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Database Searching

A research guide explaining the fundamentals of searching Widener's various subscription databases.

What it is:

LegalTrac is primarily an index to legal and some non-legal journals and newspapers, though there is selective full-text coverage.  The scope is broader than Index to Legal Periodicals and Books in that it covers non-academic publications such as state bar journals.

Off-campus access to LegalTrac is limited to current Widener law students, faculty and staff who will be prompted for their name and the bar code number on the back of their Widener ID.

Using LegalTrac:

Searching LegalTrac

LegalTrac has four search modes: Basic, Subject, Publication, and Advanced. 

The database defaults to Basic Search which allows for key word searching in the main fields such as text or title, a search by subject heading or title, and key word search across all fields of a document.  You can supply wildcard, boolean, and proximity operators to a Basic Search (explained below).

The Subject Guide Search allows you to find a specific subject heading created by the Gale Publishing Group, and view all of the articles that have been assigned that subject heading.  This is a very efficient way of searching because instead of getting results that only mention your search terms, subject searches are based on the overall meaning or subject of an article. This type of search also ensures that your are not missing articles that might use slightly different terminology to discuss your subject.

The Publication Search allows you to search for a specific journal title.  Once a title is located, you can either browse that title to find a specific article, or perform a key word search within that journal.

The Advanced Search allows you to search multiple fields, such as: title, author, even by company or brand name.  For example, you can combine a key word search and a subject search, and restrict the search to a specific publication.  Limitors in the advanced search include: date, full-text, and document-type.

Saved documents:

When you create an account on LegalTrac, you can save selected articles, or an entire search.  Saved citations will appear on the right column of the page. Inside your saved documents page, tags can be assigned to better organize your saved search results. Saved documents can be printed, E-Mailed, or downloaded.

LegalTrac Results:

When you view the results of a search, in addition to the title, each article will have one or more of these options:

Library Catalog: Link to the journal's record in the Widener Catalog.

Citation:  A suggested citation for the article plus a link for importing into a citation manager.

Full-Text: A link for the full-text of the article.

PDF:  A link to a PDF version of the article.

LinskSource: Provides links to available electronic versions of the article through the Widener databases.

After your initial search, you have the option of limiting your search by: content type, suggested subjects, titles, or date.

If the full-text version of an article indexed in LegalTrac is not available, it can be ordered through InterLibrary Loan.