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Law & Legal Studies: Guide to Legal Materials

Legal Encyclopedias

To find legal information on particular subject areas it is ALMOST ALWAYS best to start with a legal encyclopedia.  Encyclopedias summarize what courts and laws have said and list specific court cases and status in footnotes.


     American Jurisprudence 2d (AmJur 2d).  Call no.: GOV LAW  KF 154 .A42


     Ohio Jurisprudence 3d (OJur 3d).  Call no.: GOV LAW  KFO 65 .O35 1977



Start with the general index at the end of the encyclopedia.  Look up your subject (experiment with different terms).  The index gives you a subject chapter name and a section number.  To find out what the abbreviations used in the main index mean, look in the table of abbreviations in the front of any index volume.  Look up the chapter name alphabetically in the main volumes of the encyclopedia.

Each chapter is divided into numbered sections.  There is a detailed outline at the beginning of each chapter and a chapter index at the end of the volume for further help in finding what you want.  ALWAYS LOOK IN THE POCKET SUPPLEMENTS to each volume for that latest material.


The first title in each category is a code.  These contain all current laws in effect with amendments incorporated.  The second title in each category is a compilation of laws for each year.  To find all current laws on a subject, use a code.  Look up your subject in the index volume(s) of the code.  Go to the title number and section indicated.  ALWAYS CHECK IN THE POCKET SUPPLEMENTS.  To find U.S. laws by name use the "Popular Name Table" in the last volume of the USCA index.


Court Cases

United States:

     Supreme Court:

          U.S. Reports (US).  Call no.: GOV LAW  KF 101 .A212

          United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition (L Ed, L Ed 2d).  Call no.: GOV LAW  KF 101 .A313

          Supreme Court Reporter (S Ct).  Call no.: GOV LAW  KF 101 .A322

     Appellate courts:

          Federal Reporter (F, Fed, F2d, F3d).  Call no: GOV LAW  KF 105 .F432

     District Courts:

          Federal Supplement (F Supp, FSupp2d).  Call no: GOV LAW  KF 120 .F42


     Northeaster Reporter (NE, NE2d).  Call no: GOV LAW  KF 135 .N6

     Includes all published Ohio appellate and supreme court cases, plus Ill., Ind., N.Y., and Mass.


Digests are indices to court cases.  Follow the instructions for using encyclopedias.  The general indices are called Descriptive Word Indexes.  Digests list court cases by subject.  Once you find the right subject heading and number in one digest, the same subject and number can be used in any other digest.  To locate cases by name use the volumes called Table of cases.  ALWAYS CHECK POCKET SUPPLEMENTS.

United States:

     Supreme Court Digest.  Call no: GOV LAW  KF 101 .U522

     Federal Practice Digest 4th.  Call no.: GOV LAW  KF 127 .W48.  (All U.S. courts. 1980's-)

     Federal Practice Digest 3rd.  (All U.S. courts, 1975-1980's)

     Federal Practice Digest 2d.  (All U.S. courts, 1962-1974)

     Modern Federal Practice Digest.  (All U.S. courts, 1939-1961)


     Ohio Digest.  Call no: GOV LAW  KFO 57 .W4.  (All published Ohio cases.)


Use Shepard's to find out if a particular court case has been appealed and subsequently reversed or overruled and to find additional cases relating to a given case.  Match the citation of your case to the citation tables in Shepard's to get related citations.  Be sure to use the case volumes when dealing with cases.  There are also statute volumes for finding cases relating to specific statutes.


United States:

     Shephard's U.S. Citations.  Call no.: GOV LAW  KF 101.2 .S54.  (For cases with citations US, LEd, LEd2d, SCt.)

     Shepard's Federal Citations.  Call no.: GOV LAW  KF 105.2 .S42.  (For cases wth citations F, F2d, F3d, FSupp, FSupp2d.)


     Shepard's Ohio Citations.  Call no.: GOV LAW  KFO 59 .S5.  (For all Ohio citations.)