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Secondary Sources (Including the Internet) What? Why? How?

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Presentation on theme: "Secondary Sources (Including the Internet) What? Why? How?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Secondary Sources (Including the Internet) What? Why? How?

2 What Are Secondary Sources? An exclusive definition: Everything except cases, statutes and regulations. An inclusive definition: dictionaries, encyclopedias, treatises, ALR, law review articles, casebooks, outlines, nutshells, hornbooks, etc.

3 Why Should You Begin Research with Secondary Sources? Cite primary law (cases, statutes, regulations, treaties) Explain discuss, and interpret Provide background and overviews in unfamiliar areas Answer many common questions

4 What Are They Good For? Methodology ◦Analysis of problems ◦Research Words & phrases for use in searching ◦Terms of art ◦Common expressions of concepts

5 The Best Reasons! The work has been done for you Benefit from an expert’s guidance to identify and understand the law Save time Save money Become an efficient & proficient researcher

6 Examples Dictionaries Encyclopedias: AmJur & CJS American Law Reports (ALR) Treatises ◦Chisum on Patents [LexisNexis] ◦McCarthy on Trademarks [Westlaw] ◦Nimmer on Copyright [LexisNexis]

7 More Examples Law review and newsletter articles Casebooks and hornbooks Formbooks Practice manuals

8 How Do You Identify Good Secondary Sources? Consult a legal research guide ◦Patent Law ResourcesPatent Law Resources ◦Research in Copyright LawResearch in Copyright Law ◦Trademark Law ResourcesTrademark Law Resources Browse LexisNexis & Westlaw practice area pagesLexisNexisWestlaw Harvard’s Legal Treatises by SubjectLegal Treatises by Subject Ask a librarian

9 Using Treatises Browse the table of contents (front of book) Browse the index (back of book) Scan table of cases or statutes Follow references to relevant sections or chapters Update with pockets parts or online supplements

10 Print vs. Online P ersonal preference Availability Cost Efficiency Usability

11 Clicking on the hypertext takes you to the text of that chapter. The only way to search then is by browsing the text. No online index. Expand the Table of Contents by clicking in the box to the right of selected chapters, then Expand Selections

12 Table of Contents from Trade Secrets: A Practitioner’s Guide

13 Index from Trade Secrets A Practitioner’s Guide

14 Text Selection from Trade Secrets: A Practitioner’s Guide

15 AmJur2d & CJS Comprehensive set of brief articles Arranged in standard encyclopedia format (A-Z) with an index at the end of the set Rarely cited as authority Use encyclopedias ◦To get an overview of an area ◦To start finding cases Pocket parts or online

16 Law Reviews & Newsletters Useful for ◦New issues ◦New thinking on old issues ◦Focus and fine points Scholarly v. newsy Mine the footnotes

17 Finding Articles Indexes ◦LegalTrac ◦Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals Full-text searching ◦LexisNexis ◦Westlaw Citators: find articles that cite to an article

18 American Law Reports ALR Contains articles (called “annotations”) about specific area of the law Comprehensive coverage Cites to relevant primary materials and to other practice materials Analyzes, interprets, explains Tracks recent trends and developments

19 ALR Annotations may be cited Use the Quick Index and/or long Index Search full-text Updated by pocket parts and online

20 What About the Internet? Proceed with caution Government websites are reliable and authoritative Determine if the source is trustworthy Print or download important documents Supplements other research; not a substitute for other secondary sources

21 What About the Internet? Few of the secondary sources in the Library or on LexisNexis and Westlaw are available for free on the Internet

22 Some Final Thoughts 1. Update status of primary sources 2. Evaluate the sources you use 3. Keep a research log 4. Create Bluebook citations as you go 5. Take advantage of work done by others 6. Ask a Reference librarian

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