Periodical in Law Libraries

The follow definition of Periodical is of use in law library research: A publication that is produced at regular intervals, or “periodically”, and is intended to appear indefinitely. Generally, the frequency of publication is weekly, monthly, quarterly.

Using Electronic Resources to Find (Non-Legal) Periodical Articles

On occasion, law students and legal researchers may need to conduct research outside the realm of traditional legal materials. Periodicals (magazines, journals, and the like) provide a rich source of scholarly and nonscholarly articles of general interest or in specific subject matter areas and disciplines. This entry is designed to assist researchers in locating periodical materials online through the hundreds of e-resources available.

As there are a variety of ways to conduct online research of periodicals, the instructions in this guide are by no means exclusive. However, they are intended to help you conduct your research and find relevant materials as efficiently and completely as possible.


Libraries have numerous subscriptions to electronic databases covering virtually
every discipline and subject matter area. These databases (sometimes referred to as “aggregators”) collect and index thousands of journals (scholarly and non-scholarly), magazines and conference or symposium materials that can be viewed and downloaded in full-text.

While the interfaces and search screens vary depending on the database vendor, the general
procedures for searching databases are quite consistent. Most databases, for example, feature a simple or basic search screen as well as advanced search options, allowing the user to search by key words, title, author and other parameters.

Doing Research in a Specific Database

If you know the name of the database you want to search, you can easily access it (or at least
determine whether your library subscribes to it) from your Library web site.

Doing Research on a Specific Topic or Issue

More often, researchers donÂ’t have a particular database in mind and instead need to find
articles on a certain issue or in a specific subject area. LibrariesÂ’ vast subscription base provides multiple options for conducting research in electronic databases that are subject-specific
or multi-disciplinary.

  • Start from the online catalog of the Library, and lick on “Article Databases” or similar on the screen.
  • Select “Databases by Subject Area.” These broad topics are then broken down into
    specific disciplines, depending on the Library; for example, under “Humanities,” you will find humanities-related subtopics ranging from Anthropology to Women’s Studies. Click on the
    subtopic youÂ’re interested in, and the screen should display a list of relevant databases
    along with brief descriptions of each. If you are doing inter-disciplinary or more broad-based research, there are sometimes “General and Multidisciplinary Databases” at the bottom of the list.
  • To access a database, click on the link.
  • For a list of frequently used databases in different subject matter areas, please see
    at the bottom of this entry.


  • Google Scholar: It is a GoogleÂ’s attempt to provide free and easy access to “peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations.” The default search on Google Scholar features a single search box – just like on Google. However, by clicking “Advanced Scholar Search” to the right of the box, you can open an advanced search screen which allows you to search by multiple key words and phrases and limit your search by subject matter area.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in The DOAJ provides full-text versions of articles from over 2,000 scientific and scholarly journals worldwide. Because the aim of DOAJ is to promote free and open access to scholarly literature, there is no charge to read/download the materials.

Legal Databases

  • National Criminal Justice Reference Service Abstracts (NCJRS). Description: Contains summaries of more than 150,000 criminal justice publications, including Federal,
    State, and local government reports, books, research reports, journal articles, and unpublished research, since the early 1970Â’s. Format: Articles/abstracts, government resources. Coverage: Not specified. Access:
  • HeinOnline. Description: Full-text searchable database of law reviews and legal periodicals. Coverage for each periodical is from the beginning issue to the most current allowed under the contract. (1) Format: Full-text articles. Coverage: Varies
  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (RLGÂ’s Eureka). Description: Multilingual index to law-related articles and book reviews published worldwide. Also analyzed are the contents of legal essays, festschrifts, melanges, and congress reports. Covers international (public and private), comparative, and municipal law of countries other than the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Australia. Updated quarterly. Format: Index. Coverage: 1985-
  • Index to Legal Periodical Literature (Jones and Chipman). Description: Index to articles from over 900 legal and general periodicals, from 1786-1922. Available as part of the 19th Century Masterfile database. Format: Index. Coverage: 1786-1922
  • Index to Legal Periodicals & Books (H.W. Wilson). Description: Provides international coverage and access to scholarly articles, symposia, jurisdictional surveys, court decisions, legislation, books and book reviews in over 1,000 journals and legal resources. Format: Abstracts and indexes; articles; laws & regulations Coverage: 1982- (Note: for sources from 1918-1981, use Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective)
  • LegalTrac (Gale Group). Description: Indexes approximately 800 legal publications and contains law-related articles from an additional 1,000 periodicals, including major law reviews, legal newspapers, law specialty publications, and bar association journals.Format: Abstracts and indexes; articles; laws & regulations. Coverage: 1980-present.



