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Resources for Law Student Research Assistants

Locating Print and Electronic Books

You can find print and electronic books available at Vanderbilt Libraries through the library catalog.    

Search tips:

  • It is oftentimes worth beginning your search on the Advanced Search screen, which allows users to search using multiple fields (e.g. title and author), and to apply post-search filters (e.g. date, online availability, etc.)
  • The search interface is not as forgiving of user errors as other platforms like Google.  If your search returns zero results then first check for misspellings in your search terms.
  • The Subject field provides a good starting point for broader searches.
  • Some, but by no means all, legal secondary source titles which are available in Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law are cataloged and will show up in a Vanderbilt Library catalog search. As such, users searching for a title (e.g. an electronic version of a treatise) available in those platforms may need to complete a second search for the title directly in those platforms as access to a treatise may be possible but not necessarily reflected in the catalog.

Checking Out Books for Faculty

If you are checking out books for a faculty member, or for work on behalf of a faculty member, you may wish to check out items to the faculty member's account, rather than your student account. Students are responsible for any materials borrowed under their own account, even if is for a faculty member's research. For example, if a faculty member returns something late, the student would be billed for the item.  Faculty also have greater borrowing privileges than students; therefore students should not check out materials for a faculty member under their student account. 

Your faculty member can email the law library service desk ( or their library liaison to arrange for you to obtain borrowing privileges to charge items to their library accounts as their proxy.

Accessing eBooks

Where there is an eBook version of a title available, the catalog record will provide links to available electronic versions, and those links within the record will provide direct access to the eBook (see screenshots in this eBook FAQ). For a detailed discussion of eBook access and availability, see Electronic Books at the Vanderbilt Library.  Note that if you are accessing eBooks off-campus, you will need to first locate the item in the library catalog, and when accessing the book via the catalog record, you will be prompted to enter your VUNet ID and password.