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Source Collection 1-2-3: Introduction

A triage approach to collecting source materials cited in journal article manuscripts

This guide

Welcome to Source Collecting for Journals! This important step in a student-edited journal's fact-checking process is often a student's introduction to the internal workings of the peer-reviewed scholarly literature in the legal field. But let's face it, it can also feel a bit like scut-work. A couple of crucial things to remember:

  • avoid paywalls - use library links (details throughout this guide)
  • sequence the work to allow time for materials that may have to be obtained from off-campus (categorize and tackle your assigned sources according to the tabs in this guide)
  • after following the steps in this guide, consult with a reference librarian for help with remaining problems and mysteries!

Starting Out

Sort your assigned sources

If not already done by the lead article editor, sort into type of materials corresponding to the tabs in this guide:

  1. books/book chapters,
  2. journal/other articles, and
  3. primary authorities (cases, constitutions, statutes, legislative materials).
Work through those categories of sources in that order

These resources may help you identify and sort the sources:

  • Bluebook examples on the inside front cover (white Pages "Quick Guide" in online version) and abbreviations tables (esp. Tables 1 and 2 for primary law sources, Tables 6 and 13 for journals) - the searchable, online Bluebook (individual or journal-subscribed login needed) can also be useful
  • Prince's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (in print at Reference Desk) and/or the online Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations to translate abbreviations - full title information can help you find the source
  • The Guide to Foreign and International Legal Citations (in print at Reference Desk) may help you decode citations to materials from foreign and international organizations and tribunals 
Have a copy of the full text of the article handy: context can provide clues for finding sources

Still puzzled by a few?

Start by working on the books, articles, and familiar primary sources you've identified, using the steps above and in the rest of this guide about finding Books, Journals & Articles, and Primary Sources.  As you go, note any:

  • sources you still can't find
  • problem citations for unfamiliar types of material such as treaties, non-legal sources, foreign language sources, etc.

Consult a reference librarian for assistance in deciphering citations and identifying and locating these remaining items.

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