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Journal Cite Checking Guide: Getting Started


Getting Started
     Tips for Success
     Ask a Librarian
     InterLibrary Loan (ILL)
     What do I do if I have a bad citation?

Locating Resources
     Journal Articles
     Newspaper Articles
     Federal Statutes and Session Laws
     Federal Legislative Materials
     Federal Regulations
     Federal Cases and Court Documents
     Arizona Statutes and Regulations
     Arizona Cases and Court Documents

Legal Citation (Bluebook)
     What is the Bluebook?
     Understanding Bluebook Citations
     Journal Articles


  • 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.


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

When placing ILL requests for a cite check, please be aware of the following:

  • Scans are usually received much faster than loans.  If only specific pages are needed, or you just need to verify the author and publication date, place a scan request instead.
  • We make every effort to obtain requested material as quickly as we can, but we do not place rush requests except in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Please coordinate with your editor to avoid multiple requests for the same material.
  • Books requested through ILL cannot be transferred to another student’s library account and must be picked up and checked out by the person who placed the request.

To place an ILL request, use the Request External Copy link through the library catalog or fill out the ILL Request Form.

Please see our Interlibrary Loan page for more details.  For questions, please contact Carrie Henteleff, 480-965-7114.


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 a Librarian. We love to find hard to find sources.


The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are happy to help you find or navigate research resources. 

Librarians are available 9am-4pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-2pm on Friday by phone or by email.

Reference: (480) 965-7161
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Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law (COL) Students