Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Law Library

Guide for Journal Cite Checks

Tips for Getting Started

Our Reference Librarians can assist you with hard-to-locate sources and provide specialized training to editors in advance of cite checking assignments. See Ask a Librarian for detailed instructions on contacting a Reference Librarian. The Reference Office (112A) is located in the Main Reading Room. Office hours during the academic semesters are Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.  

The ASU libraries may have many of the sources you need.  Search the library catalog for books, journals, and more.  If the libraries do not own the source you are looking for, you may request an Interlibrary Loan.  Please fill out an Interlibrary Loan Request Form or contact Carrie Henteleff with any questions. 

How to Chose a Paper Topic Guide
Prepared by a Ross-Blakley Law Librarian, this guide  is designed for law students who are writing a substantive legal research paper and are looking for guidance on how to begin. The guide details sources for help in selecting a paper topic and offers insight in how to check whether your paper will add new information to the field of law.

CALI Preemption Checking
Wondering if your topic for a journal note or article has been covered before?  The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) offers a lesson on the sources and process of conducting a preemption check

Sources such as Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (KF 246 B46 Law Reserve), the World Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (K89 K38 Law Reference), and the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations can be very useful for deciphering abbreviations.

Research Guides
Consult the library's Research Guides when you are researching an area you are not familiar with. Some of the research guide topics are: Arizona Legislative History, Electronic Sources for Federal Legislative History, United States Treaties and International Agreements, Secondary Legal Materials, and Federal Regulations.

ASU Libraries Catalog
Use the ASU Library Catalog to find books, journals and government documents owned by the Law Library and other ASU libraries. You may request items through the library catalog from other campus libraries, track the books you have checked out, renew your items online, and access research databases.

Paper, microforms and image formats (PDF)
Please remember that microforms (microfilm and microfiche) and image formats (PDF) are exact copies of the original pages of a document or article with the same page numbers and graphics. For cite checking they are legitimate substitutions when the original cannot be located in paper. In the Law Library, be sure to check Westlaw for PDF versions of cases and HeinOnline for PDF versions of articles. HTML databases like LexisNexis and Westlaw files not yet converted to PDF may lack page numbering and graphics. Many websites have articles in image formats.


How to Find Books in the Law Library

From the Law Library's website, use the Books tab to search the library catalog. You may search by author, title, keyword, or use the Advanced Search to search by a combination of fields. For more information see the ASU Libraries tutorials on Finding Books (requires Flash).  Note: the library catalog lists books, journals, documents and microforms. It does NOT list individual articles in journals and law reviews. For help identifying articles see How to Find Articles.

Be sure to copy the call number, location (Law Treatises, Law State, etc) and note the status of the book. Is it on the shelf or is it checked-out?  Check the Building Directory or ask at the Circulation Desk for directions to the appropriate collection.

If the book you need is not on the shelf, inquire at the Circulation Desk about a search.   If the item is checked out, check with the Circulation Desk about placing a hold or requesting an Interlibrary Loan.  Law Library books cannot be recalled.

Most circulating Law Library books may be checked out to the Law Journal or Jurimetrics account and relocated to the journal office. See Relocating Materials to the Journal Office for a complete list.


How to Find Books in Other ASU Libraries

From the Law Library's website, use the Books tab to search the library catalog. You may search by author, title, keyword, or use the Advanced Search to search by a combination of fields. For more information see the ASU Libraries tutorials on Finding Books (requires Flash). 

If the Status of the book is 'shelf', click on the Request button at the top of the page.  Books with a status of 'Library Use Only' cannot be requested.
  • Enter your ASURITE ID and password.
  • Select 'Law' for the pick-up location and click Submit.
  • If multiple copies of the book are available, click on the radio button next to the preferred copy, then click Request Selected Item.
  • When the book is ready to be picked up, you will be notified by e-mail. Books on the shelf at the Tempe campus libraries are usually available by the next day. Items sent from the West, Polytechnic, or Downtown campus libraries usually take 2 business days to arrive.  Items located in the High Density Collection usually take 3-4 days to arrive.
  • The book will be held under your name for one week at the Law Library Circulation Desk.

