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Resources for Law Journal Staff Members

A guide to resources for law journal staff members at UNC School of Law.

Finding Books

Search UNC Libraries

When searching for a book or other print resource, begin by searching the UNC Libraries catalog on the UNC Law Library homepage. You can search generally by keyword or choose a specific segment to search, such as title or author.

Be aware that the catalog searches all the libraries on campus, not just the Law Library. Pay attention to location codes to determine where a resource is located on campus. If a resource is located in the Law Library, note the call number AND the floor where the resource is located before going to look for it.

If a resource is located at another library on campus, you may request that it be delivered to the law library by selecting the request button near the title of the resource in the catalog. Follow the steps to log in to your Interlibrary Loan account to complete the request. When the book arrives at the Law Library, you will be notified by email and can pick it up at the Circulation Desk.

Search TRLN

If the resource is not available through the UNC Libraries catalog, the next step is to search for the resource at another library located in the Triangle. The Triangle Research Libraries Network can be searched online here, and it will allow you to search for the resource at UNC, Duke University, North Carolina Central University and North Carolina State University.

You can follow the same process of selecting the request button near the title of the resource you would like to have delivered to the UNC Law Library. Make sure to select UNC Chapel Hill - Law as your institutional affiliation, then follow the steps to log in to your Interlibrary Loan account to complete the request. When the book arrives at the Law Library, you will be notified by email and can pick it up at the Circulation Desk.

Request through Interlibrary Loan

If the resource is not available through the UNC Libraries catalog or TRLN, you will have to make an Interlibrary Loan request from another institution. For more information on that process, please see the Interlibrary Loan tab (nested under "Requesting Library Items") of this LibGuide.

Before making the request, you can attempt to look up the resource in WorldCat. This is a worldwide catalog that searches institutions all around the world. Searching for the resource can help you in two ways: (1) to identify further publication information which can help in making the ILL request and (2) to give you some idea of how many institutions have the resource you are trying to find (which may give you some idea of how easy it will be for the library to obtain a loan of the resource).

Finding Periodicals (Journals & Newspapers)

Law Journal Articles
  • HeinOnline: The Law Journal Library on HeinOnline contains scanned copies of most law reviews with coverage from the first issue to present.
  • Journal Website: The website for the journal may have the most recent issue and/or archived issues of a journal.
  • Law Library: The library may have print copies of the journal. Check the library catalog.
  • SSRN and bepress Legal Repository: These databases are good for locating pre-print versions of forthcoming articles.
  • Lexis+ & Westlaw: Remember that Lexis+ and Westlaw are only going to have HTML versions of articles. You can search for relevant articles on Lexis+ or Westlaw and then use the citation to easily find them on HeinOnline.
Other Journal Articles
  • UNC Libraries E-Journals Listing: The UNC Libraries has an extensive collection of journals with digital access, although coverage and PDF availability varies. Search this page by journal title, then view coverage dates and search the journal. You will need to authenticate with your Onyen and password to access the articles.
  • UNC Libraries Articles+ Search: You can also search an article title or author in Articles+ to search UNC Libraries extensive collection of digital journal articles. You will need to authenticate with your Onyen and password to access the articles.
  • UNC Libraries: Search the library catalog to see if UNC has copies of the journal available in print at one of the many libraries on campus.
  • Google Scholar: You can search this resource for all types of articles, published and unpublished. You may not be able to access all of your search results. Please consult the Reference Desk to see if we can help!
Newspaper Articles

FYI: You can't make an Interlibrary Loan request for newspaper articles. Please consult a librarian if you can't find the article after searching the above resources.

Remember: Consult Bluebook Rule 16.6(f) on Internet and Online Newspapers. If the author viewed the electronic version of the article, the print version may not be the same. The electronic version should be cited.

Finding Statutes and Legislative Materials

Statutes & Session Laws

Consult the Bluebook for the official publication of a jurisdiction's statutory code. For cite checking purposes, the goal is to obtain a copy of the official publication of the statute.

United States Code & Statutes at Large

  • HeinOnline: The current version and previous versions of the USC are available on Hein, as well as the US Statutes at Large.
  • Govinfo.gov: PDF versions of the USC from 1994 to present are available through the government printing office. The Statutes at Large are available from 1951 to present.
  • Law Library: The library has print copies of the USC and the Statutes at Large available on the Fourth Floor.

