Public Access to CRS Reports – Finally.

Authoritative overviews of policy and legislative issues, written by the experts at the Congressional Research Service, are now available online to the public! See

For now, the site includes a limited set of reports: 1) The R-series of “active” reports that were published since early 2018 and 2) the “Appropriations Status Table,” which includes updates on legislative activity related to the appropriations process.

In the future, the Library of Congress plans to have a “full inventory” of reports, with a complete migration “targeted for completion by spring 2019.” See, archived at

UCI community members have access to a large archive of CRS reports in ProQuest Congressional at .

The public site is great news, because these non-partisan reports are fantastic starting points for researchers, and because policy experts, librarians, and other researchers have been pushing for access for years. See my earlier posts: “Public Access to CRS Reports” from July 2012, and “Public Access to CRS Reports (2015 update)” from October 2015.

Are you interested in even more background on making these reports public? Check out this July 2018 critique by several experts who developed a site that had put over 14,000 CRS reports online:

Our website cost under $20,000 to build and maintain with full functionality and fewer than 100 hours of programming time; the Library’s CRS website will cost $1.5 million, have limited functionality, suffer from significant design limitations, and not be completed for more than a year after the law was enacted and six months after the statutory deadline for completion.

Audio @ the Law Library

headphones graphicAre you tired of your current podcast selections? Looking for new legal stuff to listen to at the gym or during your commute? The UCI Law Library collection includes a couple of options that you can try out.

  • Courtroom View Network. CVN has audio case files. Yes, you can listen to somebody read the text of opinions that are covered in your law school classes.
    • Audio files are downloadable as .mp3 files.
  • West Academic Study Aids – Audio Lectures. West Academic Study Aids has audio lectures in the Law School Legends and Sum and Substance Audio series. Readers of the Law School Legends series include law professors like the founding dean of UCI Law, Erwin Chemerinsky.
    • Audio files are played directly in the browser.

To register for and use these systems:

  1. Start on the UCI Law network – either by using the Law VPN on your own device, or by using one of the public computers in the law library.
  2. Create an account online.
  3. Log in on your laptop or mobile device with your account information. (Once you have an account, you don’t need to be on the UCI Law network anymore.)

Supreme Court Insight – New

Looking for briefs that aren’t on SCOTUSblog? We’ve got you covered.

ProQuest’s new Supreme Court Insight will eventually have scanned records and briefs from 1975 – current. Right now, they have cases starting with 2004; they’re adding earlier years throughout 2017.

Check out a sample “Landmark case”: Roper v. Simmons, 543 US 551 (2005)

Screenshot – ProQuest Supreme Court Insight

Note: this subscription is restricted to the UCI community.

Stream Movies & Documentaries

Stream award-winning documentaries, foreign films, and theatrical-release movies on Kanopy (with UCI VPN).

Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video service for universities that provides access to more than 26,000 films. The range of content will inspire anyone, whether you are looking to relax, learn, or relax and learn. Categories include Gender StudiesCriminal Justice, and Environmental Sciences.

This librarian recently found herself with extra time, and was enlightened by watching a 2013 documentary on Anita Hill called Anita: Speaking Truth to Power (77 mins). Later, this librarian also watched a cheesy romantic comedy. The name of which shall remain a secret!

Stream content through Kanopy and enjoy your summer!

Oxford University Press Online

logo-footer-oupExact print-replica versions of Oxford University Press Scholarship Online monographs are rolling out this month. Print-replica PDFs for all UPSO law titles should be available by the end of March, 2016.

This development has been implemented primarily to ensure that UPSO titles conform to the requirements of the Bluebook citation rules in the United States, but also benefits those of our users worldwide, whether they be students, scholars or practitioners, where the issue of citing a print work is also important.1

The UCI Law community has access to a wide selection of Oxford titles covering law and related subjects. If you’re on the UCI network, see .


Public Access to CRS Reports (2015 update)

The publicly funded reports you can’t read” is a recent piece over at Politico that provides a bit of background on some recent legislation that would make these wonderful reports available to the public.

The last time I noted the ongoing push to open up CRS reports, in 2012, I highlighted two points that are still true today:

Cover – CRS Report R41664

1) CRS reports are outstanding sources. These reports are:

  • usually fairly brief (under 30 pages);
  • written in plain English;
  • meticulously researched; and
  • heavily footnoted.

If you are looking into a federal legislative history question or a public-policy issue that is of interest to Congress, you would be remiss if you didn’t check for a CRS Report. If you don’t find a  report, noting that absence in your research log makes you look like you know what you’re doing, research-wise. And if you do find one, it’s guaranteed to clarify your issues and lead you to other sources.

UCI community members can search for CRS Reports in ProQuest Congressional.

2) Most CRS reports are not freely available. ProQuest Congressional does indeed include a comprehensive set of non-classified CRS reports, starting with 1916. But this access is subscription-based—you’re out of luck if you’re not a member of the UCI community. Various legislative efforts over the years have tried to change that. So if you’ve found CRS reports valuable in the past, and if you’d support making them more widely available, this is a great time to contact your representative and let him or her know. – give it a try! (by Oct. 31)

search facets - - including date, legislative source, party, gender
Search facets from

Let the UCI Libraries know what you think of, a system that lets you efficiently search government news and other information from a variety of sources, including social media.

What this means for researchers is that you can search for something like “Benghazi Hearing,” and then narrow by legislative chamber, date, political party, and even gender. Search results seem to indicate that Republicans are saying a lot more about this issue than Democrats. (Does your favorite free Google-Bing-iPedia search do this well? Mine doesn’t.) From their “About”:

  • Find official U.S. Federal Government documents, legislation, releases and social media updates from all three branches of the U.S. Federal Government, offices, officials and elected representatives
  • Data includes official news, media and information including press releases, transcripts, fact sheets, newsletters, bulletins, speeches, statements, Legislation, Congressional Documents, the Regulatory Documents and much more
  • See what U.S. Federal Government offices, officials and elected representatives say on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
  • Side-by-side comparison of government documents based on a wide range of selectable groups
  • Content is both archival and near real-time, current news
  • Search suggestions based on content trends and popular queries
  • Drill-down to easily investigate topics, people or issues.

Send any feedback to Dan Tsang, The UC Irvine trial runs through October 31, 2015.

Tax Notes Updates

taxNotes2015Now you can set up a password to read TaxNotes publications on their spiffy new site.

To sign up:

  1. Make sure you’re on the UCI Law network (either on a desktop at the Law School, or logged into the VPN.)
  2. Click “SIGN IN” in the blue menu bar area towards the top left.
  3. Follow the steps to register.

You must be within the law library’s IP range for the initial sign up. But after signing up, you can use your ID and password to access anywhere.

The sign up process only takes a minute, and you can select specific tax topics of interest. There’s a short video for sign-up help at (skip ahead to around the 30 second mark to skip the intro.)

A new look for ProQuest

Snapshot of an updated ProQuest screen.

Journal editors: take note again! Starting on August 20, another popular resource for scanned PDF sources is changing for the better. Several ProQuest systems will get a refreshed look, including:

(Sadly, no update yet for ProQuest Digital Microfilm. This is the handiest campus resource for full-page scans of some of the biggest US papers: Barron’s, LA Times, NY Times, WSJ, and Washington Post, starting in 2008.)