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Research Assistants' Guide

Research Essentials

College of Law Databases
The Law Library provides access to an essential set of databases comprising primary, secondary, and historical legal research. (Please be aware that Westlaw, Lexis+, and Bloomberg Law all require individual passwords; if you have questions about setting up your accounts, email the Law Library via Ask a Law Librarian.) Here are some of the highlights in the collection:  

  • HeinOnline:  This resource archives current and historical legal content, including nearly comprehensive access to law reviews and journals, historical primary law, current and historical regulatory provisions, classic treatises, and international materials. Most documents are presented in PDF format, retaining original graphic elements and pagination.

  • VitalLaw:  This database has a strong focus on tax, securities, banking, bankruptcy, and related areas of law. It contains both primary authority as well as secondary sources like news, commentary, white papers, and expert analysis.

  • ProQuest Legislative Insight:  Research involving statutes will typically benefit from an exploration of the legislative history leading to their enactment. ProQuest Legislative Insight is the premiere source of federal legislative history and enables users to quickly find the text of bills, reports, hearings, and other materials connected to particular statutes.

A-Z Databases
This list is maintained by the ASU Library. It can be searched alphabetically, by subject, by content type, or by keyword. It contains hundreds of databases concentrating on specific areas of study as well as more general interests. All current ASU students can access any of the databases listed therein.

Google Scholar
This website indexes academic articles as well as a limited number of cases. It can be searched by keyword, author, or date. Many results are open source, linking to webpages or PDF files. If you see text indicating "Get It! @ASU" next to a result, you will able to access the material directly through the catalog.

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is an online repository of preprint and published articles in a variety of disciplines. SSRN primarily focuses on business, economics, and law. However, it also includes scholarship in other areas like physical sciences, life sciences, and humanities. Most articles link to PDF files. It can be searched by title, abstract, keyword, or author.

Law Librarians' Role

Librarians' Work with Faculty
The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library frequently assist faculty with research projects and are thus well-positioned to know the scope and direction of current research interests. The librarians also maintain awareness of the latest scholarly activity by browsing periodicals and books.

We Can Help You!
Because our reference librarians are directly involved in faculty research, they can also be a valuable source of information when you have questions. The librarians can provide advice regarding the most effective strategies to expedite your research in both legal and interdisciplinary areas. They can provide training on a variety of subjects—from searching the catalog, to accessing databases, to tracking down hard-to-find resources. They can even help you navigate the Bluebook if your assignment involves legal citation.

Who to Contact?
To request research assistance, please email Tara Mospan, Associate Director of the Library and Head of Research Services.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I check out books in my faculty member's name?
If you need to check out library books as part of your work as a research assistant, we encourage you to talk with your faculty member about approving you as a proxy borrower. This will allow you to transact library business, including borrowing materials, using the faculty member's name. To apply, submit the completed, signed form to the Circulation Desk on the 3rd floor or email it to Carrie Henteleff.

In addition, please familiarize yourself with our Borrowing Policies. If you have any questions, contact the Law Library Circulation Desk, 480-965-6144. 

How do I request resources?
If a resource you need is held in print at any other ASU library, please consult the Requesting Materials guide. You can request scans or have books sent to the Law Library for checkout. If you are a proxy borrower, you will not be able to place requests through the faculty member's name using the catalog. To place a request as a proxy borrower, please contact the Circulation Desk or place the request under your name and let us know when you come to check out the material.

If a resource you need is not available at any ASU library, we can often obtain it from another library through Interlibrary Loan. ILL requests can be placed through the catalog or by submitting an Interlibrary Loan Request.

How do I renew books?
Renewals for eligible items will be automatically processed five days before the due date and, for most materials, are unlimited. Please note that ILL books are not automatically renewed. To request an ILL renewal, submit an Interlibrary Loan Renewal Request.

For circulation or interlibrary loan assistance, please email Carrie Henteleff.