General Statutes of North Carolina (LexisNexis) & NC Session Laws

  • Law Library: The library has print copies of the General Statutes of North Carolina and Session Laws available on the Fourth Floor.

Historical State Statutes & Session Laws

  • HeinOnline: View the "State Statutes: A Historical Archive" for older versions of state codes and the "Session Laws Library" for nearly complete coverage of state session laws.
  • LLMC Digital: This database is good for many older state materials, including statutes and session laws.

Remember: The HTML versions of codes on Westlaw and Lexis are not appropriate sources for cite-checking and obtaining scanned copies of a state's code can be difficult. Please let a Reference Librarian know if we can help.

Legislative Materials

When gathering any of the materials that were produced during the process of a bill becoming a law, legislative sources should be consulted. Databases that contain legislative materials such as bills, hearings, and reports are listed below, but more information on conducting a Federal Legislative History or a North Carolina Legislative History can be found in the Law Library Research Guides dedicated to these topics. 

Federal

  • ProQuest Congressional: This is an excellent resource for federal legislative documents.
  • ProQuest Legislative History: This is an excellent resource for compiled legislative histories on federal laws.
  • Congress.gov: This database is freely available to the public and includes federal legislative documents.
  • HeinOnline: HeinOnline has some federal legislative materials, like the Congressional Record.

State

  • North Carolina General Assembly Site: The North Carolina General Assembly website is a great resource for recent NC legislative history.
  • Libraries: The Law Library has a limited collection of NC legislative history materials. The UNC School of Government Library has some additional NC legislative materials. The NC Legislative Library also has many valuable resources not available anywhere else.
  • Other State Legislature Websites: Just as the NC General Assembly website has state-specific legislative history materials, other state legislative websites will be a necessary resource for viewing state legislative history materials.

Finding Cases and Court Documents

Cases

Whenever you view a citation to a case, your first step is to identify the name of the case reporter from the abbreviated citation. Then you can begin the process of locating the reporter or PDF images of the reporter.

Online

  • Westlaw & Lexis+ have limited PDF options for case reporters. When viewing a case on either database, you can look for the PDF icon that indicates a scanned copy of the reporter is available for the case.
  • HeinOnline has PDF copies of the US Reports, English cases, and some other International legal materials.
  • LLMC Digital contains digital copies of old state reporters.
  • State court websites and administrative office of the courts websites may make state court opinions from state reporters available.

Print (Law Library)

  • Federal Reporters can be found on the Fourth Floor of the Law Library.
  • North Carolina Reporters can be found on the Fourth Floor of the Law Library.
  • Regional Reporters can be found on the First Floor of the Law Library.
Court Documents

Court documents such as briefs, motions, orders, and trial transcripts may be available online through a few different sources.

Online

  • Bloomberg Law: Law students are able to create an individual account to Bloomberg Law, which has an excellent docket searching platform. Use it to locate Federal court documents from the last 10-15 years. State coverage is incredibly varied. Please contact the Reference Desk if we can help you navigate this database.
  • NC Appellate Courts Filing Site: Court documents for NC Supreme Court and NC Court of Appeals cases from approximately the last ten years can be searched through this site.
  • Other State Court Filing Sites: Online availability varies by state. The National Center for State Courts provides background information and links to state electronic filing systems, which can be used as a tool for obtaining state records and briefs. Also check out individual state court websites to see what types of materials may be available electronically or in print.

Print (Law Library)

  • The Law Library has print and microfilm holdings of court records and briefs for cases from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. For additional information about these collections, please view the Court Records and Briefs Research Guide and contact a Reference Librarian for assistance.

Finding Poorly Cited Sources

When you have a citation that you can't identify or locate the cited source, you may need to get creative in how you figure out what is being cited.

  • If you have a quote above the line, you can search the quote in Google in whole or in part.
  • If you have a "bad" citation, you can search the citation in the Law Reviews and Journals database on Westlaw or Lexis+. Another article may have used a similar citation, but provided more context to help in identifying what the source actually is.
  • Other databases to search if you have a unique quote, a unique name, or a unique string of numbers are Google Books, Hathi Trust, Google Scholar, and UNC Libraries Articles+.

Remember: If it seems like you have been spending too long searching, you can always ask a Reference Librarian for help!