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LAW 9106 - Music and Copyright Seminar: Research Organization Tools

This guide is intended to serve as a resource for students in Professor Fishman's Music and Copyright Seminar.

Citation management software (or bibliographic management software) allows you to create your own personal library of references to books, articles and documents. References can include citation information (author, title, publisher, etc.) as well as annotations, graphics, and even copies of the documents themselves.

The software works with Microsoft Word and other word processors to automatically add references to your paper and format your bibliography in the proper style (MLA, APA, Chicago Style, etc.).

Learn more about the following citation management software packages:

Note: For a nice comparison of the pros and cons of each of these citation management tools see:

Research Journal

Legal research is iterative and non-linear and tracking your research is an important part of the legal research process. Keep a research journal, log, or record of your work. Include the following in your journal:

  • a statement of the issue
  • the results of our preliminary research in secondary sources
  • research tools you consulted
  • information about key numbers, cases, periodicals, texts, and the like
  • searches and search terms run in electronic databases
  • descriptions of updating tasks
  • your opinions, analysis, and evaluation of the sources you consulted
  • exact quotations with all the information needed to provide full and complete citations

Utilize Folders

As part of a cost-effective research strategy, we also recommend making use of the folders on Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg. If you are working in an environment where there are charges associated with viewing or downloading documents, saving them to a folder can save you from being charged a second time if you need to view them again in the future. But saving documents to a folder is also an good way to keep track of your work. Make use of the highlight and annotation tools to take note of why you are saving the documents.

Note Taking, Organizing, Task Management Resources

Since many research tasks will involve using multiple databases and websites, another useful tool you have access to are several different note taking, organizing, task management programs. The following resources are free to Vanderbilt law students so long as you register using your vanderbilt.edu email address.

Evernote & PowerNotes

Since many research tasks will involve using multiple databases and websites, another useful tool you have access to is Evernote or PowerNotes. With Evernote or PowerNotes, you can gather information from any online resource. You highlight the relevant text, add any wanted annotations and Evernote and PowerNotes will save the content to an online research project, similar to a folder on Westlaw or Lexis.  But with Evernote and PowerNotes, you can save content from any website or subscription databases such as Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, HeinOnline, etc. in one place.

As you are adding sources to your research project in Evernote and PowerNotes, an outline will be built for you as you go. As you are working, you can easily restructure your arguments by dragging and dropping sources to move them around within the outline.

When you are ready to start writing, you can download your outline from PowerNotes to Microsoft Word. The download from PowerNotes to Microsoft Word will also include the links to all your sources so you will not forget where the information came from and you have all your citations saved in one place.

Notion

Write, plan, collaborate, and get organized. Notion is all you need — in one tool. With Notion, all your work is in one place. Four tools in one. No more getting lost in tabs. 1) Notes & Docs replaces Google Docs and Evernote, 2) Knowledge Base replaces Confluence and GitHub Wiki, 3) Tasks & Projects replaces Trello, Asana, and Jira, and 4) Spreadsheets & Databases replaces Google Sheets and Airtable.