Resources by Subject Federal and State Law


Reference Sources (Background)
Locating Books
Locating Articles And More (Databases & Indexes)
Film and Video
Evaluating Sources
Citing Sources

Reference Sources (Background)

Credo Reference (full text; current)
Over 500 reference books and sets from several publishers covering all subject areas.

Oxford Reference Online - Politics(full text; current)
Search political science-related dictionaries and reference books published by Oxford University Press.

Oxford Reference Online - Law ( full text; current)
Search law-related dictionaries and reference books published by Oxford University Press.

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations
Legal citations can be difficult to decipher. This source will list the abbreviations used in citations in U.S., British and Commonwealth English language legal publications.

The call number area for legal materials is K.

Locating Books

The library's online catalog, providing access to books, journals, music, and movies in the library.

A catalog of books and other materials in libraries worldwide.

Books and articles not owned by our library can be obtained from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan. Allow sufficient time for processing.  Average turnaround time is 3-5 days for articles and 3-14 days for books, excluding holidays and weekends. Submit ILL requests well in advance of deadlines.

Locating Articles And More (Databases & Indexes)

LexisNexis Academic (dates vary, most 1990s to present ; full-text)
Provides full-text of legal, governmental, business, and general news information; searching under Legal Research and in News sources (particularly National or Regional papers) can be especially useful. Use the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations to determine the source in the citation.

Legal Collection (full text; dates vary; mostly 1980s to present)
Full text and indexing for over 250 scholarly law reviews and journals.

OmniFile Full Text Mega (some full text; most 1994 to present, with some 1982 to present)
Articles from scholarly and popular sources in all disciplines.

PAIS International (some full-text; 1914 to present)
Covers political science, international relations and public policy with articles, books, hearings, government publications, etc. from 120 countries.

NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Research Service) Abstracts Database

Dissertations & Theses Global (full text 1997 to present; citations & abstracts primarily 1861 to present, some citations 1637+)
Covers master's theses and Ph.D. dissertations worldwide in all disciplines.

Once you know which journals you need, search Journals A-Z to see if they are online or in the library.

Film and Video

American History In Video
Hundreds of hours of histroical film footage compiled from commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries on American history.

PBS Streaming Video Collection
Hundreds of hours of streaming video content from PBS, including programming from series such as Frontline, NOVA, and The American Experience.

C-SPAN Video Library
A nearly complete archive of over 160,000 hours of C-SPAN programs from 1987 to present, including footage from all 3 C-SPAN channels. Programs are indexed by subject, speaker names, titles, affiliations, sponsors, committees, categories, formats, policy groups, keywords, and location. The congressional sessions and committee hearings are indexed by person with full-text.


Federal Resources: and
Official sites for the Senate and the House of Representatives. (formerly THOMAS)
From the Library of Congress, this database includes information on legislation, Congressional records, committee assignments and other information.

FDsys (formerly: GPO Access)
FDsys is the portal to official U.S. government publications from the Government Printing Office (GPO).

State and Local Resources:

Legal Links: Virginia Continuing Legal Education (VA Law Foundation)

Virginia Legislative Publications
Includes Rules of the Senate, Rules of the House of Delegates, Session indexes, etc.
Portal for state and local government sites.

General Guides:

Internet Public Library: Law

Guide to Law Online (Library of Congress)

Law and Policy Institutions Guide
Geared towards lawyers, law students and other professionals

The laypersons guide to the law

American Bar Association

The American Bar Association's legal information gateway for the public

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources (R-MC)

Is it POPULAR or is it SCHOLARLY? (R-MC)

Critical Evaluation of Resources on the Internet (University of Alberta Libraries)

Citing Sources

Introduction to Basic Legal Citation

Guides to the major citation styles are available at the Reference Desk.

Citing Full-Text from Library Databases (R-MC)

Citing in MLA, APA, and Chicago Styles (R-MC)

KnightCite (Calvin College)
Automatically formats citation information according to MLA, APA, or Chicago styles. Be sure to double-check the result for accuracy!


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