  • ABI/Inform (available through Westlaw only; ID/password required). Description: Bibliographic records and summaries of articles appearing in business and management
    periodicals worldwide that cover a wide range of business aspects, including company histories, competitive intelligence, and new product development. Format: Index with abstracts; some full-text availability. Coverage: 1971-present.
  • Business A.R.T.S. (available through Westlaw). Description: Contains abstracts of articles from scholarly business publications that focus on the social, cultural, political, and psychological aspects of business. Selected full-text articles are also available. Format: Index with abstracts; some full text availability. Coverage: 1976-present.
  • Business Source Premier (EBSCO). Description: Provides full text for more than 7,400 scholarly business journals and other sources, including full text for nearly 1,100 peer-reviewed business publications. Format: Abstracts and indexes, full-text articles. Coverage: Varies.
  • Econlit. Description: Produced by the American Economic Association, EconLit provides bibliographic citations, and some abstracts, to the international literature on economics since 1969. Corresponds to the printed Journal of Economic Literature and the Index of Economic Articles. Format: Abstracts & indexes, article databases, book reviews. Coverage: 1969-present.
  • Factiva (Dow Jones Reuters Business Interactive). Description: Provides access (mostly full text) to nearly 9,000 business and general news sources, including U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, wire services, Web sites, photographs, and trade and industry publications. Also, company profiles and company-to-company/companyto-industry financial comparisons, stock price data, and stock charting. Coverage: Varies. Format: Articles, company profiles, electronic text collections.
  • Marketline Business Information Centre (formerly Datamonitor). Description: A searchable online business information service providing access to profiles on over 10,000 companies worldwide, over 2,000 industries and numerous countries. Format: Profiles


  • Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Description: Provides indexing of periodicals and yearbook articles relating to education, including adult education, arts, athletics, library science, prayer in schools, parent-teacher relations, secondary education, government funding, and special education. Format: Indexes, abstracts/articles. Coverage: 1983- (complete full text from 1/96)
  • ERIC (Cambridge Scientific Abstracts). Description: Searchable index to journal articles from 1969 to the present and ERIC documents since 1966 on educational research and practice. Allows access to the full-text of most ERIC documents from 1996-present. Format: Abstracts and indexes, articles. Coverage: 1966-present.


  • Medline Plus (National Library of Medicine). Description: Provides access to extensive information about specific diseases and conditions and both generic and brand-name drugs. Includes links to consumer health information from the National Institutes of Health, a variety of medical dictionaries, a medical encyclopedia, several directories of hospitals and physicians, health information in Spanish and other languages, and information about clinical trials. Format: Abstracts and indexes; article databases; dictionaries; government resources
  • PubMed. Description: Provides access to the PubMed database of bibliographic information, which is drawn primarily from Medline, an index of articles from about 3,900 journals covering s of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the preclinical sciences. Format: Abstracts and indexes; articles; government resources. Coverage: 1996-present.


  • America: History and Life (ABC-Clio). Description: Index and abstracts for articles on the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Format: Index and abstracts. Coverage: 1964-present.
  • CQ Electronic Library. Description: Created and hosted by the CQ Press, CQEL is the definitive reference resource for research in American government, politics, history, public policy, and current affairs. Suite includes the online version of CQ Researcher (and Spanish-language edition); CQ Congress Collection; CQ Supreme Court Collection, CQ Public Affairs Collection; and CQ Voting and Elections Collection. Format: Full-text articles, documents and government resources. Coverage: Depends on resource type.
  • Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS) International. Description: Contains references to more than 553,300 journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, publications of international agencies, microfiche, Internet material, and more. Includes publications from over 120 countries; some of the indexed materials are published in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Format: Index and abstracts; citations. Coverage: 1972-present.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (CSA). Description: Provides citations, abstracts, and indexing of the international serials literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration/policy. Over 1,000 serial titles, roughly two-thirds of which are published outside the U.S. Format: Index, abstracts and citations. Coverage: 1975-present.


