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Legal Research

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Directories, and Handbooks  General Law Resources
[databases and websites]
Case Law
National Reporter System US/Federal websites Federal Courts websites
US State Legal websites Indiana Legal Websites Shepardizing (print) (online)
Legal Abbreviations Legal Periodicals/Articles Other Resources in 
the ISU Library
General Law Databases & Websites Access to Materials beyond 
the ISU Library
How to Cite online/internet 
Legal Resources 
General Internet Directories Crime, Law & Justice Websites Famous Trials

Legal research can be broken down into three basic areas: 1) You wish to research a legal subject; 2) you have a case citation and want to find the case summary ; 3) you have the case summary but now you want to shepardize it; i.e., find out what other cases have cited this case. In each research area, you may find yourself using a combination of both print and online resources, and you may find yourself in the Reference collection, regular collection and Government Documents collection. Legal research is still difficult and time-consuming, even though electronic access has greatly improved the ease with which you can become involved in the process. The materials here are geared specifically for the user of the Indiana State University Library; if you use other libraries, you may find different combinations of print and online resources. If you need assistance, please visit the Information Desk [1st floor] and/or use the comments/questions link above.

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Directories, and Handbooks

Westlaw Campus American Jurisprudence, 2nd. A comprehensive encyclopedia of state and federal law [Am Jur]
Westlaw Campus American Law Reports In-depth articles that summarize and analyze court decisions on a particular legal issue [ALR]
Ref KF 156 .W6X Words & Phrases A comprehensive legal dictionary giving "definitions of words and phrases by the state and federal courts kept to date by cumulative annual pocket parts."
Info Desk KF156 .B53 2000 Black's Law Dictionary
    Online law dictionaries include:
        Duhaime's Law Dictionary  
        International Law Dictionary's Dictionary
        The 'Lectric Law Library's Legal Lexicon's Lyceum


All West publications, Reporters, Digests, etc. are accessible via the Westlaw Campus database. Some print sets & series will be withdrawn. If you are looking for a West publication under a call number listed here, and you cannot find, it has probably been withdrawn; check LUIS Online Catalog or inquire at the Information Desk for verification.


AMERICAN DIGEST SYSTEM [accessible via Westlaw Campus, some print volumes will be withdrawn soon. If your text has a title with the word "Digest" in it, it should be accessible online from Westlaw Campus]: Covers every reported case--federal, state, and local--from 1897 to date; provides summaries.

Information about the print series: Contains summaries of cases arranged in volumes by topic. Serves as an index to all West reporters. Older sets in general collection at KF 141 [year]; e.g., KF 141 1897, entitled, American Digest. ...Decennial Edition...: A Complete Digest...From 1897 to 1906..(25 volumes; v.1-4 missing); also Second Decennial Edition.(1906 to 1916,24 v.); Third Decennial Edition (1916 to 1926, 29v.); Fourth Decennial Digest (1926 to 1936, 34v.); Fifth Decennial Digest (1936-1946, 52v.); Sixth Decennial Digest (1946-1956, 36v.); Seventh Decennial Digest (1956-1966, 38v.); Eighth Decennial Digest (1966-1976, 50v.); Ninth Decennial Digest (1976-1981, 36v.) -- Ninth Decennial Digest (Part 2, 1981-1986, 48 v.); Tenth Decennial Digest (Part 1, 1986-1991) and In Reference, same call number: Tenth Decennial Digest (Part 2: 1991-1996).  Before cumulated into the Decennial Digests, cumulations of more recent cases are found in the individual Digests, divided by the level of court, e.g., Supreme Court, Federal Court, Circuit Courts, etc.
Other titles include:
Reference KF 141 1976 West's General Digest... Library retains latest series only. Superseded by the next Decennial Digest.

Reference K .W538 West's Indiana Digest, 1817 to date. 30v. A digest of Indiana legal authorities, state and federal, from 1817 to date. Kept up-to-date by cumulative supplements. The key number system links Indiana authority to the legal authorities of the nation. Volumes 1-3 contain the Descriptive Word Index, and volumes 29-30 provide the Table of Cases and the Defendant-Plaintiff table.

Ref KF 4110.3 .W47 West's Education Law Digest.
Summarizes and indexes court decisions from West's Education Law Reporter.

