Announcements •

Library Research Assistants Wanted

The Harvard Law School Library is looking for part-time Research Assistants for Summer 2015 and beyond. Research Assistants will assist with short-term faculty research assignments and work with library staff to complete faculty document requests. Opportunities are available for both on-campus and off-campus work.

Interested candidates should submit resumes and letters of interest to Tom Boone, Faculty Services Librarian,

Qualifications include completion of First Year Legal Research and Writing, as well as basic legal research experience.

Congrats to the Webby-nominated!

Congratulations to our colleagues who work on the Webby Award-nominated! We’re delighted that it’s been nominated in the category of websites: law.

perma, powered by libraries, helps scholars, journals and courts create permanent links to the online sources cited in their work.

Love Vote for it on the Webby Awards website.

NY Times digital subscription update

the-new-york-times2Last year the HLS Library acquired a site license for the All HLS faculty, students, and staff may use this group pass to create an individual user account similar to the fee-based digital subscription for the plus SmartPhone App.   

The renewal/registration process has changed. 

  • We moved our yearly group pass cycle from March 1 to August 1 to allow new grads 3 months’ access. If you joined our group pass last year, you will need to renew this spring and again on August 1.
  • Going forward, all HLS faculty, students and staff must renew (” grab a pass” in NYT lingo) every August 1 regardless of their initial registration date. 

If you need to renew your group pass now or in August:

  • Go to the HLS Group Pass link.
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • Choose the “Log in to Continue” button.
  • Enter your current username and password. You’re all set!

If you have never registered with

  • Go to the HLS Group Pass link.  
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • Follow the instructions to create an account and register for your new pass

If you have never registered for a group pass, but have registered an account with

  • Go to the HLS Group Pass link.
  • Enter your HLS Me credentials.
  • If you are already a non-paying subscriber (i.e. you are registered to received free 10 monthly articles), be sure to choose the “Log in to Continue” button. The group pass will be added to your existing account.
  • If you already have an existing paid subscription for digital access to the you must first cancel your subscription before joining the HLS group pass. You may cancel your existing digital subscription by calling Customer Care at (800) 591-9233.
  • Paid subscribers will not be reimbursed for cancellation. You may want to time your registration accordingly.

Other points of note: 

  • Our group pass covers computers, laptops and SmartPhone devices only.  It will not work on your tablet apps, but it will work using your tablet’s browser.
  • Our site license is for the Law School only and it is not available to alumni.  

We hope you enjoy this resource. For assistance or questions, please contact the Library.

Faculty Book Talk: Intisar Rabb’s Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of  Professor Intisar Rabb’s recently published book, Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law. 

Wednesday April 8, 2015, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Intisar A. Rabb is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program. She also holds an appointment as a Professor of History at Harvard University and as a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She previously served as an Associate Professor at NYU Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and at NYU Law School, as Visiting Associate Professor of Islamic Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, and as a member of the law faculty at Boston College Law School—where she has taught courses in criminal law, legislation and theories of statutory interpretation, and Islamic law. She also served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She was named a 2010 Carnegie Scholar for research on issues of Islamic constitutionalism and contemporary law reform through processes of “internal critique” in the Muslim world, and a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard for a project designed to add scholarly context to ongoing discussions of Islamic law in new media. She has published on Islamic law in historical and modern contexts, including an edited volume, Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought (with Michael Cook et al., Palgrave 2013), and numerous articles on Islamic constitutionalism, Islamic legal maxims, and on the early history of the Qur’an text. She received a BA from Georgetown University, a JD from Yale Law School, and an MA and PhD from Princeton University. She has conducted research in Egypt, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere.

rabb two panelists

“This book considers an important and largely neglected area of Islamic law by exploring how medieval Muslim jurists resolved criminal cases that could not be proven beyond a doubt. Intisar A. Rabb calls into question a controversial popular notion about Islamic law today, which is that Islamic law is a divine legal tradition that has little room for discretion or doubt, particularly in Islamic criminal law. Despite its contemporary popularity, that notion turns out to have been far outside the mainstream of Islamic law for most of its history. Instead of rejecting doubt, medieval Muslim scholars largely embraced it. In fact, they used doubt to enlarge their own power and to construct Islamic criminal law itself. Through a close examination of legal, historical, and theological sources, and a range of illustrative case studies, this book shows that Muslim jurists developed a highly sophisticated and regulated system for dealing with Islam’s unique concept of doubt, which evolved from the seventh to the sixteenth century.” — Cambridge University Press

The book talk panel includes:

Roy Mottahedeh




Roy Mottahedeh
Gurney Professor of Islamic History
Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Harvard University


Adriaan Lanni





Adriaan Lanni
Professor of Law 
Harvard Law School

Faculty Book Talk: Gabriella Blum’s The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones? — Confronting A New Age of Threat, Wed. April 1 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of  Professor Gabriella Blum’s recently published book with Benjamin Wittes,  The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones? — Confronting A New Age of Threat.

