This page provides background information and instructional videos on how to use secondary sources (books, treatises, and law review articles) as part of your legal research. The page is divided into four sections:
The LUC Library Catalog is where you'll find a record of every book, e-book, set of books, and journal (by title) in LUC libraries. The Library Catalog also provides access to many but not all titles that LUC provides access to via subscription databases.
If you are looking to see if Loyola has a particular book, the best way to search is to go to the advanced search screen, then choose 'Title' from the first-drop down box and enter the book title (or pertinent keywords). Make sure that you are searching under the "Books, Articles & more" to ensure that you search all LUC libraries.
If you would like more information on using the Library Catalog to locate secondary sources, watch this brief demonstrative video. The Catalog interface has changed slightly since this video was made, but the information is essentially the same.
Once you’ve located a print secondary source, using the library catalog, for example, it is important to know how to access the information contained within. Locating material in print resources is different than searching materials online for a couple reasons: first, because print resources are only updated periodically, it is necessary to ensure completeness by checking to make sure there is no additional related material in a pocket part or supplement. Second, it is not possible to do a full-text search in print. Instead, you are going to have to use a keyword index.
So, here is the basic three-step process for searching secondary sources in print, whether those sources be encyclopedias, books, or treatises.
More and more our access to secondary sources exists through commercial providers like Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg. So it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using secondary sources online. While it is certainly true that commercial providers offer access to many secondary sources that the libraries no longer maintain in print, one must remember that the documents retrieved from online secondary sources are among the most expensive available, so be wary of costs when accessing secondary sources through Lexis and Westlaw.
Also, when using secondary sources online, remember to take advantage of finding tools like keyword indexes, and tables of contents. For more information on using tables of contents and indexes to locate information in secondary sources watch this instructional video. Note that many online secondary sources do not have keyword indexes, but all have some form of table of contents.
Finally, be aware that treatises are available in either Lexis or Westlaw but not in both. If you are trying to search a specific treatise online, you will have to know who the publisher or provider is to access it. This is one of the reasons why the library catalog can be so valuable. It lists all the treatises and points you to all the places that they are available.
For more on specific techniques for searching secondary sources in commercial databases, watch this instructional video.
Law journal articles often provide helpful references to cases, statutes, and other authorities on a subject matter. For that reason, an on-point law journal article can often prove to be a legal research homerun. There a number of different ways to search for law journal articles. If you do not have access to law journal articles through a commercial provider like Lexis or Westlaw, two of the best sources for locating law journal articles are HeinOnline and LegalTrac.
For more information on using LegalTrac and HeinOnline to search for law journal articles, watch this brief instructional video.