Course Archive Information

by Martin Mack

As previously reported, the new UConn Law website is being continuously updated. One of the major concerns of the new website is functionality, as the large, unmanageable size of the previous website made it impossible to navigate without using Google or other third-party search engines and targeted search terms.

Course pages contributed to the previous website’s bulk. The old website had a system in place to import data from PeopleSoft, creating a new page for each course offering each semester. Although the pages added to the unsustainable bulk, they did allow students to view historical course data.  From this data, students could then determine patterns for course offerings and generate a rough three-year course plan based on that information. Though these individual pages are no longer part of the current website, students can still access all of that data directly from the PeopleSoft database using the Dynamic Class Search.

Originally buried in the main campus’ website, the tool has been added to the UConn Law Student Portal. From the Student Portal, navigate to the “Academic Life” tab (labeled 1 above), and then click on “Public Access Catalog Search” (labeled 2 above).

To use the database above, follow the link and then simply check the box “Law School” in the middle of the page, “Law 7000-7999” to the right, then select a semester on the top left (as indicated above). To use the tool to see a complete list of historical course offerings, uncheck the “Open Classes Only” toggle. Once you click “search” you will see the courses offered, the enrollment limits and totals, how many sections were offered, and the professor. Additional information on the course, such as exams or upper-class writing qualifications, may be accessed by clicking the “Class Nbr” in the left hand column. Though the tool does not provide other information, such as grade distributions, it is but one of many tools students can use to plan their three years at UConn Law.

If you have any suggestions for the Web Development Team, email them at: webfeedback@law.uconn.edu.

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Perma.cc to Cure Link Rot

by Martin Mack

In September, the New York Times reported the findings of a study conducted by Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law and computer science and vice dean for library and information service at Harvard Law School. The study found that 49% of all URLs cited by the Supreme Court are no longer active links. As the United States relies on the common law tradition, where ideas and laws are cited to support an underlying legal argument, and further, more and more people are relying on the Internet as the source of this information, dead links, or “link-rot” as it has been termed, is a serious problem facing practitioners and academics alike.

Professor Zittrain (photo by Andrew Feinberg)

Professor Zittrain
(photo by Andrew Feinberg)

Professor Zittrain’s work did not end with his study’s assessment. With the help of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and many other institutions, Zittrain and his colleagues are working on a solution. Their solution is Perma.cc, currently still in beta. Perma allows libraries, academic journals, and other institutions to create permanent links (or permalinks) that can provide a permanent citation to a source. If the original source of the material goes down because the institution no longer exists, moves archived content behind a paywall, changes the underlying server structure, updates content on a dynamic page, or for any other reason moves the content from where it once was, permalinks can be created to provide a reader with the original content.

An Example
The linked New York Times article above can also be located at the following address: http://perma.cc/0uR3Ls6NqwJ. Though the original link provided may not be available in the not-too-distant future, the Perma link should be there for years to come. Though it is possible that this service could itself fail and lead to dead links, the likelihood at this point is fairly low given its institutional backing.

Link Rot at UConn Law
UConn Law has four legal journals: The Connecticut Law Review (“CLR”), The Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal (“CPILJ”), The Connecticut Journal of International Law (“CJIL”), and The Connecticut Insurance Law Journal (“CILJ”). Looking through each journal’s most recently issues, dead links can be found in each volume, often multiple times throughout multiple articles. Below are but one example from each publication:

CLR: Nicholas J. Johnson, Firearms Policy and the Black Community: An Assessment of the Modern Orthodoxy, 45 Conn. L. Rev. 1491, n.22 (2013).

CPILJ: Sunil Bhave, Warrantless Cell Phone Searches in the Age of Flash Mobs, 12 Conn. Pub. Int. L.J. 263, n.30 (2013).

CJIL: Aleksandar Marsavelski, The Crime of Terrorism and the Right of Revolution in International Law, 28 Conn. J. Int’l L. 243, n.201 (2013).

CILJ: Jay M. Feinman, The Enforceability of Releases in Property Insurance Claims, 19 Conn. Ins. L.J. 251, n.2 (2013).

Going Forward
At this point it is unclear how many journals, either at UConn Law or nationally, will transition to Perma, or a similar service. At UConn Law, CPILJ has already created a Perma account, and after consultation with Library staff, intends to begin incorporating permalinks in one or both of its upcoming issues.

Any other journal that wishes to enroll in Perma can go to its website and create an account using an official school email address. For more information go to About Perma. Though still in beta, the service currently provides fully functional permalinks for academic use.

Staying Healthy During Finals

by Erin O’Dea

Soon upon us is a season so exclusive to law students that friends and family know better than to consider inclusion in their weekend trips or happy hour plans: exam time. As daunting and stressful as it may be, students should consciously improve or maintain their health, the physical and mental benefits of which will help students do better than opting for that late night Chipotle session.

Administrative manager for the Dean’s Office, Claudia Hallas, is a marathon runner, yoga instructor, and offers some wellness advice to aid students during the upcoming finals season.

Claudia Hallas Administrative Manager (via law.uconn.edu)

First of all, Hallas said one problem lies in the above generalization: late nights. Sleep! Getting enough sleep is crucial to helping retain all of the information you spent the whole day studying and leaves you refreshed and ready for the next day. While most students’ mentality and stressors force them to believe that their time is better spent studying than sleeping, remember it is quality over quantity when it comes to study time, and your sleep schedule should not be put on the back burner during finals season. Even when a good night’s rest is not enough to get you through a long study session, Hallas recommends catnaps as a great way to refuel.

Second, make time for yourself. Exercising for an hour a day during finals season can have multiple benefits, ranging from keeping your brain fit to boosting the confidence you need to succeed. Don’t belong to a gym? Multiple gyms in the area offer a week to two-week free trial passes, so you should be out of excuses to not exercise during finals.

