Know How

The blog of the Great Library


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American Law Guides for Beginners (and Canadian legal researchers)

At the Great Library, we’re always looking for simple, accessible resources that can provide our users with a good starting point for their U.S. legal research. So we were happy to discover that the Law Library of Congress has produced a series of beginner’s guides to American law topics.

Topic choices are pulled from the library’s frequently asked questions, and the guides are designed to assist researchers get their bearings in an unfamiliar area of law. So, they are well-suited to the needs of non-US legal researchers.

The guides are published on the Law Library of Congress blog, In Custodia Legis. Each one offers an introduction to the area of law, some research tips and a well-researched selection of secondary, primary and free online sources. Here are a few examples:

Patent Law: A Beginner’s Guide outlines the U.S. patent process, provides advice on where to search for patent laws and cases, and gives the titles of leading texts, as well as links to online resources, patent organization websites and practitioner blogs.

The Administration of a Probate Estate: A Beginner’s Guide includes a list of useful secondary sources and provides direction to state probate codes where answers to common questions about the administration of estates can be found.

Federal Statutes: A Beginner’s Guide aims to de-mystify federal statutory research by explaining the statutory publication process and describing where each type of statutory publication can be found.

Check In Custodia Legis for a full list of Beginner’s Guides.


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Recent Arrivals

From drug-impaired driving and racial profiling to competition law and torts – here are some of our new titles and new editions:

Canadian Tort Law, 11th ed., by Linden et al. KF 1250 L562 2018 / Practice Collection, 2nd Floor.

  • The 11th edition of this leading treatise provides a thoroughly updated analysis of all aspects of tort law, with details of important appellate cases from the last five years.

Continue reading


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Finding Ontario OICs

What are OICs (Orders in Council)? Every province has them and the federal government as well, although the federal ones are also called Privy Council Orders.

There is a succinct definition of an Order in Council on the Ontario government’s Orders in Council website:

“An Order in Council (OIC) is a government order recommended by the Executive Council and signed by the Lieutenant Governor.”

Hundreds of OICs are made every year. A few are published in the Ontario Gazette but the majority are never published. In the past they were extremely difficult to locate.

Not anymore! The government website is one-stop shopping for:

  • what OICs are used for;
  • how they are created; and
  • most importantly, contact information for obtaining copies of them depending on the year they were created.


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Make Your Keyword Search Just Right

HeinOnline recently announced a simplified syntax for proximity searching. Instead of using parentheses and the tilde symbol, a complicated construction that no one could remember, you can now use “w/n” (where w means within and n is a number) to specify how close together you want your search terms to appear. Continue reading


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Cannabis and the Workplace

With cannabis legalization taking effect on October 17, 2018, Canadian employers face a number of new challenges. Employees’ legal recreational use of marijuana raises issues relating to workplace health and safety, privacy rights, workplace policies and more. Continue reading