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Public Librarian/Patron Question: If the ORS is indeed not “updated” how do we direct patrons to get “current” status?

Answer (thank you to our favorite law librarain contributor who for now must remain anonymous!): Remember that the Oregon Revised Statutes are updated whenever the Legislature meets in regular session. Special session legislation may not appear in the ORS volumes you have, but will be published in the Oregon Laws for the special session (e.g. the laws passed in April 2006, won’t show up in the 2005 ORS, but will appear other places). The most critical “update” is the constant interpretation of the law by the courts. There probably is no perfect system to make certain that the information you rely on is correct. The most reliable way is to use one (or more) of the citator systems maintained by legal publishers; Shepards by Lexis/Nexis and KeyCite by Thomson/West. Other publishers, like LoisLaw, VersusLaw, and Casemaker, also have citator systems. Without access to these, it is not possible to know that the statute you are using is still good law, nor is it possible to know how the courts have directed that the statute be interpreted. The best way to serve a patron looking for such information is to direct the patron to a law library that has access to one or more of the print or electronic citator systems. Law librarians can show the patrons how to use the print or online citators; they can’t explain to the patrons the case holdings that affect the statutes. Ultimately, the patron is best served by a referral to an attorney who can tell the patron the current state of the law.

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