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Cite-Checking & Library Research

Suggestions for law students conducting cite-checks


Several types of printed sources can be obtained through online databases. These databases offer sources in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF), which produces a copy of the item exactly as it appears in the printed source, complete with graphics and pagination. Obtaining and printing PDF documents may be more efficient than tracking down the original printed sources.

Images in Lexis Advance & WestlawNext

In October 2002, Westlaw began offering PDF images of cases published in West's National Reporter System. When you retrieve a case on WestlawNext, look for the "Original image" link near the top of the page.

Original image link for PDF on WestlawNext



Clink on the link to launch the PDF viewer, then print the document. Note: The document will print on the printer attached to your computer.

West Reporter Images are available for West's federal and regional reporters back to 1960. Recent cases may not have a PDF link.

Most court briefs and trial court orders also provide "Original image" links.

Lexis Advance also offers many documents in PDF, particularly briefs, petitions, and pleadings. When you retrieve a document, look for the link to the "Original Source Image" in the "About This Document" box on the right side of the screen.

Orginal Source Image in Lexis Advance


HeinOnline is a resource that offers PDF copies of hundreds of law reviews, including extensive coverage of law review pre-dating inclusion in Lexis and Westlaw. For example:

  • American Journal of International Law, from volume 1, 1907
  • Columbia Law Review, from volume 1, 1901
  • Harvard Law Review, from volume 1, 1887
  • Michigan Law Review, from volume 1, 1902
  • Texas Law Review, from volume 1, 1922
  • University of Pennsylvania Law Review, from volume 1, 1852
  • Washington Law Review, from volume 1, 1925

Use the Citation Navigator to search by citation. Or follow the links that appear in the Gallagher Law Library catalog records to go to PDF images.

HeinOnline Citation Navigator

HeinOnline also provides PDF images of:

Tip: Early volumes of the U.S. Reports omit dates of decisions. The Supreme Court website includes a list of Dates of Supreme Court Decisions and Arguments, United States Reports Volumes  2-107 (1791-1882).

U.S. Government Publishing Office

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) maintains a website called FDsys that provides PDF versions of several important sources of federal law, including:

Most of these sources are authenticated. The image below illustrates the "certificate or logo indicating that a government entity verified that the document is complete and unaltered." Bluebook 18.2.1(i).

Authenticated Images on FDsys

Many other federal government websites also provide PDF documents, such as:

Consult a reference librarian for assistance.

Other Sources of PDF Images

There are many other sources of PDF images, including the following:

Links to many of these sources are found in library catalog records. Note that some sources are UW Restricted.