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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.

Texas Legislation : Vernon's

Vernon's Texas Statutes & Codes Annotated

The laws for Texas are published as statutes and codes.

The official statutes and codes for Texas are published in Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Vernon's is available in full-text on Westlaw.

Vernon's Texas Statutes & Codes Annotated

Print Edition Location:

Legal Reference

KFT 1555 .A295

PLEASE NOTE: The print series available in the Library is no longer being updated and is for Teaching Purposes Only.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

Finding Texas Statutes in Print

Vernon's Texas Statutes shelves

Searching Vernon's Texas Statutes & Codes Annotated in Print

The volumes are organized by the area of code and section numbers.

If you know the section code that you are looking for, you can go straight to it. 

If not, you will need to use the index.

Vernon's Texas Statutes 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-C volume. 

Vernon's General Index page showing headings for Arson

Step 2: Locate your term in the Index

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

NOTE: Your term may not always appear in a corner, but it can fall alphabetically between the corner words.

Vernon's General Index with closeup of section on 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 section in the Statute books.

Shelf of Vernons volumes with a box around the volume including Penal Code, Section 28

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, PEN 28.01 refers to the Penal Code, Section 28.01. 

Vernons Penal Code book opened to page with Section 28.01

Step 5: Find the section in the volume

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

Example: Penal Code, Section 28.01

Vernon's volume showing pocket for pocket part

Step 6: Check the Pocket Part for any Updates

Since the bound volumes are only as up to date as the date they were printed, it is critical to check for updates. Vernon's 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. Within the pocket part, check for your same section number. If nothing appears, that means there were no updates to that section since the bound book was published.

In our example, the volume was up to date at the time, so no pocket part exists.

Finding Texas Statutes Online

To find a topic in Vernon's in Westlaw:

On the Westlaw homepage, under "Browse" and "All Content," click on Statutes & Court Rules in the first column.

Westlaw Browse Statutes

  1. Choose Texas from the State list.

Westlaw Statutes & Court Rules page with arrow to Texas

  1. You can browse the different areas of code under Texas Statutes & Court Rules.

Westlaw Texas Statutes & Court Rules Page with circle around Penal Code

 

The search box at the top will limit your search to only the type of information that you last browsed to. You can search by keyword or topic using the search box at the top of the page.

Westlaw search bar narrowed to Texas Penal Code

Federal Legislation: USCA

United States Codes Annotated (U.S.C.A.)

United States legislation is available either for free online in the United States Code or in its annotated form in the United States Codes Annotated (U.S.C.A.) The USCA is available in full-text online in Westlaw.

United States Code AnnotatedPrint Edition Location:

Legal Reference

KF 62 .W46

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

Finding Federal Legislation in Print

USCA shelves

Searching U.S.C.A. in Print

The volumes are organized by the area of code and section numbers.

If you know the section code that you are looking for, you can go straight to it. 

If not, you will need to use the index.

USCA 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-C volume. 

USCA general index page showing arson

Step 2: Locate your term in the Index

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

NOTE: Your term may not always appear in a corner, but it can fall alphabetically between the corner words.

USCA index closeup of section on 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 section in the series.

USCA volumes pointing to Section 18

Step 4: Locate the volume that includes your title and section number

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

For example, 18 § 844 = Title 18, Section 844

(§ = the symbol for section )

USCA volume with page showing 18.844

Step 5: Find the section in the volume

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

Example:  Title18, Section 844

USCA volume pocket part

Step 6: Check for Updates

Since the bound volumes are only as up to date as the date they were printed, it is critical to check for updates. USCA 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.

Closeup of USCA pocket part for section 18.844

Step 7: Check the Pocket Part for any updates

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

If nothing appears, that means there were no updates to that section since the bound book was published.

Finding Federal Legislation Online

To find a topic in the U.S.C.A. in Westlaw:

On the Westlaw homepage, under "Browse" and "All Content," click on Statutes & Court Rules in the first column.

Westlaw homepage with circle around "Statutes and Court Rules"

Click on United States Codes Annotated or one of the areas under it.

Westlaw screenshot showing options under browse  statutes

 

You can either keep browsing or use the search box at the top to search for a keyword or topic.  As you browse, the search box at the top of Westlaw narrows to that type of information.

screenshot of Westlaw search bar narrowed to USCA