General Rules and Suggestions

  1. Please ask cite checkers (especially first year students) to ask the reference librarians for assistance early in the cite checking process.
  2. Cite checkers should always check LawCat first. This is Boalt's online catalog and is the clearest, most complete record of the Law Library's holdings. Be sure to search for the title of the journal or the book, and not the article or chapter. For a step-by-step research guide on finding books, articles, and primary materials, please see our Research Guide on Source Collection: Triage Guide
  3. Cite checkers should take training in the use of LawCat, Melvyl, OskiCat and other online catalogs. Contact a Reference Librarian to schedule this training. Don't assume cite checkers know how to use an online catalog correctly. Unless folks have done a fair amount of research in their previous life, they often don't know how to accurately verify bibliographic information.
  4. If possible, divide cite checking by the sources to be checked, rather than just by footnote number. Often cite checkers have the last half of the footnotes, but are trying to check for a footnote that is, e.g. "supra n.2. at 233". They don't have the reference to footnote 2, or if they do, the person who is cite checking footnote 2 has the book.
  5. Please submit a copy of each manuscript your journal is cite checking to the reference librarians. Often a footnote needs to be seen in the context of the paper before we can figure out what is being referred to. Also, cite checkers often have only part of the footnotes and need to refer to earlier footnotes in order to clarify a citation. The reference librarians can assist if they have a copy of the article being cite checked.

Interlibrary Loan

If material you need to check is not available at the Law Library or on the Berkeley campus, but is available at Hastings, Davis Law or Stanford Law, we will order the item for you via our informal interlibrary loan service. Request forms are available at the Reference Desk, or online. All other interlibrary loan requests must be processed through the Main Library's Interlibrary Borrowing Department located in 133 Doe Library. Items listed in the Melvyl catalog, but not on the UCB campus, may be requested online through the Melvyl system. The Interlibrary Borrowing Department also has online forms that may be used for items not in Melvyl.

Checking for Items at Other UC Berkeley Libraries:

Many items will be available at other UC Berkeley libraries, if they are not at the law library. If you have checked LawCat and cannot find an item, you should next check OskiCat. This is UC Berkeley's online catalog and contains the records for most UCB libraries. Some libraries' records, however, such as Law and Institute of Governmental Studies, are not listed in OskiCat. Thus, if you don't find what you're looking for in OskiCat, you should also check Melvyl to see determine whether another Berkeley library has the material you need.

In addition, if you are searching for a periodical article and cannot find a listing in LawCat you should try Melvyl, as many items are now available in pdf format, with full pagination.

Articles Star Paginated on LEXIS or WESTLAW:

The Law Library Interlibrary Loan will not request an article or other document if an electronic version is available with internal (star*) pagination. You must use the electronic version if the law library does not have the hard copy available on site.

Duplicate requests:

In order to avoid duplicate requests from members of the same team, cite checkers who cannot find an item on the library shelves should first look for the material in the law review office and check with others working on the same project to see if the material is simply in use. We would prefer that all journals assign a the team leader to each project who keeps track of which books or articles have been requested through ILL. Cite checkers should check with this person PRIOR to submitting the ILL form to the law library or the main library.

Borrowing Physical Copies of Books via ILL:

Whenever possible, specific page ranges of a book should be requested. Item 5 on the second page of the ILL form asks you whether you need the whole book or whether specific pages will suffice. It will expedite the delivery of the item if you ask for a specific range. If you need the entire book, the book will be checked out in the name of the individual student requesting the item and that student is responsible for returning the book by the due date or requesting a renewal prior to the due date. Generally, books should not be held for more than one renewal period.

Checking Books out of the Law Library

The law library would like to make it as easy as possible for Boalt Hall law journals/reviews to use the library for cite checking purposes. We offer the following two options and ask that you abide by a few basic rules.

Checking Books Out to your Law Review Office:

Your journal can obtain a library card in the name of the journal. To obtain a card, see Patty Heard (Patron Services Manager) during regular business hours. This card will allow you to keep circulating material (e.g. monographs, single volume treatises, etc.) for 30 days. Do not use this card for cite checking parties (see below).

When you return a book that was checked out on one of these cards you MUST get a receipt from the loan desk attendant, showing that the books has been returned. If books are not cleared from your journal's record, your journal will be billed for replacement costs.

NOTE: The law library is independent of the Main Library and its branches. As far as we know the Main Library does not set up accounts for journals.

Cite Checking Parties:

Journals may check out materials from the library for weekend only cite checking parties in journal offices. You can check out any books that are in the open stacks, including non-circulating journals, reporters, and looseleaf services. You cannot take books from the Patron Services or Reference areas.

To arrange a cite checking party, please inform Patty Heard (Patron Services Manager) sometime during the week, before your scheduled event. Materials can be gathered starting at 9:00 a.m. on the Friday morning before the event and taken from the library on Friday evening before the library closes (10:00 p.m.).

You will need to have a printed list of all materials you are taking. Leave this list with the Patron Services attendant when you take the books from the law library.

Return the books to the law library before closing on Saturday (6:00 p.m.) or Sunday (midnight). When you return the books, get the printed list from the Patron Services attendant and check to make sure all items are returned. Put a check mark beside each item as you go over the list, then mark the top of the list RETURNED on DATE. Leave this list at Patron Services.