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Research Resources at the Michigan Law Library: Legal Books, Journals, and Articles

Self-help guide for patrons using the Michigan Law Library.

Legal Books, Journals, and Articles

The Law Library Catalog should be the first place to search for legal materials, particularly when you have a particular resource in mind. Use the Law Library Catalog to find books, journals, court reporters, treatises, microforms, and generally anything legal.

Using the Law Library Catalog

Use the catalog search box on the Law Library homepage, or use the link above for basic filter options.
Types of Searches

  • Keywords: word may be found anywhere in material's information
  • Author, Subject, and Title searches are very particular. If you are uncertain about one of these entries, use the same words in a Keyword search.
    • Author: last name first
    • Subject: very specific string of words. Use a subject heading listed in an existing item's record, or use a Keyword search
    • Title: Catalog requires title searches starting with the exact first words of the title

Terms and Connectors (for Keyword searches)

A search for multiple words with no punctuation/connectors will yield every record that includes any of those words. Use Terms and Connectors to focus your search and get better results.

  • To search for an exact phrase, put it in quotations "..."
    • "criminal procedure"
  • To search for two or more words or phrases, use AND
    • "criminal procedure" AND international
  • To search for a word or phrase, but excluding something specific, use AND NOT
    • "sovereign immunity" AND NOT "united states"
  • To account for all the various endings a root word might have, use *
    • "supreme court" AND NOT "united states" AND NOT america*
    • The above example would exclude both "america" and "american"

Advanced Searches

For a more narrow search, use the Advanced Search page. This page gives you the option to limit by year of publication, location, language, and other facets.

Location, Location, Location

Every Catalog Record has a Location

The Location precedes the Call Number in every catalog record. Most will include a link to a map of the Underground Library with each located marked. Use this map to find the correct floor, aisle, and shelf for each item. Print maps are located at the Information Desk.Screenshot of a catalog record. There is a red rectangle around the Location column of the record.

How Locations Relate to Materials

Below is a list describing what type of material is in each location:

  • Smith: General location for the Underground Library (aka the Allan and Alene Smith Law Library Addition). Refer to map or Book Locator for more specific location.
  • Annex, Stacks: In the Legal Research building called the Annex or Closed Stacks, which is closed to the public and to students. Item must be retrieved by Library staff (including IDAs and librarians). Patrons can also request through the Catalog.
  • Closed Reserve, Reserve: Behind the Info Desk. May only be checked out for 4 hours (2 hours during exam periods)
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collection: These resources are intended for members of the Michigan Law community to educate and inform, facilitate dialog, and spark engagement to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive law school community and educational experience. The DEI Collection is located in the core of Sub-1, and materials in it are available for checkout and taking out of the Library. (See more info here:
  • Ref Coll (Reference Collection), Ref Desk: Behind the Information Desk. 
  • Journals: Print journals are on Sub-3 of the Underground Library, toward the back wall of the North wing. They are in the movable compact shelving (the ones with cranks on the side).
  • Avern Cohn Coll, Writing Collection: S-1 core. Both of these collections can circulate out of the Library (i.e., students can check them out and take them home). Books in these collections are available for law students to help improve their writing or take a break from class readings.
  • Retro: Superseded legal materials; S-3.
  • Rare: Jackier Rare Book Room. Rare books are available to eligible patrons under limited circumstances. To learn more, contact a Reference Librarian. 
  • Private: Material is held by a faculty member and is not available for use. Use information in Catalog record to request from other Library or ILL.
  • Law School Coll: This material is in storage. Students and public patrons may not check out books from this collection.
  • Microforms: Microfiche and microfilm may be pulled by library staff during business hours. 
  • Web: Indicates an electronic resource. Access varies from unlimited, to U-M network, to law school network, to password only. 
  • Wellness Collection: These resources are aimed at the well-being of law students. The Wellness Collection is located in the core of Sub-1, and materials in it are available for checkout and taking out of the Library. (See more info here:

Need Help?

  Call us at 734-764-9324

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  Email us at Emails are answered by Librarians during standard business hours, Monday-Friday. Patrons may expect a response within 1-2 business days for most emails.

  Consult with us. Schedule an appointment to meet with a Reference Librarian.

  Visit us at the Information Desk on Sub-1 for immediate in-person assistance. Open 8 am - midnight, Sunday-Thursday, and 8am - 10pm, Friday-Saturday*


The chat service is available to all of our patrons but is designed to meet the legal research needs of U-M students, staff, and faculty.

Chat is monitored from 1-6 pm Monday-Wednesday and 1-5 pm Thursday-Friday on days when class is in session.

*Excluding University holidays and semester breaks--check library hours for more information. The Building and library are available to law school community ONLY after 6 pm, and are closed to all but law school community on home football Saturdays.