Articles for Legal & Non-Legal Research
This is a quick guide to scholarly article databases and indexes.
Scholarly research should include the consultation of articles in law journals and/or law reviews. The collection at the Georgetown Law Library includes all major law journals and reviews as well as many non-legal journals, in a combination of print and electronic formats. Additionally, on-campus access is provided for many articles in electronic format from the main campus and medical center libraries.
A law journal or law review is a legal periodical or magazine containing scholarly articles, essays, and other commentary on legal topics by professors, judges, law students, and practitioners. Articles in periodicals describe, often in depth, the current state of the law, and offer analysis of legal policies, rules and history. Journal articles offer extensive footnotes, citing primary and secondary sources relevant to the article's topic. Non-legal journals contain articles that cover other academic and general areas of study.
Finding Articles by Topic - Using Indexes
A search for articles should always begin with a search of relevant journal indexes. Similar to a library catalog's listing of books, a journal index is a listing of articles that appear in journals, newsletters, and magazines. Some legal journal indexes also include tables that list articles by statute or case name. The index listing includes bibliographic information about the article, including journal name, article title, author, volume, issue, page number and date, as well as one or more subject descriptors.
Searching journal indexes is more effective than searching full-text databases because the search is done only on the bibliographic information and the subject descriptors(ie: securities and disclosure), therefore yielding more relevant results. The subject descriptors for an article are very important for research, for once a useful article is identified, similar articles can be found by searching the same subject terms found in the first article.
The Law Center Library subscribes to the major legal journal indexes, and many that are non-legal. Additionally, access to the majority of indexes available at the main university library, Lauinger Library, is available via the Law Center network.
Law Review and Journal Indexes
|Electronic Version||Print Version||Lexis/Westlaw|
1980 - present (about )
|Current Law Index
1980 - present
Westlaw - LRI
|Legal Periodicals and Books
Some full text
1982 to present (about)
|Index to Legal Periodicals||
Legal Periodicals and Books Retrospective
|Index to Legal Periodicals||N/A|
|Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals Tutorial
1985 to present
|Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals: Cumulation 1960 to present
|Legal Journals Index
Legal Journals Index Tutorial
700 journals published in the UK
1986 to present
|Legal Journals Index
UK & European journals,
1986 to 1999
|Westlaw - LJI|
|Cambridge Journals Online
(under subject, limit search to Law)
Cambridge Journals Online Tutorial
|Kluwer Law International Journals
Kluwer Law Tutorial
|Oxford University Press Journals
Oxford University Press Tutorial
For Non-Legal Mega Indexes, try these resources:
|Academic Search Premier Academic Search Premier Tutorial||4,425 titles are abstracted and indexed covering academic areas of study. Years of coverage vary. Many links to full-text.|
|ProQuest (ABI/Inform et al.) ProQuest Tutorial||2,900 periodicals in the social sciences, humanities, general sciences, business and general interest. Years of coverage vary. Many links to full-text.|
|Periodicals Index Online Periodicals Index Online Tutorial||Tables of contents for 3500 social sciences and international humanities periodicals. 1770-1995.|
|Mega-index that offers free index searching. There is a fee for full text articles|
For additional Subject Specific Mega Indexes, try these:
|Business & Economics|
|Public Policy & Legislative|
For a description of the contents of these databases, please review the database list at the Lauinger Library.
Finding Articles by Topic in Full Text Databases
Articles research may also be conducted by searching full-text databases. A full-text database contains the entire texts of articles, and also generally (but not always) includes the bibliographic information. The full-text articles databases in Lexis and Westlaw are the most popular for full text searching of law articles.
Although full-text databases can yield useful and relevant information for research, there are certain disadvantages to searching the full text of articles.
- Searching for a particular key word or phrase in full text databases will retrieve articles that contain the key word(s) or phrase anywhere in the articles that are retrieved. The search results are likely to include lots of hits that are not particularly relevant to your topic.
- Full-text databases tend to have more limited date coverage. Lexis and Westlaw both hold full-text articles mostly from the early 1990s, although coverage of limited titles goes back to the late 1970s.
- Lexis and Westlaw full-text databases cover only a percentage of the journals that are indexed in journal indexes. Relying solely on these databases will limit the sources you find.
The advantages to using full-text databases are obvious. If you are looking for a specific article, finding it in a full-text database is very rewarding. For this reason, however, full-text databases are much more useful for retrieval than for research.
|Lexis Nexis Academic||"Search the News" box allows you to request magazines and search through the full-text of the entire database featuring hundreds of magazines.|
|Google Scholar||Access scholarly articles, academic conference reports, etc. with a simple Google search - Look for the link for Full Text @ Georgetown Law.|
|JSTOR||340 scholarly, paper journals, most beginning with the first volume--excludes most recent 3 to 5 years. PDF format. Search across all fields and full-text.|
|Lexis: LAWREV library||500 law reviews and journals. Most coverage from early 1990s; some coverage from 1977. HTML format.|
|HeinOnline||500 law journals and reviews beginning with the inception date of each publication. PDF format. Individual journals, or the entire collection, are fully searchable by author or word in title, or keyword or phrase in full text.|
|Westlaw: JLR database||500+ law reviews and journals. Most coverage from early 1990s; some cover from early 1980s. HTML format.|
|Project Muse||Recent issues (1990s to current) of approximately 250 scholarly journals. PDF format. Keyword, phrase, and Boolean searching across all journals in the database, selected subsets of journal titles, or a single title.|
Finding Articles by Citation
Let's look at how you can find an article if you have a citation, such as
- What Makes the D.C. Circuit Different? A Historical View. John G. Roberts Jr. Virginia Law Review 92.3 (May 2006): p375-389
Start by searching for the journal title in Gulliver. For example, to locate the article above, input the title search of Virginia Law Review. This will display all of the databases which provide access to the Virginia Law Review. You can then click on a resource to search for the specific article in the May 2006 issue.
Articles that are not available online or in print may be requested through our Interlibrary Loan service.
Links 4/3/13 (ET)
Updated 9/2/12 (MK)
Revised 9/10 (MK)
Updated 5/07 (BM)
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