Ref. LB 2514 .D47 2000 Deskbook Encyclopedia of American School Law. Presents court cases from across the country by Topic area; e.g., Accidents, Injuries and Deaths; Table of Cases; Table of Cases by State


Reports the opinions of the state appellate courts and the federal courts. It is made up of the following educational, regional and federal reporters. Some examples are:

North Eastern Reporter [includes Indiana]. 2d series  Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .N6 ser. 2. 
West's Education Law Reporter Westlaw Campus

Westlaw Campus and 
K .F3 
 Federal Reporter. 2d series.  Reports the decisions of the federal intermediate appellate courts. Connects with Federal Cases which publishes the decisions of the U.S. District Courts and the U.S. Circuit Court from 1880 to 1912, the Commerce Court of the U.S. from 1911 to 1913; the U.S. District Courts of the U.S. from 1880 to 1932 and since 1960, the United States Court of Appeals from its organization in 1891; the U.S. Court of Customs & Patent Appeals from 1929 (Patent cases only); and the U.S. Emergency Court of Appeals from 1943.

Regardless of whether the source you use is print or online, you will still have to cite it correctly, using the appropriate abbreviations. The most common are listed below.
Atlantic Reporter. Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .A7
Atlantic Reporter, 2d series. Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .A7 ser.2
Burns Indiana Statutes Annotated Ref KFI 3030 1971 .A4
Code of Federal Regulations Online at  and Ref K .C669
Corpus Juris Secundum  Westlaw Campus
California Reporter (West) Westlaw Campus and K .W5374
Federal Reporter (300 volumes) Westlaw Campus and K .F29
Federal Reporter, 2d series (830 volumes) Westlaw Campus and K .F3
Federal Reporter, 3d series (current series) Westlaw Campus and K .F
Federal Register Westlaw Campus, other online, and Gov Doc AE2/106:; microfilm in Microforms, 2d floor
Federal Rules Decisions K .F31
Federal Supplement K .F312
Indiana Supreme Court Reports Doc 14 SU 1.5:
Indiana Appellate Court Reports Doc 14 AP 1.1:
U.S. Supreme Court Reports Lawyers Edition KF 101 .U5842 (thru 1984 only)
North Eastern Reporter Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .N6
North Eastern Reporter, 2d series Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .N6 ser.2
North Western Reporter Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .N7
North Western Reporter, 2d series Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .N7 ser.2
New York Supplement Westlaw Campus and KFN 5045 .N3 
N.Y.S. 2d
New York Supplement, 2d series Westlaw Campus and KFN 5045 .N3 ser.2
Pacific Reporter Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .P2
Pacific Reporter, 2d series Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .P2 ser.2
Supreme Court Reporter (U.S.) Westlaw Campus and K .S957
South Eastern Reporter Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .S6
South Eastern Reporter, 2d series Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .S6 ser.2
Southern Reporter Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .S8
Southern Reporter, 2d series. Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .S8 ser.2
United States Statutes at Large. Westlaw Campus and , other online, and Gov Doc AE 2.111:; Doc S 7.9:(vol.)
South Western Reporter Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .S7
South Western Reporter, 2d series Westlaw Campus and KF 135 .S7 ser.2
U.S. Supreme Court Reports Westlaw Campus and Doc Ju 6.8:(vol.)
United States Code Annotated Westlaw Campus and, online at,  and Ref KF 62 1927

General Law Resources {Databases & Websites}

A Note about Databases: The databases are available from the campus network; on the Library's homepage, select Databases: Alphabetical ; remote access is available to the ISU community. To obtain remote access instructions, connect to ISU's Proxy Services page.

Westlaw Campus database: This database, and the Academic Universe/Legal Research link below, are your primary access points for all online legal research. See also Westlaw KeyCite below. Westlaw provides online access to all case Reporters [courts in all 50 states, D.C., and the federal courts since 1654]; laws from all 50 states and federal statusts published inthe US Code Annotated, and other legal resources. Access to secondary sources includes American Jurisprudence 2d, a comprehensive encyclopedia of state and federal law; American Law Reports, articles that summarize and analyze court decisions on a particular legal issue; hundreds of journals and law reviews from leading law schools. Key Numbering is included. You can search two different ways, either 'Natural Language', or via 'Terms and Connectors' [aka Keyword/Boolean]. Read the Help Screens. Email is currently not a feature of Westlaw Campus; however, you can use your web-based email (e.g., Portal's email, but not Pmail) in another Browser window, and use the Cut/Paste commands.

