Keep Yourself Up-to-date with RSS Feeds

Do you find yourself struggling with keeping up-to-date on the latest news in your areas of interest? Do you want a more convenient way to get your daily updates than going to a dozen bookmarked sites? RSS Feeds may be the solution. Almost all websites with continually updated content (such as this blog, for example) use RSS (short for Rich Site Summary, but often also called “Really Simple Syndication”) to push content in a format-neutral form (so that future site redesigns automatically update old content). The plus side is that these RSS feeds can be read by other programs that aggregate them into one place.

Aggregating feeds is done with an RSS reader program. There are a number of them out there, but I recommend Feedly, which is 1) free; 2) available on the web or as an app for iOS and Android; and 3) really clean and user-friendly. You can add feeds by just searching the name of the website or entering the page URL. There are even alternative apps that connect to your Feedly subscriptions if you don’t like Feedly’s interface.

Once you’ve found the Reader you like, you just need to add feeds. Depending on the site and your reader, you can generally just either search for the site or the URL, but you can also look for the RSS feed icon, which looks something like this:

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Clicking on the RSS icon will take you to a URL that is just the feed you can add to your reader. Once you’ve added sites, you can then go to your reader and start reading. It’s also easy to add or remove a site at a later time, so you don’t have to worry about getting it right the first time.

To help you get started, here’s a few sites I subscribe to with my RSS reader (with feed URLs):

I hope this helps you find ways to keep up-to-date on your latest news.

Legal Essay Contest Catalog

Do you love to research and write?  Did you know you can get paid for it if you have the winning submission to one of the many legal essay competitions that happen each year?  Some contests provide a specific topic or hypothetical for students to respond to, while others simply want an essay on a general field of law, leaving the specifics up to the prospective authors.  There are monetary prizes and the winners often also get the opportunity to attend a conference or be published in the hosting organization’s publication.

Our friends at Richmond Law keep the Legal Essay Contest Catalog, a comprehensive list of all the essay competitions out there targeted at law students.  You can filter your search by topic and contest deadline.  There are lots of contests open this spring and summer–on topics from maritime law to constitutional law to labor & employment law, so get researching and writing!  Don’t forget to come see a librarian if you need help coming up with a topic–we can get you started on the right path!

Bring a Friend to PB&J…and a Demo & Win a Prize!

pb and j friend contest rev 022416Wednesday, February 24th at the Library’s biweekly PB&J . . . and a Demo program, you can win a prize just by showing up with a friend.  So grab your law school bestie and stop by the Collaborative Commons for a delicious, FREE sandwich.

In addition to regular old creamy and crunchy peanut butter, and grape jam and strawberry jelly, recent PB & J sandwich offerings have included these tasty fillings:

  • Nutella
  • Almond butter
  • Honey
  • Marshmallow Fluff
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Apple butter

It’s so much more than just plain old PB&J, so come check it out on Wednesday!

Students will also learn about an awesome study tool, CALI lessons!

Regulatory Insight Featured Spotlight: Filter Box

This is the second post in a three-part series spotlighting Regulatory Insight database features.

For this demonstration, we’re searching “FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.” After entering the search term, Regulatory Insight returns a list of matching results, with the most relevant documents located at the top of the list.

Results can be sorted by relevance (default), publication date, or recency. Additionally, the “Filter by” box, located in the left-hand column (shown below), can also be used to tailor the results.

Reg Insight2

Filtering by date will narrow the existing search results within the designated date range. Meanwhile, filtering is also available by document type or subject. Selecting “More options…” on either filter option results in a pop-up window (shown below).

Reg Insight3

There, the user can sort alphabetically or by result count each document type before selecting the document type to include or exclude in a filtered search. Clicking “Apply” will automatically generate a new search based on the filter selections (see below). To undo a filter, select the blue “X” icon located in the filter box.

Reg Insight4

Access to ProQuest’s Regulatory Insight database is available through the Texas Tech Law Library website under the Electronic Databases tab.

 

Texas OpenCourts Mobile App

texas opencourts app icon

There is a new app that is freely available which provides “extensive user-friendly information on Texas courts.” This new app launched in November, 2015, Texas OpenCourts, is freely available for Apple and Android devices (Google Play and Amazon).  This app is the creation of Texas law firm, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

This app allows the user to search for court information which can be saved as favorites and emailed to colleagues. The information includes; contact information for courts, judge bios and court rules (when available). There are also interactive maps to help located courts at the Federal, State, and Appellate levels.

iphone screen shot texas opencourts

“This delivers all the information you need to know about Texas courts and judges directly to your phone.” This app is easy to use and navigate and very useful for anyone who is using or working with the Texas court system.

Regulatory Insight Featured Spotlight: LibGuide

This is the first post in a three-part series spotlighting Regulatory Insight database features.

Regulatory Insight provides a user-friendly LibGuide as a valuable starting place for first-time researchers. The LibGuide is accessible off the home page by clicking the question mark icon and selecting LibGuide off the drop down menu located in the top, right-hand corner.

Regulatory Insight (3)

The LibGuide (pictured below) neatly outlines the purpose of the database, what the regulatory process consists of, how to search for content, and what to expect the documents provided to look like.

Regulatory Insight (2)

For example, under the “Searching Regulatory Insight” tab, the LibGuide explains the three ways to search for documents in Regulatory Insight: (1) the Basic Search form on the front page, (2) the Advanced Search form, and (3) the Search by Number form. Meanwhile, the “Content Types” tab provides detailed descriptions for the content types listed on the Advanced Search page of Regulatory Insight.

Access to ProQuest’s Regulatory Insight database is available through the Texas Tech Law Library website under the Electronic Databases tab.

The Best Time To Submit Publications This Spring

Contrary to popular belief, according to The Yale Law Journal data, the best time to submit publications in the spring cycle may be late February or even early March.

The Yale Law Journal reviewed its submissions data and found that the Journal’s experience is consistent with anecdotal reports that the spring submissions cycle is increasingly front-loaded, with a growing percentage of pieces submitted in the first half of February. However, this trend has not carried into the fall cycle, where submission ratios have remained relatively consistent across recent volumes.

The prevailing wisdom in the spring cycle appears to be “submit early.” However, from the Journal’s perspective, this approach does not offer any appreciable advantage.

[O]f the dozen or so publication offers that the Journal makes in the spring cycle, historically a majority have been made in March or later.

Also, authors should know about a possible downside to submitting early in the spring cycle: slower review times. The front-loaded cycle places a significant strain on the Articles & Essays Committee, and in most instances it takes several days—perhaps even a week—before an editor first reviews a new submission

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As mentioned over at the PrawfsBlawg when discussing the downside to submitting early, [a] more plausible and interesting possibility [rather than the strain it places] is that early submissions are disadvantaged because novice editors are not only deluged with submissions but relatively risk averse. At the start of the process, editors may be holding out hope for The Perfect Article and feel afraid of recommending acceptance of pieces that their colleagues or academic reviewers will regard as rubbish. By contrast, late-cycle editors know what kind of article they like and have a better sense of what is left in the by-then dwindling pool of submissions. 

Food for thought during the upcoming submission cycle.