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Federal Statutory Research  

Guide to Historical and Current Federal Statutory Research Resources
Last Updated: Aug 25, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Primary Federal Statutory Materials in the Fred Parks Law Library

The third floor of the Fred Parks Law Library contains:


These databases are available in the library and via the Stanley portal.




      Primary v. Secondary Materials

      Primary legal materials are those originating from an official body. Laws originate from legislatures. Case law is written by judges. Adminstrative regulations and decisions issue from governmental agencies. On the other hand secondary materials explain and cross-reference primary materials with additional information.

      Official v. Unofficial Publications of Primary Materials

      The United States Government Printing Office (GPO) publishes primary statutory material and its publications are "official."  The two most important official publications of federal statutory law are:

      • The United States Code

      Unofficial "proprietary" publications of federal statutory materials are:

      • United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.) (West)
      • United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.) (Lexis Nexis)

        The Shepard's Citators

        Shepard’s Federal Citations (Lexis Nexis) — (statute volumes) KF115.2.S45 

        Shepard’s United States Citations (Lexis Nexis) KF101.2  

        "Shepardize"  is an old term used in legal research which describes the process of using the Shepard's citators to check the currency of case and statutory law.  In the publications above, case law citations to the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Code can be located. If a Constitutional provision or a code is mentioned in a federal case you can find that case citation in Shepards Federal Citations or Shepard's United States Citations.


        Subject Guide

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        Jessica Alexander

        Find Materials in Our Catalog

        Use our online catalog, STELLA, (see search box above) to do a keyword, title or subject search on a federal issue. Since the table of contents of an item is often loaded in the bibliographic record, be fairly specific in your search.  Use AND with your search tems if you want an item to contain both words. You will find applicable statutes mentioned in relevant items.

        Check the library’s special subject databases, especially those published by BNA. From our public homepage or via Stanley click on Databases in Alphabetical Order on the Library tab.

        Law journal articles are an excellent source. See our online databases:

        InfoTrac/LegalTrac and Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective (law journal articles dated prior to 1980)

        From these indexes you can link directly to an electronic pdf version of the article in HeinOnline or in LegalTrac and Index to Legal Periodicals Full-Text.  HeinOnline  is searchable, however, the search engine is not as user friendly as LegalTrac or Restropective. 



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