These suggestions do not provide a comprehensive guide to conducting effective
Rather, they identify potential pitfalls, possible shortcuts, and other random thoughts from the Reference Desk.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Government provides answers from the State Library.
I'm looking for a 1993 report, "Privatization as an option for constructing and operating local jails in Florida." If you don't find a specific Florida document listed in the UCF Library Catalog, try searching for the document at other State University System libraries or in the Florida Documents Index. It's possible that the UCF Library also received the document and has it classified under the same call number, even though it doesn't appear in the UCF Library Catalog. If none of the State University System libraries received the document, try verifying the title in the State Library catalog. The State Library is the agency responsible for distributing materials in the Florida Public Documents Depository Program, but frequently they receive insufficient copies for distribution, so they may be the only library with a copy. If UCF doesn't own a copy of the document, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. Checking the UCF shelves and the UCF Documents Shelflist check-in cards reveals that the UCF Library doesn't own a copy under the same call numbers [LEG.E3 R36/93-2] or [IGR2 P64] as the three other SUS Libraries that own copies. The 1993 document is listed on page 70 of 1996 Florida Public Documents [FL DOCS SS.D3:D52/996] in the section of "Publications not distributed; deposited at State Library." Note the time lag of three years for the document to get to the State Library from the publishing agency. But wait, you're in luck; in this case, there was another possible source. A search of the NCJRS Database identifies the document as NCJ 150537, which is available on microfiche in the UCF Library.
I put the Florida Geographic Data Library CD-ROM in the drive, but I can't pull up any of the data. See Florida Geographic Data Library
Congressional Quarterly's Desk Reference on American Government by Bruce Wetterau [REF JK274.W449 2000] provides over 600 answers to frequently asked questions. Other titles in the series are available providing answers to hundreds of questions dealing with the Presidency [REF JK516.W44 2000], the Federal Budget [REF HJ2051.W43 1998], the Economy [REF HC106.82.C37 2000], and the States [REF JK2048.W48 1999].
What's wrong with the page numbers in the Congressional Record? Most of the page numbers in the Index [US DOCS X1.1:] match the text page numbers on the microfilm reels at UCF, but occasionally someone has a citation that uses the annual cumulative pagination, but the microfilm uses the daily issue page numbering, or vice versa. If you don't know the date of the Congressional action, it's very difficult to locate it with the wrong version's pagination. Solution: (1) take the index volume with you to the microfilm, (2) load the microfilm reel and pick a sample topic off any page, (3) look in the index for the sample topic to identify what the index identifies as the page number, (4) move forward or backward on the microfilm reel, progressively bracketing in on your desired page number. Another problem occurs when someone is looking for the extensions of remarks appearing in the appendix. From 1954 to 1964 the appendix was published in the daily edition, but was not included in the bound edition. The UCF Library's bound editions in the General Collection at J11.R52 do not include the appendix for those years, but UCF's microfilm of the daily edition at MFLM J11.R5 does include the appendix. The Congressional Record is available online from 1994 to present and the Congressional Record Index is available online from 1983 to present.
Where can I find the detailed census figures about religion? The U.S. Census doesn't gather information about religion. Consult Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1990: an Enumeration by Region, State, and County, Based on Data Reported for 133 Church Groupings in the UCF Library's Reference Collection [REF BR526.C48 1992]. See also the New Historical Atlas of Religion in America [REF G1201.E4.N4 2001]. Some information may be found in the population section of the Statistical Abstract of the U.S. or in the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches [REF BR513.Y4].
GODORT Handout Exchange includes many useful guides to conducting research about laws and legislation/legislative histories. The guides by Joan Shear, Boston College Law School Library, may be particularly useful, providing clear questions and answers, such as "What is the best way to find cases?", "How do I find regulatory history of federal regulations?", "What are the differences among the various editions of the United States codes?", and "What Steps Do I Take in Compiling a Federal Legislative History?"
For more comprehensive guides to legal research, take a look at various books in the UCF Library's Reference Collection at REF KF240.
Six Categories of Law Materials may help you understand the types of published materials.
PLA 3104 Resources - Legal Research identifies some of UCF's subscription databases and some Internet resources.
Congressional Quarterly's Desk Reference on American Courts [REF KF8720.B37 2000] and Congressional Quarterly's Desk Reference on American Criminal Justice [REF HV9950.B364 2001], both by Patricia G. Barnes, provide over 1,000 answers to frequently asked questions.
How do I compile a legislative history for a Florida law? See Documenting Florida Legislative Intent.
