Source Collection Guide

The Q&A below addresses some of the most basic questions about collecting sources during the editing process. You can also come see us at the Reference Desk for help with source collection when the journal manual and the Bluebook don't answer your questions—the research librarians at the Law Library all worked as editors on a journal while in law school.

Analyzing sources

How do I figure out what my sources are?
  1. Read the article closely enough to understand its main points.
  2. Make notes of information about sources from the text. While you're reading, look at the footnotes you've been assigned. Record anything useful about cited materials that doesn't appear in the footnote (such as the fact that it was a speech, or a paper presented at a conference).
How do I figure out which Bluebook rules apply?

Can you tell if they are books, journal articles or reported cases?

  1. Check the Bluebook tables and index. Read the rules, too. They tell you which version of a source should be used. For example, you might end up using a newer edition of a book than the one the author cited.
  2. Bieber’s Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations can be used to translate abbreviations.
  3. Note which citations are still not translated, or which cite to unfamiliar types of material.

Ask a research librarian for help in deciphering odd citations, and identifying and locating materials.

Collecting sources

How do I know if a digital version is ok? (Rule 18)
  • Check Rule 18 for "General Internet Citation Principles." If you can find a digital version that complies with Rule 18, you can use it and cite to it.
  • Rule 18 also explains how you cite to digital versions, i.e., whether you use "at," "available at," or nothing at all.
How do I get books (Rule 15)?

First search for books and other treatises in the library catalog:

Then go borrow books, and request books that aren't immediately available on campus. If your book is:

  • Checked out - borrow the book from another library via ILL.
  • At another UCI library - go to the other UCI Library (e.g. Langson or Ayala). You’ll have to walk or ride or drive to those libraries – you cannot have books sent here. Maps of campus buildings are available in the Law Library or online.
  • At an off-campus library - request books online from Melvyl, using the journal account, to start the ILL process.

Ask a research Librarian about books that you can't find in a catalog.

How do I get statutes, cases from reporters, and other primary sources (Rules 10-14)?

Your journal may prefer an electronic version of a primary legal source if it complies with Bluebook guidelines. See "Popular PDF Sources" on this page for links to databases that have PDF versions of primary materials.

Rule 10. Search for court reporters and other primary legal sources in Encore by the title of the source, or in Westlaw for reporters in the National Reporter System (there may be a scanned PDF copy in Westlaw). Recall that West is not the only publisher that prints reporters - there are specialty reporters (e.g. USPQ) that academic authors regularly cite.

Rule 12. Check your Bluebook, including Table 1, to determine which sources to cite for statutory language. The Bluebook has guidance on citing to authenticated online versions or commercial databases. Note that the Law Library has many state statutory compilations in print.

Rule 13 For legislative materials, see our list of Popular PDF Sources on this page. The U.S. Congressional serial set in Readex also has robust coverage of federal legislative materials.

Rule 14. Check your Bluebook to determine which sources to cite for administrative materials. Rules and related materials like the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register are available in PDF from HeinOnline and Other types of administrative materials are available online and in print.

Ask a research Librarian about primary sources that you can't find.

How do I get articles from journals, newspapers, or other periodicals (Rule 16)?

In general, law reviews and other periodicals (both paper and electronic subscriptions) can be found in Encore, by the title of the law review, journal or periodical (not the title of the article).

Example: Your article cites: Erwin Chemerinsky, Against Sovereign Immunity, 53 Stan. L. Rev. 1201 (2001).

Law reviews. To find scanned electronic versions of law review articles, try searching in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library.

Newspaper articles. To find Newspapers, search Encore to see if it's available on campus in print, or scanned online in one of the UCI subscription databases. Check the UCI Libraries Research Guide on News & Newspapers.

If not found in Encore--especially interdisciplinary and/or non-legal periodicals--search Melvyl by the title of the periodical. Many journals and newspapers will be available in online versions, so the text of your article might be available electronically.

Ask a research librarian about law reviews, journals, and other periodicals that you can't find.

Are there any types of sources that I can't borrow via ILL?

Yes. Check your manual for the most up-to-date guidelines for specific types of materials. Generally, the Law Library will not borrow the following types of materials from other libraries for source-collection work:

  • Federal Appendix volumes. In general, we will not borrow Federal Appendix volumes in print via ILL. Instead, editors should use the online version from West.
  • Foreign-language material. In general, we will not borrow foreign-language material unless editors will be able to read it. Editors should make sure that editorial staff (or campus colleagues) will be available to read materials in foreign languages before requesting print material through ILL.
  • Microfilm periodicals. In general, we will not borrow microfilm copies of newspapers or journals via ILL. Instead, editors should use and cite articles from a commercial electronic database or the Internet.
  • Out-of-date editions of books. Bluebook Rule 15 has guidelines for which edition to cite, including guidelines for pre-1900 works. Editors should make sure they're following the Edition guidelines in Rule 15, and include a note in the ILL request if an out-of-date edition is needed.
  • Online works that follow Rule 18. In general, we will not borrow a print version of a work that is available electronically in a format that is authenticated, official, or an "exact copy." Instead, editors should use the electronic version.
  • State statutes that we don't have in print. In general, we will not borrow current state statutes in print via ILL. Instead, editors can cite commercial electronic database or Internet versions of current state statutes from states that are not represented in our print collection.

Ask a research librarian about borrowing via ILL if you have an exceptional need to consult a print version of one of the sources above.

Adapted with permission from Berkeley Law's Source Collection Triage Guide.

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