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Journal Cite Checking Guide

Tips for Success

  • Ask for assistance early and often from the Reference Librarians!
  • Lexis and Westlaw are not the best sources for cite-checking because they rarely provide documents in PDF format.
  • Use this librarian’s trick if you think there is something wrong with the citation: using the citation information that you have, run a search in the Westlaw or Lexis law reviews database to find another article that has already cited to your source. 
  • Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations and Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations can be used to decipher uncommon or difficult citations. 
  • If you can't find a website, blog or other online source cited by the author, try using the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine is a digital archive of publicly available web pages.

Interlibrary Loan

If a resource you need is not available through the Law or ASU libraries, we can request it from another library through interlibrary loan (ILL).

You can request books, articles, chapters, pages, or other materials needed in support of your academic and journal assignment needs.

To place an ILL request, fill out the ILL Request Form or use the ‘Request from an external library’ option when searching in the library catalog.

Articles, chapter scans, and other digital items are usually received within 1-5 days and will be sent to your ASU email address. Books and other physical items can take up to 2 weeks. You will receive an email when the item is available to be checked out.

Please see the Interlibrary Loan page for more details or contact us at with questions.

What Do I Do If I Have a Bad Citation?

If you have an article citation that is missing certain pieces of information (e.g., an article citation without a volume number and the year of publication) or if it appears your citation has incorrect information, you can try to do some detective work to obtain a better citation. Both Google Books and Google Scholar and law journal databases/sources on LexisNexis and Westlaw can be useful tools in these situations. Use as your search terms the keywords from the citation that you believe to be accurate to see if you can either pull up the article directly or find a source that has accurately cited that article.

You can also try using one or more of ASU Library's Research Databases to see if you can obtain a better citation. Some of the periodical databases accessible from these sites provide full-text coverage in PDF for all articles included in the databases, while others only provide citations or a mix of citations and full text (in PDF and/or non-PDF).

Remember to Ask Law a Librarian. We love to find hard to find sources.