.


Politico Pro Trial

Our trial of Politico Pro is now active. Politico Pro’s reporters cover federal government activity in these areas: Agriculture, Budget & Appropriations, Campaigns, Cybersecurity, Defence, Education, Employment & Immigration, Energy, Financial Services, Health Care, Tax, Trade, Technology, and Transportation with very timely stories and daily newsletters. The Politico Pro trial runs through March 14, 2018.


Online Examples & Explanations…and more


Wolters Kluwer Titles

Members of the University of Chicago academic community now have online access to many of the most popular legal study guides and exam preparation tools through the Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aid Library.

This collection includes titles such as the ever-popular Examples & Explanations series, Emanuel Law Outlines, Glannon Guides, and more!  Materials in this collection can be sorted by course, topic, or series, and are viewable as PDFs or online eBooks.  Users can also download entire titles for offline viewing.

Topic coverage ranges from core 1L courses like Torts and Contracts to upper level topics like Environmental Law and Business Organizations.

If you have any questions about access or use of the Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aid Library, feel free to stop by the reference desk or use the Ask a Law Librarian feature.


vLex for Global Legal Research

Re-discover vLex Global this year! The Library subscribes to this major platform for researching the laws of 134 jurisdictions in 13 languages.  The publisher describes its coverage as follows:

Comprehensive case law & legislation for the United States, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Ecuador, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and India. Extensive collections of primary materials for the European Union and other jurisdictions.  Extensive secondary materials for up to 100 countries including Federal Register, official gazettes, peer-reviewed law journals, doctrine, magazines and books. All available in up to 13 languages with automatic parallel translation! Create your personal account to customize your settings, set up alerts, follow documents, highlight, take notes, download and save documents.

You can use vLex to locate the texts of foreign constitutions, codes, statutes, regulations, court cases, and administrative decisions, as well as documents of regional organizations such as the EU, Mercosur, and the Andean Community. Besides the countries listed above, vLex is also strong for Venezuela, Portugal, Italy, the UK, Belgium, and France. vLex Global is great for human rights, immigration law, and comparative legal research generally.


Papers of political theorist Jean Bethke Elshtain now open to researchers

The personal papers of political theorist, ethicist, author, and professor, Jean Bethke Elshtain are now available for research in the Special Collections Research Center. The papers primarily document Elshtain’s career in academia and her activities as a public intellectual called upon to address issues related to feminism, war, and political ethics. They reveal the remarkable breadth and depth of her work on subjects as wide-ranging as bioethics and Jane Addams.

Headshot of Jean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain (1941-2013) grew up in Tinmath, Colorado, a small farming community outside of Fort Collins. At the age of 10, Jean contracted polio and was moved to Denver for treatment. Her mother obtained a job at the hospital in order to be near to her daughter, and eventually Jean was brought home to recuperate and learn to walk again.

Jean went on to earn an A.B. in history at Colorado State University, an M.A. in history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a second M.A. in history at the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. in Political Science at Brandeis University. Elshtain held teaching positions at Colorado State University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Chicago where she was the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School, Political Science, and the Committee on International Relations for 18 years.

In addition to her active teaching career, Elshtain was a prolific writer and public speaker. She authored more than 500 scholarly articles, occasional and opinion pieces, and reviews in a wide range of publications. Elshtain authored more than a dozen books.

She maintained a rigorous public speaking schedule and was invited to lecture or comment upon topics related to feminism, bioethics, political ethics, the place of religion in modern society and in democracy, and war. A devout Christian, Elshtain was unafraid to incorporate theology and the history of religion into her discussions of contemporary events and politics.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, her writings on St. Augustine and the Just War doctrine prompted the George W. Bush administration to include her among a group of scholars and religious figures invited to the White House to meet with the President. The Just War doctrine was later used to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and Elshtain was a public supporter of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, Elshtain was appointed to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities (2006-2013) and to the President’s Council on Bioethics (2008). She also served on the board of the National Humanities Center (1996-2013), the board of the National Endowment for Democracy (2003-2011), and the Scholars Council of the Library of Congress (2001-2013).

Elshtain received many prestigious appointments, fellowships, and awards throughout her lifetime, including nine honorary degrees. She co-directed the PEW Forum on Religious and Public Life (2001-2004), and was on the boards of the Institute for Advanced Study (1994-1996) and the Institute for American Values (1994-2008). She was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996), and a Guggenheim Fellow (1991-1992). She held the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History at the Library of Congress (2003), and was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar (1997-1998). In 2002 Elshtain was given the Frank J. Goodnow Award by the American Political Science Association, the highest honor bestowed by that organization. She delivered the esteemed Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2005-2006, which led to her final major work, Sovereignty: God, State, and Self.

Jean Bethke Elshtain died in Nashville, Tennessee on August 11, 2013.

The Jean Bethke Elshtain Papers were processed and preserved with generous support from the McDonald Agape Foundation.

New database trial: Oxford International Organizations (OXIO)

We have received trial access to the following database:

Oxford International Organizations (OXIO)

This resource has been created with “the aim of providing practitioners, scholars, legal advisers, policy-makers, and observers of international relations with the most precise, holistic and up-to-date picture of the acts of international organizations possible, and with an increased understanding of the contribution of these organizations.” OXIO is available via the Oxford Public International Law platform.

Access this resource via the Database Trials page.

This trial is available through July 31, 2018.

Please direct your feedback to Lyonette Louis-Jacques.

New features for Constitute, the free online resource for comparing constitutions, now LIVE

Constitute 4.0 is here! New features added to Constitute of particular interest are draft and historical constitutions. Constitute has draft texts for Iceland (2011), Lybia (2016), the Syrian Arab Republic (2017), and Yemen (2015). The collection of historical constitutions, while small presently (there are 10 historical texts), will surely grow as old constitutions are superseded by new ones. Learn more about the changes on Constitute’s What’s New page and in Zachary Elkins’ Medium post, “Introducing Constitute 4.0: Democratic Deepening” (Nov. 28, 2017).

Snippet of Arabic Constitute

Constitute’s tagline is “The World’s Constitutions to Read, Search, and Compare”. It has English and Arabic versions, and a Spanish Constitute is coming soon. As of today, English Constitute has the texts of 192 constitutions in force in English and English translation. Arabic Constitute has 54 constitutions. Constitute was developed by the Comparative Constitutions Project (“Informing Constitutional Design”). Law School Professor Tom Ginsburg is one of the directors of the CCP along with Zachary Elkins and James Melton.

Constitute is great for comparative constitutional law research. Check it out!

An early taste of legal research launches careers

D’Angelo Law librarians give College and graduate students their first exposure to legal research

For almost 15 years, librarians from the D’Angelo Law Library have been teaching a seminar on legal research for undergraduates and graduate students who are interested in using legal resources or considering law school or other legal careers. D’Angelo Law Library runs the seminar in coordination with the UChicago Careers in Law (UCIL) program and has expanded the course in recent years to include a legal writing component. This past Spring Quarter, 29 students signed up for the six-week seminar, which included units on case law research, statutory and administrative law research, and using secondary sources, in addition to legal writing and oral communication. The research segments were taught by librarians Thomas Drueke and Todd Ito, and legal writing was taught by Bill Chamberlain, Program Director of UCIL.

Students who have participated in the seminar have reported that the classes provided a good preview of what legal research is like in law school and in practice. Kyle Panton, AB’14, JD’17, took part in the seminar in 2013 and said it helped him decide whether to go to law school: “As an undergrad, quality opportunities to learn about what lawyers experience on a day to day basis can be hard to come by.” Panton went on to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School earlier this year and will be starting work at a law firm in New York City this fall. “I would highly recommend the seminar to any students who think that they may be interested in practicing law, or who think they may want to pursue a career where knowledge of how to conduct legal research may be a boon,” Panton added.

Seferina Berch, AB’14, said that, in addition to helping her decide whether to attend law school, “the seminar helped guide research for my BA thesis, which had a historical legal focus, and helped me get a 1L internship on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.” Berch graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School this May and starts work as an associate at the law firm Sidley Austin, LLP in New York City this fall.

UChicago students interested in taking this course in Spring 2018 can sign up through the Career Advancement Office.