Below please find the text of an email that was sent to YLS students regarding current awareness tools.
Today, I thought that I would let you know about a few tools that can help you keep current. These tools can help you keep current with the law in particular fields or scholarship in particular fields, by particular authors, or that appear in particular journals.
There are several methods that you can use to stay current with new events in particular areas of law. I expect that you are already familiar with Lexis' and Westlaw's saved searches (if not, contact a reference librarian or the Lexis or Westlaw representative for instruction). Those tools allow you to receive new results from searches that you have constructed. There are, however, better tools.
Two publishers have specialized in a form of legal publishing called "looseleafs". Looseleafs pull together all primary source material on a legal topic as well as analysis and current awareness information (the name hearkens back to their print past). Today, these publishes still produce these research tools and they are still very useful and they produce excellent current awareness tools.
Commerce Clearinghouse is one of these publishers. CCH has pulled many of their looseleafs together into one online platform that you can access from the Law Library Databases page (under the name CCH Online Networks). After a short registration process you will have access to information on a wide variety of legal topics. You can also sign up to receive "tracker" newsletters from CCH (either in your email of via your rss reader) on over 70 legal topics. Just click on the "tracker News" link in the upper left.
Another looseleaf publisher, the Bureau of National Affairs also produces material on a large number of legal topics and produces newsletters on over 100 legal topics. You can see a list of the newsletters here: http://www.law.yale.edu/library/research/bna-email.asp. These newsletters will come to you by email. If you are interested in receiving any BNA newsletters, please send an email with your name, your Yale email address, and the name(s) of the newsletters that you would like to receive to john dot nann at yale dot edu. Please note that it will take several days for your BNA subscription to become active.
There are several tools that you can use to track legal scholarship. I expect that you know about the "New Acquisition" lists that the law library publishes, http://www.law.yale.edu/library/acquisitions.asp, but did you know that you can find out, on a weekly basis, what new books we've recieved on any topic that you choose? To do that, set up a preferred search and have new results sent to you. To set up a preferred search, conduct a search in MORRIS (a subject search is a good one) and, on the results screen, click on the "Save as preferred search" button. Log in and follow the prompts and from then on, you'll receive notice of any new books that we receive that match your search. By the way, for broader coverage, you can also do the same at worldcat.org.
There are a couple of good tools for keeping up with legal periodical articles. Washington and Lee Law Library's Law Journal Content tool allows you to set up an rss feed for new journal tables of contents (http://lawlib.wlu.edu/CLJC/index.aspx) (there is actually a lot more that you can do with the content, you can see their information page for more: http://lawlib.wlu.edu/CLJC/explanation.aspx).
The Current Index to Legal Periodicals is another contents tool. CILP is available to you by a variety of means. First, it exists as a database on Westlaw (database identifier is CILP) and the usual Westlaw saved searches work on it. Second, you can sign up to get the tables of contents of selected journals and/or information about articles classified under selected subjects. To set up a CILP search, go to http://lib.law.washington.edu/cilp/scilp.html and set up a profile. First, however, you will need YLS's code. You can get that in the Library databases link on the Inside site (https://inside.law.yale.edu/Research/305/default.aspx - this should work if you sign in). And third, you can go to CILP and read it in html, Word or PDF at: http://cilp.nellco.org/cilp/index.cfm.
Also, some journal publishers provide table of content or other current awareness tools for their stable of titles (see Sage Journals Online for example) and other, non-law, indexes allow you to save searches. If you are interested in any of these, stop by and see a reference librarian or contact one of us and set up a meeting (http://www.law.yale.edu/library/reference.asp).
Also, don't forget that we can help with your other research issues. You can stop by or, for more complex probnlems, contact us and set up a meeting.
John B. Nann
Associate Librarian for Reference and Instructional Services,
Bibliographer for EU and UK Law, and Lecturer in Legal Research
Yale Law School
127 Wall Street
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
john dot nann at yale dot edu