Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

852 Rare: Recently opened Modern Manuscript collections

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce several new Modern Manuscript collections now open for research.  This material dates from the late nineteenth century to the present day and spans the legal history of the United States and other countries.  The collections include both professional and personal papers that document the work of Harvard Law School faculty and graduates. Together these collections present a subset of the over 200 Modern Manuscript collections held by Historical & Special Collections.

The Lloyd L. Weinreb Papers cover the entirety of Weinreb’s professional career as professor, lawyer, and author. The collection spans the 1960s to 2010s, and contains correspondence, teaching materials, reports, publications, and photographs. The majority of the collection is professional in nature, though there is a small quantity of personal materials.

The Gary J. Greenberg Papers span the years 1967-1973. From 1967-1969, he worked as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. The material dated after this time reflects Greenberg’s ongoing interest and involvement in civil right issues; specifically, busing and school segregation. The collection contains correspondence, case files, clippings, publications, memos, and notes. The material is primarily professional in nature. Gary Greenberg graduated from HLS in 1966.

The Andrzej Henryk Wojcik Collection of Cuban criminal and civil court documents cover two separate periods of time and two different aspects of the Spanish colonial magistrate system in Cuba.. There are 88 criminal cases from 1890, which were decided by a panel of three colonial magistrates. Additionally, there are 119 civil court cases from 1881, which were decided by a panel of either three or five colonial magistrates.

The David Charny Papers span the years 1971-2000 with the bulk of the materials falling between the years of 1985 and 2000. The collection contains teaching material, research notes, paper drafts by Charny and others, correspondence, and other professional material.

Jeffrey Toobin research collection, 1984-2012 consists of material for his book, American Heiress: the wild saga of the kidnapping, crimes and trial of Patty Hearst. It is a comprehensive collection of material about Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Jeff Toobin graduated from HLS in 1986.

And an original letter written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. to Lady Clare Castletown that will complement the 49 letters currently held by Historical & Special collections. (The letter will be open to researchers after conservation work has been completed.)

These collections are open to all researchers. Anyone interested in using the collection should contact Historical & Special Collections to schedule an appointment.

 

 

 

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]

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.!

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.

MCLE updates

We recently had an update session from MCLE New England aka Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. MCLE’s mission is “to provide post-legal education for lawyers to keep lawyers up to date on the rapid practice changes.” The library’s MCLE OnePass subscription gives you access to a wide variety of electronic resources, including webcasts, e-books, professional development plans, and forms for Massachusetts, as well as offerings for Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine.

How do I get access to MCLE?
Visit MCLE while on campus and click the Sign In or Register option to create your individual account. Once set up, you’ll be able to access MCLE from anywhere. You can also set your practice area interests, mailing preferences, and search preferences.

How do I use MCLE?

  • Search for material by practice area, content type, types of eforms, and more. Narrow your search with a number of facets, including practice area and webcasts.
  • Browse by practice area or Products + Services type. Hint: when searching by Products + Services type, select the MCLE OnePass option to access material covered under our subscription.

What’s new in MCLE?
A new content type called 1st Look provides live and on-demand webcasts for new developing topics such as:

  • “1st Look” at the Impact of Recent Executive Orders on Your Immigration Client Matters
  • “1st Look” at the New Massachusetts Marijuana Law

Type “1st Look” in the search bar to view other titles in the series.

BBO disciplinary decisions are now available. To provide context and consequences, MCLE is also pulling together books, articles, and webinars that are related to a particular disciplinary action.

Demonstration videos that are embedded within e-lecture videos are tagged so they are easier to find. Examples of demonstration videos include client interviews and voir dire simulations.

The number of checklists for all practice areas has increased.

Information about what’s new for each e-book is now listed prominently on the splash page of each title.

They have print and e-book archives going back to 2000 available in PDF for researchers, upon request for free.

What if I want more assistance?

Please ask a librarian and we’ll be happy to help you get set up or find material. It’s what we’re here for!

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