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Free and Low Cost Online Legal Research: Beyond Westlaw, Lexis & Bloomberg

This Guide describes a wide range of online legal research resources. It covers primary law, government resources, research guides, reference sources, forms, and legal news.

Helpful Links

U.S. Code Popular Name Tables

When looking for a U.S. law, oftentimes you only know the popular name (e.g. Family and Medical Leave Act). Finding the citation is made easier by use of a popular name table. Below you will find Web sites that list the popular name of laws and provide the citation to the Public Law or U.S. Code sections.

Other Resources

Bills & Resolutions

U.S. Code

The U.S. Code is freely available on many sites, but may not be current and are typically unannotated. If you are used to accessing the U.S. Code through Westlaw or Lexis, these drawbacks may bother you. If this is the case, I would recommend that you use LexisNexis Academic at your local college or university or visit your local county law library for access to their electronic databases. 

Another option is to subscribe to a lower-cost legal research service such as:

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications

The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications may be used as an online finding tool for electronic and print publications from the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the U.S. government (from July 1976 to present). It is updated daily and contains current and historical publications. Provides direct links to those publications available online. The monthly (with semiannual and annual indexes) print version ceased with no. 1345 (Dec. 2004). Consult the print Monthly Catalog for publications issued prior to July 1976. Check with your local federal depository library to locate copies of the print catalog and other items that are not available online.

GPO's MetaLib

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) has launched a new federated search tool (link below).

Use it to search Access to Archival Databases (AAD) System - NARA, AGRICOLA Books, AUL Index to Military Periodicals, Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Publications and Newsletters, Federal Digital System (FDsys), Library of Congress (LOC), PubMed, TRIS Online, and

Legislative History Research Guides

Legislative History Sources