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Research Assistant: Academic Research

A Library Workshop on Academic Research

The contents in this tab can also be found in our Prepare to Practice guide.  "Academic Research" was one of the workshops in the library's Prepare to Practice workshop series in the Spring Semester.  

Library Resources


In your 1L research class, you gained familiarity with the main databases used in legal research -- Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg. These are all excellent resources, but if you are asked to research policy or more specialized topics in law or dig into more academic topics, you’ll likely need to become familiar with other resources. The resources and tips below should be particularly helpful for RAs and students serving on law review.

Legal Databases

Legal Databases beyond Lexis & Westlaw:


Academic Databases

If you are conducting academic research, start in LMU’s Research Databases by Topic. As an LLS student, you have access to these resources.

Expanding Research

Google Scholar: 

While not a database itself, Google Scholar is a great resource for conducting research. Use it to locate academic articles, books, or book chapters. Some of these resources may be open source, but others will require you to log into LMU’s databases to access.

Wayback Machine

The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is a digital archive of websites. It allows you to “go back in time” and view how a website looked in the past. This resource is particularly useful if you are cite checking an article and come across an older website.
For instance, let’s say that we’re looking for the law library website as it appeared in 2016.

1. Access the Wayback Machine and enter the URL you’d like to view.

Wayback Machine Search Page

2. Once you’ve run your search, you should see a graph and a calendar indicating when the website was archived. Select the relevant year and date you’d like to view.

Wayback Machine Calendar

3. Select the relevant year and date you’d like to view, and take a look at the old website! Below is how the library website appeared in November 2016.

Wayback Machine Result Example

Library Skills

How to Request Material through Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Sometimes, our library will not have access to the book or article you need. In that case, you are welcome to request the material through interlibrary loan.

1. From the library homepage, click on Services and select Interlibrary Loan (ILL) from the menu.

LLS Interlibrary Loan

2. Fill out the associated form and wait for your book!

Example of LLS Interlibrary Loan Form

  • How to read a call number and locate it in the stacks

The materials in our library are organized according to the Library of Congress system. For a full breakdown of LOC’s law classification, check out this outline. (link

 Let’s take a look at A Student’s Guide to Hearsay, call number KF8969. F57 2016.

  • When you read a call number, the first letters are read in alphabetical order. Thus, on the shelf, A Student’s Guide to Hearsay with letters KF comes after a book with letter K, but before a book with letters KG.
  • After the letters indicating the general subject area, there is a number that more specifically describes the subject. Read the number as a whole number. In our book, the number is 8969.
  • Following the number is a decimal number referred to as a “Cutter number”. The Cutter number represents the author, corporation, or title. These numbers also appear alpha-numerically on the shelf following the previous number.
  • The last number is the year of publication!

To find where the book appears in our stacks, refer to the library map in the hallway by the reference desk, or ask someone at the circulation desk.