Conducting research for a summer project is sometimes a real learning process. It often involves topics and resources that are interdisciplinary rather than legal. How and where do you start? The Thurgood Marshall Law Library has a number of resources to make your work easier.
Start your research from the library homepage and look at secondary sources. Books and articles offer explanations and commentaries on a variety of topics that will introduce you to your subject. They also contain additional references to similar information that will help you to get an overall picture of your topic.
Finding Secondary Sources with Discovery Service
This research tool is located at the top of the screen of the library's homepage and offers one-stop shopping. Be sure to look at the screen and make selections for the scope of your search: full text, University of Maryland System or UM Carey Law. Then use the narrowest terms possible for your search strategy. Results will show books, electronic resources and articles. You can further narrow your search by choosing filters at the left of the screen. If you have trouble accessing an item, contact a librarian at the CHAT link.
Google and Google Scholar
Both Google and Google Scholar are excellent resources to use for interdisciplinary searches. For more effective searching, go to the Google Search Help Center. When searching on Google or Google Scholar, remember to access from the library web page. Also, be certain that your settings allow you to access the full text of articles. To check your settings, go to Google Scholar and choose settings from the line of links at the top of the screen. Then select Library Links from the left side of the screen.
The Thurgood Marshall Law Library subscribes to a large number of databases that are not law-related. Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, CIAO, JStor, National Journal, Proquest Congressional, PubMed, Web of Knowledge and a variety of Bloomberg BNA Databases are just a few. If you don’t know the precise name of a database, you can either search by subject from the law library web page or you can use the black ribbon at the top of the screen (e-journals and databases) to access a search box where you can change the default "starts with" selection to "contains" and type in pertinent words.
Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have excellent web pages that contain a wealth of information. The Brookings Institution, Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the Kaiser Family Foundation, the World Bank, and the United Nations are prime examples. Many of these sites have links to reports and statistical data.
Most governments and government agencies also have web pages. The Maryland Archives page contains a tremendous amount of information on the history and current status of the state – all in PDF format. The web page of the European Union – EUROPA – is another outstanding resource. And country specific web pages such as those of China, France and Germany can be excellent sources of information.
Newspapers around the world offer access to their publications. But access varies and many newspapers allow limited or "current edition only" to non-subscribers. The law library subscribes to databases such as the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and the New York Times. These titles can be found on the library web page. News resources are also available on Bloomberg Law, Lexis and Westlaw.