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Using Legal Periodical Indexes: Finding Articles in Journals and Law Reviews

Legal periodicals play an important role in the legal research process. Articles are a good source of background information and often provide additional information on the historical context of legal issues. Comprehensive research on a legal topic often involves finding relevant articles in law reviews and journals which discuss the point of law you are researching. Periodical articles are often the best source of information on legal issues. In addition, the footnotes or endnotes of a periodical article can often be used to expand your research by leading you to relevant primary and secondary authority.

To ensure that you are accurately and efficiently searching for periodical articles it is imperative to know how to use various periodical indexes in multiple formats. Following is a brief description of the indexes available in the Florida Coastal Library and Technology Center and how to use them in your research.


Print Indexes

1. Index to Legal Periodicals (I.L.P.) (1888 to present):

In the Florida Coastal Library and Technology Center in the Reference collection at call number K9.N32

Covers approximately 600 legal periodicals. Published monthly with quarterly and annual cumulations. Articles must be at least 5 pages in length to be included. Access: Articles are indexed by a combined author and subject listing. A list of subject headings is included in the front of each issue and volume, as well as a listing of all periodicals indexed and their abbreviations. Also has Table of Cases, Table of Statutes and a Book Review Index.

2. Current Law Index (C.L.I.) (1980 to present):

Available in the Florida Coastal Library and Technology Center in the Reference collection at call number K33.C87

Covers over 875 legal periodicals. Published monthly with quarterly and annual cumulations. Access: Articles are indexed by subject index in one volume and author/title index in a separate volume. Book reviews are indexed under the author and title of the book reviewed. Also has Table of Cases and Table of Statutes section. A list of periodicals indexed is included at the front of each volume. Available in CD-Rom format called LegalTrac (see Electronic Indexes below).


Electronic Indexes

1. Legal Resource Index (LRI)

This is the on-line version of Current Law Index (see print indexes above). It includes all periodicals indexed in C.L.I. plus several major legal newspapers and articles from non-legal periodicals that are law-related. It is updated daily so is a great resource for the most current periodical literature. Access is available through both LEXIS (File Name LGLIND) and WESTLAW(LRI Database).

2. LegalTrac

This is the CD-Rom version of Current Law Index (see print indexes above) and LRI. Can be searched using either a subject-guide search which requires use of specific subject headings or by a key-word search which locates your search terms in the title or subject heading. LegalTrac is available on the Florida Coastal Library and Technology Center main webpage under Research Resources.

NOTE: Both WESTLAW and LEXIS also provide access to various news databases that include numerous newspapers and popular magazines.

3. FirstSearch

A non-legal database service that provides access to multiple indexes. There are currently thirteen individual databases available through FirstSearch in the Florida Coastal Library and Technology Center, several with full-text items. Access is available on the library main webpage under Research Resources.

4. Internet

There are an increasing number of items being placed on the Internet.

NOTE: Current issues of periodicals in the Florida Coastal Library and Technology Center are shelved behind the Circulation/Reserve desk. Back issues (bound) are available in the first floor periodicals section and are organized in call number order.

If the library doesn't own the specific periodical you need and it is not available in a full-text database, we have an Inter-Library Loan service and will borrow the item from another library if it is available. There is an Inter-Library Loan Request Form on the library web page under Library Services, or paper forms are available at the Reference Desk. If you have questions regarding this service or any other library related issues please feel free to ASK A LIBRARIAN!

  • The University Law Review Project (http://www.lawreview.org/) indexes many law reviews available on-line. This site provides the capability to search law reviews by a specific area of law, a general search or a search by law school name. Also includes links to other selected law related journals.
  • Previously UncoverWeb, Ingentaconnect (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/) is a web-based index and document delivery service. Uncover indexes over 18,000 journals including numerous law related items. Searching can be done by keyword, author or title and results often include a brief abstract of the article.
  • The University of Texas has developed a Web site which provides access to the table of contents pages of numerous law reviews and other scholarly journals. Access is provided through either a keyword search or an alphabetical list of the journal names. The address for this site is http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/tallons/content_search.html.