Where else in Orlando can I find legal materials? Be sure to ask at the UCF Library's Reference Desk, just in case the title you're seeking is available in the UCF Library as part of some other material, but is not listed individually in the catalog. Two local law schools have some materials not found at UCF:
The Barry Law Library (6441 East Colonial Drive; 321-206-5600) is located on the north side of Highway 50/Colonial Drive between Forsyth Road and Highway 436/Semoran Boulevard.
The Florida A&M University College of Law Library (201 Beggs Avenue; 407-254-3289) in downtown Orlando is just off Interstate 4 near the corner of Robinson Street and Hughey Avenue.
What's the difference between the circuit and district courts? In Florida, the circuit courts are the trial courts at the county level, and the district courts (i.e., 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach) are the appellate courts between the circuit courts and the Florida Supreme Court. In the federal court system, the names are reversed; the district courts are the trial courts within each state (i.e., U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division) and the circuit courts (i.e., U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit in Atlanta) are the appellate courts between the district courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Why can't I find the U.S. Reporter? The official version of published U.S. Supreme Court cases is United States Reports (not Reporter), but it usually takes 2-3 years for the official version to be published. The UCF Library does have the official U.S. Reports from 1986 forward in the Documents Collection [JU6.8:], but we also have the complete run available in a commercial format. United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition [REF KF.A2] provides all of the U.S. Supreme Court cases (plus some earlier decisions) from 1754 forward, including preliminary publication of very recent cases 2-3 years before the official version comes out. The UCF Library does not have the other commercial format, Supreme Court Reporter, so if you only have that citation (i.e., 93 S. Ct. 705), you'll need to identify the citation for the version we have (i.e., 35 L. Ed. 2d 147) using the Parallel Reference Tables in volume 4 of Shepard's United States Citations [REF KF101.2.S54]. Most cases are also available electronically through the UCF Library's subscription to LexisNexis Academic.
How do I find the Florida Lemon Law? You have to first figure out that it is called the Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act. In the index of the Florida Statutes, look under the heading "Short Titles" for a list of the laws in Florida with official names. The "Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act" begins at Chapter 681.10 in the Florida Statutes. If you don't know whether a named law is state or federal, consult Shepard's Acts and Cases By Popular Names, Federal & State... [REF KF80.S5]. In this instance, the search was easier on the Internet than in standard sources because the unofficial name "Florida Lemon Law" appears in descriptions on some agency websites.
Where is the law that created Disney World? You've got to do a little research into the history of Walt Disney World before you'll have any hope of finding the law. You could read through some of the books about Disney World, such as Vinyl Leaves [GV1853.3.F62 W344 1992], but another possible source is the UCF Library's subscription to the Orlando Sentinel; conduct a customized search for Index Terms "disney and history" and then scan the headlines for likely articles, such as "Disney World Through the Years". The facts you need to find are the year 1967 and the official name of the area created: Reedy Creek Improvement District. Next, search the index of the 1967 Special Acts volumes of the Laws of Florida [FLA DOCS SS5:L3/] for "Reedy Creek". The 100-page law that gave Disney tremendous independence from Orange and Osceola Counties is Chapter 67-1965. NOTE: The Florida Legislature passes General Laws each year that usually end up codified in the Florida Statutes, but the Special Acts are not included in the Florida Statutes. Some information about the Reedy Creek Improvement District is available online.
Can you fax me a copy of Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Yes and no. The original text of Title VII-Equal Employment Opportunity appears on pages 253-266 in volume 78 of United States Statutes at Large [US DOCS GS4.111:]. But you're probably looking for the law as it exists today after decades of modifications and spread out through various sections of the U.S. Code. You'll need to conduct your own research to locate all the sections of interest to you.
Are living wills legal in Massachusetts? First, we recommend that you consult an attorney when an interpretation of the law is needed. If you'd like to look at an overview of the laws of various states, try the Martindale-Hubbell Law Digest [REF KF190.M32]. The topical index in the front of each volume indicates that "living wills" are included under the category "Estates and Trusts"- topic "Wills". The General Laws of Massachusetts are summarized in approximately 70 pages. Since the summaries also identify the specific statutes by number, you have a starting point if you decide to look at the full text of the statutes, either through LexisNexis Academic or through the StateLaw link listed on our Government Resources for Other States webpage. NOTE: There are a few states that don't have specific legislative provisions for living wills, and others don't use the phrase "living will", so you could search a long time unsuccessfully in their statutes. The summaries in Martindale-Hubbell Law Digest can save you time because entries are included for each subject, even if the only information is "No legislation." Of course, if it's a brand new law, then it won't appear in Martindale-Hubbell Law Digest until next year's edition.
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Last updated October 13, 2011 9:29:27 AM