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Finding the Law

Legal Research for Librarians

Bryan M. Carson

Although there are other books that discuss conducting legal research, Finding the Law: Legal Research for Librarians is unique in that it is aimed at librarians, library science students, and paralegals rather than at law students. Because it assumes that its audience already understands the research process in general, this book will allow readers to grow professionally, learning new skills that will be used in the day-to-day practice of librarianship as it applies to our legal systems.

Topics covered include the origins of legal publishing; an overview of the U.S. system of law and government; issues related to the U. S. Constitution and Treaties; and the activities of the legislative and executive branches. Consideration is also given to researching state legal systems, emphasizing the differences to conducting research for the federal systems. The book concludes with an examination of the legal issues faced by librarians, publishers, and book distributors.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 300Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
978-0-8108-8105-1 • Hardback • August 2011 • $76.00 • (£49.95) - Currently out of stock. Copies will arrive soon.
Bryan M. Carson is professor and Coordinator of Reference and Instructional Services at Western Kentucky University. A member of the bar in Ohio and Kentucky, he has published extensively on law as applied to libraries. He is the author of The Law of Libraries and Archives (Scarecrow, 2006).
1. The Historical Background of the U.S. Constitution
2. Finding Legal Materials: The U.S. System of Law and Government
3. The Constitution: The Supreme Law of the Land
4. The Enigma of International Law in the U.S. Legal System
5. Congress: The Legislative Branch
6. Executive and Administrative Agencies
7. The Freedom of Information Act
8. The Judicial Branch: The Federal Court System
9. Federalism: The State Legal Systems
10. The Past and Future of Legal Research
About the Author
[Finding the Law: Legal Research for Librarians] provides a good basic introduction to legal research, together with extensive lists of sources on the topics covered, which will be valuable for those getting started in the field of legal research. The information included would also be of use to academic or public librarians who want to have a resource on hand for the occasional legal research question.
College & Research Libraries

Authored by a practicing librarian who also holds a law degree this work provides an overview of legal history from the U.S. Constitution to today, both federal and state level, and offers practical guidance in the performance of legal research by librarians, lawyers, and paralegals. Whether interested in theory or how to do it, this volume will be of use, and the expanded table of contents will enable the reader to find appropriate sections to help them regardless of their need. This is a good book to use as a text in any legal research class, as the chapters include explanations, sources, and tools and guidance as appropriate. This is geared toward the non-lawyer, helping those not familiar with the field from years of study to easily locate desired information and use it appropriately. This is valuable to any library serving patrons who might seek legal information, whether a lawyer or a student researching a legal topic.
American Reference Books Annual

This is a very readable book with comprehensive lists of the key resources and a very good explanation of how the US legislature, executive and judiciary work. There is plenty of historical background and a chapter on the future of print and online publishing. This is a book to be read cover to cover, or at least chapter by chapter. Finding the Law is a good addition to any law library that deals with US law and is excellent background reading.
Legal Information Management