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Bora Laskin Law Library Guide to Finding Law Journals and Journal Articles

Finding law articles using journal indexes

If you need to find articles, searching article databases and journal indexes by keyword, title, author, etc. is most efficient because they search for articles across a number of journals at once.

Each index will have its own individual search features, accompanied by a help feature if you need it. Using the following search strategies will make your search more efficient:

Limit your search: Most of these indexes allow you to limit your search to by title, author, date or subject. 
Follow the descriptors or subject headings: If you find an article that is on topic, search for other items using the same descriptors or subject headings. Electronic indexes will often provide links to authors and subject headings.
Truncate your search terms: Most of the databases allow you to truncate your search to pick up variants and plurals on the "roots" of your search term. Look at the help feature in order to find out the correct syntax for truncated searches.

Boolean Searching Tips & Tricks

Use keywords found during your background research and combine them using Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT:

AND - The AND operator is used to narrow a search or to make it more specific. Example search: apples AND oranges. Items that contain BOTH terms will be found. Items that contain just apples, or just oranges, will not.

OR - The OR operator is an inclusive operator. Example search: apples OR oranges. Basically, the opposite of the above. Use OR to combine synonyms or variant terms for the same concept, such as oranges OR tangerines OR clementines.

NOT - The NOT operator is also used to narrow a search but it is done by exclusion. Example search: apples NOT oranges. The result is items that contain the word "apples", but eliminates items that contain the word "oranges". The NOT operator can eliminate items with useful information, however, because it does not weigh the significance of the occurrence of the word. If the item is primarily about apples and only mentions oranges incidentally, the item will not be retrieved. The NOT operator should be used with caution.                                                                                                                                                       

[Adapted from Cal Poly Ponoma library]

Finally, remember to modify your search terms depending on where you are searching. For example, if you're searching in a British- or Canadian-centric database, you might want to search for "globalisation", but if you're searching in an American-centric database, you might search for "globalization". If in doubt, remember about Boolean operators and search 'globalisation OR globalization'.