Gabriella Blum is the Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School, specializing in public international law, international negotiations, the law of armed conflict, and counterterrorism. She is also the Co-Director of the HLS-Brookings Project on Law and Security and a member of the Program on Negotiation Executive Board.

Prior to joining the Harvard faculty in the fall of 2005, Blum served for seven years as a Senior Legal Advisor in the International Law Department of the Military Advocate General’s Corps in the Israel Defense Forces, and for another year, as a Strategy Advisor to the Israeli National Security Council.

Blum is the author of Islands of Agreement: Managing Enduring Armed Rivalries, (Harvard University Press, 2007), and of Laws, Outlaws, and Terrorists (MIT Press, 2010) (co-authored with Philip Heymann and recipient of the Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize), as well as of journal articles in the fields of public international law and the law and morality of war.

Benjamin Wittes is senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and the editor-in-chief of Lawfare.

Wednesday April 1, 2015, 12:00 noon.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Future of Violence

“From drone warfare in the Middle East to digital spying by the National Security Agency, the U.S. government has harnessed the power of cutting-edge technology to awesome effect. But what happens when ordinary people have the same tools at their fingertips? Advances in cybertechnology, biotechnology, and robotics mean that more people than ever before have access to potentially dangerous technologies—from drones to computer networks and biological agents—which could be used to attack states and private citizens alike.

In The Future of Violence, law and security experts Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum detail the myriad possibilities, challenges, and enormous risks present in the modern world, and argue that if our national governments can no longer adequately protect us from harm, they will lose their legitimacy. Consequently, governments, companies, and citizens must rethink their security efforts to protect lives and liberty. In this brave new world where many little brothers are as menacing as any Big Brother, safeguarding our liberty and privacy may require strong domestic and international surveillance and regulatory controls. Maintaining security in this world where anyone can attack anyone requires a global perspective, with more multinational forces and greater action to protect (and protect against) weaker states who do not yet have the capability to police their own people. Drawing on political thinkers from Thomas Hobbes to the Founders and beyond, Wittes and Blum show that, despite recent protestations to the contrary, security and liberty are mutually supportive, and that we must embrace one to ensure the other.

The Future of Violence is at once an introduction to our emerging world—one in which students can print guns with 3-D printers and scientists’ manipulations of viruses can be recreated and unleashed by ordinary people—and an authoritative blueprint for how government must adapt in order to survive and protect us.” — Basic Books

Book talk panelists include:

Yochai Benkler


Professor Yochai Benkler, Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies and Faculty Co-Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society


Jack Goldsmith



Professor Jack Goldsmith, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law


Jonathan Zittrain

Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Bemis Professor of International Law, Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources, Faculty Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government


“[An] ambitious…treatise regarding a particular terror of modern life: the increasing ubiquity of potential harm spawned by technological transformations…. The authors raise fascinating questions…. A thoughtful…Cassandra warning of great vulnerabilities disguised as gifts.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
“A book that manages to meld Hobbes, James Bond, science fiction, and Supreme Court decisions is a rare read. All the more impressive when it takes a complex set of urgent questions about the intersection of technology, security, and liberty, and offers insights and at least the beginnings of answers. Violence will be always with us, but its forms are changing in ways that challenge our ability to respond to and regulate it.”

Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum have written a compelling and provocative book about an important topic we have not adequately faced: managing catastrophic risk in a technologically advanced society. I strongly recommend this book even for people who will not agree with the authors’ conclusions.”

Matthew Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
“Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum provide a compelling and sobering argument that the rapid advancement and proliferation of new technologies—from cyber to biotech to robotics—have fundamentally altered our security. We face the prospect of a Hobbesian state of nature, where each individual is at once a figure of great power and great vulnerability. In this indispensable book, Wittes and Blum then tackle the staggering implications: What does this mean for the social contract between citizen and state and our traditional notions of liberty, privacy, and security? In short, can the modern state keep us safe?”

Early English Manor Rolls Go Online

Historical & Special Collections is pleased to announce that we have begun a multi-year project to conserve and digitize our collection of English manor rolls. The rolls came to Harvard over a century ago, purchased in 1892 and 1893 by Harvard Professor William James Ashley (1860-1927) from London bookseller James Coleman. In 1925 the College Library transferred the collection to the Harvard Law School Library.

The manor roll collection consists of 170 court-rolls, account-rolls, and other documents from various manors, ranging in date from 1282 to 1770. The largest concentration comes from the manor of Moulton in Cheshire. Other manors represented are Odiham Hundred, Hampshire; Herstmonceaux, Sussex; Chartley, Staffordshire; and Onehouse, Suffolk. A limited number of materials in this collection are single-sheet charters and one item is a map of the manor of Shelly, Suffolk.

