LEGALST R1B: Equal Rights in a Changing Society

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  • Jill Woolums
  • Office Hours: 9-5
  • Office Location: Education Psychology Social Welfare Library, 2600 Tolman Hall
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Legal Studies Research Overview

Legal Studies focuses on the study of law and justice, including legal institutions and the legal process, from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The courses in this undergraduate major deal with a wide variety of subjects, including philosophy, American legal history, foreign legal traditions, political science, public policy, business and economics, social sciences, environmental studies, bioethics, ethnic and gender studies, and the criminal justice process.

The UC Berkeley Library maintains a research-level collection in many fields.  The collection supports the legal studies department's teaching programs, as well as other disciplines, interdisciplinary programs, and professional schools.  Many of the Library's social science, science, and humanities collections also inform legal studies researchers.

The Legal Studies collection (Library of Congress Call # range K-KZ) is housed in the Gardner (Main) Stacks. The undergraduate Moffitt Library also maintains a collection of core, high-use English language materials of particular relevance to the undergraduate curriculum. The Reference Center and North Reading Room on the 2nd floor of Doe houses a permanent reference collection in social sciences and government documents.  Several subject speciality libraries including Social Welfare, Public Health, Education & Psychology, Ethnic Studies, Institute for Governmental Studies, and Business also possess collections highly relevant to legal studies.

The Law Library collects primary and secondary materials related to law and has strict access and circulation policies for non-UCB Law students

For a comprehensive search for relevant information on a legal studies topic, researchers may need to use many of UCB's licensed databases.  This guide links to databases that point to books, articles, government documents, and news sources for use in building a knowledge base.

Google Books

Google Books contains millions of scanned books, from libraries and publishers worldwide. You can search the entire text of the books, view previews or "snippets" from books that are still in copyright, and read the full text of out-of-copyright (pre-1923) books.  Want to read the entire text of an in-copyright book?  Use Google Books' Find in a Library link to locate the book in a UC Berkeley library, or search OskiCat to see if UC Berkeley owns the book.

Why use Google Books?

Library catalogs (like OskiCat) don't search inside books; using a library catalog, you can search only information about the book (title, author, Library of Congress subject headings, etc.).  Google Books will let you search inside books, which can be very useful for hard-to-find information.  Try it now:

Google Book Search

Book Search

Search the UC Libraries' catalogs to find both e-books and books in print.

Oskicat catalog searches UC Berkeley's online and print collection. 

searches the UC-wide online and print collections.

UCB's e-book collections link to books only online. Each e-book vendor has its own search engine. Most e-book collections are multi-disciplinary. Melvyl also searches the e-book collections.

Gutenberg-ebooks.  A collection of electronic books freely accessible on the web.

LawCat searches the catalog of UC Berkeley's Law School.

searches books held by libraries all over the United States.  UC may or may not own a book. Use UC's excellent Interlibrary Loan service for anything you can't find.

Google Scholar and Google Books also discover titles.  Look for the UC-elinks icon to connect back to the UC-wide libraries' collections to see if we own or license it.

ILL.  Use UC's excellent Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service for anything you can't find.

Articles Legal Studies

Articles in academic journals and law reviews are excellent sources for finding analyses and commentaries on legal issues.  Some of the following resources are specific to the law; others are multi-disciplinary or discipline-specific.

See also the Law Library's Online Research webpage for additonal materials.

Making of Modern Law, Primary Sources 1620-1926; 1763-1970
Fully searchable digital archive containing constitutional conventions and compilations (reports, journals, proceedings, debates, manuals, rules of order, and information for the use of delegates); city charters (the texts of enacted and proposed charters and ordinances in American jurisdictions); law dictionaries; and early U.S. state codes. Primary Sources will also include colonial records from the Primary Source Microfilm collection Published Records of the American Colonies

Gov Info

Although much government information can be found via open access government portals online (such as and the State of California) the UCB Library has purchased additonal resources for more in-depth and historical research. In addition to the following databases, be sure to check these two Library collections:

        Government Information

        Government Studies Library

News Resources

Here are some general news and newsmedia databases.  For a full listing of the Library's news resources, check this list.

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but any are easier than doing it by hand!

  1. Zotero: A free plug-in that works exclusively with the Firefox browser: keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service.
  2. RefWorks - free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.
  3. EndNote: may be purchased from UC Berkeley's Software Central.

It's always good to double check the formatting -- sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.

UC eLinks and Citation Linker

Sometimes the database you search doesn't link to the fulltext -- it only gives the citation. Click the UC e-links button to see if Berkeley has it online, and if not, it will check for a print version.  And if we don't have it at all, it lets you request it through Interlibrary Loan.

What if there isn't a UC e-links button??? Sometimes you find an article in a bibliography, a book or a footnote -- and you want to see if we have it. The Citation Linker searches through our online databases to see if it's available fulltext. If not, it sets up a search for the paper journal in Melvyl. And if we don't have it at Berkeley, it lets you request it through Interlibrary Loan.

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