Tuesday, August 29, 2023

BNA Law Reports Archives Now Available Online

If you’ve ever ventured to the Superseded Looseleaf collection on Level 1 on a cite-checking quest, you know that locating archived issues of BNA Law Reports and similar titles can be challenging. Bloomberg Law, which acquired BNA more than a decade ago, has long offered access to the full text of various Law Reports back to the 1990s, but many titles have had a much longer history in print than that. Thanks to an inquiry from Indiana University Maurer School of Law Library Director Susan deMaine this summer, Bloomberg Law has now activated a fuller archive of Law Reports publications for its users. 

Cover page of BNA Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Weekly Reports from 1958, with visible looseleaf holes on left side of scan

The BNA Current Reports Archive is accessible from the Practice Centers & Tools home page. To reach it, click on "Practice Centers & Tools" under "Popular Links" on the Bloomberg home page, then scroll down to News & Analysis > "Bloomberg BNA Law Reports (Archive)" to view available titles.

Once you've selected a title, you can search or browse for particular topics or issues. Note that historical archive titles don’t currently seem to be included in search results from either the main Bloomberg < GO > bar or from the relevant Practice Centers and Law Reports pages, so you’ll need to be sure to access the Bloomberg BNA Law Reports (Archive) section in order to locate and select this historical content for searching. (Archives for each title are also accessible under the "All Legal Content" search menu.)

The extra effort to locate is well worth it, as these archives provide a fascinating contemporary account of major cases and legal news of the day. United States Law Week, with issues back to 1934, includes news and opinions from nearly a century of the U.S. Supreme Court's history. Specialized titles offer similar glimpses into history: The Criminal Law Reporter, available here back to 1967, followed the Court's invalidation and later reinstatement of capital punishment in America. The Daily Labor Report issues of the mid-1970s described investigative efforts to unravel the mysterious disappearance of former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa. Environmental law titles tracked the growth of the EPA and federal efforts to contain ecological disasters like Love Canal.

The archived Law Reports also sometimes printed unreported case law from various courts, or administrative agency memoranda and other executive branch materials. Searching key words and then limiting results by date is generally an effective way to locate results in the Law Reports Archives, although note that some of the OCR text can be garbled. For help with locating historical Law Reports, either in Bloomberg Law or in the print Superseded Looseleaf collection on Level 1, be sure to Ask a Librarian.