Find articles on a legal topic
Periodical indexes are a good place to start when looking for articles on a specific topic. The most common index is the Canadian Abridgement: Index to Canadian Legal Literature, it is available in paper format or online through Westlaw Canada and LexisAdvance® Quicklaw®. The online format is the easiest to search and the most up to date.
When looking for commentary try these sources:
- Westlaw Canada
- Use the “Articles and Newsletter” template.
- This will provide full-text articles, as well as citations from the Index to Canadian Legal Literature. If you only receive a citation then you will need to access the articles from another source. See the tab Find an article using a citation.
- Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
- From the main search box limit your search to Secondary materials or select advanced search and select a specific content type “Law reviews & Journals”.
- This will provide full-text articles as well as citations from the Index to Canadian Legal Literature. If you only receive a citation then you will need to access the articles from another source. See the tab Find an article using a citation.
- Current Index to Legal Periodicals – Allows you to search for American journal articles
- The Law Journal Library database is primarily U.S. but also includes publications from Canada and several other Commonwealth countries. Often the most recent issues are not available.
- In HeinOnline, select “Law Journal Library” and search using relevant keywords or browse by country, subject etc.
- Alberta Law Libraries “Research Guides”
- If there is a research guide on your topic it may suggest specific law reviews or journals, online resources, as well as potential subject headings to search.
- Alberta Law Libraries online catalogue
- Type a word that broadly describes your subject in the search box.
- Then select Journal/Law Report from the drop-down “Search within” menu.
- If the journal or law report has an index, you can use it to manually search for articles.
- Or find books on your topic and look for a bibliography or works cited index for relevant articles.
- Keep in mind that many of the journals we have online access to are listed in our catalogue, but not all of them.
- Also, the table of contents from any recent conference materials in our collection are keyword searchable through our catalogue.
Find an article using a citation
If you have a citation and don’t know the publication title:
- Enter the abbreviation into the Alberta Law Libraries Catalogue (using periods, ie R.F.L. ) and see if the title comes up.
- Use one of the resources below and search the abbreviation:
- Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations – online source
- Prince’s Bieber Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations: a Reference Guide for Attorneys, Legal Secretaries, Paralegals, and Law Students by Mary Prince
- Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations, 3rd ed. by Donald Raistrick
- Ask a Law Librarian and we will assist you.
Last Revised Jan. 26, 2023
Find a specific article without a citation
Step 1: Confirm the details
It is useful to have as much information as possible:
- Article Title
- Author Name
- Journal or Law Review Title or abbreviation
- Year of Publication
For eligible borrowers at anytime you can Ask a Law Librarian for assistance or fill out a Document Request form and for a fee we will provide you with a copy of the document you are looking for, if possible.
Missing some information? Fill in the gaps with one of the following resources which will allow you to search by author, title or subject:
- Search results may contain complete citations for your article, or even the article itself.
B. Use an Online Index to get more information. Search:
LexisAdvance® Quicklaw® and the Index to Canadian Legal Literature:
- To the right of the main search box select advanced search
- Select content type – law reviews and journals
- Enter the information you have in the template
- This will search full text articles as well as the Index to Canadian Legal Literature
Westlaw Canada and the Index to Canadian Legal Literature:
- Under Commentary select “Articles and Newsletters”
- Search all content or select a specific title and search in it only.
- This will search full text articles as well as the Index to Canadian Legal Literature
C. Use a print index to get more information (only if the article is not recent). Not the preferred method as the print indexes in the library are no longer current.
Search by author name, subject, case name or statute name, in one of the following:
- Index to Canadian Legal Literature
- Current Law Index (covers US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand publications)
In the print index for the periodical itself (if known) and if the index covers the correct time period.
Step 2: Find a Known Legal Article in Print or Online
A. Find the print publication in the Alberta Law Libraries collection.
- Search the catalogue.
If the journal, law review, or volume is in our system, but not in your local library, please contact an Alberta Law Libraries team member to assist you in getting a copy of the article.
B. Find the publication in Alberta Law Libraries online resources.
The publication may have come up in your catalogue search indicating which database holds an electronic version. Keep in mind this is not comprehensive as the online databases often change their holdings therefore if the title didn’t come up it is still recommended to search each individual online database.
Some of our databases you can access remotely, please check our E-resources page to confirm access
- Search for an article in HeinOnline -Select the catalog tab and enter the publication title.
- Search for the article in Westlaw Canada – Use the Law Reports Articles and Journals template.
- Search for the article in LexisAdvance® Quicklaw® – -Use the “Journals” or “Commentary” tab. You may need to make additional choices under Sources, depending on your subscription.
*Please Note: Publishers may limit access to the most recent articles in any database.
C. Publication not available?
- If the journal, law review, or volume is not held by Alberta Law Libraries either in print or online or you can’t determine what publication you are looking for, we may be able to obtain a copy of the article from another library. Regular document delivery charges apply. Please contact us for assistance!
D. Additional Information for Alberta Justice Employees
- If you are a member of the judiciary or judicial support employee, please visit Alberta Law Libraries Intranet page for additional online resources provided via IP or password access.
Find Conference, seminar materials and theses
Conference and Seminar materials
Find Conference materials
LESA seminar materials, Alberta Law Conferences formally know as Mid-Winter meeting, and other conference papers are searchable by individual seminar title or speaker using a keyword search through the Alberta Law Libraries catalogue or through the LESA Library. For all recent annual publications & seminars in our collections, the complete table of contents are available to search.
1. LESA seminars materials are added to the library collection on a regular basis. We recommend returning to our catalogue to search for new or recent publications. LESA titles are a great addition to your research due to their currency, Alberta based information and the precedents they sometimes contain.
- Here are some search tips to locate LESA Seminar materials in our catalogue:
- Select Advanced search
- Search for Legal Education Society of Alberta as a phrase within AUTHOR
- Include subjects and/or titles on your topic within a KEYWORD anywhere search
- From the results list select a title and then look for more detailed information under the Table of Contents display option in the right-hand toolbar. This will show you where you terms are located within the title.
- or at one of our physical library locations search the LESA Library online for an electronic copy of LESA seminar materials from 2010 onwards.
2. To search for other conference materials or annual publications (ie Annual Review of Criminal Law):
- Use a keyword search in the Alberta Law Libraries catalogue for the author’s name and/or some subject keywords.
- Click the Table of Contents button for each of the titles in your search results to find your article.
3. To search for Law Society of Ontario articles:
- Use the AccessCLE database
- Articles older than 18 months can be downloaded free of charge, anything newer than that can only be previewed.
4. Search the Canadian Law Symposia index on LexisAdvance® Quicklaw®
Cite a journal article
Use one of the following sources to assist in citing a journal article:
- Legal Citation – Bora Laskin Law Library (University of Toronto)
- Legal Citation (Queen’s University)
- Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 8th ed.
Also referred to as the McGill Guide
- Open Government Portal – For any Government of Alberta documents
- Law Society of Ontario – For articles
- Fee Fie Foe Firm – Canadian source for practice based legal commentary
- Internet Sources cited in SCC judgments (1998-2016)
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