Manor roll 16A (2)

Detail of roll from Moulton, Cheshire 1518-1521 (Box 2, 16)


For a complete description of the collection, see the finding aid, which will change and grow as digital images of the rolls become available, and links to them, along with improved descriptions of the rolls will be added. We expect this primary resource will be of particular interest to legal and local historians, students of early modern English history, and genealogists, all of whom have already used the rolls in their research. We also hope that by putting the rolls online, they will reach a broader audience who may pursue research questions that have not previously encompassed the manor rolls. We welcome your suggestions for improved descriptions; email with your feedback.

HLS access to National Law Journal and ALM publications

imgresGood news! The HLS community now has access to the National Law Journal, Supreme Court Brief, American Lawyer, and Corporate Counsel.

When you’re on campus, the regular URLs for each publication’s website should work seamlessly. While offsite, use the URLs above with your HUID/PIN to access full articles. You can also find the off-site links by searching for the publication titles in the Hollis catalogue.

Faculty Talk: Cass Sunstein on Nudging in the Real World, Wed. March 25 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a faculty talk to celebrate Professor Cass Sunstein’s recently published essay titled, Nudging:  A Very Short Guide, on Wednesday March 25, 2015 at 12:00 noon.   This brief essay offers a general introduction to the idea of nudging, along with a list of ten of the most important “nudges.” It also provides a short discussion of the question whether to create some kind of separate “behavioral insights unit,” capable of conducting its own research, or instead to rely on existing institutions.

Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.

Lunch will be served.

Professor Sunstein is currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. Mr. Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations.

Mr. Sunstein is author of many articles and books, including (2001), Risk and Reason (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), The Second Bill of Rights (2004), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), Worst-Case Scenarios (2001), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler, 2008), Simpler: The Future of Government (2013) and most recently Why Nudge? (2014), Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas (2014), and Wiser:  Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter (2015).

Nudging in the Real World

Spring classes on library resources and tools

Are you ready to spring into learning more about how library resources and tools can help you? If so, consider signing up for one of our upcoming research training classes. We’ll be having snacks and lunch at these sessions. Registration is helpful, but not required–feel free to show up!

Have thoughts about other class topics we should offer or timing of library classes? Please let us know!

Finding a Paper Topic
Wednesday, March 25, 5:00-5:30pm; cookies and snacks will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Michelle Pearse
Find a great paper topic using library resources for inspiration.
Register now

Efficient/Free/Low-cost Legal Research
Monday, April 6, 12:00-12:45pm; Stonehearth pizza will be served
Location: WCC room 3013
Taught by: Carli Spina
Planning on government, non-profit, or public interest work? Learn the best sites and tips for legal research that won’t cost a lot.
Register now

Citation Tools
Tuesday, April 7, 12:00-12:45pm; Otto’s pizza will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Claire DeMarco
Learn the pros and cons of Refworks and Zotero for storing and citing your research, plus learn how HLS’s new service can help preserve online sources in your citations.
Register now

Working with Hollis
Wednesday, April 8, 4:00-4:45pm; cookies and snacks will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Aslihan Bulut
Learn to get the most out of the Library’s catalogue Hollis+ in this class covering basic and advanced search techniques for books, articles, finding aids, images, and more, plus learn when Hollis Classic can be helpful.
Register now

Beyond Lexis & Westlaw: Other Legal Databases
Thursday, April 9, 4:00pm – 4:45pm; cookies and snacks will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Meg Kribble
Go beyond Lexis and Westlaw and learn how BNA, HeinOnline, Proquest Congressional, and other resources can be useful for research and helping you to stay current with the law.
Register now

Beyond Lexis and Westlaw: Non-legal Databases
Friday, April 10, 12:00-12:45pm; Otto’s pizza will be served
Location: Library conference room 524
Taught by: Jennifer Allison
Planning to do some interdisciplinary research? Learn search tips for general and specialty databases like Academic Search Premier, Business Source Complete, ERIC, Google Scholar, PsycINFO, PubMed, and others, plus how to find more databases.
Register now

Library hours for spring break 2015

We will have slightly shorter hours next week over spring break:

Saturday, March 14: 9 am – 6 pm

Sunday, March 15: 9 am – 6 pm

Monday, March 16−Thursday, March 19:  8 am – 11 pm

Friday, March 20: 8 am – 8 pm

Saturday Mar 21 9 am – 6 pm

As always, you will continue to have access to Harvard e-resources offsite using your HUID and PIN. You can ask us questions by email, chat, and text as well as find frequently asked library and research questions at our Ask a Librarian site.