Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Library Closed July 3-4

The Library will be closed for Independence Day on Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4, resuming our regular service on Wednesday, July 5 at 8am.

 For FAQ and research guides in our absence, please visit Ask a Librarian.

The flag carried by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. during the Civil War. The flag now hangs on the fifth floor of the library, across from Areeda 524.

Evidence in Ink

One of the pleasures of cataloging, especially of older books and manuscripts, is coming across unexpected traces of earlier times and lives. Scraps of an early manuscript liturgy or an almanac used in a binding; a series of former owners’ signatures vying for attention on a title page; enigmatic annotations in the margins; or even an eighteenth century butcher’s invoice used as a bookmark. All these are examples of evidence of the unique history contained in any single book or manuscript.

But a copy of at least one early canon law book in the collection—an exhaustive work on the Decretales of Pope Gregory IX printed in 1487-1488—bears evidence of a moment before it was even printed.  It also documents, perhaps, the momentary inattention of a worker in the busy Basel print shop of Johannes Amerbach.  Appearing at the bottom right corner of a page in part 1 is the unmistakable smudge of a fifteenth century ink ball.

Detail from part 1, leaf 2b3r of Niccolò,de’ Tudeschi’s Lectura super V libris Decretalium (Basel, Johannes Amerbach, 1488), copy 1 (Ad T256l 488 H12315), Harvard Law School Library.

In the era of hand-operated printing presses leather ink balls, stuffed with wool and attached to a handle, were used to evenly ink the plates prior to printing. It was hard, repetitive work.

By Jost Amman – “Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden, hoher und nidriger, geistlicher und weltlicher, aller Künsten, Handwercken und Händeln …”, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=207246

Of course, having an ink ball come in contact with paper was not standard procedure. Surely it must have been noticed at some point in the printing process. Perhaps the paper was too costly to discard or the pressure to move the job along was too strong. But whatever the reason, we now have a visible reminder of hand press era technology and a moment of distraction almost 530 years ago.

Continued support for the Caselaw Access Project

Harvard Law School launched the Caselaw Access Project in 2015 to digitize the Harvard Law School Library’s complete collection of U.S. case law and to make the materials in that collection available online for free. We’ve been able to undertake this ambitious project — covering 44,000 volumes — with the support of Ravel Law, a legal research and analytics platform. In the time since and according to a detailed agreement between them, Harvard Law School and Ravel Law together have digitized nearly 40 million pages of published court decisions, and today the work continues to convert those digital images into machine-readable text to allow searching as well as display.

This week Ravel was acquired by LexisNexis. LexisNexis has affirmed its commitment to continuing Ravel Law’s support for and fulfillment of the objectives of the Caselaw Access Project, including providing open access to all of the digitized cases.

“We embarked on this project knowing that a startup as smart and bold as Ravel Law could be acquired by any number of businesses, including those long involved in commercial legal research. Our agreements were inked with these possibilities in mind, and key benefits and obligations of those agreements will now flow to LexisNexis,” said Jonathan Zittrain, the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School, and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources. “We look forward to completing this project according to its long-planned timetable, and to exploring other opportunities with anyone interested in promoting free and open access to primary legal materials, which in turn promotes the cause of justice.”

And all of us at the HLS Library congratulate the team at Ravel, including its leaders Daniel Lewis and Nik Reed, for the pathbreaking work they’ve done.

Scaling Up Perma.cc: Ensuring the Integrity of the Digital Scholarly Record

Earlier this year, the HLS Library Innovation Lab received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to scale up our Perma.cc tool, which helps scholars, journals, courts, and others create permanent records of the web sources they cite.

If you’re curious to learn more about our plans for further developing Perma.cc, you can read more about it in Scaling Up Perma.cc: Ensuring the Integrity of the Digital Scholarly Record in this month’s D-Lib Magazine, which is devoted to descriptions of projects funded by the IMLS.

