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Law Journal Staff Procedures and Tips

This guide describes library services and policies for USC law journal staff and provides helpful tips for source collection.

Library Policies and Research Help

Please understand that our ability to provide physical materials is severely limited at this time. Because of current safety laws, we cannot allow journal staff to enter the library. 

This detailed guide provides how-to instructions for finding complex sources such as legislative history materials and other things you may not have encountered before. It's a lifesaver if you're trying to pull sources after hours and don't have access to a Reference Librarian!

This quick reference guide contains a brief review of information you may have forgotten since 1L Legal Research class, such as the categories of primary law sources, tips for constructing a full-text search, etc.  It also provides some good online sources and databases where you can find many legal materials.  Finally, it lists several legal research resources you can consult if you still need more help.

Online Access from Your Home or Laptop

If you need to access any law or USC databases from home or from your laptop, you will need to log in using the Proxy Server. It's the same login you use for Blackboard. If your login is not working, please contact John Kelly (jkelly@law.usc.edu) for help.

Interlibrary Loan Services

Borrowing Materials that USC Does Not Own

For health and safety reasons, most other university libraries across the country are closed, and it is difficult to obtain physical materials. We will continue trying, but if you can identify a digital version of an item that will work, including scans of a book chapter, we may have a better chance of obtaining it.

If you cannot locate an item at any USC library, the Law Library may still be able to obtain it for you through interlibrary loan (ILL).

First, use the online catalogs for the Law Library, the USC Libraries, and WorldCat.org to make sure a needed book or journal/magazine/newspaper is not available in an acceptable digital format at any USC library.

Note: ILL departments at USC (main campus, non-law) Libraries and Health Sciences Libraries will not fill ILL requests for any law school members.

USC Law Library's ILL service:

  • E-mail ILL requests to ill@law.usc.edu.
  • Receive confirmation of submitted requests from the law library.
  • Electronically-obtained ILL materials will be delivered within approximately two weeks from date of request, or as soon as we can obtain them, as attachments via e-mail (or shared via Dropbox link if PDF is larger than 25MB).
  • Read the details of the Law Library's ILL Policies for more information, but keep in mind that we are unable to provide print materials at this time

Combining and Editing PDF Files

Sometimes you may need to scan documents in smaller parts and then combine them later—e.g., when you need to scan and email a document over 25MB, or if a long line of people has formed at the scanner, and your student colleagues wish to scan some materials before you complete a large project.

Several options are available that allow you to scan and send documents in smaller files and then combine them into one large file afterward.  We have outlined some of these options, below.  All except Adobe Acrobat Pro are free, at least to combine files.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be aware that when you use the free PDF editing websites, you are uploading data to them, which the owners of the websites might choose to keep and/or use. Although this is probably fine for law journal sources, please do not upload any personal or confidential information to third-party websites.

Adobe Acrobat

If you have access to Adobe Acrobat, you can combine PDF files and perform many other editing tasks. The example below demonstrates the process for combining PDF files in Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro:

~OR~

Free Online PDF Editing Websites

If you do not have access to Adobe Acrobat, we have found the following online PDF editors that will allow you to combine multiple PDF documents into a single file:

  • SmallPDF Easy to use; drag your PDF files into a box and arrange them however you want before merging them (up to 5G). The site also offers more services for a subscription fee.
  • CombinePDF - Drag and drop up to 20 files to merge into a single PDF.
  • I Love PDF - Drag and drop files to merge into a single PDF. 
  • PDFMerge - Upload multiples files to merge. Also has a downloadable version to work offline.

PDF Splitting and Editing

Adobe Acrobat, as well as some of the above websites, will also allow you to split a single PDF file into multiple files or perform some editing tasks.  Some features on the websites are free, but some may require payment.