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Law Research Guide  

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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This guide's purpose is to help researchers find law cases and law reviews and answer legal questions using the law resources of Bowdoin College Library.



Spiral Staircase, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States


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Key Law Databases

Lexis-Nexis Academic

Full-text subscription database of federal and state cases, statutes, law reviews and news.

  • To find law review articles, use the "Look up a Legal Case" box and then click on the "Law Reviews" link.
  • To find cases, use the box titled "Look up a Legal Case". To be able to limit by date or jurisdiction, click on the "cases" link within that box then use "Advanced Options".
  • To search the U.S. Code, click on "Search by Content Type" then Legal: "Federal Statutes and Regulations". Under "Advanced Options", check only "Annotated U.S. Code (USCS)".
  • To find public laws, click on "Search by Content Type" then Legal: "Federal Statutes and Regulations". Under "Advanced Options", check only "Public Laws".


Full-text subscription database of case law, law reviews, and news.

  • For law review articles, choose "All content", then "Secondary Sources", then "Law Reviews & Journals". Alternatively, from a results list, if available, choose "Secondary Sources" or "Context & Analysis", then "Law Review Commentaries".
  • To find cases, choose "All content", then "cases".
  • For the U.S. Code, choose "All content" then "United States Code Annotated (USCA)".
  • Black's Law Dictionary is under "All content" then "Secondary Sources" and in the right-hand column.

Index to Legal Periodicals and books, 1982-
Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective, 1908-1981

International coverage and access to law reviews, scholarly articles, jurisdictional surveys, legislation, and more. Search on a citation to a case in the "Court Cases" field. Search on a citation to the U.S. Code using the form "8 U.S.C. 1158" in the "Statute" field. The "check availability" link connects to full-text in most cases.


An online archive of scholarly journals, including a number of respected law reviews. This can be an especially useful database to search when looking for law reviews for cases decided prior to 1982.

Law Review Commons
"over 75,000 articles from open-access law reviews with issues dating from 1904."


Background on Locating Journal Articles

Our lists of databases, alphabetical or by subject.

Citation only

Some databases do not provide journal articles in full-text, but rather provide only citations, i.e. information identifying the article with author, article title, journal title, date, volume and issue numbers, page numbers, etc. To get the article, take this information and follow the directions below under "If you already know the title of the journal...".

Directly to full-text

Some databases link directly to full-text journal articles using a link such as PDF full-text, Linked full-text, full-text, full-text - PDF, Article PDF, etc.

Indirectly to full-text and/or other formats

Many citations in many databases have a link reading Find it @ Bowdoin, check availability, or something similar. Clicking that link brings up a window which tells you whether the article (a) is available in full-text, or (b) is available in print or microfilm at Bowdoin, or (c) is not available at Bowdoin but can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan.

If you already know the title of the journal...

you can select the Journal Titles A-Z tab on the Library Homepage and enter the journal (not the article) title. If we have access to that journal, you'll find a list of full-text subscriptions or other print or microform choices for accessing the article. If the journal is not available at Bowdoin, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Subject Guide

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Barbara Levergood
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Bowdoin College
H-L Library, Office 110B
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Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421
phone: 207-725-3351
fax: 207-725-3083
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Legal Citations

Bluebook style

The bluebook : a uniform system of citation
Main Ref Desk KF245 .B58  18th 2005
The standard legal citation guide. A recent, though non-current, edition of the Bluebook might also be useful.

Introduction to Basic Legal Citation (LII)
Peter W. Martin, Cornell Law School.

Chicago style (which is based on Bluebook)

Style and Citation Guides
Bowdoin Library maintains this list of resources for Chicago, Bluebook, and other styles.

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