Habeas Corpus Cried the Porpoise

One fine day in May at the Zief Law Library, a quite singular event took place. One might even call it unthinkable. To get right to it: a porpoise (and curiously enough, a harbor porpoise) slithered its way into the library; it quickly and brashly slid under the gate. But that’s not the most extraordinary thing about the whole affair; it shouted, “Habeas Corpus!” Of all the creatures to shout “Habeas Corpus”, it had to be a porpoise with a purpose. What are the odds?

At the circulation desk stood Randall drinking coffee from an L.L Bean coffee mug, Troy who was actually sitting not standing, Maddy wearing a cast on her arm, Steffi frowning a little bit, and Yuni waving her arms. In their offices, busily toiling away with their research was John, Tim, and Mike. Suzanne and Shannon were in their offices in the back. The porpoise interrupted the circ. staff debating the merits of a good toast rack; the sides were split on the benefits of this breakfast table necessity when the porpoise barged in.

“Habeas Corpus!” cried the porpoise.
Continue reading “Habeas Corpus Cried the Porpoise”

Helpful New Library Materials and Resources

This spring the library purchased some useful and much needed items to make the Zief Law Library an even more pleasant and useful studying space.

One of the more appealing items are “Happy Lights,” tabletop lamps with alternative lighting to help with mood, focus, and energy. These are located at the Zief Circulation Desk and can be checked out for in-library use; there are nine of them for your convenience.

An image of the "Happy Light" lamp.
A “Happy Light” lamp, available at the Zief Circulation Desk.

Practicing for oral arguments or a presentation? Zief now has four new tabletop lecterns, allowing you to keep your documents at the ready. These are available for checkout at the Zief Circulation Desk.

Photograph of a rectangular, mahogany lecturn.
New lecterns, available at the Zief Circulation Desk.

Another purchase to help with study-comport is thirty-five replacement task chairs to replace the worn-out/failing chairs. This will make study-time more comfortable and practical.

Three standing desks were purchased per student request. One is located on each floor to accommodate your needs. Also purchased were four podiums for presentations and oral arguments: these are located at the circulation desk for check-out.

We added fifty power-strips to study carrels, giving you easy access to outlets for all of your electronics.

We also added privacy screens for the main floor open computers and the four dual-monitor carrels; these are intended to help those working on sensitive or confidential matters and to keep information private. (Please note, we did not install them on the classroom computers).

We hope these new additions will make Zief a better study space. Good luck on finals everyone!!

Welcoming Zief’s New Research Librarian

Zief Law Library is pleased to introduce you to its newest team member, Tim Sanzi. Tim joined us as a Research Librarian and Assistant Professor of Law. He earned his JD from Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island in 2023, where he was the recipient of a Presidential Scholarship and received recognition for providing pro bono legal services. Tim demonstrated an interest in the library profession as an undergraduate and during law school, and completed an archival internship at Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland.

Throughout law school, Tim gained legal experience in a variety of positions, including: intern at the U.S. Air Force, Judge Advocate General’s Corps Joint Base Andrews, Maryland; Rule 9 Student Attorney for the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General; Rhode Island Sea Grant Law Fellow with the Marine Affairs Institute; and judicial intern for the Honorable Brian P. Stern, Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Superior Court.

In his free time, Tim is an avid longboard surfer, road race runner, and hiker.

We’re excited to have Tim join our team of research librarians! Please stop by to say hello next time you’re in the library – you’ll find him in Z103.



Navigating the Library Catalog

library card cataloglibrary card catalog

As research and writing assignment deadlines inch closer, you may be interested in exploring the print and digital materials the library offers. This week, learn to locate and request resources from the Zief Law Library collection or request an InterLibrary Loan (ILL) to borrow materials from other libraries! This post is meant to help you get familiar with the catalog. This is not a supplement to research advice from Zief librarians.

Getting Started

First, sign into the Ignacio catalog using your USF student ID and password. Access to the catalog is available on the Zief Law Library’ and the Gleeson Library homepages.


Ignacio Catalog homepage

If you’re not quite sure what you are looking for but have a general sense of the topic you’re interested in, a keyword search can get you started. Select “Keyword” in the left drop-down menu and type in the keywords that describe your topic. For example, searching “Criminal Procedure” will result in a list of digital and print materials related to criminal procedure. Scroll through the results and take note of the materials that catch your attention. You can also search by title, author, subject, or call number by making the appropriate selection in the drop-down menu.

Note: If you see a work you would like to borrow listed under “Gleeson Stacks,” don’t panic! As a student at the University of San Francisco School of Law, you are allowed to access to Gleeson Library’s collection.

Advanced Search

If you aren’t finding what you are looking for or have a specific book in mind, try Advanced Search! Select “Advanced Search” underneath the search bar.

Use the left-hand drop-down menus to search specific fields, such as keyword, author, title, etc. Then, review the “Search Tips” link underneath the search bars. This page will explain how to format your search for more precise results.

List of search tips from the site

Search and Sort

Choose to sort your results by relevance, date, or title.


You can narrow your search by selecting their location within the library, including, “Law Open Reserve,” “Law Course Reserve,” etc.

Material type

Choose ANY if you do not have a preference, or choose from the list provided, including, E-book, Streaming Video, E-journal, Printed Material, Videos, Archival & MS, etc.

Looking for a digital course text or study guide?

You can find study aids and some required texts on Aspen Learning Library and Lexis Digital Library, located under “Featured Databases” on Zief’s A to Z list of databases. Sign in with your USF ID and password to begin searching!


The drop-down menu offers English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Latin, Russian, or Hebrew. If you don’t see material in a language you need, contact a librarian!

Publisher and Publishing Date

If you know the publisher or publishing date you are looking for, enter the text in the appropriate search bars at the bottom of the page.

Completing Your Search

In the age of information overload in the digital landscape, it’s unclear if “completing” a search is even possible. Remind yourself what you set out to initially accomplish with your search and start by reviewing one resource. If you’re unsure or feeling stuck, please reach out to a research librarian or your professor. They are here to help you!



Law Library Hours: Spring Semester

Welcome back, everyone! The Zief Law Library team hopes you had a wonderful and restful winter break. The library resumes regular services on Monday, January 9th and will have the following hours:

  • Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 11:00 pm;
  • Friday: 8:00am – 8:00pm;
  • Saturday: 9:00am – 8:00pm;
  • Sunday: 10:00am – 11:00pm.

Zief Research and Reference services:

  • Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm.

Have a great semester!

Law Library Hours: Winter Break – Happy Holidays!

Way to go everybody! Congratulations on all of your hard work and accomplishments! Now it is time to enjoy friends and family. The Zief Law Library wishes all a relaxing and cheerful holiday season. Even though we are sure you love the Zief Law Library, we know time away will restore your energy for the new semester.

Please note that the law library will have the following adjusted hours for Holiday Break:

  • Friday-Monday, December 22, 2023-January 1, 2024: Closed;
  • Tuesday-Friday, January 2-5: 8:00am – 6:00pm;
  • Saturday-Sunday, January 6-7: 10:00am – 6:00pm

See you then!

Color illustration of two people sitting, with a speech bubble that says, "I'm glad finals are over." Another person is nearby with a speech bubble that says, "Time to relax!"
Illustration by Troy Cook


Noise Reminders from Zief Law Library

Final Exam Season is upon us and with that comes plenty of preparation, stress, and excitement. We’re in the home stretch. The Zief Law Library is here to help and support you through it all and we have a variety of study spaces to meet your needs.

Silent Areas:

We know that sometimes you really need to buckle down and focus on your work and the slightest noises really throw you off your game. We’ve designated Club ’59, a large silent study room on the upper-floor, just for you.

