November 2014 Bar Bulletin
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November 2014 Bar Bulletin

Novel Approaches to Free Secondary Sources Online

By Kim Ositis
Assistant Law Librarian for Reference Services


In keeping with this month's theme of Novel, I'm going to highlight some of the resources available for free access to digital versions of popular secondary sources.

Have you ever used a deskbook in print that had great content, but you really wanted to be able to search by keyword? The Washington State Bar Association provides free access to Casemaker as a member benefit. A new database of WSBA deskbooks is now available through CasemakerLibra as an annual paid subscription:

The Law Library is excited to offer free access to Casemaker, including the new deskbook database, at both of our locations. The titles include the Washington Family Law Deskbook, the Washington Real Property Deskbook and many more. Users can do full-text searches of the deskbook commentary and forms, where applicable.

Another subscription database provided by the Library for in-house access is LexisNexis. While our keyword searching coverage is limited to Washington-specific primary law resources, our subscription includes access to nine Washington-specific deskbooks, such as Washington Criminal Practice in Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, Washington Administrative Law Practice Manual, and The Law of Evidence in Washington.

LexisNexis offers many ebooks for purchase and provides free samples of several titles. One of them is the Washington Criminal and Traffic Law Manual, which I was able to successfully download and open in the iBooks app on my iPhone:

The library also offers free access to WestlawNext and Westlaw Classic at our Seattle and Kent libraries. In addition to primary law, our subscription offers full-text access to many secondary sources, such as Washington Practice, and other large sets such as Causes of Action and the Restatements.

James Publishing offers free access to chapters of selected titles as part of its Attorney Education Center. While not specific to Washington, the titles cover high-demand topics such as drunk driving, criminal defense and employment:

While not specific to legal books, the BitLit app for Android or iOS allows you to submit a photo of the copyright page of a print book that you already own and receive a digital version for free from the publisher:

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