If the book is checked out, you can use the Request function in the catalog to recall the book.  Please be aware that recalling a book will change the due date to 2 weeks from the date the recall is placed.  In some cases, it may be faster to request an Interlibrary Loan.  Please check with the Law Library Circulation Desk.

Items from ASU Libraries must be checked out to the requestor's library account and cannot be checked out to the Law Journal or Jurimetrics account or another student.  You are responsible for returning the materials on time and for any overdue fines that may accrue. 

How to Find Articles in the Law Library


Library Catalogs do not list individual articles in journals, law reviews, newspapers and other periodicals. Use indexes to identify articles on a topic or by an author or to fill in missing information of a citation. Use indexes to complement Westlaw or LexisNexis because even though they don't have the full text of an article, they may cover journals not included in Westlaw or LexisNexis.

The HeinOnline database collection provides online, image-based access to law periodical titles previously only available in print, as well as other primary and secondary resources of historic significance. Its libraries contain numerous complete runs of titles from the first volume, predating coverage available on either LexisNexis or Westlaw for most titles. HeinOnline's most attractive feature for cite checkers is that it contains full-text exact page images of law reviews and journals, U.S. Reports, the Federal Register, and other primary and secondary legal sources. There is no difference between looking at a PDF version of a law review volume and looking at the actual print volume. See also detailed instructions on Using HeinOnline.

Other Electronic Full-Text Resources

  • From the Law Library's website, use the Articles tab to access Hein, Index to Legal Periodicals, LegalTrac, or to search for journals in the library catalog.
  • Click on the Journal Title Lookup link to search for both electronic or print journals in the catalog.
  • For e-journals, enter the title of the journal in the search box for Electronic Journals. There is a dropdown menu next to the search box. Select the option appropriate for your search (i.e. - Title Begins With if you know only the first two words of the journal title). You may also browse a list of titles that are available in full text.
  • Click Submit to view a list of databases that contain the journal. Be sure to note the dates of coverage for each database.
  • Click on the name of the database to search for articles.
  • If the journal is not available in electronic format, you must then search the library's print holdings.
  • If the journal is not available through ASU Libraries, you may request an Interlibrary Loan.

Paper Copies/Microforms
All journals in the Law Library are shelved by call number. Most journals are shelved in either the Bound Periodicals section on the 2nd floor or in Current Periodicals behind the Circulation Desk on the first floor. Microforms are located in cabinets on the west side of the first floor.

  • From the Law Library's website, use the Articles tab to search for journals in the library catalog. Click on Journal Title Lookup  to search the catalog.
  • Enter the journal title in the Print Journals search box. 
  • Select the correct record from the list by clicking on the title.
  • Copy the call number and the location for the journal.
  • Retrieve the journal from the shelf.

LexisNexis and Westlaw
The LexisNexis "US Law Reviews and Journals, Combined" and the Westlaw "Journals and Law Reviews (JLR)" database contain hundreds of full text law reviews and bar journals. These periodicals can be searched as a group, individually, by topic or jurisdiction. There are separate files for newspapers including some foreign newspapers.


How to Find Articles in Other ASU Campus Libraries

To Search indexes in other disciplines, go to the ASU Libraries Home Page. You can get to this page from the Law Library's website by clicking on library catalog from the left menu and then the ASU Libraries logo in the top left corner of the page.

Select Find from the top menu and use the drop-down options to search for articles, journals, or research databases. For more information on finding articles go to the ASU Libraries tutorials on Finding Articles.

If the article you want is not available in electronic format, but is owned by another ASU library in print, you may use the Interlibrary Loan Request Form to request the article.


How to Find U.S. Government Documents

Many documents and publications of the executive, legislative and judicial branches are available in the Law Library in paper, microform and electronic format.

