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Legal Research: Cases

Related research guides

Online Citators

Citators are a catalogued list of cases, statutes, and other legal sources showing the subsequent history and current precedential value of those sources.

Citators allow researchers to verify the authority of a precedent and to find additional sources relating to a given subject.

Citators were originally printed on gummed paper and pasted next to the report of a cited case. Today, citators are published in volumes and are also available online; the two most popular are Shepard's and KeyCite.

    Source: Black's Law Dictionary. 8th. St. Paul, MN: West, 2004

    In simple terms, citators help to answer the question: "Is this still good law?"



    Finding a case

    Information regarding US federal and state cases can be found in various court reporters (see a partial list below). Westlaw Campus Research is one of a couple of databases which compile the contents of these publications online, to make searching easier and faster.

    There is a growing list of  Web sites that provide open access to legal resources such as



    Abbreviations of Court Reporters

    US Supreme Court

    Abbreviation Publication
    U.S. United States Reports
    S. Ct. United States Supreme Court Reporter
    L. Ed. US Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition

    US Appellate Courts

    Abbreviation Publication
    Federal Reporter
    F. 2d.
    Federal Reporter 2nd Series
    F. 3d. Federal Reporter 3rd Serie

    US District Courts

    Abbreviation Publication
    F. Supp.
    Federal Supplement
    F. Supp. 2d.
    Federal Supplement 2nd Series
    F. Supp. 3d. Federal Supplement 3rd Series
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