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LGLA 1303 -- Print v. Electronic Legal Research

Compares steps for conducting legal research in print to searching electronically in a legal database.

Jurisprudences & Encyclopedias

Secondary sources in law are those that discuss, analyze or summarize the primary law. This includes textbooks, law reports and journals, dictionaries, and encyclopedias.

Jurisprudences and encyclopedias can be useful to provide background and overviews of different topics in law. 

American Jurisprudence, Texas Jurisprudence, and the Corpus Juris Secondum are available full-text in Westlaw.

PLEASE NOTE: The print series available in the Library are no longer being updated and are for Teaching Purposes Only. For the latest information, see Westlaw.

Finding a Topic in Texas Jurisprudence in Print

Texas Jurisprudence stacks

Searching Texas Jurisprudence in Print

The volumes are organized by major topic headings.

To locate information on a particular topic or point of law, you will need to start with the index.

Texas Jurisprudence General Index volumes

Step 1: Locate the Index Volumes

Search for your topic or keyword in the General Index volumes, shelved near the end of the series. Words appear in the Index alphabetically.

For example, if you are looking for "arson," you would use the General Index A-D volume. 

TexJur Index page for arson

Step 2: Locate your term in the Index

Within the index, use the letters at the top corners of the page to find your term alphabetically.

TexJur Index page closeup of the section for arson

Step 3: Find the section for your topic

On the page, locate the bold heading. 

Under each bold heading, there will be subtopics for more specific information. Locate the listing that is closest to what you are looking for.

Write down or make a note of the section code listed. This is what you will use to find the entry in the rest of the series.

For example: Cloapr § 379 = Criminal Law: Offenses Against Property, section 379

NOTE: Texas Jurisprudence likes to use abbreviations for their section headings. Typically, these abbreviations stand for the first letter or so of the words in the heading, like in the above example.

Texas Jurisprudence volumes pointing to the one for Criminal Law: Offenses Against Property

Step 4: Locate the volume that includes your section number

Go back to the shelves and use the spines of the books to find the volume that includes that section. 

For example: Cloapr § 379 = Criminal Law: Offenses Against Property, section 379

Texas Jurisprudence volume open to an example section

Step 5: Find the section in the volume

Using the section number, find the heading within the volume. 

Example: Criminal Law: Offenses Against Property, Section 379

Step 6: Check for Pocket Parts or Supplements

Since the bound volumes are only as up to date as the date they were printed, it is critical to check for updates. Texas Jurisprudence uses annual supplements to update its content. Most of the time, these appear as pocket parts at the back of the volume. When a pocket part becomes too big to fit in the pocket, it will come as a separate paperback supplement shelved right after the volume.

Turn to the back of the volume to check for a pocket part.

Step 7: Check the Pocket Part for your section

Within the pocket part, check for your same section number.

If nothing appears, like in this example, it means there were no updates to that section since the bound book was published.

Finding a Topic in American Jurisprudence in Print

Shelves with American Jurisprudence series

Searching American Jurisprudence in Print

The volumes are organized by major topic headings.

To locate information on a particular topic or point of law, you will need to start with the index.

American Jurisprudence General Index volumes

Step 1: Locate the Index Volumes

Search for your topic or keyword in the General Index volumes, shelved near the end of the series. Words appear in the Index alphabetically.

For example, if you are looking for "arson," you would use the General Index A volume. 

American Jurisprudence Index open to section on arson

Step 2: Locate your term in the Index

Within the index, search for your term alphabetically. 

Major terms appear in bold headings. Under each bold heading, there will be subtopics for more specific information.

Close up of American Jurisprudence index page open to section arson

Step 3: Find the section for your topic

Write down or make a note of the section code listed. This is what you will use to find the entry in the rest of the series.

For example: Arson § 1-56 = Arson, sections 1-56

 

American Jurisprudence volumes on shelf pointing to volume including

Step 4: Locate the volume that includes your section number

Go back to the shelves and use the spines of the books to find the volume that includes that section. 

For example: Arson § 1-56 = Arson, sections 1-56

NOTE: The heading that you are looking for may not appear on the spine itself. Instead, it may fall alphabetically between the terms listed on the spine.

Volume of American Jurisprudence open to the section for Arson

Step 5: Find the section in the volume

Using the section number, find the heading within the volume. 

Example: Arson, section 10

American Jurisprudence volume open to back pocket part

Step 6: Check for Pocket Parts or Supplements

Since the bound volumes are only as up to date as the date they were printed, it is critical to check for updates. American Jurisprudence uses annual supplements to update its content. Most of the time, these appear as pocket parts at the back of the volume. When a pocket part becomes too big to fit in the pocket, it will come as a separate paperback supplement shelved right after the volume.

Turn to the back of the volume to check for a pocket part.

American Jurisprudence volume open to pocket part and pointing out that the section number isn't listed

Step 7: Check the Pocket Part for your section

Within the pocket part, check for your same section number.

If nothing appears, like in this example, it means there were no updates to that section since the bound book was published.

Finding a Topic in the Jurisprudences in Westlaw

Both American Jurisprudence and Texas Jurisprudence  are available full-text in Westlaw.

To find your topic in one of the legal encyclopedias on Westlaw:

  1. On the Westlaw homepage, click on Secondary Sources in the browse box. 

Westlaw Browse for Secondary Sources

  1. Then, click on Jurisprudences & Encyclopedias.

Westlaw Secondary Sources page with "Jurisprudences & Encyclopedias" circled​​​​​​​

  1. Locate the relevant title and click on it.
  2. This opens up that encyclopedia. From here, you can either use the Table of Contents to browse to your topic or use the search box to search for your topic within the encyclopedia.