GovSearch: Spending

This is the third in a four part series blog post spotlighting Carroll Publishing’s GovSearch.

How to Research Government Spending

The GovSearch website allows you to research government spending on the federal, state, and local levels. To research spending, locate the Spending tab on the GovSearch homepage. After locating the spending tab, you have multiple options to choose from including Procurements, Federal Budget, Federal Employment, State and Local Expenses, and State and Local Employment.

Below is a view of the GovSearch home page. The green box highlights the available options under the Spending tab.


After selecting an option under the Spending tab, you can further narrow your search depending on what option you choose. For example, if you choose the Federal Budget, you can select from the list of several federal agencies.

Below is a view of the agencies available under the Federal Budget. The green box indicates the agencies to choose from.

Federal Budgets with boxes

After selecting a specific agency, the website will take you to a PDF version of the specific agency’s budget.

Below is a view of a page from the Agricultural Marketing Service’s federal budget.

Agricultural Marketing Serivce

Along with agency budgets, you can view federal contracts. You can access contracts by selecting Contracts under the Procurements option located under the Spending tab.

After choosing Contracts, you can start by choosing by Category, Funding Office, Keyword, or Vendor. The results page offers information including Category, Subcategory, Actual Dollars, Completion Date, Parent, Vendor, Department, and Office.

After clicking on a specific contract, you can view the specific transactions.

Below is a view of the results page. The green box indicates the types of information provided in the columns.


Access to Carroll Publishing’s database is available through the Texas Tech Law Library website under the Electronic Databases tab.

A Ziggy Stardust Reading List for Halloween

For the avid library lover who launched a thousand Halloween costumes, let’s pay tribute to David Bowie’s reading list.


David Bowie’s top must-read books


  1. The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby (2008)
  2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2007)
  3. The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard (2007)
  4. Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage (2007)
  5. Fingersmith, Sarah Waters (2002)
  6. The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens (2001)
  7. Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler (1997)
  8. A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes (1997)
  9. The Insult, Rupert Thomson (1996)
  10. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995)
  11. The Bird Artist, Howard Norman (1994)
  12. Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard (1993)
  13. Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C Danto (1992)
  14. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia (1990)
  15. David Bomberg, Richard Cork (1988)
  16. Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of
  17. Freedom, Peter Guralnick (1986)
  18. The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin (1986)
  19. Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd (1985)
  20. Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey (1984)
  21. Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter (1984)
  22. Money, Martin Amis (1984)
  23. White Noise, Don DeLillo (1984)
  24. Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes (1984)
  25. The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White (1984)
  26. A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn (1980)
  27. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980)
  28. Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester (1980)
  29. Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler (1980)
  30. Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess (1980)
  31. Raw, a “graphix magazine” (1980-91)
  32. Viz, magazine (1979 –)
  33. The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels (1979)
  34. Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz (1978)
  35. In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan (1978)
  36. Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed Malcolm Cowley (1977)
  37. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976)
  38. Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders (1975)
  39. Mystery Train, Greil Marcus (1975)
  40. Selected Poems, Frank O’Hara (1974)
  41. Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich (1972)
  42. Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner (1971)
  43. Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky (1971)
  44. The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillett(1970)
  45. The Quest for Christa T, Christa Wolf (1968)
  46. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn (1968)
  47. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)
  48. Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg (1967)
  49. Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr (1966)
  50. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965)
  51. City of Night, John Rechy (1965)
  52. Herzog, Saul Bellow (1964)
  53. Puckoon, Spike Milligan (1963)
  54. The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford (1963)
  55. The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea, Yukio Mishima (1963)
  56. The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin (1963)
  57. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (1962)
  58. Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell (1962)
  59. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark (1961)
  60. Private Eye, magazine (1961 –)
  61. On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding (1961)
  62. Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage (1961)
  63. Strange People, Frank Edwards (1961)
  64. The Divided Self, RD Laing (1960)
  65. All the Emperor’s Horses, David Kidd (1960)
  66. Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse (1959)
  67. The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa (1958)
  68. On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
  69. The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard (1957)
  70. Room at the Top, John Braine (1957)
  71. A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno (1956)
  72. The Outsider, Colin Wilson (1956)
  73. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
  74. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
  75. The Street, Ann Petry (1946)
  76. Black Boy, Richard Wright (1945)

International Games Week & Scavenger Hunt: October 30th – November 3rd

Tech Law Students,


Each year, libraries across the world give back to their patrons by providing games and activities for a week of fun. Many libraries provide lengthy card, board, and video game tournaments for their patrons over the week, but we understand that law students have strict constraints on their free time. As a result, we’ve developed a fun, law-related activity that will test your research ability without taking too much of your time: a scavenger hunt with a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!

