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Journal Cite Checking Guide: Introduction

This guide is intended to assist journal members in locating print, PDF, or page image versions of cited materials for sourcing assignments.

General Tips for Success

  • LexisNexis and Westlaw are not the best sources for cite-checking because they rarely provide documents in PDF format.
  • Do not delay in attempting to locate difficult sources.  It may take time to receive sources that need to be borrowed from other libraries.
  • It may be helpful to separate sources by type  (cases, statutes, journal articles) and then utilize the specific tools/resourcers that work best for each source.
  • Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations  (located at the Reference Desk) can be used to decipher uncommon or difficult citations.  But then, Google works well for this task also.
  • If a book that you need is checked out of the Library, there's a good chance that someone working on the same article already has it. 


This guide reflects Loyola law librarians' collective wisdom and experience gained from assisting students with cite-checking and sourcing assignments.  Because of the myriad of sources that authors cite to and the ever-changing variety of locations where sources may be found, it is impossible to list in any one place all the "best practices" for every possible sourcing or cite-checking assignment.  In addition, not every citation relates to a source which is ascertainable; there may be times where a cite-checker (or editor) has to to go back to an author for a source cited. Having said that, this guide is intended to provide useful information and practical tips on locating and updating eight major types of sources:

The guide does not include foreign and international sources.  For these sources consult the Researching Foreign, Comparative and International Law Research Guide located in the Library's list of research guides.

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