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  • InsideTrack
  • May 06, 2015

    Finding Law Journals Quickly: Get Online Access to Source Materials

    Access to full text law reviews, federal primary sources, and journal indexes from your computer, smartphone, or mobile device at no cost.

    Amy Crowder

    smartphoneMay 6, 2015 – Law journal articles can help lawyers begin their research and stay current on the latest developments in an area of law.

    Many law journals do not have their archived issues online; however, and locating on-point articles may require subscribing to a journal index database. This is when the Articles & Journal collection from the Wisconsin State Law Library can help.

    Access to full text law reviews, federal primary sources and journal indexes from your computer, smartphone or mobile device at no cost to Wisconsin lawyers and legislators, their staff, other government employees, and librarians.

    All you need to get started is a library card from the Wisconsin State Law Library, issued at no cost to those who are eligible. State Bar of Wisconsin members are automatically eligible for a free library card.

    Legal Databases, Law Reviews, Journals, Primary Sources, and News

    To track down an article or update research, start at the State Law Library’s Articles & Journals page. Log in to LegalTrac, HeinOnline and Index to Legal Periodicals using your library card number.

    Amy Witt CrowderAmy Witt Crowder is the deputy law librarian at the Wisconsin State Law Library where she has worked for more than 20 years. She is responsible for collection development at the library and overall management of the Innovative Interfaces library system, including adding full text content to the library catalog. Amy is a member of the Law Libraries Association of Wisconsin (LLAW), a chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). LLAW's Public Relations Committee coordinates regular contributions by its members to InsideTrack.

    LegalTrac covers 1,500 major law reviews, law journals, bar association journals, and legal newspapers published as early as 1980. More than 250 titles are available to read in full text. LegalTrac recently launched a new, user-friendly website. Simply search by keyword and filter search results by date, subject, document type, and publication title. Search results can be limited to full text only. When researching an area of law that is not familiar, try a “Subject Guide Search” for related subjects.

    HeinOnline contains centuries of legal documents, with legal classics dating back to the 16th century. It provides images of documents just as they appear in the original print and everything is in full text. Content includes law reviews and journals, current and historic U.S. Reports, U.S. Code, U.S. Statutes at Large, Code of Federal Regulations and Federal Register, federal legislative history documents, congressional and federal agency documents, early English case law, and legal classics such as Blackstone’s Commentaries.

    The Index to Legal Periodicals covers more than 1,100 titles, including law reviews, legal journals, books, and some case law reporters. More than 460 titles are available in full text, dating as far back as 1981. Keyword searching in Index to Legal Periodicals is also easy. Search results can be further refined and limited to full text availability.

    The State Law Library’s Articles & Journals page also links to BadgerLink databases that provide law-related content. BadgerLink is Wisconsin’s Online Library providing licensed online content at no cost to Wisconsin residents. Sources include Business Source Premier, MasterFile Premier, Regional Business News, Newspaper Source Plus, and Academic Search Premier.

    Searching by Title

    If you know the journal title, the quickest way to access full text of that journal is through the “Search for a Journal Title” feature on the Articles & Journals page. Enter the title, and a library record will appear with direct links to the journal. Follow the desired link, and enter your library card number when prompted. If full text is not available online, ask a librarian to help get a copy from our print collection or another library.

    Email Alerts and RSS Feeds

    Staying informed of new developments in the law is important to your legal practice. HeinOnline, Legal Trac, Index to Legal Periodicals and BadgerLink all offer alerts via email or RSS feeds. You can automatically receive new articles based on your search criteria or be alerted when a new issue of a law review is published. To create email alerts, register for an account within the database. When new content is added, you will receive an email with direct links to articles. If you prefer to use RSS, simply select the RSS icon, copy the feed URL, and add to your feed reader.

    Learn More

    For search tips and more information about the State Law Library’s databases, visit the library’s Tutorials page. The library also offers webinars and training classes in Madison and Milwaukee, scheduled throughout the year. Read the State Law Library’s Newsletter to stay informed.

    New full text content is being added to these databases continuously. Complete a library card application or visit one of the three law libraries located in Madison and Milwaukee to access Legal Trac, HeinOnline, and Index to Legal Periodicals wherever you are.

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