“It will help you get grounded fast. It is a much better feeling than going to happy hour.”

Third, if you are overwhelmed with stress, take a study break. The most productive use of your time when you are not studying, exercising, or sleeping is battling those stressors. The best ways to come to terms with and overcome finals stress are practicing yoga and/or meditating. New to both practices? Ask about yoga sessions at the new gym you are trying for free or canvas West Hartford for a yoga studio. Hallas encourages students to take the free Wednesday night yoga class provided by the school, which is taught by her daughter.

For Hallas, “yoga is the tool she needs to let go and not hang onto stuff,” a mentality that would be extremely beneficial to students during finals season.

If you are full of excuses this finals season, choose not to take this guidance, and end up with an ulcer, teenage pimples, and a nice gut grown in time to see your friends and family for the holidays, you will probably refuse to practice yoga. In that case, meditate. UConn Law’s own Professor Calloway published a book with many meditation practices – it is available on reserve in the library. Taking 10 minutes to read about one will make a huge difference in the quality of your day.

Fourth, eat healthily! Fruits and vegetables are your friends. Instead of power housing a huge, fat filled burrito to keep you satiated through an afternoon in the library, pack healthy snacks to keep your brain fit for studying. Also, for every cup of coffee you down, match it by drinking an entire water bottle afterwards.

Hallas would recommend “minimizing caffeine and sugar intake and get an energy burst from something that feeds your soul. The short burst of sugar and caffeine doesn’t take you through the day efficiently.” The benefits of staying healthy and hydrated while studying will help battle your fatigue, motivation, and information retention.

Finally, relax. Staying healthy mentally and physically will be a huge part of your exam success. Respect the opportunity you have to be learning about the law in a higher education system, instead of getting caught up in the competitive nature of the law school environment. Quoting Nelson Mandela, Hallas reminds students, “it always seems impossible until done.”

Restaurant Ipsa Loquitor: Monte Alban

By Adriene L. Harwill, Pro Se Restaurant Critic

montealban

Bright orange, yellow, and green walls?  Mexican food down the street from the Mark Twain House?  Mariachi music?  I can imagine Harriet Beecher Stowe’s emotional distress as she stands up and shouts “Outrageous!”  Luckily today, the standards of civilized dining render the food at Monte Alban, 531 Farmington Ave., utterly tolerable in this civilized society.

While I waited for the meal to arrive, I sipped on Aqua de Jamaica, a refreshing hibiscus tea and took in the atmosphere. Pictures of the Mexican countryside hang on the colorful textured walls, accented with hand painted tiles. I loved how the lanterns and terra cotta tiling that formed arched doorways made me feel like I was in a hacienda’s courtyard. There was an inviting patio with a fountain but sadly they’ve closed it for the winter. I made a mental note to come back in the spring.

Served on plates that matched the walls, the gorditas were to die for: juicy chicken stained red with spicy peppers and tomato stuffed in a fluffy cornbread pita. I had to force myself to stop eating them to try the tamales, steamed in soft corn husks. Hot and earthy, they were the perfect comfort food. The tostada looked delicious: curvaceous slices of vividly green avocado surrounding a mound of sour cream covering pico de gallo, shredded chicken, and beans.

Monte Alban’s Chimichanga, a deep fried burrito, suffers a design defect. They should be crisp and crunchy but Monte Alban’s was soggy, soaking in a salsa that lacked dimension. In Monte Alban’s defense, the state of the art in this part of the country is to drench burritos in salsa. I prefer picking up a burrito in my hands like they do in Southern California. Nevertheless, served with a corncake, rice, and beans, it is a generous portion. My favorite entrée was the Al Pastor Burrito made with dry rubbed spiced pork, a good change of pace from the typical shredded chicken and ground beef that dominates Monte Alban’s menu. I recommend Monte Alban. Its location makes it the perfect place for lunch. Not only will you get good food but you will support a local business near the Law School.

If there is a restaurant that you would like Adriene to review, please contact Pro Se.

Diary of a 2L

by Sarah Ricciardi

10 Exam Tips that I wish I knew as a 1L

  1. First of all, take some of the pressure off yourself. There are about four students in every class that are law school rock stars. If you’re not one of the four, you’re going to get at least one B during your time at UConn Law. Don’t fight the inevitable.
  2. Take practice exams under test conditions. Three hours seems like a long time, but, let’s be honest, it’s only a little over three episodes of “The Good Wife” – not long at all!
  3. Do not rely on other students’ outlines. Outlines from previous years definitely have value, but taking the time to organize and distill your own notes is what separates the B+’s from the A-‘s.
  4. Room 524 in the library is magical. If you study there, you will get an A. Trust me.
  5. Do not leave your “take home” exam for last. There is no worse feeling in the world than the realization that everyone else is starting their winter break and you still have to spend 8 hours with Professor Pandya’s Torts exam. (By the way, it takes the entire 8 hours. Plan your meals accordingly.)
  6. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. Just because the library is open until midnight every night does not mean that you have to take advantage of UConn Law’s gracious hospitality. You learn nothing after 10pm.
  7. Check out the CALI questions on TWEN. Instead of playing Candy Crush, practice Civ Pro questions. Just do it.
  8. A steady exam diet of Dr. Pepper and Red Vines will guarantee success . . . and diabetes.
  9. Exam4 software is terrifying for everyone. Your computer is not going to suddenly combust during your Crim final . . . probably.
  10. Save the binders that you use doing your exams. If you get an A in any class, use the corresponding binder for all of your future law school exams. The power of good luck charms cannot be ignored.