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Pritzker Legal Research Center

Law Journals' Guide to Source & Cite

This guide is designed to help journal students locate and request materials for source and cite checking assignments.

Citations to Books

Citations to Books

Bluebook Rule 15 covers citations to books.  A typical book citation follows the following format:

Author's name, Title of Book, page cited, editor's name, edition cited, year of publication. 

How to Find Books

How to Find Books

  1. Check if Northwestern University Libraries has the book using NUsearch, our library catalog.
  2. If it is an older book (published pre-1923), check if it is available online in a digital library. Titles in the public domain (out of copyright) are often scanned and digitized in PDF and freely available online.
  3. If the book is not held by any Northwestern library or not available online, then request a copy of the book through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). We will try to find another library that is willing to lend a copy. Request ILL items early, as ILL requests can take a couple of weeks or longer to arrive!

Locating Books at Northwestern

Finding Books Owned by NU Libraries

NUsearch is Northwestern Library’s discovery search tool for finding books, as well as journals, newspapers, and more. NUsearch allows you to search for materials by Keyword, Title, Author, Call Number, and other methods.

Tip: If you can't find the book, try entering just a few words of the title and the author’s name in an advanced search. This will help you find the item even if the citation isn’t exactly correct.

To find a book in the library, see the Get It section of the catalog record to see which NU library owns the book and whether it is available. “Item in place” means that the book is on the shelf and is available. “Currently Unavailable” means that another patron has it checked out.

Books Available at the Law Library

Books and other print materials available at the Law Library are organized by location codes (MON; N,EAA; etc.) and by call number (KZ6385 .C67 2010). When looking for books available at the law library in NUsearch, take note of both the location code and the call number where you can find the book on the shelf.

The majority of books are in the MON collection on the second floor of the library. Books on foreign law will be in the N,-- collection on the third floor. Feel free to ask the circulation desk or reference desk for guidance on where to find books in the law library. 

Books in Law Library Closed Stacks

Books at the law library with locations of “Closed Stacks” are in storage at Northwestern Law. You can request these items using the Request books from Storage form. Items will be retrieved by library staff twice a day when the library is open. You will receive an email when the item is available for pickup at the circulation desk.

Books Available at Other NU Libraries

For books available at other NU Libraries, such the MAIN Library, sign in with your NetID to request the book. 

Select Law Library for Pickup Location. You will get an email when it is available for pickup, usually the next business day in the afternoon. You can pick up the book at the circulation desk and then put it on your journal shelves on the fourth floor.

If the book’s status is “Currently Unavailable,” the copy is checked out by another patron. For privacy reasons, we are unable to tell you who has a book checked out, so you should check to see if other members have that book listed as a source in their footnote range and, if so, take a look at the journal shelves to see if another journal member has already checked out the book. We also encourage your journal to develop an internal shared Google Doc or Google Sheet to alert others working on the same article which books have already been checked out for a S&C assignment if you wish to avoid trips up to the journal shelves to see if books are already checked out for an article.

If no copies of the title are available at Northwestern, you will need to place an ILL request to obtain the book from another library (see below).


Checking out and renewing NU Books

Checking Out NU Books

Books are checked out under your own name using your Wildcard. After checking out a book from the circulation desk, place the book on your journal’s shelf on the fourth floor of the library (see below for more information on journal shelves).


Renewing NU Books

You will receive a notice when a book owned by NU Libraries is approaching its due date. If your journal still needs to keep a book on the journal shelf for further review, you can renew that book online by logging in to “My Account” on the law library website.

Locating Digitized Books in the Public Domain

Older books may be fully scanned, digitized, and available to download in PDF or other formats as exact replicas of the print versions. In general, books published in the United States prior to 1923 are out of copyright and in the public domain and can often be found through one of the below websites or databases. 

First search for the title of the book in NUsearch because the catalog will provide links to digitized books available in several databases. Click on the green "Online access" button to access the database where a digitized copy of the book is available. 

Some of the databases where the catalog links to for digitized books in the public domain include:

If you cannot find a link to the digitized book through NUsearch, try searching for the book individually in either Google Books or Internet Archive Books, both of which contain millions of digitized books in the public domain. 

Interlibrary Loan - When to Request Books from Other Libraries

Interlibrary Loan

If the book you are looking for is not available through Northwestern's library system, you can place an Interlibrary Loan request to get the book from another library.

To find materials at other libraries, search in, the catalog for libraries around the world.  It can help you discover books and articles beyond what Northwestern has in its collection. 

Worldcat item record details

If your journal assigns interlibrary loan requests to staff members, please follow the directions below for placing an interlibrary loan request. Otherwise, refer books and materials that need to be requested through interlibrary loan to your managing editor or whoever is designated to place these requests.

When to Use ILL

Students should use interlibrary loan when they would like to use an item that is not available to them at Northwestern University. The library will attempt to obtain an item from another library. These scenarios include:

  1. A book that a Northwestern library does not own or is missing.
  2. A book that a Northwestern library owns but has been checked out. 
  3. A section or chapter from a book that is not available at any Northwestern Library.
  4. An article that is not available electronically or is only available in print at a Northwestern Library other than the law library.

Interlibrary Loan - How to Make an ILL Request

Log into your interlibrary loan account (ILLiad) using your NetID and password. In the left sidebar, there are two forms through which students can place requests—one for books and one for articles or chapters of books. Please only make one request per form (i.e., if you have three books that need to be obtained via ILL, submit three separate forms for each title).

When placing an interlibrary loan request for a source and cite assignment, please indicate in the notes field which journal and what article you are obtaining this source for (example: NULR 112.6 - Peery). For books, you should also note that you need the title page and copyright page.


Within the forms, enter as much citation information as possible. Please do not use abbreviations. You can search WorldCat for the correct edition of the book. It is helpful if you include the OCLC number (located in the Details section at the bottom of an item record on WorldCat).

Only submit requests for newspaper articles if they are not available anywhere electronically. Bluebook Rule 16.8 states that where print sources are difficult to obtain, citation can be made to an electronic source. This means for many newspaper citations, you can use the online version. If an online version is not available, you can submit an ILL request.  You must provide the complete date (month, day, and year) and page range. Requests cannot be completed without a date and page number. If you cannot find a page number, ask a reference librarian for help.

Interlibrary Loan - Getting & Returning your ILL Books

Getting Your ILL Request

You will receive an email when your request is available. Articles will be delivered electronically. Books will be available for pickup at the law circulation desk. Please note that items may take anywhere from two days to two weeks or longer to arrive. The turnaround time depends on how many copies are available among other libraries, how long the lending library takes to process the request, shipping time, etc.

After picking up an ILL book from the circulation desk, place the book on your journal’s shelf on the fourth floor of the library. If an ILL item does not arrive before your S&C assignment is due, make a note to your editor and coordinate with your editor about what to do when the item arrives.

Returning ILL Books

The library that sent the book will determine the date by which it has to be returned. We will automatically request renewals from the library that owns them as due dates approach. If we are unable to obtain a renewal and the lending library requests that a book be returned, the student who made the request will receive a notice that the book is due. The book must be returned to the circulation desk. If your journal needs more time with a book obtained via ILL, you can submit a new ILL request for the item, and we will request a copy from another library.

If you are out of town and unable to return the book yourself, please coordinate with another member of your journal or classmate to return the book. If a classmate or fellow journal member is not available to help you return the book, please contact James Driscoll, Circulation Services Manager, to let him know about book that needs to be returned.

Our failure to send back items that another library has loaned to us may prevent us from borrowing from them again. Lost books may result in fines for the journal. Loan periods for ILL items are much shorter than loan periods for books owned by NU Libraries, so once the journal is finished with interlibrary loan books, please return them to the circulation desk. ILL books will not be able to remain on the journal shelves as long as books owned by NU Libraries.

Shelves for S&C materials

Journal shelves are located on the fourth floor of the library. Shelves are labeled by journal, then organized by volume (issue) and last name of the author of the article. Please place your books on your journal’s shelf alongside the other books for the same article. If you do not see a label with the last name of the author of the article you are working on, supplies (Sharpies, index cards) are available at the end of all of the shelves for you to create a new label.