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*How To Find Resources

This LibGuide contains step by step instructions for the most common actions researchers seek help with.

Legislation Types & Locations

Types of Legislation Legislation Sources


  • Federal Court Cases
  • State Court Cases
  • Federal Bills and Laws
  • State Laws
  • Congressional Voting Records and Bill Sponsor Information
  • Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders
This database provides full-text access to News,
Business, and legal publications.
This official U.S. government source for federal legislative information provides full-text access.
This database provides full-text access to U.S. Congressional publications.

LexisNexis Academic

Navigate to the LexisNexis Academic Database

LibGuides Home Page A to Z Database ListLexisNexis Academic Database

Search using Party Names:

look up legal case by party name, shows steps 1-3 as described below

  1. Click on the arrow next to Look up a Legal Case, in the center column and a drop down search box will appear.
  2. Enter the party names, ex: Brown vs. Board of Education, in the by parties boxes
  3. Select Go to conduct your search
  4. The results list displays all cases that mentioned this law in some way. To refine your search, under Sources by Category and Cases, choose U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Lawyer’s Edition.
  5. Select #11 from the results list, Brown v. Bd. of Educ., No. 1 , SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, 347 U.S. 483; 74 S. Ct. 686; 98 L. Ed. 873; 1954 U.S. LEXIS 2094; 53 Ohio Op.326; 38 A.L.R.2d 1180, December 9, 1952, Argued , May 17, 1954, Decided ,  Reargued December 8, 1953.

results list, as described above

 Search using Keywords:

  1. Click on the arrow next to the Search by Content Type (on the top right-hand side of the main search screen)
  2. Select Federal and State Cases.
  3. From the Federal and State Cases Search Box enter your keyword(s), ex: Megan’s Law.  All of your results display cases that mentioned this law in some way.
  4. From the list on the left side, under Sources by Category and Cases, choose any State Listing, ex:  PA Superior Court from 1895 and you will obtain the 46 cases that mentioned Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania.
  5. Click the title for any case for further details, you will see your search terms highlighted in red throughout the document, additionally you should notice that the case summary includes citations for the statute(s) that this case discusses, by clicking on these you obtain the exact statue pertaining to Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania.

Depicts steps 3-5 of the keyword search

Navigate to the LexisNexis Academic Database

LibGuides Home Page A to Z Database ListLexisNexis Academic Database

Click on the arrow next to the Search by Content Type to expand the menu, then select State Statutes and Regulations.

  1. Select Advanced Options
  2. Enter your keywords in the Build Your Own Segment Search box
  3. Check the Statutory Codes box to obtain the full text for a state law
  4. Select the state(s) that you want to search
  5. Click Apply to confirm your selections
  6. When the Search box appears you will see your keyword along with the limiters you have selected, click Search to retrieve the list of the state laws (statutes) that contain your keywords.

In the following example we are searching PA State Statute for Murder 1

steps shown for setting up advanced search, as described above

From the Results List, select #7:

Shows item number 7 from results list: 	18 Pa.C.S. § 2502, (2017), Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Title 18.  Crimes and Offenses, Part II.  Definition of Specific Offenses, Article B.  Offenses Involving Danger to the Person, Chapter 25.  Criminal Homicide, § 2502.  Murder., Pennsylvania Statutes, Annotated by LexisNexis(R) Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved.

When you click on the link, you obtain the following definitions, note that your keywords will be highlighted in red:

§ 2502.Murder.

(a) Murder of the first degree. --

A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the first degree when it is committed by an intentional killing.

(b) Murder of the second degree. --

A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the second degree when it is committed while defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice in the perpetration of a felony.

(c) Murder of the third degree. --

All other kinds of murder shall be murder of the third degree. Murder of the third degree is a felony of the first degree.

(d) Definitions. --

As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

  • "Fireman." --Includes any employee or member of a municipal fire department or volunteer fire company.
  • "Hijacking." --Any unlawful or unauthorized seizure or exercise of control, by force or violence or threat of force or violence.
  • "Intentional killing." --Killing by means of poison, or by lying in wait, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing.
  • "Perpetration of a felony." --The act of the defendant in engaging in or being an accomplice in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing, or attempting to commit robbery, rape, or deviate sexual intercourse by force or threat of force, arson, burglary or kidnapping.
  • "Principal." --A person who is the actor or perpetrator of the crime.

Within the text of the law, LexisNexis provides many related statutes that are hyperlinked.  Click on these for more detail.

state law text, highlighting the hyperlinks throughout the text, as described above provides the full text of laws from the 103rd Congress (1993-1994) to the current Congress and summaries from the 93rd congress to the current congress.

Navigate to the website

Federal Legislation

(Search for Bills, Laws, Committee Reports or Congressional Record Articles)

Finding Older Legislation with Public Law Number:

Ex: Pub. L. 107-110

Pub. L. : Public Law, when a bill becomes a law it is designated as a Public Law.

107 (2001- 2002) : The Congress that passed the Law.

110 : The Law number in that Congress.

  1. In the search box drop down, change from Current Legislation to All Legislation
  2. Enter the Public Law Number (ex: Pub. L. 107-110)
  3. Click Search

Finding Current Legislation with Keywords:

  1. In the search box drop down, keep it set for Current Legislation
  2. Enter your Keyword(s), ex: Violence
  3. Click Search
  4. From the Results List, you are able to limit your search using various limiters such as:
    • Congress: Find older legislation, records date back to 93rd Congress (1973-1974)
    • Bill Type: Choose between Bills or Joint Resolutions
    • Status of Legislation: Select Became Law to make to see only bills that have become law
    • Subject - Policy Area
  5. Clicking on the Bill Number will bring you to the full text of the Public Law

search page showing steps 1-5, as described above