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Georgetown Law Library

Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research

This is a quick guide to scholarly article databases and indexes. It includes indexes to journals and magazines, as well as other scholarly literature.

Overview

Articles research may also be conducted by searching full-text databases. A full-text database contains the entire texts of articles, and also generally (but not always) includes the bibliographic information. The full-text articles databases in Lexis and Westlaw are the most popular for full text searching of law articles.

Although full-text databases can yield useful and relevant information for research, there are certain disadvantages to searching the full text of articles.

  • Searching for a particular key word or phrase in full text databases will retrieve articles that contain the key word(s) or phrase anywhere in the articles that are retrieved. The search results are likely to include lots of hits that are not particularly relevant to your topic.
  • Full-text databases tend to have more limited date coverage. Lexis and Westlaw both hold full-text articles mostly from the early 1990s, although coverage of limited titles goes back to the late 1970s.
  • Lexis and Westlaw full-text databases cover only a percentage of the journals that are indexed in journal indexes. Relying solely on these databases will limit the sources you find.

The advantages to using full-text databases are obvious. If you are looking for a specific article, finding it in a full-text database is very rewarding. For this reason, however, full-text databases are much more useful for retrieval than for research.