Indiana State University Library

Cunningham Memorial Library | Your Campus Living Room




TOPIC search

[Quick search or Keysearch]  

Search examples [natural & keyword]

CASE or CODE  search [Quick search or Case search]  

ARTICLE search [Quick search]  

Additional Tips [includes printing & emailing instructions]

Additional Legal Guides


NOTE: Citators or Shepardizing: Use Westlaw Keycite database [1-user license; in-library use only]

ACCESSING THE DATABASE: Westlaw Campus has a 5-user limit for simultaneous users. It is accessible campus-wide. Off-campus ISU users can use the database once they have configured their home computer's proxies to authenticate their ISU status . The database is listed under Alphabetical Databases and under Subject Databases/Law. The link opens up a 'contract'. Scroll to the bottom and click on I Agree to continue.

CASE SEARCH: Start here if you already if you know the citation (e.g., 98 S.CT 2733) or the title (e.g., Roe v. Wade) 

QUICK/TOPIC SEARCH: Start with this three-step section if you have a general legal topic, wish to use natural language or keyword Boolean search structures, and know what kind of cases you are looking for


            Step 1: select Natural Language [default] or Terms and Connectors [i.e., keyword Boolean]. Optional: set you date limitations.

  Natural Language examples

To retrieve federal cases on whether burning the flag is constitutionally protected free speech, type is flag burning constitutionally protected free speech and select All Federal Cases as your database.

To retrieve federal statutes on unfair consumer debt collection practices, type unfair consumer debt collection practices and select United States Code Annotated as your database.

Terms and Connectors examples: you can simply use the standard Boolean connectors AND and OR, or you can use them in combination with other special grammatical and numerical connectors to really focus/narrow your search!

Use quotation marks to search by specific phrases.

Exclude terms by using %  Documents not containing the term or terms following the but not symbol: laminectomy % to(413)

To retrieve federal cases on the liability of gun manufacturers to cities or counties for damages arising from death or injuries caused by handguns, type city munic! county /s gun handgun firearm weapon /s manufac! /p liab! and select All Federal Cases as your database.

To retrieve regulations in which the words nuclear, waste and disposal appear in the same sentence, type nuclear /s waste /s dispos! and select Code of Federal Regulations as your database.

/p  Search terms in the same paragraph: hearsay /p utterance

/s  Search terms in the same sentence: design*** /s defect!

+s  The first term preceding the second within the same sentence: palsgraf +s island

/n  Search terms within n terms of each other (where n is a number): person** /3 jurisdiction

+n  The first search term preceding the second by n terms (where n is a number): 20 +5 1080

              Step 2: enter your search

            Step 3: Select from the list of Cases and/or Legislative Materials [you can only choose one at a time, so you may have to repeat this step several times during your research].

KEYSEARCH: This is designed like an Internet directory such as Yahoo. You can search thru specific categories to find cases and secondary sources, or Keysearch will help you select terms relating to your issue and create a search for you. It is powered by the West Key Number System that identifies relevant key numbers and their underlying concepts and creates a Terms and Connectors query for you. Once you have determined your search terms you can then choose the type of item [case law, review, etc.] as in the list above.

ARTICLE SEARCH: Choose your method of searching and enter your terms, as above. Under the Encyclopedias section, select Journals and Law Reviews, then select either All Journals and Law Reviews or a specific state.

SEARCH RESULTS: Your search drops you directly into the first document. For a listing of all of your results, click the Cite List [bottom of screen]. Click Term to move within the document directly to where your search terms(s) appear. 


Research Trail [top of page] = your search history; click on this to see a list of your searches and click to re-activate a previous search.

Printing & Emailing: Print button is at bottom of the screen. This will also lead you to Email option. Select Destination = Download if you want to Print or Save. Click Send Request button [bottom of screen], and follow directions on next screen. Most cases are very long! Be sure you do a Print Preview. Also, this is a frame-based search. When you do a Print Preview in Internet Explorer, the default is As laid out on screen. If you do not change this, you will only get 1 page!. Change to Only the selected frame and watch for the total number of pages on the top grey toolbar.

Can't I find this stuff elsewhere on the Internet? Yes and No. You can find the case law and much of the code, but it will be scattered and you would need to know where to look. You will not find the full-text journal articles, American Law Reports or American Jurisprudence 2d  anywhere else online. Westlaw also enhances your results by providing the hyperlinks to the cases, code, Westlaw Key Number system, etc. links within each result, and the Keysearch is a unique tool. 

SIGN-OUT [top right hand] when finished.

WESTLAW's ONLINE ASSISTANCE:  while using Westlaw Campus: connect to the Help (FAQs) at the top of the page. Then choose from the screen, or choose the FAQ or PDF documentation link for a PDF Using Westlaw Campus guide.


Reference Questions

Library Instruction Questions

Other ISU Library Legal Research Guides

Citators: Finding the Cases that Cite the Cases /about/units/instruction/citlegal.html

Legal Abbreviations /about/units/instruction/legalabr.html

Legal Research /about/units/instruction/legal_research.htm

Tracing Legislation /about/units/instruction/legislat.html

Lexis-Nexis Academic database [has legal section]: guide at /about/units/instruction/lexisnexisacademicjan03.pdf; database link =

Sports Law /about/units/instruction/sportslaw.htm

Online Guides
Library Instruction


JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

510 N 6 1/2 Street, Terre Haute, IN 47809
Map | Parking | Visiting Info