  • From the Law Library's website, use the Books tab to search the library catalog.
  • Copy the call number (ex. AE2.108/2:) and the location (LAW GOV DOCS STACKS) for the document.
  • Law Gov Docs Stacks are located on the first floor, behind room 112D.
  • Please note, not all the Law Library government documents are listed in the catalog. If you retrieve a record from the catalog that indicates only Hayden Government Documents owns it, you may want to check the Law Library's government documents stacks for the call number. Better yet, ask a Reference Librarian for help!
  • Government documents that are selected by ASU and available in electronic format on the internet should have links in the library catalog.

If what you need is not in the library catalog, try the other tools listed below. For help, contact a Reference Librarian.


Other Tools

To locate other government information and websites that contain documents, go to the Law Library's website and select  the Legal Research tab.  Search by keyword or use the Browse by Subject menu to search for databases and web sites under the following categories:


Also on the Law Library's website, check out the Research Guides that relate to government documents.

LexisNexis Congressional
Searchable guide to congressional hearings, reports, documents, prints and legislative history.

Government resources by branch or by topic.

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
1988 to date, indexes U.S. federal government publications. For more information on government documents at the Law Library go to the Law Library's website, click on More Library Information and then on Collections. Here you will see the link for Government Documents. For more information on government documents at the Hayden Library go to


How to Request Materials Not Available at ASU - Interlibrary Loan

Tips for managing Interlibrary Loans

PLAN AHEAD! Place ILL requests as soon as possible. It can sometimes take up to 3 weeks for book requests to be filled and delivered . Most ILLs are loaned for only 3-4 weeks, so be sure to pick up the materials promptly when they arrive.

It is faster to get pages delivered than an entire book. Articles or photocopies of book chapters are usually received electronically whereas books must be mailed.  If you do not need the entire book, request photocopies of the pages instead.  If the total number of pages exceeds what is allowed under copyright restrictions, we will request a loan of the book.

ILLs will be wrapped in a light blue book wrap so they are easy to identify. Please do not remove the book wrap!  Watch your due dates on these. It is very important that loaned material be returned to the lending institution by the due date. If you need the materials longer, be sure to request a renewal. Photocopies do not need to be returned.

We will make every attempt to obtain all requested items. However, in some cases, it may be necessary  to go directly to the author. The following types of materials are difficult to obtain through Interlibrary Loan: 

  • Recently published books.
  • Entire volumes or issues of periodicals.
  • Loose-leaf materials
  • Single volumes of multi-volume sets.
  • Reference works or Reserve materials.
  • Rare books or original manuscripts.
  • Entire Newspapers.
  • Some doctoral dissertations and master's theses.

Requesting Interlibrary Loans
If materials cannot be located at the Law Library or in the ASU Library Catalog, we will request the items from libraries outside of ASU.  An Interlibrary Loan form must be completed for each item needed. This form can be filled out and submitted electronically. To complete the form: 

  • Verify that the item is not available through ASU Libraries. Please indicate if the item is in the ASU Library Catalog but is not obtainable (missing, checked out, non-circ, article at a Tempe campus library, etc.).
  • Provide your name and email where you can be contacted quickly. We may have to contact you for more information and will notify you as soon as the materials arrive.
  • Check "Law Journal" or "Jurimetrics".
  • Check "loan" (book, original work) or "photocopy" (journal article).
  • Complete the bibliographic information with as much information as you have. (Book author, title, publisher, journal title, article author and title, volume, issue number, date, page numbers, etc.


Relocating Materials to the Journal Offices

Most circulating Law Library books can be checked out to the Law Journal or Jurimetrics account and relocated to the journal office.  Books from other ASU Libraries cannot be checked out to the journal accounts, but must be checked out to the requestor's library account.  Please be aware that ASU Libraries books are subject to recall and you will be responsible for any fines that accrue.

Library carts may be used to transport items to the Law Journal office, but should be unloaded and immediately returned to the Circulation Desk.

Items that cannot be relocated to the journal offices include:

  • Study Skills Collection materials
  • Reserve Items
  • Non-circulating materials (multi-volume sets, looseleafs, etc.)
These materials must be photocopied or used in the library.

Returning Materials after Cite Checking Is Complete
All materials relocated to the journal offices must be returned to the Law Library Circulation Desk when the cite check is complete.  The journal offices must be cleared of library materials at the end of the year.


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