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Cite-Checking Research Guide

Online Materials

You have access to a number of electronic databases containing books and periodicals in PDF (which provides the same page images found in the print versions). Some are available through the USC Law Library website and some through the website of the university's central library system (USC Libraries). You can access these resources from any computer on campus. You can also access these resources remotely through one of the following methods:

  1. Go to the <> and then enter your USC ID and password (the same ones you use to access Blackboard); OR
  2. First select a resource from the law library or USC Libraries website and then enter your USC ID and password after clicking on the login link; OR
  3. Use the VPN (Virtual Private Network) software (for instructions on setting this up, go to ITS' VPN Overview page).

If you have any questions or problems with remote access, please contact John Kelly, Assistant Director for Student Computing Services (213-740-2630; or the law school's Computing Help Desk (213-740-2571).

Online Books

The USC Libraries subscribes to a limited number of online books. These can generally be found via the HOMER catalog. If you search for a book title on HOMER, and it is available electronically through the USC Libraries' subscription, you will see a link to the electronic version.

Google Books <>is an alternative tool you can use to search for the full text of a book. Several years ago Google began scanning the books held at a number of major research libraries throughout the country. For books still protected by copyright, the number of pages provided will typically be limited. Additionally, Google does not allow you to download or print pages from the books available on Google Books.  Finally, you may be asked to create an account with Google after viewing a certain number of pages.

Finally, the Law Library provides access to some electronic books, including a number of older legal texts and treatises, through its subscriptions to HeinOnline's Legal Classics Library (which includes more than 5,500 classic legal texts) and The Making of Modern Law:  Legal Treatises 1800-1926 (which includes over 21,000 legal texts on both U.S. and British law). To find electronic books purchased or subscribed to by the Law Library, you can use the Law Library's catalog, ADVOCAT, which provides links to some of the e-books.

Online Articles

You can access a wide range of periodicals online through the USC Libraries' "Journals" page. Click on HOMER after clicking on "Search Library Catalogs" on the main Law Library webpage. From here, drop down the "Research" menu and choose "Journals".  Also, before entering the name of a periodical in the Search box, check to see that only the "Journals" box is checked off so that you are only searching for periodical titles and not for books or other types of publications.

In the search box, you can enter the name or part of the name of the periodical (NOT the article title). If the periodical is available electronically through a USC subscription, you will see one or more links listed under your periodical title. When you click on a link, you will be taken to a page where you can browse for your article by volume and page number. Keep in mind that a particular electronic subscription may only include certain volumes of a periodical.

The following is a screen shot showing sample entries for a few journals on criminal justice. Note that the entries include information as to which electronic resources contain the journals and the dates of coverage.

You can also use the publicly-accessible Google Scholar search engine <> to search for articles and papers in a variety of disciplines. Google Scholar offers a relatively simple way to search broadly for scholarly literature and aims to rank articles by their relevance and probable value to researchers. Search results on Google Scholar will include both freely available articles on the web as well as links to articles from USC subscription databases. Additionally, for articles only available in print form at USC, Google Scholar will link you to the USC library catalogs to help you find the articles on campus.