Starting on Monday, October 30th, you may choose one of three paths to follow across all three floors of the library. Each path has been tested by students and will take no longer than 20 minutes to complete.

SignIncluding the ones available from the information desk, each path has four clues. To have your name entered in the prize drawing, you must take a picture of the solution to the fourth clue and email it to or present it to Professor Drake in office 126ba. If your picture is correct, then we will enter your name in the drawing.

Additionally, you can increase your odds of winning by entering your name into the drawing a second and even third time by finishing the other two paths. Finally, if a clue has you stumped you aren’t out of the running. You may ask circulation staff to get the librarian on call to help you figure out where to look next.

The starting clues for each path will be available from the right side of the circulation desk starting Monday, October 30th.



Casemaker and Fastcase: Texas Tech Law Students Have Immediate Access

After you pass the Texas bar, you will no longer have access to any of the major online legal research services (Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law) through your law school account. However, as Texas attorneys, the State Bar of Texas provides access to two online legal research systems that you may not yet be aware of—Casemaker and Fastcase.

Typically, most state bar associations provide access to one of the two systems. Members of the Texas bar can either system. Granted, neither of the two systems may have all of the bells and whistles of the three major services. Nevertheless, Casemaker and Fastcase can meet most attorneys’ research needs. Both provide access to primary law (e.g., statutes, administrative rules and regulations, and case law) and limited secondary sources.

You do not need to wait for your bar license to use Casemaker or Fastcase, as law students you can create an account with the Texas Bar CLE and obtain immediate access. We encourage you to use them so that you become proficient with the systems upon graduation. To register and obtain acccess, follow the steps below.

1. Go to the State Bar CLE home page.
2. Type in some research terms on the “Free Legal Research” column to the right of the home page and click on search (see below). The follow the registration steps noted below.

CM-FC Steps 1-2


3. Chances are you have not registered. To do so, click on the “click here” link as noted below.

CM-FC Step 3


4. Since you do not yet have a bar number, click the “click here” link as noted below.

CM-FC Step 4


5. Fill out the registration form, titled “My CLE Profile,” using your TTU email address, selecting “law student” as your occupation, and clicking the “save” button at the bottom of the page.

CM-FC Step 5-7

Library Write-In: Saturday, October 28th

Each semester, Professors Baker and Drake host a write-in in the law library’s Collaborative Commons, as part of the Scribes Student Legal Writing Society series of events on scholarly research and writing.  This fall, the write-in is being held on Saturday, October 28th from 9:00am to 2:00pm.

At the write-in, we’ll provide breakfast and lunch.  Professor Baker and Professor Drake will also be on hand to help with any part of the research and writing process from paper organization and research help to editing and Bluebooking.  At lunchtime, we’ll give some quick tips for editing, but we’re there all day to help with whatever you need.  Last year’s students reported that having a day dedicated to writing really helped them focus in on their comments and seminar papers, and that the collective energy in the room pushed them forward.Photo 3

To attend, RSVP to Professor Drake at and tell her you’d like to attend.  (As an added bonus, this will help us know how much food to order!)  We hope to see you there!

Please note: You don’t have to stay the entire time. You can drop by for all or part of the event.

The Importance of Legal Research Skills for Practice

Nearly all law schools are focusing on preparing “practice-ready” graduates. This approach to legal education was advanced in the 1990’s with the McCrate Report, and it has really taken hold within the last few years. A major part of preparing practice-ready grads is teaching effective, efficient legal research skills. For the past couple of years, survey after survey has shown the continued importance of legal research skills for practice.

