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Drake Law Library Basics: Terms


Studying law can sometimes feel like learning a new language.

Our guide to abbreviations will help you understand what N.W.2d and Stat. mean.

These books can help with terminology and definitions.

Glossary of Drake Law Library Terms

Terms often Used at the Law Library

Bibliography   A list of books, articles, dissertations, etc. usually on a particular subject.

Call Number   Combination of letters and numbers that identify a book's shelf location and group materials by subject.

Carrel   Individual "walled" study tables reserved by 2Ls, 3Ls, and L.LM.s

Catalog   Searchable list of the items in our library with a description of each item. Our catalog is part of SuperSearch and is linked from our web page. (SuperSearch also allows you to search some of our databases.)

Citation   Information such as author, title, pages, and publication date which identifies a book, journal article, or other item.

Database (Online Database)   A large, organized collection of electronic information, usually searchable in various ways. The library offers a variety of databases.

E-book   A book in an electronic form.

E-journal   Journal or law review that contains articles in an electronic form.

Electronic Resource   Information in an electronic form rather than in paper or other form.

Field   Searchable portion of a database item record, such as title, author, or subject.

Full-text   Complete text of online material, usually articles, instead of only citations to articles

Holdings   The list of items in various forms owned by a library.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)   A service which fills patron requests for material from other libraries.

Index   Citations to journal articles, books and other sources searchable by subject, author, or title; also a list of subjects covered in a book, usually published at the end or in a separate volume.

Information Desk   The large desk on the ground (first) floor of the library near the entrance where library personnel are available for questions and services.

Journal   A type of periodical, often issued by a society or institution, containing articles, proceedings, and news about work carried out in a particular discipline, intended for a scholarly audience.

Journal Finder   A tool that allows you to input the title of a journal and see if it is available in print or in full text through a database. A journal finder tool is included in the library's catalog.

Locator Guide   The Locator Guide indicates the shelving locations of materials. Locator Guides are available on the Literature Rack across from the Information Desk and online.

Loose-leaf   A book or set of books updated by replacing individual pages of the book.

Multi-volume   A work published in more than one volume.

Non-Circulating   An item which is not allowed to be checked out of the Library. Reference and Reserve materials are Non-Circulating.

Online Catalog   An electronic, searchable list of the items in our library with a description of each item. Our catalog is accessible via our web page.

Online Database   A large collection of electronic information, usually searchable in various ways. The library offers a variety of databases.

Periodical   A magazine, journal, law review, newsletter, or newspaper published on a regular basis.

Reference Books   Books that do not check out of the library. The Library's reference collection is on the first floor near the copier/printers.

Reference Librarian   A professional librarian who helps patrons find and use sources of information.

Reference Service   A service provided by libraries to help patrons find and use sources of information.

Research Guides   Guides that provide research assistance, noting useful resources and search tips for different topics or research tasks. Guides prepared by our law librarians are available on the web.

Reserve(s)   A controlled access collection where items are set aside, often for particular classes, and are loaned for “in the library” use only. Ask for reserve items at the Information Desk to borrow for up to 2 hours.

Resource   Items to help you with your study and research, such as books or databases.

Search Terms   Words that are typed into an electronic resource or that you look up in an index to find specific information on that topic.

Stacks   In our catalog, this refers to the book shelves holding the general collection. The stacks are found on the first through third floors.

Study Aids   Books, CDs, and flashcards written to introduce students to different areas of law and help them master concepts. The library has a searchable list of study aids.

Study Rooms   The 20 smaller, locked rooms that provide law students secure, semi-private study spaces. Complete information on using study rooms is on the web.

SuperSearch    SuperSearch, available from the Law Library webpage, allows you to search for items in the library's collections, including reserve, and also search some of our databases. There is a separate guide that explains how to use SuperSearch.

Treatise   A longer, comprehensive writing on a particular subject, usually in book form.

Law School Terms

Knowing these terms may also help you.

§   The symbol for a section. Why write it out when you can use that cool squiggly thing?

ALWD   Citation guide for Legal Research and Writing. Stands for Association of Legal Writing Directors. The other big legal citation guide is called Bluebook.

Bays (East Bay and West Bay)   Groupings of professor offices just past the entrance of the law school located to the east and west (hence the names).

blueView   blueView is Drake University's portal, which provides personalized information and services for accepted applicants, students, faculty, staff and parents. It serves as a campus-wide communication tool through which important information and announcements are provided to members of the Drake community. blueView also acts as a launching pad to the university's enterprise applications like Blackboard, Email, and blueSpace by means of single sign-on.

Brief   A "brief" is a written statement prepared by a lawyer and submitted to an appellate court before oral arguments. It contains a summary of the facts of the case, the pertinent laws, and an argument of how the law applies to the facts supporting counsel’s position. Generally, a lawyer will argue that the lower court judge made mistakes when ruling on objections, that those mistakes were prejudicial, and that the lawyer’s client should be given a new trial.

C. Edwin Moore   An optional oral argument competition. Performance partly affects the selection of Moot Court and/or Mock Trial teams.

CALI   Computer Assisted Legal Instruction, comprised of lessons with integrated online quizzes on numerous areas of law. You will be assigned CALI lessons for the Legal Research and Writing class.

Collateral Attack   Co-ed flag football tournament from which all proceeds benefit the Susan B. Coleman Breast Cancer Foundation.

Fall Ball   A celebration that occurs at the beginning of every October where students can unwind, wear pretty clothes, get awards and dance to a band.

Finals Beard   A beard one grows around the time of semester finals. This is done for a number of reasons, generally because student attention on grades at this time far exceeds concern with appearance.

First Year Orals   Oral arguments that accompany the brief required in Legal Writing. The first year orals follow the same format as the C. Edwin Moore arguments, except these are mandatory, which is why it is extraordinarily helpful to participate in C. Edwin Moore to get a feel for the process without the grade attached.

First Year Trial Practicum (FYTP)   Drake is the only American law school where all first-year classes shift to a campus courtroom for a week, enabling students to view an actual state or federal trial as if in an educational laboratory. The trial practicum dissects every phase of a trial, from jury selection to jury verdict, incorporating small group discussions, lectures, practice panels and debriefings with attorneys, judge and jurors. The FYTP occurs in the spring.

Folders   Refers to the folders in the student mailbox area in between Cartwright and Opperman.

Malpractice Bowl   An annual fundraiser organized by the Drake Law Women where Drake Law competes in two flag football games, one for women and one for men, against Des Moines University (DMU), a medical school.

OCI   On Campus Interviews. Happens during your 2L year when law firms come to campus during a period at the beginning of the fall semester to interview students for summer positions.  Hint: There is a full-length mirror in the bathroom in the basement of the library to make sure you are looking your best before OCIs.

Sloans   Legal Research and Writing research exercises.

Socratic Method   A question and answer method employed by many professors as a way to explore cases in class.

Sodexho   The organization that holds a contract with Drake to serve all food and beverages. If you are ordering food for an event on campus, you go through them.

Sundial   The huge sculpture outside of the law school.

Supreme Court Day   An annual week-long celebration that focuses on Drake’s long relationship with the courts of Iowa through a writing competition, advocacy competition and ending with an awards ceremony.

Teplys   Legal Research and Writing citation exercises.

TWEN   This stands for The West Education Network. It is a course management system many professors use to provide access to course readings, the syllabus, assignments and more.

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