Law Blog

Ever wondered how to get started with your research on business information, especially on how to start your own business, where to get facts and statistics from, etc.? Have you given up after a short while because it seems that the Web either does not provide what you need or that every single business resource costs money?
 
Well, there is another way to obtain business information right from the comfort of your home ... and for absolutely no fee!
 
This pathfinder will help you navigate selected United States Government Business Information Sources, regarded as the most credible and up-to-date information source in the ever-changing environment of the Web. Many users are not aware of the wealth of information that our government provides to the general public for free. But, admittedly, it can get quite confusing. With so many operating agencies it seems like an impossible task to track down exactly what you need.

The Government Printing Office (GPO) publishes and distributes official and authentic government publications to Congress, Federal Agencies, Federal Depository Libraries and the American public. The GPO is currently migrating their information from GPO Access to a new system called Federal Digital System or FDsys. FDsys is an advanced digital system that will allow the GPO to manage Government information from all three branches of government. Advantages to the new system include the ability for Congress and Federal Agencies to submit files and orders electronically to the GPO, Government information will reach a wider audience through the internet based system, preservation of information will be ensured even as technology changes, and the GPO will have greater control of the format of the information they receive. Movement from GPO Access to FDsys will be completed on a step by step basis, finishing in 2010.

There are several ways to conduct a search using FDsys. From the homepage in the left menu click on GPO Access - FDsys. On this page you can type a keyword in the text box and conduct a simple search. There is also an advance search option which allows you to select the publication and limit dates. You can also limit your search to full text, branch of government, category or citation. Selecting the help link provides you with information on conducting searches.

Launched in 1995, THOMAS has expanded to include information on bills and resolutions, activity in Congress, an index to the Congressional Record, schedules and calendars, Presidential Nominations, treaties, and government resources. At this site you can also learn how your government works. A link to information for teachers including classroom activities, lesson plans and more is available on the homepage. 

 Need a form for business or legal work? We do not have fill in the blank forms, but we have resources available for you. Our resources include both online and print resources. When you are looking for legal forms, Virginia Forms and the Virginia Practice Series are good places to start. The Virginia Forms multi-volume set is available at the Headquarters Branch, Porter Branch, Salem Church Branch and Snow Branch. The Virginia Practice Series is available in the Law Library at the Headquarters Branch. It is also available online through the Westlaw database available in the Law Library. In the Law Library you will also find CLE (Continuing Legal Education) books. These are the three ring binders located on the spinner in the Law Library. These notebooks contain information and examples of forms as provided for continuing education classes for attorneys. In the Quiet Reading Room at the Headquarters Branch, browse the Nolo Press books located on the wall under the window. If you need help finding forms, sign-up for Training on Demand with the Law Librarian!

A wealth of free legal information is available on the Internet. When searching for legal opinions or law journal articles, there are two sites that I would like to recommend: Google Scholar and LexisOne.

Questions and concerns about identity theft? Check out these web sites:

Onguard On Line
Find tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you guard against internet fraud, help you secure your computer and protect your personal information.

Identity Theft Center
Nonprofit group that provides information to help you understand identity and prevent identity theft. It includes a section for teens.

Identity Theft 911
Provides research, newsletters, and alerts about scams.

INTERNET RESOURCES

HUD Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure
The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides information on avoiding foreclosures, as well as information on the forclosure process. It includes links to other web sites, including state-specific foreclosure information.

Avoiding Foreclosure -- Virginia
Information provided by HUD specific to Virginia.

Thinking of filing for divorce yourself? The following resources may help you. As with all legal issues, we highly recommend that you hire an attorney. Resources for finding an attorney can be found at the end of this document. You are not required to hire an attorney. If you decide to proceed pro se (without an attorney), remember that you must follow the same rules as if you had an attorney. Library staff cannot give you legal advice nor can court personnel. We cannot tell you which forms you need to use, nor can we assist you in completing the forms.

Have you tried searching for legal cases by randomly typing in key words in a database? Searching this way can be time consuming and is often unsuccessul. Instead, try using a West digest that provides you with specific subject headings.

Thomsen West, a publisher of legal materials developed a key number system that assigns key numbers to subject headings. In the law library we have Virginia and West Virginia Digest in print. This digest is a multivolume set and the subjects, with their assigned key number, are listed alphabetically.

Many blogs are available on the internet on many topics, including legal blogs. One blog of particular interest to citizens of Virginia is The Virginia Lawyer's Weekly blog. While the blog was created for attorneys, it does offer information on some of the latest legal cases as well as breaking news for the legal community.