In 2013, Steve Lastres, Director of Library & Knowledge Management at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, analyzed the results of a recent survey conducted by The Research Intelligence Group called the “New Attorney Research Methods Survey.” Survey respondents “included 190 young attorneys equally represented by large and small law firms across a variety of practice areas. Nearly forty percent of the respondents were 28 or younger, in practice for five or less years, and a quarter of the respondents were recent law school graduates from the class of 2011 or 2012.”

Key findings from the survey included the following:

  • Newer attorneys spend more than 30% of their time doing legal research
  • Approximately 50% of associates think legal research should be a larger part of the law school curriculum
  • Over 80% of associates use an extensive range of content from traditional primary law and secondary materials to News, Court Transcripts, Verdicts, Dockets, Public Records and more.
  • Legal Classification systems are rarely used (only 12% begin with a legal classification system)
  • Attorneys use free online research resources but spend most of their time, over 8 hours per week, using paid-for online research services.

Additionally in 2013, the Wall Street Journal blog posted the results of a focus-group study with legal employers where the results showed that employers are looking for expert researchers with people skills. According to this study, “[t]he focus-group participants said ideal job applicants have a strong work ethic, can work independently without excessive ‘hand holding,’ and would bring a positive attitude to the workplace.” The other important skill was the ability to research. 

“Employers, particularly those with more years in practice, rely on new attorneys to be research experts. The employers in [the] focus groups have high expectations when it comes to new hires’ research skills, i.e., ‘[t]hey should be able to adequately and effectively find everything that’s up to the minute.’” Susan Wawrose, What Do Legal Employers Want to See in New Graduates?: Using Focus Groups to Find Out, 39 Ohio N. U. L. Rev. 505 (2013).

The legal employers noted that “[b]eing a research expert also means knowing how to scour books, not just websites. ‘Statutes, treatises and encyclopedias, and desk books are the sources employers still use in paper form. For this reason, new attorneys may want to be familiar with these paper sources.’” Id.

Last but not least, BAR/BRI recently released the first of what it intends to be an annual survey on the “State of the Legal Field.” The objective is to “evaluate industry perceptions about the state of the legal field” and establish benchmarks related to student practice readiness, employment expectations, employment trends, and law degree return on investment. Faculty, law students, and practitioners were surveyed.

Key finding number 2 from the BAR/BRI report stated that “[f]aculty placed very little importance on research, with just 4 percent citing it as the most important skill for recent law school graduates. In contrast, 18 percent of attorneys named research the most important skill a new lawyer should possess.”

These surveys offer proof from practitioners that legal research is a necessary skill for practice.

*This post was originally published on the RIPS Law Librarian Blog.

GovSearch: Power Search

This is the second in a four part series blog post spotlighting Carroll Publishing’s GovSearch Suite.

What is a Power Search?

The Power Search feature allows you to search for people or offices and narrow your search by Keyword, Organizational Qualifiers, Geographic Qualifiers, and GovSense. You can also tailor your results to show positions or offices. Under the Positions option, you can further narrow the results by choosing between all, elected, plum, acting, nominee, or vacancy.

How Do I Perform a Power Search?

On the GovSearch home page, there is a People & Offices tab located at the top of the page. Under the People & Offices tab, you can locate the Power Search feature.

Below is a view of the home page. The green box indicates where the Power Search Feature can be located under the People & Offices tab.

People and Offices Tab with box

Below is a view of the Power Search feature. The green boxes indicate ways to narrow your search.

Power search with boxes

After entering a search term, the results page will generate a list of individuals or offices that relate to your search term. The results are organized alphabetically by last name. Along with the individual’s name, the results provide you with the person’s title, office, department, area, head office, location, and county.

Below is a view of the results page. The green box indicates the categories of information the results provide.

Results page with green box on categories

What Can I Do with the Results of a Power Search?

After the search tool generates your result, you can do various things with the results. On the left side of the name column, you can select specific names. At the bottom of the results page, you can choose to Select All or Clear All. After choosing a select option, you can either print or make a list of the selected results.

Below is a view of the results page. The green boxes indicate where you can individually select results, select all, or clear all. The green boxes also indicate where the make a list option and the print options are located on the results page.

results with green boxes around selection options

Access to Carroll Publishing’s GovSearch database is available through the Texas Tech Law Library website under the Electronic Databases tab.