Transcript: Legal Encyclopedias are multi-volume sets containing short overviews of legal issues. AmJur and CJS are two examples. Legal encyclopedias are arranged in alphabetical order, just like other encyclopedias. CalJur, the California-specific legal encyclopedia, is shelved on the main floor of the Law Library.
The best place to start in legal encyclopedia is usually the index. You can look up a search term one of the index volumes, and the index will tell you which volume to check.
Once you get the right volume, you can see that CalJur articles begin with an outline that you can use to see the context of your issue. The subsections contain a short narrative discussion of the issue and ( importantly) citations to other research materials like cases, statutes, and treatises. To make sure that you are getting the most current information, check to see if your CalJur entry was updated in a pocket part.
So to use encyclopedias in print: use the catalog or browse the shelves to locate an encyclopedia, use the index to find you volume, read over the narrative and the footnotes, and update your information by checking the pocket part.
August 2012 Update! The treatises are now shelved upstairs in the reading room while we prepare for the renovation downstairs.
Transcript: Treatises are usually multi-volume sets and often are easier to work with in print. Some treatises are in binder format, kept up-to-date with interfiled looseleaf pages. Others, in bound format, are updated with pocket parts and softbound supplements. Treatises can cover one general or specific area of law, or focus on one jurisdiction, such as Witkin’s California titles.
Treatises in our collection are located on the ground floor of the Law Library. Use the catalog to find the call number of the title you are looking for, and head to the compact shelving area to select the appropriate movable stack. Please be considerate of others who may be working in this area and share the space.
Once you locate your treatise set, the best place to start is the index volume, which is not always at the end of the set. Indexes provide internal cross-references to other parts of the index, and then narrow down specific points. The pinpointed reference will be a combination of numbers and letters providing a volume or chapter number, and a section or subsection.
Once you have the section you are interested in, you may want to look at the chapter outline to understand how your section fits into the general discussion. The chapter or section may also provide additional research references to other materials, which can save you time as you continue your research.
When you turn to your specific section, read the narrative as well as the accompanying footnotes. Footnotes provide citations to the primary law related to your topic.
So remember, use the catalog to locate a treatise, find and use the index with your specific terms, check out the outline and research references, and read specific sections for the narrative and footnotes.