What journals and law reviews are included? If you want to verify a specific title, go directly to Select WestlawPRO and Westlaw Libraries. Then WestlawPRO Analytical Products, Forms & Libraries. Then Journals and Law Reviews. Then Journals and Law Reviews by Title.

Westlaw Campus' Keysearch is a BIG topic guide, like Yahoo. Select a category, then further sub-categories, then run your search to get very specific listings.

Academic Universe database--  Legal Research
Search full text federal, state & international legal materials; categories include
  • Legal News (articles from legal newspapers, magazines & newsletters)
  • Law Reviews
  • Case Law: Get a Case (federal & state legal cases), Federal Case Law (decisions from all federal court levels), State Case Law, (state high court & appellate decisions), Area of Law by Topic (cases on a variety of topics)
  • Codes & Regulations:
  • Federal Code (Federal Code, U.S. Constitution & court rules);
  • Federal Regulations (Federal regulations, agency opinions & US; Attorney General Opinions);
  • State Codes (statutory laws, court rules from all states & Attorneys General opinions from all states);
  • EU Law (CELEX) (European Union law);

  • Tax Law (the IRS Bulletin, tax regulations & more )
Legal Research Meta-Index --This site provides searchable indexes of: judicial opinions; legislation; other legal sources; people in the law; and a wide variety of web crawlers, spiders and the like.

WWW Virtual Library -- Law --This site provides links to numerous and varied sites including: law schools; law firms; legal topics; law codes (international, federal, state); case law and law journals.

FindLaw -- Internet Legal Resources; looks like Yahoo

Law Engine:

Laws Online (bills itself as the premiere listing of World Wide Web sites dealing with all aspects of law:

Internet Legal Research Compass:

Internet Law Library:

US Federal Legal Websites

Thomas -- Current Congressional session information (digests and full-text), Congressional Record, Public Laws [93rd Congress to present]; Bill summaries [93rd to present]; Bill text [101-present].
Older access via LOCIS [Library of Congress Information Systems] telnet:// -- includes access points to Federal legislation (1981-1998) and to Congressional sessions (1973-1998).

U.S. CODE ANNOTATED -- Westlaw Campus, and  and U.S. CODE -- GovernmentDocuments U.S. Y 1.2/5:

Laws are first issued as individual documents, called slip laws [Documents U.S. AE 2.110:]. These individual slip laws are later bound chronologically into the Statutes at Large [Documents U.S. AE 2.111:], which include a very basic subject index for each volume. Public laws enacted from the 104th Congress onwards will be found at  In addition, public laws from 1973 - 1996 are available at All current laws are also arranged by subject into titles and republished in the U.S. Code . [look for Popular Name Table in Index]

Internet Law Library
[replaces the US House of Representatives Internet Law Library, which was discontinued 5/28/99]

Federal Courts Websites

Federal Courts Home Page:
Federal Courts/Circuit Courts:
Federal Court Locator:
US Supreme Court: includes links to 1937-75 Decisions via FedWorld
US State Legal Websites

State Law: (searchable by state or by keyword)
State Court Locator:
State & Local Government on the Net:
Westlaw Campus' searcy by All State Cases contains documents dated after 1944 from the state or
 local courts of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  For a complete listing of the sources, click on the green I [Information] icon next to each search set. It does not  include documents from Territorial courts.  A document is a case (a decision  or order) decided by the courts. State Jurisdications allows you to select an individual state to search, as does State Administrative Codes and State Statutes.
Indiana Legal Websites

Current session information -- (digests and full-text) via Indiana Access
Indiana Legal Information -- Indiana code, constitution, courts]

Westlaw Campus' State Jurisdictions allows you to select Indiana, as does the State Administrative Codes and State Statutes.

State Constitution: you can locate the annotated version of this via Westlaw Campus' State Constitutions link.

West's Annotated Indiana Code -- Westlaw Campus -- Similar to the U.S. Code; Annotated; divided into titles (e.g., Title 22, Article 8 is Occupational Health and Safety Laws); each volume updated by pocket parts (inside back cover); cumulative index volumes. The Indiana Code can be found at [PDF files].

