Court opinions are published in reporters. If you're interested in learning about how courts work, the American Bar Association's website has an in-depth explanation.
Reporters contain the full text of published court opinions. Before publication in bound volumes, a court opinion goes through several stages: from a "slip opinion" or "slip decision" to "advance sheets." Judges decide which opinions will be "published."
With the exception of court reporters from the U.S. Supreme Court and Washington State courts, Gallagher Law Library's collection of court reporters is now primarily historical. The Library's subscriptions to the bound volume series (and their advance sheets) have been canceled.
Official reports are published under the authority of the courts and may be printed by a government agency or a commercial publisher. Unofficial reporters are printed by private publishers (such as West) with or without authority from the courts. The National Reporter System, developed by West, covers both federal and state courts. All West reporters - i.e., all of the following, except U.S., L.Ed., Wash., and Wash. App. - are part of the National Reporter System.
For more information about reporters see:
or one of the basic legal research guides in the Library (KF240 at Reference Area).
Consult the Reporters Quick Guide (PDF) for location information.