Happy New Year! Here at the Law Library of Congress we are looking forward to another busy year filled with fascinating research, great public events, and (of course) many wonderful law books—old and new! We try very hard to share our resources and expertise with as many people as possible, including through our Reading Room, Ask a Librarian service, this blog, and our website.
Last year, we were happy to announce the improvements that were made to the Law Library’s website, which included a new homepage design (now accessible simply by typing law.gov in your browser) and improved search capabilities. We do keep track of what’s popular on the site—just as we do for this blog and for the Global Legal Monitor—so we decided to take a look back at what topped the list in 2012.
During the past year we published several new reports on our Current Legal Topics page, and we were pleased to see that a number of older reports were particularly well used. The most accessed pages on this part of our website were the guides and bibliographies on the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court and on the War Powers Resolution. (Both of these are part of a larger publication on the US Constitution.) Reports on children’s rights in China and the UK were also popular. These were part of a compilation of reports on children’s rights in various countries that was published in 2008. Also accessed many times was a 2009 report on the law relating to sex selection and abortion in India, which again was part of a broader study covering four countries.
In terms of our collections, several digitized copies of reports and transcripts of the court proceedings relating to the Boston Massacre trials—featuring John Adams as defense counsel—were particularly popular. The Global Legal Information Catalog, which makes it easier to find items in our collection that cover multiple jurisdictions, was also frequently visited.
We have various research guides available on our website; many people made use of the landing pages for these to find what they were looking for. Among our most popular pages last year were the guides on researching Federal Statutes and Judicial Decisions, and on using Secondary Legal Resources. In the foreign and international law area, the most visited guide was the one on researching UK law. Another legal research help page that received many visits was our guide to Databases and eResources.
Overall, however, our most visited page (aside from our homepage) was the gateway to the Guide to Law Online, which provides links to online resources related to U.S. federal and state and territory laws—as well as the laws of various nations. Within the Guide, three pages received the most hits: 1) the page on Nations of the World; 2) the page on U.S. state and territory legislation; and 3) the page on U.S. federal legislation.
One of our resolutions this year is to review many of the country pages in the Guide to Law Online to ensure that they contain the most up-to-date links. We will also be producing new research reports on the laws of different countries throughout the year, which we will publish on our Current Legal Topics page. We’ll highlight both of these areas on In Custodia Legis as the year progresses, so please keep watching this space.
We hope you find all these different resources on our website, as well as the information provided through this blog, helpful and interesting. Please let us know if you think we should cover something in particular or if you have trouble finding something on the website. And, of course, if you need legal research help—just ask us!