The Massachusetts Practice Series is a secondary source that provides an overview of Massachusetts law. Commonly referred to as the Mass Practice Series, these books are easily identified by their maroon covers. Organized by subject, volumes contain notes and forms as well as references to cases, laws, and other secondary sources.
Using the Massachusetts Practice Series
Within the Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries, the Massachusetts Practice Series is located on the second floor in the Massachusetts collection area. If you are looking for a particular topic, the easiest way to search the Series is to use its general index, which is located at the end of the collection. When using the print version of the Series, be sure to check for updates in the supplemental volumes, on CDs, and in the pocket parts.
This Series is also searchable on WestlawNext. To locate it from the home screen, you can begin typing “Massachusetts Practice Series” in the search bar and then click on the corresponding link that appears below the search screen.
Alternatively, you can also search for it by using the browse box on WestlawNext’s home page. To do so, first click on the “State Materials” tab, then on the “Massachusetts” tab, and finally on the “Massachusetts Practice Series” link under the “Secondary Sources” heading.
For information on the Supreme Court and cases pending before the SCOTUS, the law library offers a wide range of commercial databases, along with free Internet resources.
These resources can provide almost anything you may want to know about a case at the Court. For an example, consider Zivotofsky v. Kerry, a case involving the constitutionality of a statute that directs the Secretary of State, or request, to record the birthplace of an American citizen born in Jerusalem as “Israel” on a United States passport. The Court’s web site provides docket information about the case, and much else: after the case was argued last week before the Justices, the transcript was posted later that day; and the audio recording of the argument was posted on Friday afternoon, following the Justices’ conference.
Among sources that compile information about the case, see SCOTUSblog for links to the briefs on the case; news coverage and links to commentary on the case; and a link to the lower court decision, which held the statute in question unconstitutional.
Among subscription services, Bloomberg BNA’s U.S. Law Week provides several useful tools for tracking the case, including the case summary from the Supreme Court Today Navigator, and news coverage at all stages of the case–e.g., the story on last week’s argument. Major general newspapers, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, are also excellent sources.
For news once the Court issues its opinion in the case, try also The Supreme Court Bulletin (syllabi of new opinions from Cornell’s LII) or Justia’s Opinion Summaries. For up-to-the-minute coverage, nothing beats the Twitter feeds of SCOTUSblog, other news sources or legal correspondents who cover the Court (Adam Liptak, Nina Totenberg).
As finals approach the Law Library is running a raffle for all students who like or follow us on Facebook, follow our tweets at Twitter and/or visit our blog (and send a note to Steven at email@example.com telling him what you learned there) from today, November 10th through November 18th.
The raffle basket includes Final Exam “Must-Haves” including:
- A loaded Starbucks card to help keep your energy levels up.
- A gift certificate for a study-aid to be ordered through the Library ($40 value)
- A gift card for a night at the movies
- A reusable BU mug
Click on the image below to get entered and for more details:
(The winner will be contacted at the completion of the Raffle on or after 11/19/2014.)
In doing your research, you may find you need a book or article that you notice (after searching BU Libraries) isn’t available through campus resources. What to do when that happens?
Here are a few options:
- If BU doesn’t own a copy, or if that copy is lost or missing, request the book or article through the library’s interlibrary loan service; use the online request form, and be sure to provide your name and BU email address
- Visit another area library in the Boston Library Consortium (BLC); to borrow materials there, it is necessary to obtain a BLC card at Mugar Library, which involves a wait of three business days after your application is submitted
- Note: another alternative for accessing materials from BLC libraries is to request the item through Worldcat Local (please note, separate rules apply)
- Visit another library in the New England Law Library Consortium (NELLCO), and consult materials available there; please be sure to take your BU photo ID with you
- Use the Boston Public Library: available to any Massachusetts resident, a BPL library card allows you to borrow materials from the main Copley Square library and branch libraries, and use BPL’s databases, including such useful resources as America’s Historical Newspapers (1690-1922)
When is doubt, ask a reference librarian about options. We may be able to suggest the most appropriate option, given the type of material and your time situation.
Tomorrow, November 6th, at 1:00 PM there will be a presentation on Turbulence in College Sports: The O’Bannon Case, NCAA Governance Changes, and Other Recent Developments. If you are interested in sports law, the Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries have some great resources that you might want to explore. For more information on these resources, just click on the title and a link to the catalog will open.
Whether you’re a 1L encountering a new research database for the first time, or an upper-class person whose skills have gotten a bit rusty on a given platform, the Library maintains a comprehensive number of self-paced tutorials designed to make any research task efficient and, importantly, speedy.
We categorize our tutorial listings in three broad categories: Basic Research, By Resource/Database and Tutorials of interest to Journal Members. CLICK HERE to be directed to out Tutorials page.
Questions? Please stop by the Reference Desk.
Looking for a new book to read or a staff pick? Be sure to check out our display cases! These cases are located on the second floor by the Libraries’ entrance and on the third floor across the hall from classroom 336.
Currently, the third floor display case contains a variety of Halloween related books, including the following:
If you are interested in checking out a book on display just ask a circulation librarian.
There are lots of interesting and bizarre laws on the books regarding Halloween. Find some of these and get more familiar with our print collection. To get your bag of candy you need to answer the questions and bring 5 slips (found in the books) to the reference desk. Here are the questions:
1. Is Halloween a federal holiday?
2. Are you allowed to wear a mask in Louisiana the day before Halloween?
3. Can you recover if a stack of pumpkins falls on you?
4. If your house is haunted do you have to disclose this fact to a potential buyer in Massachusetts?
5. If you made your own chocolate for Halloween, in order to call it milk chocolate how much cocao powder would it need to contain?
Among the many ways to stay current with news and information, those available to BU Law students include: searching and receiving legal news updates from such premium sources as Bloomberg/BNA and Law 360; reading legal blogs, which you can access through a newsreader by subscribing to RSS feeds; and creating Alerts through Lexis, Westlaw and Google, among others.
Another current awareness tool–and a great one for up-to-the-minute topical information–is Twitter. A few of the ways you can use Twitter:
Like other tools, Twitter can contribute to a sense of overwhelm, being inundated with too much information. That’s a good reason for being selective, setting time limits and letting go of what is no longer helpful.
Are you Googling and finding articles at sites that ask you to pay? Chances are the library has a subscription to that journal. Do you know the best books on your topic? We can help you write a better paper by pointing you to better resources. We have a research guide that points you to all the sources you might need. We also offer appointments with a research librarian which can be tailored to your paper topic. Let us help you write the best paper you can.