Legal Encyclopedias: Introduction
Legal encyclopedias are secondary sources of the law. Secondary sources are statements about the law that are used to explain, interpret, develop, locate or update primary sources. Secondary sources, particularly legal encyclopedias are a good point at which to begin a research project. A legal encyclopedia can provide background and overview of a subject as well as define terminology unique to an area of the law.
Like most encyclopedias, legal encyclopedias are arranged alphabetically by subject with footnote references to cases on point. The footnotes will also reference statutes, regulations, formbooks and treatises as applicable. The narrative generally attempts to state the propositions of law, frequently presenting the majority and minority views.
The guide is organized according to the topics listed to the left, in the guide outline.
In the sections of the guide focusing on print materials, the "location" provides the call number for a work. Clicking on the title takes a user to the relevant entry in the catalog. Where possible, guide sections about statutes link to the appropriate law.
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