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RA Survival Guide: Non-Law Library Materials

Aren't the Libraries the Same?

The Libraries here at Fordham are actually separated.  Each has different catalogs, indexes, and materials to draw from.  As a law student you have access to both libraries.  The Maloney Law Library is dedicated specifically to legal materials.  However, there are many other disciplines that are important to legal scholarship, such as business, statistics, and the sciences.  To find materials in these disciplines and more, you should use the general Fordham Library system.

When to use the Standard Library

Sometimes your research for faculty won't simply be legal research.  Interdisciplinary scholarship is rapidly growing in legal academia and our faculty is no exception.  Even with solely legal research other materials are needed to support an argument, whether it be scientific data, statistics, or historical materials.

For these materials the best thing to do is to use the general Fordham Libraries page or take advantage of resources outside of the library such as government websites or Google Scholar.  The farther outside of the library ecosystem you get, the more materials you will encounter and the more you'll have to sift through.  If it ever starts to seem overwhelming, or you find you just can't limit your searching well enough, remember that you can always talk with a librarian who can offer suggestions to improve your initial search ideas.

Outside the Law Library

When you access the general Fordham Libraries homepage you'll notice that a number of options are the same and that some aspects of information presentation (and availability) are different than the Maloney Library homepage.  We recommend using the catalog and the resources tab to access the various ejournals and databases that are exclusive to the general libraries.

What databases you'll be looking for will, of course, be dependent on your project.  Be sure, when browsing the databases, you look by subject and try to find a database that is tailored to your specific research interest.  If you're unsure about your research interest or you're unsure if there are any databases that will be useful for it take the time to stop and consult a librarian.

Outside the Libraries

Sometimes information you will need for a project just wont be within the confines of either set of libraries at Fordham, and that's ok!  You'll just have to continue to wade further out into the ocean of information available on the internet.  With a targeted sense of where you want to search and what you're looking to find doing so will be a lot less daunting as well.

Tips for searching on the broader web:

  • Have a preliminary analysis done and think of ways you want to search for information or what sites you want to use.
  • Remember your information literacy and consider a CRAAP analysis on a questionable source or piece of information.
  • Remember, terms & connectors as well as advanced searching isn't just for high powered legal databases.  Most sites with search functionality have some form advanced or Boolean searching.
    • Not all of these have the same level of functionality or the same terms & connectors.  If possible check what the site prefers, because that's the language or syntax you'll have to use to get the most from your searches.

A list of particularly helpful websites: