Research Support Services
Researcher Services Librarian
by Adam Siegel – April 1, 2020
The basic principle underlying the organization of any library is to describe the documents it contains so that they may be located. All libraries create sets of records which describe the documents in their collections. Catalogs are sets of records to documents that share a location. Indexes are sets of records to documents that share some other attribute (generally subject matter). Below are among the most comprehensive and significant indexing databases for legal literature and scholarship. Further guidance may be found at the Mabie Law Library.
Provides access to citations from major legal publications and many full text articles in PDF format. LegalTrac is updated daily with coverage starting from 1980. For articles published before 1980, use Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective which covers the period 1908-1981
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) is a multilingual index to articles and book reviews appearing in over 500 legal journals published worldwide. It provides in-depth coverage of public and private international law, comparative and foreign law, and the law of all jurisdictions other than the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering justice and drug-related information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide. Includes summaries of U.S. criminal justice publications, including Federal, State and local government reports, books, journal articles, and other research with links to some full text reports.
One of the largest web-based full-text databases for current news, business and legal information, supporting a broad range of interdisciplinary research, Nexis Uni (known until December 2017 as LexisNexis Academic) provides full-text access to nearly 6,000 individual titles. Includes a wide range of U.S. and foreign newspapers, plus transcripts of television and radio news programs. Business resources include business articles, accounting literature, company financial information. Legal resources include state and federal laws and regulations, a full range of case law, and law review articles.
A database of in-depth, authoritative reports on a full range of political and social-policy issues extending back to 1923. Each report is footnoted and includes an overview, background section, chronology, bibliography and debate-style pro-con feature, plus tools to study the evolution of the topic over time.
Comprehensive review articles and bibliographies, which examine the complex connections between law, culture, social structure. Its focus is on the social scientific studies of law and law-like systems of rules, institutions, processes, and behaviors.
The Government Printing Office provides free online access to official U.S. Federal government documents and information. GPO is the recognized authoritative source for government information and has authenticated the documents on govinfo. Search for official versions of government documents and publications, browse by title, collection, congressional committee, date, and download publications.
The hearings collection is included in Proquest Congressonal. The Digital Hearings Collections Part A (1824-1979) contains full-text, searchable, pdf versions of Congressional committee hearings, including both published and unpublished hearings.
The Readex/Newsbank U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-1980) has full text Congressional committee reports and documents originally published in the Serial Set from the 15th through the 96th Congresses, 1817-1980. Also includes the American State Papers (a retrospective collection of materials originating from 1789 through 1838 but published in the second quarter of the 19th century). The U.S. Congressional Serial Set is the bound, sequentially numbered set of volumes of all the Reports, Documents and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Many early agency reports were published originally in congressional editions. The Serial Set constitutes an incomparably rich collection of primary source material on all aspects of American history and government.
Regulations.gov is your source for information on the development of Federal regulations and other related documents issued by the U.S. government. Through this site, you can find, read, and comment on regulatory issues that are important to you.
Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for Members of Congress, legislative agencies, and the public. It is presented by the Library of Congress (LOC) using data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the Government Publishing Office, Congressional Budget Office, and the LOC’s Congressional Research Service.
A collection of annual reporting on the actions and opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court with clear, in-depth analysis of every decision made by the nation’s highest court since the 1989-1990 term and the justices who ruled on them.
Official site for California legislative information. Links to bill information and status, California law, and legislative publications.
This California Code of Regulations (CCR) site contains the text of the regulations that have been formally adopted by state agencies, reviewed and approved by the Office of Administrative Law, and filed with the Secretary of State. The CCR consists of 28 titles and contains the regulations of approximately 200 regulatory agencies.
Most people use the library for the following:
1. To find a book they already know they want;
2. To learn more about a topic they’re interested in;
3. To research a question they’ve already formulated.
To find a book you already know you want, use the library catalog.
To research a question you’ve already formulated, use the appropriate catalog or index. [hint: in the sciences, start with the appropriate subject index; in the humanities, start with the library catalog.]