Thursday, September 1, 2011

Keeping Up with Law Journal Contents

School is back in session, and the student journal editors are busily preparing new issues of their law reviews and journals. With literally thousands of law review articles being published every year, keeping up with the latest scholarship in a particular area can be a challenge.

Sadly, one of our favorite law-focused current awareness services closed up shop this summer: Washington & Lee’s Current Law Journal Content service stopped updating its database in May 2011. The site lives on as a searchable archive of more than 1,400 law journals' tables of contents from approximately 2000- April 2011, and remains linked on our Legal Databases and Links page as a helpful tool for finding articles. But those who used its handy tools for saving searches as email alerts and RSS feeds will need to look elsewhere from now on.

That leaves another long-time TOC service, the University of Washington's Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP) as an obvious choice. CILP indexes the latest tables of contents to almost 600 law journals (view list), and provides links to the full text of the article in LexisNexis, Westlaw and HeinOnline. The Duke community can view a weekly CILP TOC update (changed each Friday); Duke Law faculty may also contact the Reference Desk to sign up for the SmartCILP email service, which delivers tailored lists of the latest articles from a particular journal or on a particular topic of interest.

The Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas maintains seven "current legal literature services," with free RSS feeds of the latest articles on the following topics: actual innocence/wrongful convictions, capital punishment, copyright, domestic violence, energy law, patent law and trademark law.

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) also provides email alerts from "subject matter e-journals" on a variety of topics, which include working papers as well as forthcoming ("accepted") articles from law reviews and legal journals. Free registration is required, and some e-journals are listed as "fee-based" on the subscription list, but are free to Duke Law users through our "site license." For an overview of the subscription process, watch the brief instructional video online. Once you have registered with SSRN, current Law School students, faculty and staff can "join" Duke Law School's site license to the Legal Scholarship Network. Then you can sign up for the "fee-based" journal alerts as well as the free SSRN alerts.

You can also save a topical article search as an email alert in LexisNexis, Westlaw, and LegalTrac. Individual journals and journal publisher websites also offer table of contents alerts, although most sites require free registration.

For help creating an email alert for articles in a particular journal or on a particular subject, be sure to Ask a Librarian.