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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

Cite-Checking Research Guide

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!

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 ( for help.

Borrowing Materials USC Does Not Own: Interlibrary Loan Services

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 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
  • 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. 

Scanning Materials to PDF

There are at least three places you can scan pages for free—two in the Law Library and one at Doheny Library.

  • The Law Library's large "KIC" scanner, located on the library's third floor;
  • The Law Library's flatbed (small book/document) scanner, located in the Computer Lab (next door to the Service Counter); or
  • Doheny library's copier/scanner, located on the ground floor, behind the service counter.

The Law Library's scanners will save scanned items to your USB drive or transmit via e-mail. Doheny's scanner only e-mails the scanned pages.

Note:  Scanning large files can be challenging. The scanners may crash or will not e-mail documents larger than 25MB (more than about 30–50 pages, depending on the resolution).  Therefore, avoid scanning more than 50 pages at a time, unless you are saving them directly to a USB drive.  To learn how to scan smaller numbers of pages and then combine them into a single PDF file afterward, see the next section on Combining and Editing PDF Files.

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 and Foxit PDF Editor are free, at least to combine files.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be aware that when you use 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.

PDF Editing Software

If you have access to a PDF editor such as Adobe Acrobat or Foxit, you can combine PDF files and perform many other editing tasks. The example below demonstrates the process for combining PDF files in Adobe Acrobat:


Free Online PDF Editing Websites

If you do not have access to a premium PDF editor, 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

PDF editors, 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.

Copyright Issues

When copying and scanning materials, you should be mindful of copyright issues. The US Code sets out some situations in which the use of a copyrighted work may still constitute "Fair Use." 17 USC § 107 Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use. The USC Libraries have also created a helpful guide to help you understand Fair Use.

USC Digital Accessibility