Library Services During the December 2014 Exam Period

November 14, 2014

Extended Library Hours

Begin on Monday, November 17 and continue until Wednesday, December 17. During this time, the Law Library in Birge Carnegie will be open as follows:

  • Monday through Friday: 8:45 am until midnight
  • Saturday and Sunday: 10 am until 10 pm

The Robarts library offers 24 hour access Sunday night to Friday night. Details here: . Hours for all campus libraries can be found here:

The Library will close at 5 pm on Thursday, December 18 and Friday, December 19. 

Winter Holiday Closure

The Library will be closed for the Winter Holiday beginning Saturday, December 20 through Sunday, January 4. We will return to our regular hours on Monday, January 5.

Library Security

 It is important to remember that the law school buildings, including the Library at Birge Carnegie, are open to the public. As such, please keep your valuables with you or ask a friend to watch them if you need to leave your study area even for a minute. Thefts have occurred in campus libraries and the weeks leading up to exams sometimes see a spike of activity across campus. Please report any incidents to the Campus Police at 416-978-2222.

Research Help

As deadlines for papers approach remember that the librarians are available to advise you on research strategy, databases and citation style. Please feel free to contact or drop in to see John Bolan, Susan Barker, or Sooin Kim. The reference desk is staffed from 10:00 – 4:00 from Monday to Friday.

Study Rooms

 The UofT Library has a list of bookable and non-bookable study rooms available at libraries across campus:

Exam Preparation – Past Exams

The past five years of exams are available on exam database. You will need to enter your password and follow the instructions on screen to access the exam database.


All of the major subject treatises are available at the Short Term Loan desk on the lower floor of Birge. For help in identifying a major treatise for your subject please talk to one of the librarians or consult our guides at: .

Electronic Books

 Students have access to e-books from a variety of sources

 WestlawNext and Quicklaw/LexisNexis.

 Both these databases provide access to current Canadian commentary on a variety of topics from the leading Canadian publishers inlcuding many that are listed in our research guides. You can locate this commentary via the library’s list of electronic treatises and loose-leaf services. Login with your Quicklaw or WestlawNext password, as appropriate, to access these texts.  

Cambridge and Oxford Books Online

Many of the current texts published by the Cambridge and Oxford University Presses are online in e-book format and available through the library catalogue. Search by title in the library catalogue if you know the title you are looking for or check the following lists to see if what is available electronically. Cambridge Books Online or Oxford Scholarship Online

Irwin Law Books

 The Library has eBook access to the current titles from Irwin’s Essentials of Canadian Law. For each Irwin Law book we have a license that allows three people to access the book online at the same time. This is in addition to the print copies of each book in Short Term Loan.

To use an eBook version of an Irwin law book:

  • look up the title in the library catalogue
  • e-books are identified with [electronic resource] after the title in the catalogue record
  • Click on the Irwin Law link
  • If you are off-campus you will be prompted to enter your UTORid and password.

Computers and Printing

 Computers are in the Library for student use. The Library will continue to offer wireless printing at the student rate of 10 cents per page on the printer next to the main floor reading room (single sided printing is 15 cents/page). To set up your laptop for wireless printing please follow the instructions found here:

Wireless printing is also available at other libraries on campus (using a different printing system from the one at Bora Laskin). Please visit for instructions.

Google Scholar and Academic Research

November 14, 2014

What is the relationship between the library and Google Scholar?

Google identifies the resources but the library at U of T makes them available.

Google Scholar is a great resource for identifying academic and scholarly resources in a wide range of electronic collections.  It may seem seamless to link to those resources through Google Scholar but did you know that the library is in fact the resource that makes this linkage possible?  We are fortunate at U of T to have the extensive array of digital resources that that the library has purchased for our use.  The library has registered with Google to make those resources available to you through my.access, directly from the Google Scholar link.  To make sure that Google Scholar recognizes you as a U of T user go to,5 and register.

Is everything on Google Scholar?

It seems like everything is findable when you do a search and then receive an overwhelming number of results but in reality this is not the case.

Of course you will not find anything that is in print only and it is important to remember that print publications are still an important source of information. As an example, only a portion of the Supreme Court Law Review, one of Canada’s leading law journals is online.

You will not find links to material exclusively available on a propriety database like QuickLaw/LexisNexis or WestlawNext. According to Google, “[s]horter articles, such as book reviews, news sections, editorials, announcements and letters, may or may not be included. Untitled documents and documents without authors are usually not included.”

In addition you will find that Google has a low indexing of some institutional repositories generally because of incompatibilities with the metadata tagging used.[1]

What is findable, is almost everything on the Internet that was born digital or has been digitized and made available online.

Google Scholar locates “…journal and conference papers, theses and dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, abstracts, technical reports and other scholarly literature from all broad areas of research.” Unfortunately its indexing is not selective and consequently predatory (or junk science) journals are likely to be included in the search results.[2] While this may be less of a problem with legal publishing it is, nevertheless, very important to verify the authority of the journals and authors being located.

Is using Google Scholar the most efficient approach to research?

That depends: for multidisciplinary research Google Scholar might be a good tool to use.

To be most efficient, especially when researching an unfamiliar topic Google Scholar reiterates the need to use conventional research tactics like consulting secondary resources to find the appropriate vocabulary or terminology with which to begin your search.

The advanced search gives you the options of searching for “all terms” or specific phrases and of excluding specific words anywhere within either the title or the article. You can also search by specific authors or journals and within specific date ranges. You cannot search by subject. Once search results are returned they can be sorted by date generally as well as be limited by a specific date or date range. There is no way to extract a particular material type like a book chapter or scholarly journal from the results.   These are the only options for refining a search. The alternative is to redo the search using additional or different search terms.

One really useful feature of Google Scholar is that you can link to the articles that cite the one that you are interested in as well as locate similar articles through the related articles link. In addition, citations are available in APA, MLA and Chicago style and can be exported to BibTeX, EndNote, RefMan or  RefWorks.

If, for example you were looking for information on the impact of war on the human rights of women in international law since the year 2000…

A search for “armed conflict” war and women’s human rights yielded 17,400 results sorted by relevance and frequency of citation.  There is no option searching for “armed conflict or war,” so both terms need to be searched. Adding international law to the search yields 100 additional resources bringing the total up to 17500.

Compare this with a similar search in Summon (“armed conflict” or war and women’s human rights) which searches the full text of all resources available through the University of Toronto.  This search reveals 2,440 results and can be further refined by selecting various facets from the menu including or excluding specific terms from a vocabulary list. Limiting the search to include international law provides a quite manageable list of 244 scholarly works.

This comparison shows while Google Scholar will locate many materials, its search mechanism is still not complex enough to do precision searching.   The best approach to using Google Scholar is to locate a specific article or the works of a specific author and then use the Related Articles link to expand your search to find more materials on topic.

[1] Kenning Arlitsch and Patrick O’Brien “Invisible Institutional Repositories” Library Hi Tech Vol 30 issue 1 p 60-81

[2] Google Scholar is filled with junk science < >

Recent Tables of Contents – October 2014

November 5, 2014

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