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Bioethics and the Law: Getting Started

A research guide designed to be of assistance to students taking Prof. Susan Goldberg's seminar.

Accessing Databases From Off Campus

Some of the databases linked in this Guide are subscription databases. Access to these subscription databases is available to current Widener students, faculty and staff only. Access is available to these individuals on the Widener campus and remotely from off campus.

LEXIS & WESTLAW- all Widener JD, MJ and LMM students have an individual LEXIS and WESTLAW password. If you have trouble with your password please contact Lexis or Westlaw.

Other databases - When using other databases off campus you may be prompted for your name and library barcode number. The library barcode number is the long number in small type printed on the back of your Widener ID.

Legal News

U. S. Law Week (BNA)

U.S.L.W. identifies and summarizes "the most significant cases and key legislation, regulatory, and pre-decisional developments."  U.S.L.W. is available to you through the library's subscription to BNA, and includes federal cases on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Circuit Splits, etc.

BNA Subject-Specific Newsletters and Reporters

The library's subscription to the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) also affords access to over 100 titles with news and analysis on a variety of topics.  Titles in which you may be interested include: BioTech Watch; Health Law Reporter; Medical Research Law & Policy Report.

Finding Books

Finding Books on Bioethics and the Law in the Library

Materials in the Widener University Libraries are classed according to the Library of Congress classification schedule.  When performing a subject search in the online library catalog (, use the subject heading "bioethics" to find materials in the Widener libraries on Bioethics Law: 

You can also perform a keyword search using the word “bioethics.”  A keyword search is a broader search and you will likely receive more hits than if you performed a subject specific search.

Materials on bioethics law may also be included under the subject of "medical ethics."  Perform a subject search in the library online catalog using “Bioethics” or "Medical Ethics" as a subject heading to find additional materials. 

Finding Articles

Finding Journal Articles

 To locate articles on the topic of Bioethics, perform a search in one of the databases listed below.  The following databases are listed on the library’s webpage under the Research Tools feature or by going directly to:

Use the databases to search for articles on your topic.  Some databases provide full-text display of articles while others only provide citations or abstracts of articles:

BNA--BioTech Watch

               Health Law Reporter

               Medical Research Law and Policy Report

EbscoHost--Scholarly, business, health and other journals. Also includes newspapers and general magazines.

HeinOnline -- The Law Journal Library includes PDFs of most journals from their inception to the present.  HeinOnline includes other valuable libraries:  Foreign and International Law Resources Database; U.S. Code; U.S. Congressional Documents; U.S. Federal Agency Documents; U.S. Federal Legislative History Library; U.S. Statutes at Large; U.S. Supreme Court Library, etc.  HeinOnline has limited searching capabilities, so its value is in retrieving articles once you have a citation.

Index to Legal Periodicals and Books--Index to law reviews, journals and books. Some full text available.

JSTOR--JSTOR is an online collection of journals in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

LegalTrac--Index to legal journals and newspapers, includes selected full-text articles.


ProQuest--General magazines and periodicals online. Including historical New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

WorldCat--Search for books, journals, videos, and other items available in libraries worldwide.

SSRN Social Science Research Network (Locate SSRN by searching in the library catalog where Title = SSRN).  SSRN's objective is to provide worldwide distribution of research to authors and their readers and to facilitate communication among them at the lowest possible cost.


Catalog Subject Headings

The following list suggests subject headings to use when searching a catalog or journal index:

  • Abortion
  • Artificial Insemination
  • Assisted Suicide
  • Bioethics
  • Cloning
  • Eugenics
  • Euthanasia
  • Fertility
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Fetus Research
  • Genetic Engineering --Moral and Ethical Aspects
  • Human Cloning
  • Human Experimentation
  • Human Reproductive Technology -- Moral and Ethical Aspects
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Genetics
  • Medical Laws and Legislation -- Moral and Ethical Aspects
  • Neurosciences -- Moral and Ethical Aspects
  • Organ Procurement
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Right to Die
  • Stem Cell Research -- Moral and Ethical Aspects
  • Terminal Care
  • Tissue Donors
  • Transplantation 

InterLibrary Loan

Obtaining Books and Articles through InterLibrary Loan

 If none of the Widener libraries owns the book or article you need, you may request it through Interlibrary Loan.  ILLiad is the Interlibrary Loan service used by Widener.  Please note that you must register for ILLiad before you can request materials through InterLibrary Loan.  To register, click on the Interlibrary Loan link listed under the “Library Services” section on the Library’s homepage at 

Next, click on Interlibrary Loan Form, select the campus on which you are located, and click on "First Tiime Users."   If you are a registered user of ILLiad simply enter your username and password to continue.

Once you have registered, fill in as much of the request form as possible. The more information you provide, the better.

Most photocopies will be delivered electronically. You will be notified via your Widener e-mail account with a link to your article which will be in PDF format.

All Interlibrary Loan items, except copied articles, must be returned to the Circulation Desk by the due date.