1. Introduction to Secondary Sources

2. Textbooks

3. Legal Encyclopedias

4. Government Documents

5. Legal Dictionaries

Secondary Sources – Locating Textbooks: Using the Library Catalogue

You can locate textbooks and treatises using the law library's electronic catalogue.

The University of Ottawa Library Network includes the Brian Dickson Law Library and all of its resources.

You are able to search for textbooks by:

It is also possible to search for course-related materials placed on Reserve by your professor or course code.

The University of Ottawa catalogue contains the law library's materials. You can conduct searches using either the Main Catalogue or the Classic Catalogue. In both catalogues, making use of the subject terms will improve the accuracy of your results.

Video 1.1 Main Catalogue

Search Plus is our new catalogue which is sort of like Google for the library. Search Plus not only searches for books, DVD's and other physical items in the library's collection; but it also searches within many of the databases the university subscribes to, as well as our institutional repository. What that means is that when you conduct a search with this new catalogue, you will get results that are physical books, but also journal articles from our databases and theses from our institutional repository.

You can conduct searches from the main page of the library. If for example you are looking for information related to property law, you can start by typing in this term. If you wish to make your search more precise, you can use the advanced search option, where you will have the option to put in more than one keyword, as well as choose your format, your language and your date periods.

You can also minimize your results by using the filtering options on the left hand side of the page. You can choose to minimize your results to articles found only in peer-reviewed journals, or only results that are in electronic format (this would be anything from e-books to database articles) or simply get results that are only those that are physically found in the library, such as books. You can also refine your search by language, by subject, by format and by the citation date.

Using the subject option can often be very useful, because it allows you to refine your search by the topic within a certain subject matter. Say for example you're only interested in real property, within property law. You could choose the subjects that only have to do with real property. “Real property law” and down further we see there's one just called “real property”. This will then give you results of items that are only catalogued with the subject headings involved.

You can also use subject headings to help refine your search by selecting from the record of an item you find relevant. Say for example you find an item that seems useful to your search; you can click on that item, opening up its catalogue record and as you'll see, there will be a list of several different subject headings that have been assigned to that item. Looking at this list, if one of these subject headings seems to match the search you're doing or the materials you're looking for, you can click on one of those subjects, such as for example “real property Ontario” and the catalogue will create a list of only those items that have been catalogued under that subject heading. This will allow you to receive similar results to the item you found already that you found useful.

Video 1.2 Classic Catalogue

The classic catalogue operates differently than Search Plus. Once you click on the classic catalogue link, you are brought immediately to the simple search page. If you would like to do a more precise search, then you can click on the advanced search link. Here you are able to use various Boolean operators in conjunction with different categories of search available through the catalogue.

Say for example you're doing research on divorce law under Muslim law; you have to take into consideration that perhaps any sources on the subject may use the word Islam instead of Muslim. In order to assure that you are going to get the most effective results, it is best to use both terms (Islam and Muslim) separated by the Boolean operator OR. Other search terms can be added using the Boolean operator AND.

Once you find the result that interests you, you can click on it and under the catalogue record for this item there will be a list of different subject headings that have been assigned to this item. If any of these perfectly matches your area of research, you can click on it. And once you do this, you are brought to an alphabetical list of other subject headings, with the one you clicked on appearing in bold. It's worth looking at the subject headings that appear above and below the one you clicked on, as occasionally these can be even more precise or more on topic for what you're looking for. It's also worth noting the box on the right of the page, which shows how many items you will find under each category. If you click on one of the subject headings from this list, what you will get is a list of all other items in the catalogue that have been categorized under this subject heading.

Make sure to explore the uOttawa Library Catalogues.