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This guide is designed to help you start your legal and law library research.
Note that UC San Diego does not have a law school or a law library, but we do subscribe to a number of useful online legal resources.
Please feel free to email me if you get stuck, have additional research questions, would like to set up an appointment, or have other sources to include in the guide.
Search Tip: Roger is UC San Diego's Library catalog. Use it to find whether we own books, journals, films, maps, documents, etc. Will not return results for individual journal articles.
While the Library is closed and we have no access to our own print collection, UC San Diego users will have access to scanned copies of books owned by the University of California Libraries that were deposited in HathiTrust, The HathiTrust.org Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) has opened up copyrighted material in the HathiTrust digital library to member institutions with copies of those items in their physical collections. Millions of digitized books available through HathiTrust which are also in UC libraries’ collections are now available online to UC students, faculty, and staff. Use your UC credentials to login to the HathiTrust Digital Library, and then check-out in copyright books for online reading access for renewable one-hour loans. You can also still, as before, read and download public domain books at will.
Partnership of academic and research organizations offering a collection of millions of digitized materials from libraries around the world, include the UC San Diego Library. Full text is available for many but not all items - you can restrict your search to full text items.
Melvyl (WorldCat Discovery)
The MELVYL Catalog combines the holdings of all UC Library catalogs (it also includes WorldCat) and includes books, government documents, journals and select individual articles. Use the Request button to ask for books from another UC library. Items from these libraries arrive within 2-4 days.
Best Bets for Legal Research
Just learning about a topic? Start with secondary sources like books or law review articles. Law review articles are the scholarly journal of the legal world and often contain citations to relevant cases and legislation on the topic at hand. Reading law review articles on your research topic can save you a lot of time.
Nexis Uni (formerly LexisNexis Academic), WestlawNext, and HeinOnline contain the full text of law review articles. They also all have the full text of federal and state case law (court opinions) as well as other research tools including encyclopedias and other reference books.
For lower-level court transcripts, contact the original court for availability and ordering instructions. (Expect to pay a fee.) See newspapers/media coverage for additional information on cases that never made it to the appellate courts or beyond.
Full text access to federal and state court cases, laws and regulations; legal periodicals and encyclopedias; European Union legal documents; and legal guides and information for pre-law students. Reference works include American Law Reports; American Jurisprudence 2d; Black's Law Dictionary.
Thousands of full-text sources including newspapers, wires, transcripts, newsletters, magazines, trade journals; also industry news, company information, law reviews, court decisions. Reference titles include: American Jurisprudence 2d; Ballentine's Law Dictionary; Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations; A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage; Modern Dictionary for the Legal Profession; Martindale-Hubbell® Legal Professionals Listings; Martindale-Hubbell® Law School Directory
Full text of law reviews/legal periodicals plus primary sources such as the Code of Federal Regulations; Federal Register; Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS); Treaties and Agreements Library; United States Code; U.S. Attorney General Opinions; U.S. Congressional Documents; U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals; U.S. Federal Legislative History Library; U.S. Statutes at Large; World Constitutions Illustrated. Includes additional databases: National Survey of State Laws; Religion and the Law; Subject Compilations of State Laws; Women and the Law (Peggy); World Treaty Library
LLMC is a non-profit cooperative of libraries dedicated to preserving and making accessible legal titles and government documents. Includes the Statutes at Large and US federal, US state, and foreign legislative, executive, and judicial materials.
Includes full text of legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts.
Legal Research in a Nutshell links
This page provides links to websites discussed in Morris L. Cohen & Kent C. Olson, Legal Research in a Nutshell (West).
Wex is a free legal dictionary and encyclopedia sponsored and hosted by the Legal Information Institute (LII) based at the Cornell Law School. Wex entries are collaboratively created and edited by legal experts.
ProQuest - All Databases
Select and search across multiple databases we license from ProQuest. Most of these databases index--and in some cases provide full text access--of journals in all subject areas, along with indexing books, book chapters, dissertations and other sources. You can also add some non-journal databases to your search, like Dissertations & Theses and several major newspapers (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc). However, a few ProQuest products, such as Congressional, Statistical Abstracts of the World, and Statistical Insight, are not included here and must be searched separately.
EBSCO - All Databases
Select and search across multiple databases we license from EBSCO, including Academic Search Complete. These databases index journals and magazines--and in many cases provide full text access--in all subject areas in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and science and engineering. Additional sources like newspapers, books and book chapters are also indexed in some of these databases.