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Using LegalTrac to Find Legal Articles

Prepared by Diane Murley, SIU Law Library, Fall 2005


LegalTrac is an electronic version of the Current Law Index (Index K8 C8). It provides access to more than 875 legal periodicals from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. LegalTrac has indexing for all major law reviews, legal newspapers, specialty law publications, bar association journals, and thousands of law-related articles from general interest publications. LegalTrac includes only selective full text. This is NOT a full text database. Coverage begins from 1980 and the database is updated daily. Because of license restrictions, LegalTrac is restricted to SIU Law Users.

Using LegalTrac

  1. Open an Internet browser (e.g., Internet Explorer) using a computer on the School of Law network and go to:
  2. At the InfoTrac screen for Southern Illinois School of Law Library, click on Proceed.
  3. Click on one of the five search options listed in the left column: "Subject Guide Search," "Relevance Search," "Keyword Search," "Advanced Search," and "Journal Search."
    • A Subject Guide Search searches the list of topics that LegalTrac uses to describe what an article is about. When your search is successful, you will be taken to a list of Subjects containing your search words, with the number of references found for each. Click on buttons to view a list of articles on a subject, to see related subjects, or to narrow your search results by topical subdivision.
    • Both the Relevance Search, and the Keyword Search retrieve citations to articles by matching words that occur in the titles, citations, and abstracts of the articles themselves. Your results from a Relevance Search will display with the best matches first. Your results from a Keyword Search will be displayed from newest to oldest.
    • With an Advanced Search, you can search for articles by using one or more indexes, such as author, subject, and title, using drop-down menus and search boxes.
    • Journal Search allows you to retrieve a list of all available articles for a specific journal issue displayed in page number order.
  4. Enter search terms in the entry box, and click on Search.
  5. A list of article citations that match your search terms is displayed. For some articles, you can view abstracts or full text of the article. You can mark items of interest by clicking on the check box to the left of each. Once you finish marking your entries, click on View Mark List in the left column.
  6. To print your marked entries, click on Print or E-mail in the left column. To reformat the marked articles for printing from your Internet browser, use the radio buttons to restrict the contents you want to print to the citation, abstract, or full text of the article, if available. When you click on Submit Print Request, the browser will display a printer-friendly version of the items in your Mark List and pop up a Print window.
    • To save your marked entries as a text file, select Save As from the Internet browser File menu, select the directory in which you want to save the file on your computer, fill in a file name, select file type Plain Text (*.txt), and click on Save.
  7. To e-mail your marked entries, click on Print or E-mail in the left column. Use the radio buttons to restrict the contents you want to e-mail to the citation, abstract, or full text of the article, if available. Type in the e-mail address to which you want to send the items in your Mark List and click on Submit E-mail Request. Each entry is mailed as a separate e-mail message.
  8. When you are finished with your Mark List, click on Clear Mark List in the left column.
  9. To return to the full list of citations, click on Back to ... Citations in the left column. To begin a new search, click on Back to ... Search in the left column.
  10. If you need help at any point when you are using LegalTrac, click on Help at the top of the left column. You will be taken to a page with tips about using the LegalTrac page from which you clicked. From that page, you can click Help Index for a list of other Help topics.
  11. When you are finished with LegalTrac, close your Internet browser.

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