Skip to main content

Cite Checker's Guide

Helpful tips for law review cite checking assignments.

Tips for Cite Checkers

  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel: check with your editor (and other cite checkers) for any sources already obtained from the author or the library.
  2. Use the Law Library catalog (Primo) to find out what books or journals the library already owns.

  3. Ask for assistance early and often from the Reference Librarians via chat, email, phone, or in person at the Reference Corner.  

    Librarians can: 
    + Suggest a strategy if you don’t know where to start
    + Help with abbreviations using abbreviation dictionaries such as Prince’s Bieber Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (Reference Desk); World Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations (Ref K89 .K38 1991); and Cardiff Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations
    + Advise you on finding hard to locate sources
    + Help you borrow a source using Summit and Worldcat

  4. Use this librarian’s trick if you think there is something wrong with the citation: using the citation information that you have, run a search in Westlaw’s or LexisNexis’s law reviews database to find another article that has already cited to your source.  But don’t rely solely on this information, as sometimes this method perpetuates errors.
  5. If the article you are searching for is recent and unavailable in the Boley library’s print or on-line collections, go to the law review’s website: often the most recent editions will be available in PDF.
  6. If an article is only available for Lewis and Clark’s undergraduate students, ask a Reference Librarian if they can download the article for you (we may have access).
  7. If you’re searching for a U.S. Congressional document (e.g., a report or hearing), check our Federal Bills and Legislative History page. We have links to terrific databases (U.S. Congressional Serial Set (Readex), Proquest Congressional, and Legislative Insight) that contain PDFs of most congressional documents. Reference librarians are happy to help you search in these databases.

Realistic Expectations

It’s difficult, if not impossible, for the library to obtain the following for you:

  • Print versions (or PDF or microform copies) of most newspapers. But we will purchase the html copy of the article from the newspaper’s own website if the price is nominal.
  • Official versions of foreign laws in English.
  • Drafts or internal documents that the author obtained through professional contacts, e.g., internal government agency memos.
  •  Paper copies of materials that exist only online, e.g.,  “born digital” sources such as blogs, WTO documents, etc.
  • Just the “front matter” of a journal or book that is otherwise available in an acceptable on-line format.
  • Reference materials, reserve materials, rare books, and multi-volume sets from other libraries:  their catalog may list them as “available” but that doesn’t mean they’re “loanable.”

 Paper vs. Microfiche vs. Electronic

  • The library staff fully understands and respects the need for official, authoritative, accurate, current, and stable texts of legal sources.  
  • Microfiche/film is an exact image of the original including page numbers.  At Boley Law Library, you can make free copies from the microforms or save the image electronically.
  •  Electronic image formats, such as PDF, are also exact copies of the original with page numbers and graphics.
  • In general, the Boley Law Library will not provide paper copies of materials that the library owns in microfiche/microfilm or in an electronic image format that is acceptable for cite checking.

Library Logistics

  1. Any materials that you check out must be checked out in your own name.
  2. You are responsible for all fines incurred in your name.  Since items ordered through Summit and interlibrary loan often have different loan periods and fee schedules than Boley items, the due date and per/day fines are listed on the sheet that accompanies the loaned materials.
  3. What to do if the book or journal you need is not on the shelf where the catalog says it should be? Check the carrels and tables nearby, check with other law review members, and ask the Circulation staff to conduct a search for you.
  4. What if the Boley Law Library doesn’t have what you need?
  • Your LC ID allows you to borrow books from Summit consortium libraries (primarily Oregon and Washington college and university libraries) directly from our Primo Catalog.  
  • If you need 1) an article or 2) a book that doesn’t appear in Summit, fill out this ILL form and check out our ILL FAQs.

10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219 | 503-768-6676 |