Indiana Administrative Code-- Reference KFI 3035 1984 .A28 -- Indiana's equivalent of the Code of Federal Regulations; also divided into titles (e.g., Title 610 is Labor; Title 620 is Occupational Safety Standards Commission); cumulative index volumes. See also [WordPerfect 8 files]

Supreme Court of Indiana see also Judicial Opinions; including Archives;

In the ISU Library

Other Library-based Resources  Index to Legal Periodicals [& Books] (index to law literature), 1926-present -- Reference KF 8 .I5x [includes tables of cases]; caution: headings are very broad; materials may be available in the Library's collections: access LUIS Online Catalog: Author/Title/Subject Search   --> Journal Title search; may be available via ProQuest (LUIS will indicate), or via Academic Universe databases (will have to access Academic Universe's sections listed above and check the Sources links) or via Westlaw Campus
LUIS Online Catalog
or from the Library homepage
How to use LUIS
Library materials devoted to Legal Research, Criminology, etc. are available throughout the Library. Use Subject and/or Keyword searching to discover our local holdings. Library of Congress categories, generally:

    J=Political Science
    H=Social Sciences, where you will 
        f ind Criminology covered



Legal Journals & Law Reviews

Print: Do a LUIS Journal Title search for specific titles. In some cases you will also be linked directly to an online, full-text subscription. ISU holdings will be indicated as current issue, bound volumes, microfilm, etc.

Academic Universe/Legal Research: Select either Legal News or Law Reviews. You can access the Source Listing under each category to see what specific titles are covered. All results will be full-text.

Westlaw Campus:   To search the journal literature, select the Journals and Law Reviews category under Encyclopedias. You can choose to search by a specific state, or by All journal holdings. All results will be full-text.

What journals and law reviews are included? If you want to verify a specific title, go directly to Select WestlawPRO and Westlaw Libraries. Then WestlawPRO Analytical Products, Forms & Libraries. Then Journals and Law Reviews. Then Journals and Law Reviews by Title.

ProQuest indexes and provides full-text coverage of a number of legal titles. You can do a publication search for a specific title [most should be linked from LUIS] via Search Methods --> Publication.. You can also do a general search; e.g., enter the word 'law', and a complete listing of publications with the word 'law' anywhere in the title will appear. PQ will indicate if full-text or indexed only [129 titles as of 8/01].



Citators help researchers to evaluate cases and statutes -- giving their latest status -- and help locate authorities.

Shepard’s Citations titles include:

Shepard’s Regional Citators -- citator for each regional reporter; cases only. Indiana is included in the Northeastern at Reference KF 135 .N62 S5 1995

How To Do It [Print]
Start with a case, like  United States V. Hudspeth, 384 F.2nd 683

this is your cited case

      1. Go to the appropriate Shepard’s set (this case requires the use of Shepard’s Federal Citations).
      2. Find the volume that covers F.2n 201-390, i.e., the 1969 volume which contains 384 F.2nd.
      3. Open your volume. Volume numbers are indicated on tops of pages and in columns.
      4. When you find the page(s) where 384 is listed, look down the columns for the number 683. You may nor may not find listings for your specific case. If you don’t, proceed to the next volume on the shelf and start over. When you find your listing it will look like this:
411 F2nd3904

and so on

These are your citing cases

5. Write down all the citations you find, volume after volume. As you approach the present, be sure to check all paper supplements as well.
Citing cases will give one of the following: 1 parallel citation; in parentheses, any parallel citation to the cited case, including ciations from the ALR system
2 history of the case; letter abbreviations indicate what happened to the case on appeal:
a affirmed on appeal
D dismissed on appeal
r reversed on appeal
see front pages of Shepard’s volumes for complete key to abbreviations 3 treatment of a case; what other cases have done with or written about the cited case:
c a case criticized the cited case
f a case followed the cited case
o a case overruled the cited case
q a case questioned the cited case
For other abbreviations, check the introductory pages of each volume. If there are no letter abbreviations, assume that the citing cases simply made reference to information relating to the original case.
Online Shepardizing with WestLaw Keycite and Academic Universe

Westlaw Keycite [online, in Library only]. Access via Databases/Alphabetical. Note information on screen:

This product is limited to the Library. To access West Law KeyCite Press KeyCite on the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. You may be asked to either install or skip the Attached Printing Plug In. Be sure to press the skip button. Once you have done that a login scrren will appear. Input the following: 

Customer ID=2766521HRJC


On the next screen, find and click on KeyCite. KeyCite for cases covers all cases on Westlaw, including unpublished opinions and selected administrative decisions. In order to use KeyCite, you already have to have the case citation. KeyCite provides the following information:

When you enter a citation, you may get confusing results. Look to the left side of the screen and you should see the KC History, which would be your citation listing. Click the icon next to the GO button to expand the History side of the screen. It looks as though you could click on the number of the citation and go directly to the case; however, because the ISU Library does not subscribe to this feature of KeyCite, all you can do is write or

You can print or email your results. You can set your print or email parameters. Email choices include send as attached Word document or send as email text. Once you select your Print/Email option, the results should automatically be taken care of.