  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index (ISI Web of Knowledge). Description: A multidisciplinary index covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities. Includes 1,144 of the worldÂ’s leading arts and humanities journals, and indexes individually selected, relevant items from over 6,800 major science and social science journals. Disciplines covered
    include Archaeology; Architecture, Art, Classics, Dance; Film, History, Languages,
    Linguistics, Literature, Religion, Theater, Television & Film. Format: Abstracts and indexes
    Coverage: 1975-present.
  • MLA International Bibliography. Description: Indexes journals, dissertations, collected works in the fields of literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. Format: Index. Coverage: 1963-present.
  • PhilosopherÂ’s Index. Description: Bibliographic database with informative, author-written abstracts covering scholarly research in all areas of philosophy. Includes journal articles, books, book chapters, and book reviews; monitors over 550 journals from more than 40 countries. Format: Index with abstracts. Coverage: 1940-present.


Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) Online. Description: Bibliographic citations, full-text articles, literary works and other materials relating to Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean basin, the United States-Mexico border region, and Hispanics in the United States. Sources include more than 500 key social science and humanities journals published throughout the world. Format: Citations; full-text articles; documents; literary works
Coverage: 1970-present.


  • PsycARTICLES (CSA). Description: Provides access to full-text articles from journals published by the American Psychological Association, the APA Educational Publishing Foundation, the Canadian Psychological. Association and Hogrefe & Huber. Format: Full-text articles, citations and abstracts. Coverage: 1985-present (unless otherwise specified).
  • PsycINFO (CSA). Description: Provides access to international literature in psychology and related disciplines. Includes literature from an array of disciplines related to psychology such as psychiatry, education, business, medicine, nursing, pharmacology, law, linguistics, and social work. Format: Citations and abstracts. Coverage: 1806-present.


Social Sciences Citation Index (ISI Web of Knowledge). Description: A searchable multidisciplinary database covering the journal literature of the social sciences.
Indexes 1,700 journals spanning 50 disciplines, as well as individually selected, relevant
items from over 3,300 of the worldÂ’s leading scientific and technical journals.
Format: Abstracts and indexes; full-text articles; book reviews; electronic journals
Coverage: 1956-present. West is selling it during the year 2016.


Sociological Abstracts (CSA). Description: Provides abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,800 serials publications, and also abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. Format: Abstracts and indexes; citations
Coverage: 1952-present.


  • Access World News (NewsBank). Description: Provides full-text news stories, information and perspectives (including archives) from over 600 U.S. and over 700 international sources, including major newspapers and wire services. 130 sources are California-based. Format: Full-text news articles. Coverage: Varies depending on source/title.
  • Expanded Academic ASAP (Thomson Gale). Description: Comprises more than 3,500 indexed and full-text titles (of which 2,100 are peer-reviewed) in all disciplines with more than 20 years of backfile coverage. Coverage includes social sciences, humanities, education, science and technology. Format: Indexes and full-text articles. Coverage: 1980-present.
  • JSTOR. Description: Full-text of core scholarly journals from their beginning to approximately five years ago. Disciplines include botany, business, ecology, general science, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, statistics. Browsable by discipline and full-text searchable across all disciplines. Format: Full-text articles. Coverage: Varies by publication; excludes last 3-5 years
  • Project MUSE (Johns Hopkins University Press). Description: Full text of current issues of scholarly journals published by university presses, chiefly in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Browsable by discipline and full-text searchable across all disciplines. Format: Full-text articles. Coverage: Around 1990-present.
  • ProQuest Digital Dissertations. Description: Index to doctoral dissertations from 1861 to the present, with abstracts since 1980. A number of masterÂ’s theses are also indexed, with abstracts since 1988. Format: Abstracts and indexes; full-text dissertations. Coverage: 1861-present.

How to search legal journal indexes?

See in the Encyclopedia about how to search legal journal indexes.


See Also

  • Media
  • Propaganda
  • Media Law
  • Entertainment Law



  1. HeinOnline is a good opion for locating law review articles. HeinOnline is a subscription-based database available to all UCLA users. HeinOnline is produced by a legal publishing company (William S. Hein & Co.) and includes several major library collections, including the Law Journal Library, the Federal Register Library, the Treaties and Agreements Library, and the U.S. Supreme Court Library. Two major advantages of using HeinOnline for law review articles are: the scope of coverage (in terms of years available) is generally much more extensive than Westlaw and Lexis; and articles are available in their original format in PDF.

See Also

  • Magazine
  • Journal
  • Serial
  • Periodical Index
  • Non-law databases with law content
  • Web of Knowledge Citation Indexing Service
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Women Studies International
  • Sociological Abstracts
  • PAIS: Public Affairs Information Service
  • List of International Law Indexes and Databases