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Using the SIU Law Library Website for Legal Research

Prepared by Diane Murley, SIU Law Library, Summer 2006

If you are not sure how to start

The law library has a number of Research and How-to Guides on how to use the law library, basic legal research, and more advanced legal research topics to help you get started with your research. If you don't find what you need among the Guides, try our Archive of Research Tips.

If you need to find a good database or website

The law library subscribes to a number of specialized databases to help you with your legal research. Some of them provide online access to resources that are not available on Westlaw or LexisNexis. Some of them provide much better access to the resources. See a complete list of Subscription Electronic Resources.

Access to most of these resources is limited to computers on the law school network or the SIUC campus network. Restrictions for each resource are included on the list. If you are affiliated with SIU, you can access campus-wide resources from off-campus using your SIUC VPN. To access resources that are restricted to the law school network, you must be a member of the SIU Law faculty or staff, or an SIU Law School student, using your Law VPN.

If you need to find a good free or low-cost website

The law library staff has compiled many pages of websites that we recommend for legal research. For each website, we provide the URL and a short description. Most of these are free, although a few charge a small fee for some resources. All can be used anywhere you have access to the internet. To find a free or low-cost website, choose General Legal Websites, Topical Legal Websites, U.S. Gov't Information Websites, or State & Local Gov't Info Websites.

If you need to find a particular item

To determine which books or journal titles are available at the SIU law library, search the SIUC Law Library catalog. If the law library doesn't have what you need, see this guide on Finding Books and Videos for other options.

If you need to find nonlegal materials

Sometimes you need to do interdisciplinary research or find nonlegal materials to support a legal argument or analysis. SIU's main library, Morris Library, provides access to many databases, indexes, and other electronic resources through its website.


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