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.

Tips and Advice for a Successful Law School Exam Period

Color illustration of a person rushing into another person, yelling, "MOVE IT! I'VE GOT FINALS!" The other person is falling and saying, "OOOMPH!"
Illustration by Troy Cook, 2023

With finals soon arriving, it is the perfect time to think about the strategies of a successful law school exam experience. By now, you may have figured out an effective study approach, but here are some additional tips in case there’s something new that could be helpful.

Create a schedule. It is helpful to create a finals study schedule, where you can factor in any additional time needed for reviewing concepts, and completing practice questions and exams. Perhaps create a game plan, or a day-by-day schedule for each class. Maybe you need to allot more for study time for your more challenging courses. But be sure to budget time for current assigned readings and assignments, so that you don’t fall behind.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Review your syllabus, class notes and highlighted sections of your casebook to create a ”hit-list” of topics to study. Flag the material that you find most difficult, so you can focus on any knowledge gaps. Then, you can prioritize topics you struggle with the most, over topics you’ve already mastered.

Team up with a great study group, partner, or study aid. Study groups can be a valuable learning tool. For some students, talking through material with classmates could help your understanding and retention of course materials. But if studying with classmates is not your thing, use the authors of the study guides as your friends and study partners. Additionally, try some study guides, available in print and as eBooks  through the library, such as as Glannon Guides, the Emanuel Crunch Time, and Questions & Answers. These can help you review material through flow charts and summaries; they also provide short-answer, multiple choice, and essay questions and answers, so you can test your knowledge.

Complete your outlines and then work on editing down and memorizing them. So much material is covered in law school that it can seem quite jumbled in your mind. The professors construct the exams to see how well you can link all of the concepts together; this shows that you can apply the skill of analyzing numerous concepts at the same time. Reviewing, editing down, and memorizing your outlines will help you recognize how all of the facets of the particular law class work together in building the overall meaning and understanding of the subject. Need help making an outline? Try one of the library’s Emanuel Outlines available online or in-print at the circulation desk.

Pay attention in class. One last piece of advice that seems to always work is to pay attention in class. Yes, this seems obvious, but paying attention in class will truly save you time because your class notes will make sense and save you from time spent having to learn new concepts and laws. Really focus on what the professor says in class; this will also give important hints about what is expected for the exam. Also participate in class; the discourse you have with the professor is great for the learning experience and professors love it. If you are nervous about talking in class, a good tactic is to go to class with a list of questions. These may be from the reading or questions that you had after evaluating the material from past classes.

Maybe if you follow these great tips, you will not end up like the poor chap below:


Illustration of person with raised fist, with a speech bubble stating, "AAARG FINALS." The person is looking down at books and a fallen chair nearby.
Illustration by Troy Cook, 2023

Zief Pets Presents: Halloween Costume Gallery!

Celebrate the spooky season with Zief Law Library as we introduce Zief Pets Presents: Halloween Costume Gallery! Whether a dog, cat, iguana, or even a pet rock, Zief Pets wants to see your pets’ best Halloween looks!

Submit pictures of your pets in their Halloween costumes or festive attire, and we will display them on the Zief Pets wall in Zief Law Library from Monday, October 30th to Monday, November 6th. To participate, please fill out the Google Form by October 30th, using the QR code on the image below or visit bit.ly/ZiefPetsHalloween23.

Advertisement flyer for Zief Pets with a cartoon cat and dog in ghost costumes.



Music and Studying: Epic (Beneficial) or Gnarly (Adverse)

A record turntable with vinyl album covers placed behind it.
Troy’s turntable

A contentious (gnarly) debate is whether listening to music while studying is a bad idea or if it can actually be quite helpful. In the WebMD article “Can music Help You Study” by Cheryl Whitten and Dan Brennan discuss pros and cons of listening to music while studying. Even USF law students have had discussions about music being beneficial or distracting while studying. The argument of what type of music should be used is even a more passionate argument; this debate can sometimes broach the subject of good or bad taste in the listener (jokingly and good-natured teasing, we hope).

Even though there is a 1990s study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine entitled “The Mozart Effect” stating that listening to classical music, specifically Mozart’s sonata for two pianos, improves spatial reasoning skills, problem solving, and test scores, it may just simply a matter of improving one’s mood during a stressful time. In the 2023 blog post “Music and Studying: It’s Complicated” Crystal Raypole states that music is helpful during finals because it can motivate; this probably has to do with the firing of neurons in the brain whether it’s slow music to relax or faster dynamic music to inspire. Raypole also discusses how listening to music while studying can be detrimental because students who listen to music with lyrics can become distracted. Even music without lyrics can hinder concentration.  Also, what about the idea that students who use music to help them memorize may need to create the same environment during the actual exam for it to work?

The best test to the music or no music debate is to find out for yourself. All students are different and study in a myriad of ways; music may help some and hinder others.  A good idea for finding out what works best for you is to experiment with different study music playlists on YouTube, Spotify, or your streaming service of choice. Do what’s best for you even if it’s only studying in the bathtub, wearing a wetsuit while listening to 1960s surf instrumentals.