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The Legal Beagle’s favorite book and that of dog lovers everywhere is Every Dog’s Legal Guide: A Must Have Book for Your Owner by Mary Randolph (KF390.5 .D6 R36 2005). His favorite movie is about the crime fighting pooch, Underdog! His current hero is Uno, the beagle who won Best in Show at the...



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Finding State Law Resources

Posted by Library Blog on 11/21/2017 at 10:47 AM

Researchers looking for state law materials from states outside their own state are often faced with certain practical difficulties. The first is that no library can maintain print materials for every state. The second is that sometimes even in the highly digitized world of online research, you still need to see a resource the way it appears or appeared in print. The reasons are varied:

  • Getting the page citations correct
  • Viewing a photograph that appeared in an article
  • Reading information from an accompanying graph or other graphic

Map of United States and some territoriesTraditional online research services are not at a point where they fill these gaps consistently. They also do not always provide the depth of historical coverage that a researcher might need.

So where does a researcher go when these materials are not available in their library? One excellent resource is HeinOnline

HeinOnline provides many types of state materials in a searchable image-based (pdf) format. Some materials are current. Other materials are for those times when you need historical research. Among the many types of primary state materials available are:

Do you need help identifying the best primary resources on an issue? HeinOnline does not neglect state specific secondary sources for research.
  • Bar Journals, more than 125 state and local bar journals are available to search by subject, citation, or browse by journal title/state.  
  • National Survey of State Laws, a database providing a comparison information on a state-by-state basis for many of the most prevalent and topical state legal issues. The information is presented in a chart format. 
  • Subject Compilations of State Laws, subject organized database compiling references to articles with extensive discussion comparing multiple state’s laws.