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George W. Hopper Law Library

College of Law

Finding Serials

Serials are materials that are published on a continuing basis such as court decisions, periodicals, American Law Reports (A.L.R.), statutes, digests, and citators.  Our library collection comprises primarily serial titles.

Which serials are in the law library?

     To locate a specific title, check the Law Library Catalog, WebHopper. The volumes and issues we own are listed when you select the title.  Once you have identified a title, it can be difficult to locate within the library. Some serial title records have a shelf location instead of a call number. These codes indicate the floor (M=Main, B=Basement and S=Second), the direction (E=East, W=West, S=South and N=North) and the range number where the item is located. The United States Reports location code, for example, is M-S-1. This means these reporters are on the Main floor, South side of the room, beginning on range 1.

  Our largest serial collection of law reviews and periodicals is shelved on the second floor.  It is arranged alphabetically by title.  Other large sets of serials, like reporters, digests, and statutes are shelved in the Reference area.  In all cases, the shelving units are labeled with the location codes found in the Law Library Catalog.

Serials indexes

 Many categories of serials have their own index. Legal encyclopedias, A.L.R.'s and state and federal statutes have index volumes at the end of their sets. Cases are indexed in digests. (See Case Law Research Guide for instructions on use.)

Electronic full-text sources

 Most library users prefer to search periodical literature through electronic resources. The full text of some articles in legal periodicals is included on Westlaw and Lexis Advance, and LexisNexis Academic. These databases allow author, title, and keyword searching. If you are affiliated with the university or are researching on campus, these resources are available from our library catalog. Select Databases, then select either LexisNexis Academic or Westlaw.

   HeinOnline, also available through the list of Databases on the Law Library website, has a full-text historical collection of hundreds of law review titles. Once in Hein Online, then select the link for Law Journal Library. This brings up a directory of the available titles. By clicking the Search button near the top of the screen, you can perform a subject search. Results can be printed or downloaded.

 Periodical article indexes

   We no longer maintain paper indexes for legal periodical literature, but LegalTrac is available through our Databases list. It is an eletronic index of law review articles, legal newspapers, and some law-related articles in popular magazines.

    For the most part, Legaltrac is not full-text. It directs users to articles within law reviews and periodicals. To locate the article itself, users must determine whether the library owns the title and identify the shelf locations or search them separately in HeinOnline. Selected articles on LegalTrac have links to Westlaw and Lexis for full-text retrieval. 

Unavailable items

 If an item is checked out or otherwise unavailable, talk with a reference librarian. We may be able to retrieve the item or borrow it for you through Interlibrary Loan.



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