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The Law Library possesses thousands of legal textbooks (often called "treatises" or "monographs"), and there is an excellent chance you can find one or more dealing with the area you are researching. Legal textbooks have the same format as texts in other fields; that is, table of contents at the beginning, index(es) at the end, and (in between) pages of text usually divided into chapters. Many law textbooks also have tables of cases and tables of statutes cited in the text. Examples of some textbooks would be Prosser's Handbook on the Law of Torts, Lang's The Common Market and Common Law, Jacobstein & Mersky's Legal Research Illustrated, or O'Connell's The International Law of the Sea. Textbooks usually contain ample footnoting as well as bibliographies which can lead the reader to a wide variety of other legal materials; e.g., additional textbooks, periodical articles, statutes, regulations, court cases, government publications, UN publications, legal encyclopedias, agency decisions, looseleaf services, etc.
Generally speaking, the library keeps textbooks in two places. The vast majority are in the classified textbook ("treatise") section on the second floor. Very limited collections are on RESERVE and in REFERENCE at the front of the library.
IO (pronounced EYE-OH) stands for Information Online, the automated catalog that covers all Indiana University libraries on all I.U. campuses. In the near future, readers will also be able to use IO for accessing the holdings of many other libraries not included within Indiana University.
As of 1992, the law library does not have the staff necessary to process all pre-1978 acquisitions into the data base, although some pre-1978 materials are included. Therefore, use IO (also called OPAC (pronounced OH-PACK) for "Online Public Access Catalog") to locate texts processed into the Law Library collection after 1978. You can search IO by name of author, book title, Library of Congress subject words, any key words that appear in the bibliographic record, and several other approaches. For example, to locate any title written by William Prosser, you type in a=prosser william where "a" stands for author's name. You would search for a book whose title is International Arbitration by typing t=international arbitration. Quick Search Guides placed at the OPAC terminals give more detailed instructions on searching.
For materials not yet included in the online catalog, use the older method of searching in the card catalog. Cards are filed in one alphabet, A to Z, under author, title, and subject.
The U.S. Library of Congress classification system, used by our library, is fairly easy to explain. "K" represents law in general, and "KF" stands for United States law. Thus, most of our textbooks will have a classification or "call number" starting with "KF". Below the KF, a number is assigned from a nationally used master listing in which each number represents some specific subject area of the law. (Example: 6500 was assigned for U.S. tax law in general.) Following that, one will find various letters and numbers based upon the author's last name. Example: S957 might have been assigned for an author's last name such as Swenson. The last element in the call number is usually the year of publication.
FIRST ELEMENT: STRICTLY ALPHABETICAL
A before HV before JX before K before KC before KE before KF etc.
NEXT ELEMENT: STRICTLY NUMERICAL
675 before 973 before 1500 before 1505 before 1557 before 1600 etc.
NEXT ELEMENT: DECIMALLY, as if there were a decimal point before the number:
M35 before M355 before M36 before M4113 before M422...
OCCASIONALLY there is another element exactly like the one immediately above. It too is viewed DECIMALLY.
LAST ELEMENT: STRICTLY NUMERICAL
Usually the year of publication will appear.
Keep in mind that various compilers will sometimes put together a bibliography covering a particular subject area. If you are researching terrorism, for example, perhaps you can find a bibliography on terrorism through the online catalog or the older card catalog. Such a bibliography would normally provide listings of books, articles, and other material dealing with your specific topic.
It is impossible for any one library to hold every book ever published. Therefore, we use the interlibrary loan system to obtain books from other I.U. libraries, as well as books held by thousands of other libraries around the world. Information on Interlibrary Loan is available at the Circulation and Reference Desks. If you wish to identify books held by libraries outside the I.U. system, you can perform author, title, and subject searches on First Search, one of the terminals in the law library lobby.