When you are in KeyCite, you can also switch to other  parts of Westlaw [we don't subscribe to the entire package... too expensive!] such as KeySearch, a topical index to the law. If you click Welcome, you will reach the opening page of Westlaw Campus, and from there you can get to all parts of Westlaw that ISU currently subscribes to. If you try to use a non-subscription component, you will receive a message [.... cannot be processed because use of this database is not authorized under your subscription agreement.]  If you are using Westlaw Campus, you will not be able to reach KeyCite from there, and vice versa. Return to Databases/Alphabetical. Remember, you CANNOT shepardize from Westlaw Campus, only from Westlaw Keycite.

Academic Universe/Legal Research: You can Shepardize U.S. Supreme Court cases only.

Access to Materials Beyond ISU Library

The ISU Library will not always have the materials you need. The sooner you begin your research, the sooner you will discover what materials, if any, you need to get from somewhere else. You have several options:

Online Catalogs Within Indiana: Use the Other Libraries links explore other Indiana college libraries. Your Sycamore ID allows you check-out privileges at these universities, if you choose to go in person. Return materials to the ISU Library Interlibrary Loan Office and we will return them for you (be sure to do this well in advance of the other library’s due date)

Normally, you will probably just identify the items and then turn in with complete information to Interlibrary Loan (below).

ISU Interlibrary Loan: Electronic Interlibrary Loan is available online

Average turnaround time is 7-10 working days, so plan accordingly. Some limits to the number of requests per person per week do apply; for more information, inquire in the Interlibrary Loan office (open 8-4:30, Monday - Friday). Pick up materials at the Check-out Desk.

FirstSearch (OCLC) and Ingenta: Both of these electronic databases let you search for journal articles from a large selection of journals. FirstSearch searches articles in 12,500 periodicals allows you to email your interlibrary loan request directly to the ISU Interlibrary Loan Office. UnCover allows you to search 17,000 periodical titles, and then email the citations to yourself. Check LUIS for local holdings. Use ISU's Electronic Interlibrary Loan forms to request materials.

How to Cite online/internet Legal Resources

Please link to Introduction to Basic Legal Citation (2000-2001 ed.) by Peter W. Martin (Cornell Law School), based on the Seventeenth Edition of the "Bluebook."

See also Legal Research and Citation Style in USA by Ronald B. Standler, a Massachusetts attorney.

Academic Universe makes the following suggestions:

Supreme Court Cases: MLA lists the case title, U.S. Reports citation, page numbers, docket number, name of the court, year of decision, Internet address, and date of accessing the site
Fullilove v. Klutznick. 448 U.S. 448. 448-554. No. 78-1007. US Supreme Court. 1980. Online.  LEXIS-NEXIS® Academic Universe. (5 August 1999).

APA lists the case title, U.S. Reports citation, year of decision, and Internet address.

Fullilove v. Klutznick, 448 U.S. 448 (1980) [Online] Available:

U.S. Code: MLA lists the title number, statute book of the U.S. Code, section, year, publication medium, name of computer service, and date of access.
42 US Code.  Sec. 405.  1998.  Online. LEXIS-NEXIS® Academic Universe.   5 August 1999.

Internet Directories

Subject Browsers

Many of the subject browsers on the web side of the internet make links to crime, law and justice resources. They include:

Lycos -- Law & Lawyers:
Lycos -- Government:
WWW Virtual Library:
Librarian's Index to the Internet:

Selected Crime, Law, and Justice Websites

Legal Online[links to court and legal sites]:
UN Crime and Justice Information Network and Links to Related Sites:
US Department of Justice and PAVNET link:
Bureau of Justice Statistics:
National Archive of Criminal Justice Data:
FBI and Links to Uniform Crime Report, Yearly Crime Statistics, and Law Enforcement Bulletin:
Police Resource List:
Criminal Justice Links (from Florida State University):
Law Index:
Guide to Multinational & International Legal Sources
Law News Network:

Online Guides
Library Instruction
Indiana State University Library

Sites checked August 29th, 2001

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