Archiving Student Life: HLS Community Capture Project

This past semester, Historical & Special Collections (HSC) continued its efforts to collect material documenting student life at HLS. These efforts began in Spring 2016 and our commitment to the project has increased since then, thanks in large part to a Harvard Library S.T. Lee Innovation Grant. Student organizations are a vital part of the HLS community and we hope to capture and preserve as much as we can to help document the impact students have on HLS and support your work!

HSC currently holds only a few student organizations’ records, along with a variety of student organization newsletters and event flyers. In order to capture today’s campus activities, we need to think more broadly about collecting student-created material. Today, that broad mindset involves grappling with the vulnerability of digital material. Building relationships with both individuals and the organizations (that means you!) that create digital content is urgent if we hope to help preserve this material for the future.

Harvard Law School Women's History Month calendar, March 1994, HLS Ephemera Collection, box 4, folder 6

Women’s Law Association (WLA) Women’s History Month calendar, March 1994, HLS Ephemera Collection, Box 4, Folder 6

With funding made possible by the S.T. Lee Innovation Grants, Historical & Special Collections is investigating better methods for collecting born digital material from student organizations through the HLS Community Capture Project. A part-time project assistant started working with us in March of this year, which has enabled us to offer flexible meeting times with student organization leaders outside of the traditional 9 to 5. So far, we have talked to close to 30 student leaders about preserving student organization material and have created a LibGuide that brings together much of our existing student-created content. [Read More]

Graduates, send your family and friends on a library tour!

You spent hundreds of hours studying here. Now send your family and friends to see the place!

The HLS Library is offering library tours for family and friends of our newest HLS graduates on Class Day, Wednesday, May 24. Tours last about 20 minutes and will cover

  • Library art and treasures
  • HLS history
  • Library buildings and quotes
  • Our world-famous beanbag alley

Registration is requested but not required so we can have enough tour guides available. Meet at the Circulation Desk just inside the main entrance.

Register guests for 12:00pm

Register guests for 12:30pm

Register guests for 1:00pm

Self-guided mobile tours are also available.

Happy birthday to us: Et Seq. is 10!

Et Seq., the Harvard Law School Library Blog, officially marks its 10th anniversary today!

Et Seq. in 2007

Et Seq. in 2007

Although the first blog post, Working on a paper? Need research help? was dated February 1, 2007, library staff at the time had been blogging privately to “exercise the blog and try to get a feel for how it might actually work ‘in the real world.'” (Note: If you ARE working on a paper and need research help in 2017, the method to do that is different now: simply fill out the form on our Ask a Librarian page.)

After the test period was deemed successful, Et Seq. was officially “released into cyberspace” on May 4, 2007. A Harvard Law School Library internal staff newsletter at the time proclaimed the moment “unquestionably a significant technological milestone.”

While historians have yet to agree with that assertion, we’re still proud of our blog. Over the years, we’ve brought you legal, library, and local news; updates and reviews of our library resources and services; 852 RARE, the series highlighting our Historical & Special Collections materials; a special series on our Ruhleben Camp collection; and posts about law and pop culture or holidays–and many other topics! We’ve switched blogging platforms once, and we also added social media to our arsenal of communications tools. (If you haven’t checked them out lately, have a look at our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.) At least 48 members of our staff, past and present, have posted to Et Seq.

In addition to our ten year milestone, we’re also hitting a post milestone today: this post is the lucky 1300th! We look forward to many more years of informing you about HLS Library news, events, resources, and services.

Happy birthday, Et Seq.!

New e-resources

The Harvard Library has an astounding number of resources, and we get more all the time! For help efficiently navigating it all, make an appointment to meet with a librarian or contact the Reference Desk.

You can also view our list of recently activated e-journals.

Among our newest e-resources are:

Note: where available, the “about” descriptions are taken from the resources themselves.

Biography Literature 傳記文學全文資料庫 (1962-2016)               

Ethnographic Video Online, Volume IV: Festivals and Archives
Ethnographic Video Online is a comprehensive online resource for the study of human culture, behavior and society around the world. The collections contain over 1,300 hours of streaming video, including ethnographic films, documentaries, select feature films, and previously unpublished fieldwork. It’s also a resource for a study of the discipline itself: By placing examples of traditional ethnographic methodologies alongside indigenous-made films representing previously overlooked perspectives, scholars, teachers and students of anthropology can gain a sense of the discipline’s history and of its future direction.

Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive  
HBW Alive is an online comprehensive resource for all the birds of the world. It contains the contents of the acclaimed 17-volume Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) series.          

Historical Book Catalog of China System 中国历代典籍总目分析系统   

Making of Modern Law: ACLU Papers, 1912-1990 
For more about the ACLU Papers, see our April blog post about the collection.

Music Magazine Archive
Music Magazine Archive is a series of digital collections focused on 20th and 21st century genres such as Rock, Folk, and Hip-Hop & Rap. Each genre-based collection unites every page and every issue of a diverse and influential group of magazines. These publications uniquely capture the social and historical context of each genre, and together support scholarly research areas such as race, class, gender, American studies, youth culture, and more across some of the most progressive decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. Researchers will find all material represented in the original publications, preserved in its original context, fully searchable and in high-resolution full color. This collection contains 1,461 issues comprising 100,712 pages and 91,454 articles.             

NUSA
The Series focuses primarily on works about languages in Indonesia, but studies of languages from nearby countries are also welcome. Papers appearing in NUSA may be original or translated from languages other than English. NUSA is a peer-reviewed journal and all papers will be fully refereed by at least two anonymous reviewers. 

Pakistan Microfinance Network 
The Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN or ‘the Network’) traces its beginnings to 1997 when a group of microfinance practitioners laid its foundations as an informal platform for coordination, exchange of ideas and peer learning. Since then the Network has grown significantly and is now recognized locally and globally as the national association for retail players in Pakistan’s microfinance industry. Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission [SECP] in April 2001 under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, PMN is a member driven network with a vision to expand access to formal financial services in Pakistan.

ProQuest Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamations 1789-present
Executive Orders are the formal means through which the President of the United States executes a wide range of actions related to the Federal Government’s internal operations and organization, as well as foreign and domestic policies. Presidential proclamations and executive orders have the force of law, and have played a role in many historic events, including Indian removal, internment of Japanese‐Americans during World War II, and desegregation of the military. The Emancipation Proclamation was the first numbered executive order.

Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies

HeinOnline has a new product that will interest anyone–law students and faculty, historians, political scientists–researching presidential commissions or the catastrophes, crises, and issues they have investigated.

Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies comprises an extensive listing of presidential advisory bodies from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama. Content includes more than 6000 database entries, 1200 links to full text documents, and cover hundreds of subjects including AIDS, bioethics, chemical warfare, immigration, nuclear weapons, and many more. Documents in the collection include congressional hearings, books, scholarly articles, and links to external content.

The database will be updated at least twice a year to add new commissions as well as newly discovered documents from past administrations.

Highlights of commissions included in the collection include:

  • President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Warren Commission)
  • President’s Commission on Campus Unrest
  • Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
  • Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident
  • Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (Iraq Intelligence Commission)
  • National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission)
  • National Commission on the BP Deepwater

You can search the collection by keywords, president, commission subject, commission/author, and report title, as well as browse by president, commission name, commission subject, and report title.

For more information about using Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies, please check out the HeinOnline blog post or Ask a Librarian–we’ll be happy to help you get started on your research.

Restricted Access at Harvard Law School Library: April 26 – May 12, 2017

Blog post by Brian Sutton, Access Services Manager 

To ensure adequate study space for Law School students during the spring exam period, the Harvard Law School Library will have restricted access from Wednesday April 26 through Friday, May 12. During this time, only HLS affiliates will be able to use the Law Library for study hall purposes. Non-HLS IDs will not work at the turnstile entrance.

Harvard University affiliates who need to borrow regular loan materials from the collection, or use a part of the collection, please check in at the Circulation Desk. Circulating books can be ordered through Harvard Direct service, also known as clicking request item on HOLLIS.

If you have questions about access, please contact staff at the Circulation Desk: 617-495-3455 or access@law.harvard.edu.

%d bloggers like this: