Defining Characteristics of Looseleaf Services:
Types of Looseleaf Services:
Looseleaf services usually come in one of two formats, although some may use a combination of the two.
Accessing and Using Looseleafs:
The best way to determine if there is a legal looseleaf relevant to the point of law you are researching is to use Legal Looseleafs In Print, a bibliography which provides detailed information on over 3,600 legal looseleafs. It includes a publisher index, subject index, and electronic format index as well as a title list, bibliographic information and a publishers directory. Legal Looseleafs In Print can be found in the FCSL Library and Technology Center in the Reference Room on aisle 103 (call # KF1.L44).
Once you have located a looseleaf pertinent to your subject you should always refer to the introductory section which will discuss the use and organization of the service unless you are familiar with how to use it. This will save you time and frustration and will help ensure that you are actually finding all the most current information contained in the looseleaf. Although each service differs in regard to access points, most will contain one or more of the following features:
Electronic Access To Looseleaf Services
Many looseleaf services are now available on CD-Rom or via LEXIS and WESTLAW. Each format has its own benefits and drawbacks. Looseleaf services on CD-Rom can provide access at a lower search cost but are normally not updated as often as the print versions. On-line versions can be expensive for the frequent user but have the advantage of very frequent updating. Many on-line services may actually provide the latest developments in a specific area of law on a daily basis.
Hints For Successful Use Of Looseleafs
Unless you are very familiar with the specific service being used check the instructions provided. These will often include a brief description of the contents, how to access the information, and any special features.
Looseleaf indexes will often refer to section and paragraph numbers rather than page numbers. Be sure to verify where you are being referred by the index. There will be a notation of this somewhere on the page.
Check for time-divided indexes. For example, some may have a current index, an index, and a latest additions to index. Be sure to check all time periods if that is applicable to the research you are doing.
Pay attention to the source you are looking at within the looseleaf. Since these services try to cover all material related to a specific topic area, you will often have primary and secondary authority located next to each other. Only the constitution, cases, statutes and regulations of a jurisdiction are the law.
Last, but not least: Ask a Librarian if you need help locating or using a looseleaf service!