Just look for this sign:

Library sign stating, "This is a Silent study area." It has an open blue book with the words "Focused", "Silent", and "Unplugged".
You’ll see this poster in areas designated as a Silent study area.

Quiet Areas:

If silent study isn’t your thing, please choose a different area to study so your quieter classmates can get things done. There are other areas of the library that are still quiet but where your classmates won’t be bothered by the occasional clickety-clack of your keyboard or whispered exam tips from your study buddy.   These spaces can be found on the library’s upper floor.

Just look for this sign:

Library sign stating, "This is a Quiet study area." It has an open yellow book with the words "Respectful", "Few Distractions", "Getting Stuff Done", and "In Your Own World".
You’ll see this poster in areas designated as a Quiet study area.

Conversation Areas:

We understand that sometimes you want to work in groups or you just need a break from all of the quiet awesomeness that is happening in other areas of the library to catch up with your friends.  These spaces can be found on both the main and lower floors of the library.

If you see this sign, you know you’re in the right place:

Library sign stating, "This is a conversation study area." It has an open red book with the words "Teaming Up", "Brainstorming", "Planning", "Troubleshooting", and "Discussions".
You’ll see this poster in areas designated as a conversation study area.


The bottom line is that there is a place for everyone here at Zief.  We invite you to find a great study spot that fits your needs.

Voting Form: Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest

USF School of Law, many thanks to those who submitted to the Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest! It’s now time to determine first, second, and third-place costumes…

STEP 1: Visit the Zief Pets wall located on the first floor of the Zief Law Library to view this year’s talented pet contestants.

STEP 2: Fill out the Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest VOTING SURVEY.

Winners will be announced on Monday, December 11th, 2023. For community members still hoping to win, it’s not too late to fill out the Zief Pets Winter Costume Contest Submission Form! Visit the original ZiefBrief blog post, “Zief Pets Presents Winter-Themed Costume Contest!” for more information on the contest.

The image shows promotional material for Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest voting. The image imcludes a QR Code and a bitly link to access the voting Google Form.
Promotional material for Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest voting.

Law Library Hours: Thanksgiving

Hi all!

Please note that the law library will have the following adjusted hours for Thanksgiving 2023:

Wednesday, Nov. 23: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (Research Help until 12:00 pm)
Thursday / Friday, Nov. 24-25: CLOSED
Saturday / Sunday, Nov. 26-27: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

For a full calendar view of our current and upcoming hours, visit our Law Library Hours of Operations website. We hope you all have a safe and restful holiday!

See you then!

Zief Pets Presents: Winter-Themed Costume Contest!

Calling all pets! Celebrate the Winter season with Zief Law Library’s Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest! Submit pictures of your pets in their Winter-themed costumes or festive attire for your chance to win a special prize. Law school community members will vote on their favorite pets and prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place. Outfits can include themes such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Boxing Day, Lunar New Year, winter season, and more!

All submissions will be featured on the Zief Pets Wall in the Zief Law Library. To participate, please fill out the Google Form by Sunday, December 3rd, 2023, using the QR code on the image below or visit https://bit.ly/3SrYE30. Winners will be announced on Monday, December 11th, 2023. 

The image shows a promotional graphic for the Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest. The graphic shows a cartoon penguin and a cartoon polar bear. The penguin's speech bubble says, "Zief Pets Presents: Winter Costume Contest," with the Zief Law Library Logo. The text on the image reads: "Submit photographs of your pets wearing winter or holiday-themed outfits. All submissions will be featured on the Zief Pets Wall in the Zief Law Library. Prizes will be awarded to First, Second, and Third Place. To participate, fill out the Google Form using the QR Code or visit https://bit.ly/3SrYE30." The cartoon polar bear's speech bubble reads: "Submit by Sunday, December 3rd, 2023. Vote until Sunday, December 10th, 2023. Winners announced Monday, December 11th, 2023."
Promotional graphic for the Zief Pets Winter Costume Contest.