University of Oregon

Law - U.S., General

The following is a selected list of resources for starting research in law. For further assistance, ask at the Reference Desk in the Law Library, or email your question at

Starting Your Research

These sources can help you identify a topic for your research. Some provide an overview of a specific issue and suggest other materials which might be useful for your research. Others help you to notice a topic that might be of interest to you.

  • Dictionaries
    These sources can help you understand legal terminology:
    • Black's Law Dictionary [LAW REF KF156 .B53 2014; copy also in DOCS REF]
    • Burton's Legal Thesaurus [LAW REF KF156 .B856 1998]
    • Everybody's Law Dictionary
    • Modern Dictionary for the Legal Profession [LAW REF KF156 .B49 2008]
    • Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations [LAW REF KF159 .S53 1993]
    • Oxford Reference Online: Law
    • Random House Webster's Dictionary of the Law [LAW REF KF156 .C57 2000]
  • Encyclopedias
    These sources provide an overview of major legal subjects, concepts and events:
    • Oxford Companion to American Law [LAW REF KF156 .O94 2002; also available online, in the UO Library Catalog]
    • West's Encyclopedia of American Law, 2d ed. [LAW REF KF154 .W47 2004]
  • Research Guides
    These sources provide detailed steps for researching the law, including how to use many of the standard legal research tools:
    • Fundamentals of Legal Research [LAW REF KF240 .J32 2002]
    • How to Find the Law [LAW REF KF240 .C538 1989]
    • Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law [LAW LIB KF240 .E35 2001]
  • Legal Citation
    These sources can help you to understand legal abbreviations and the proper format for citing legal sources:
    • ALWD Citation Manual, 4th ed. [LAW RSRV KF245 .A45 2010 ]
    • Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations [LAW RSRV KF246 .B46 2001]
    • Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation [LAW RSRV KF245 .U55 2010]
    • Prince's Bieber Dictionary of Legal Citations [LAW RSRV KF246 .B45 2001]

Finding Articles

To look for articles in law reviews, journals, and other legal periodicals, you will need to start with an index. An index will allow you to search by subjects or keywords which describe your topic, or by author.

  • European Journals Index [LAW READ KF8 .E97]
    Some articles indexed are in languages other than English.
  • Hein-On Line
    This database provides full-text coverage of law reviews prior to the time period covered by Lexis-Nexis Academic, below.
  • Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature [LAW READ KE8 .I38]
  • Legal Collection
    Uses EBSCO interface.
  • LegalTrac
    This database includes a Subject Guide and indexes a wider range of journals than Lexis-Nexis Academic, below.
  • Legal Periodicals Full Text
  • Legal Periodicals Retrospective
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic
    Use the link to "Law Reviews" for full-text searching and retrieval of these materials. See Hein-On-Line, above, for coverage of older articles.
  • Westlaw Campus
    Allows natural language searching.

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Finding Laws

Finding Books

  • UO LibrarySearch
    Identify books by topic, title or author; identify law reviews, journals and other periodicals owned by the UO Libraries. To find articles on your topic, use the indexes listed previously in this guide. Once you have a citation, you can check UO LibrarySearch by doing a title search on the name of the periodical that the article is in, to see if it's in the UO Libraries. You can borrow books not owned by the UO Library via Summit or Interlibrary loan.

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Web Resources

Created by anesbit on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Aug 24, 2015
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