Supporting Legal Study requests with ease

By Jan Barnett

As Legal Studies becomes a more credible subject and attracts better students, supporting their requests can be a problem for some school libraries. Jan Barnett, St. Laurence's College,, Brisbane has found the solution.

Affording major law references and having access to legal cases is not always an easy task for school libraries. Use can sometimes be made of libraries at private law firms in the extended school community however, whilst this form of inter-library loan or inter-library photocopy is effective it is not always efficient or expedient. A few schools have access to University Law Libraries, but in most cases they are too busy with their own clients and reluctant to service secondary students.

By subscribing to three CD-ROM resources St. Laurence's College has been able to improve our curriculum support and supply resources for most Legal Studies requests. Austrom indexing service supports many subject areas, however AGIS (Attorney General's Information Service), CINCH (Criminology Institute) and the Police Digest have proved invaluable for Legal Studies especially now that many of the citations have added abstracts. Last year Aunty Abha's Collection of Australian Acts, Regulations and Annotations was added to the collection and only recently through an incidental phone conversation we were alerted to Case Base. This is a digest of all legal cases decided in Australia, with the basic decision for each case. It was originally produced for use by the upper echelons of the legal profession - so it expects familiarity with legal citations. Two Queensland T /Ls are working with the Case Base producers to provide a quick guide to Naming Conventions and Legal Citations for secondary students and non-legal users of the CD-ROM.

By introducing CD-ROM resources before research begins, students become familiar with what's available and the relevance to that particular assignment. In particular, these 3 CD-ROMs have enabled the Library to satisfy demand for information as obscure as Absolute Privilege! Staff involved with this subject are enthusiastic about the electronic resources and are eager to incorporate them into their units of study.

Providing these resources does mean a substantial commitment from the Budget, however all three databases are regularly updated. Austrom's school price provides 3 issues per annum with Network licences dependent on the number of users. Aunty Abha can only be installed on one computer for the single user licence and as each update is received, then a new user code must be installed to enable access. Case Base is available for an annual subscription, but in practice one or two issues per year have proved sufficient.

lnfonnit : 03 93413285
$745 pa

Acts & Regulations
Aunty Abha: 02 2614288
$395 pa

Case Base
Pink Ribbon: 07 33560999
$250 pr iss

Jan Barnett


St. Laurence's College