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Scholarly Research Resources

This guide describes the various services available to students participating on one of Texas Tech's law journals.

Shelf Check Strategy

Shelf Check Strategy

  1. Read the article.
  2. Browse the footnotes.
  3. Identify citations to unfamiliar types of material, non-legal sources, other unusual material, and foreign language sources.
  4. Consult a reference librarian for assistance in deciphering odd citations and identifying and locating items found in step 3.
  5. Search for books and other treatises using Texas Tech Law Library catalog.  If the book you are trying to locate is not available at the law library, try searching WorldCat, which covers thousands of academic, public, law firm, special, government, and corporate libraries around the world.
  6. Check out books and initiate retrieval requests for books from main campus as necessary (generally your journal will pull these book ahead of time and put them in a designated area, so check there first).
  7. Consult a reference librarian about books not found in any catalogs or on the shelf.
  8. Submit interlibrary loan requests for book chapters and journals not available in the law library.
  9. Search for interdisciplinary and/or non-legal periodicals in the Library Catalog by title of the periodical. Also consult the E-Journals list.
  10. Search for law reviews and other legal periodicals in HeinOnline by citation or the title of the law review or periodical.
  11. Search for court reporters and other primary legal sources in:
    • Westlaw: PDF images of cases found in the National Reporter System
    • HeinOnline: PDF images of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Congressional Record, the Federal Register, the U.S. Code, and other titles
    • govinfo PDF images of public and private laws from the GPO on Bills and resolutions, Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional Record, Federal Register, Congressional laws, and Presidential papers


  • If possible, divide cite checking by the sources to be checked, rather than by footnote number. This will speed up the process by ensuring you don’t have to back track to different sources or even re-visit the same source to verify another quote or page number.
  • Make sure to review the entire article, not just your portion of it. Often cite checkers will have the last half of the footnotes, but are trying to check a citation to a "supra note 2, at 233." If you don't know what footnote 2 is, you may not know if your short form is cited correctly.
  • Contact a reference librarian to schedule training on the various online catalogs. Don't assume you know how to use an online catalog correctly; it can be difficult to accurately verify bibliographic information.

Finding PDFs of Sources

Several online databases provide access to Portable Document Format PDF that are exact copies of printed materials. Using PDFs is often more efficient than locating the original printed version, and still keeps the pagination necessary for citing purposes. 

Rule 18.2: “The Bluebook requires the use and citation of traditional printed sources when available, unless there is a digital copy of the source available that is authenticated, official, or an exact copy of the printed source . . . ”


Sources for Locating PDFs

  • Lexis 

- Generally, Lexis offers PDFs of briefs, petitions, and pleadings.

- When you look up a document on Lexis, look for the “download” icon on the top left-hand corner of the page.


  • Westlaw

- Westlaw offers PDF images of cases published in the West’s National Reporter System.

- After looking up a case on Westlaw, look for the “Original Image” link near the top left-hand corner of the page.


  • HeinOnline

- Hein offers digital versions of legal journals, law reviews, government documents, regulations, laws, and treaties. Hein also offers PDFs of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, U.S. Attorney General opinions, U.S. Reports, and Presidential Documents.

- Use the “Citation Navigation” link to search by citation.


  • U.S. Government Publishing Office's govinfo

- govinfo provides PDFs of several federal law sources: Bills and resolutions, Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional Record, Federal Register, Congressional laws, and Presidential papers.