Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Source Collection Information for Journal Staff

A manual to assist a Journal Staff start a source collection assignment.

Finding Cited Journal Articles

Law Library Catalog
  • Search Option 1: Click on Journals tab on the Law Library's homepage. Enter the unabbreviated, full journal or newspaper title (only). For examples: International Journal of Law and the Family, not Int'l J.L. & Family. The results will include the library's print journal volumes whose articles may not exist in electronic format.
  • Search Option 2: Select Articles in Advanced Search. Enter the article title (only).
  • Search Option 3: Click on Search by Citation tab in Advanced Search, then select Article. Enter the article title and/or the unabbreviated  journal, or newspaper title.
  • Search Option 4: Click on Search by Citation tab in Advanced Search, then select Journal. Enter the unabbreviated, full journal or newspaper title (only).
Google Scholar
  • Search for the article title in Google Scholar (Settings: Library Links: Select all Georgetown options: Save). 

Georgetown-Licensed Electronic Journal Collections

Legal Periodicals The Law Library has almost all law reviews and many other core legal journals either in print or electronically. Ask for assistance from Reference Services or your Journal Liaison.
Non-Legal Periodical Databases Try •Academic Search PremierEBSCOhostProquest Research LibraryPeriodicals Index OnlineIngenta Connect. For foreign & international articles, try •Index to Foreign Legal PeriodicalsLegalTracLegal Journals IndexKluwer Law InternationalOxford University PressCambridge University Press. But there are many others. Check the Law Library's Frequently Used Databases and All Databases listing. Check also Lauinger Library's A-Z Database list.
Subject-Specific Mega Indexes Try •Web of ScienceScienceDirectSociological AbstractEconLit. But there are many others. Check the Law Library's Frequently Used Databases and All Databases listing. Check also Lauinger Library's A-Z Database list.

Do not forget about print and micro formats of journals because, contrary to general opinion, not everything is online. Scholarly articles published prior to the 1990s that are not found as PDF via HeinOnline or JSTOR may exist only in the print volumes. Follow the above Search Option 1 in the Law Library Catalog to find print volumes. If none are found, then submit a PDF Request ILLiad form.

Interlibrary Loan: Journal Articles

If the article is unavailable at Georgetown Law, submit a PDF Request form in the ILLiad system. Check Requesting a Copy of a Journal or Newspaper Article in the Interlibrary Loan Instructions for Journal Staff guide.

A copy of an article that is published in print (i.e., content separated by pages and page numbers) can be obtained via Interlibrary Loan as long as an ILL library carries the journal print issue, or whose online license allows for content sharing with other libraries.

Check Non-Georgetown Licensed Online Subscriptions & ILL in the Interlibrary Loan Instructions for Journal Staff guide.

Law Library Research Guide

Articles for Legal & Non-Legal Library Research Guide will list and link to the databases commonly used for finding full-text articles while researching a topic.

But Wait! Is the Article Even Real?

Unfortunately, AI generated works are known to invent and cite to not only "hallucinated" cases, but also non-existing articles. The consequences of including citations to fabricated articles in your journal's published works are as serious as citing to fake cases in a brief and will have long-ranging impacts.

If you did not find an exact match using the described methodologies in Finding Cited Journal Articles,  then there may be a chance that the citation does not reflect an actual published article.

Please use the "Is the Article Even Real?" Checklist before submitting an ILL service request for a questionable citation where even a browser search engine doesn't produce a similar match.

"Is the Article Even Real?" Checklist:

Google Scholar

  • Search for the article title inside quotation marks.
  • It's okay if there isn't an exact match. Find similar matches and compare the differences in the citation. Perhaps your citation reflects the article's working or draft title and just needs to be corrected.
  • But if there are no similar matches, especially for citations for more recent articles, then there is a strong possibility that the article does not exist.


  • Search for the journal title.
  • Does such a journal even exist? A resulting match should lead you to the publisher's website which you should search.

Publishers' Websites

  • Publishers of journals and magazines provide tables of contents, or some form of indexing, for their published print issues, pre-print articles, or early-views of accepted manuscripts.
    • Search by: (a) article's author, (b) major keywords of the title. Has the author published in that journal? Has an article with the same keywords been published in the journal?
    • Browse by: (a) volume and issue numbers, (b) years. Do the volume number and year match appropriately with one another? Do they match the citation you're locating?
  • If the article cannot be found listed on the publisher's website, it's more than likely that it was not published in that publication, if at all.
  • Pre-Print articles, Ahead-of-Print articles, Early-View of accepted drafts and dot-com-only articles: These may be legitimate articles, but they may be only accessible through individual pay-wall memberships (i.e., unavailable through library-licenses) or embargoed in library-licensed subscriptions (across all libraries). Under such conditions, there would be no ILL options to obtain a copy and contacting the author for a copy would have to be considered.

FirstSearch (OCLC) or

  • Search by journal title to verify that the journal publication exists.
  • Library catalogs and ILL services only work with the formally cataloged title of a publication found in FirstSearch (OCLC) or
  • If  you cannot find a formal bibliographic record for the journal publication then there is a strong possibility that it does not exist.

Professional Profile Webpages

  • Some scholarly authors have professional profile webpages or lists of published works in their publicly viewable CVs. Compare what appears there against your citation.
  • Please note that there are varying degrees of currency and citation accuracy found on profile pages and CVs. Use such resources with discretion.

Institutional Scholarship Repositories, Working Paper Repositories and Open Access Repositories

  • You may find a match to your citation with content found in scholarly repositories (curated by educational institutions or openly available to any academic authors).
  • Be aware however that content found on publicly available digital repositories may be draft or working paper versions of forthcoming works with "estimated" citations of what their published version may be.
  • Depending on the publishing stage that a paper is in, you may have to resort to the version as found in such repositories, or contact the author to confirm what publishing stage their article is in.

Law Library Reference Services

  • Ask for help if you have searched in several resources but are not able to find exact matches to your citation.

Need More Help?

Ask for assistance from Reference Services or your Journal Liaison.

Need Help Submitting an ILL Request?

If you're unsure how best to fill out an ILLiad form, please contact ILL Services at