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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help.
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:
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 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.
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: