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Pritzker Legal Research Center

Finding Books & Articles

A guide for how to find books and articles at the Pritzker Legal Research Center


Have a question not covered in this guide?  Check our FAQs where you can search for answers and submit new questions.


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Searching for Articles Generally

To find relevant articles for your research, you can search indexes, full-text current sources, and full-text archives. You can also search NUsearch to efficiently conduct a search across articles contained in various subscription databases (e.g., JSTOR, EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete, etc.) at once. 

  • Indexes: Indexes, including LegalTrac and the Index to Legal Periodicals & Books, provide citations with abstracts to publications. Index editors apply consistent subject headings to articles, ensuring that you can locate many articles even when the title is obscure or the author uses different terminology. 
  • Full-Text Current Sources: Full-text searches on Lexis and Westlaw will help you locate additional articles that discuss your topic in part. Be sure to consider synonyms for your key terms so that you do not miss articles that use slightly different phrasing.
  • Full-Text Archives: Lexis and Westlaw journal databases date back only to the mid-1980s, but HeinOnline archive scholarship back to the mid-1800s. Find out what scholars said when your topic first developed.

Finding non-law article databases

NUsearch, Northwestern's discovery search tool, allows to to search across multiple multi-disciplinary databases just as JSTOR or EBSCO.  However, if you are looking for a specific database to find articles in a given field, use the NU Library A-Z Database Guide to find a the best database for your research.  You can search databases by subject and by database type such as Article Index.  The guide also includes recommendations for the best databases on a given subject.

Locating Law Journal Articles in Hein with a citation

Locating Law Journal Articles

HeinOnline's Law Journal Library contains the most complete coverage of law-related periodicals in PDF format. It contains complete runs of titles - from the first issue published through the most-currently published issues for most journals. 

If you are not on campus, connect to the VPN or select Northwestern from the drop-down menu after running your search.



Tip 1: If you can't find the article by copying & pasting the citation, try browsing for the journal title in the Hein Law Journal Library and then narrow by volume and page number.

Tip 2: If you're having trouble deciphering an abbreviation in a journal citation, you can try looking it up in the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations.  It will give you the name of the publication, and it's easier to use than the Bluebook tables.

Locating articles when you have a citation

If you have a citation to an article and need to find the full-text of the article, use Northwestern's Journal Search tool.  You can also access the tool using the Find a Journal button on the homepage of the library's website. This tool will let you see if we have access to the title in any of our databases. Note that one journal may be available in multiple databases and that the dates of coverage may vary between databases.



Students may also be interested in trying two new browser extensions which aim to help researchers gain free access to copies of articles by searching open access repositories.

Not all databases will provide PDFs copies of the articles.  Some databases will provide the article in an html format and it is not generally easy to tell from the links what the format will be.  

Examples of databases that do include PDFs are:

Interlibrary Loan - When to Request a Journal Article via ILL

If Northwestern does not have access to the article through its resources, or if an article is only available in print at our Main campus in Evanston, you can place an Interlibrary Loan request for the article.