Using Summon and Google Scholar

December 8, 2011

Summon is available from the U of T Libraries and provides a one-stop full text search index of published and open access books and journals, news sources, and databases, in all subject areas. The search also includes the library catalogue and local collections.

How to make the best use of Summon when searching for journal articles.

  • Use Summon when searching for interdisciplinary as well as legal material
  • Use the advanced search features to combine or limit search terms using AND/OR.
  • Use field searching to search by title, subject, author, publisher, publication title, language, notes.
  • Refine your search by format, from an extensive list of subject headings, by language, by date and by library location to narrow it down to the most appropriate materials.
  • Use the [fulltext] link when on campus or when signed in with my.access while off campus for one click access to the full text of an article
  • Read the Digital Rights information, to ensure you are complying with copyright restrictions
  • Remember that resources that are only available on Westlaw or Lexis will not be indexed in Summon

Google Scholar indexes scholarly literature including articles, theses, books, abstracts in all subject areas as well as (mainly US court opinions)

  • Use the advanced search features to combine  or limit search terms and to search by author, publication or date
  • Material located via Google Scholar is not indexed by subject and there is no controlled vocabulary so is not easy to limit  a search to material covering a specific subject
  • Use Google Scholar to find out how many times and when an article has been cited in other scholarly literature from all disciplines – this is often more comprehensive for legal articles than any other source
  • Set up your preferences so that you can access the full text of articles available through U of T. Go to Google Scholar and click on the link entitled “Scholar Preferences” at the right of the Search box. Scroll down to the “Library Links” section and search for Toronto in the “Find Library” search box. Select the “Get it!” link for the U of T.   Then, when you do your searches, you will see the U of T “Get It!” link on the left hand side of the search result.  While on campus you should be taken directly to the full text of the document.  If you are off campus, you may have to login with your UTORid.

Free International Law Library on WorldLII

September 9, 2010

“The International Law Library on WorldLII is the most comprehensive free access international law research infrastructure on the Internet. It has 76 databases, containing nearly 100,000 searchable documents concerning international law, and is expanding rapidly. All databases may be searched simultaneously, or databases may be searched individually or in groupings” (Brochure)


New Resource: World Constitutions Illustrated

September 2, 2010

The library has recently acquired World Constitutions Illustrated: Contemporary and Historical Documents and  Resources  from Hein Online.

Contains the current and historical constitutions for every country in PDF format.  This site also includes  constitutional histories, texts on constitutional law, links to scholarly articles, and a bibliography of selected constitutional books as well as links to current sources of information for each country. The site is browsable by country or resource.

The resource can be accessed directly from computers on Campus. U of T members using an external Internet address can access the site using their my.access password.


Email alerts now available in Google Scholar – including citation alerts

June 10, 2010

Google Scholar now supports email alerts for new results on search queries, including alerts to new citations of a given paper.  Click the envelope icon in the upper left corner of the Google Scholar page after running a search to set up an email alert on that query. To set up an alert to new citations of a work, first run a search, then click on the “Cited by X” link beneath the work you’re interested in, then on the resulting page click the envelope icon.


New Title: Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective

May 17, 2010

Finally, legal researchers can search older journals online using The Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective.  This new database  provides an index to over 750 legal periodicals from all the major common law jurisdictions including Canada, the UK and the US covering the period from 1908 to 1981. There are links to full text where available including those journals in the HeinOnline


Google Scholar Adds US Case Law

November 17, 2009

On November 17 Google Scholar made a large collection of US Federal and State case law available online. See: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/finding-laws-that-govern-us.html

While Google has yet not provided details of the extent of the coverage, it appears as though coverage of US Supreme Court decisions begin with volume 1 of the United States Reports and other Federal and State decisions begin at 1950. (Our test of volume 10 (1810) of the United States Reports found every case we searched).

It is unclear what Google’s sources are for much of this case law (some appears to come from publicresource.org) but all cases have the same pagination as the printed reporters but do not include editorial content such as headnotes and Key Numbers.

At this stage of course the commercial sources’ (Lexis, Westlaw) added editorial content and the ability to note up make them a more complete academic research tool. Still this is an interesting development that could lead to wider access to US case law in the same way that CANLII has increased access to Canadian case law.

In addition to US case law Google Scholar also searches some major online journal collections such as Hein and JSTOR. Searching Google scholar while connected to the UofT network will link you to the full article via the Library’s licensed access to Hein or JSTOR. When not connected to the UofT network, search results are limited to only the first page of a journal article.

We will update this entry as more information comes out.


New and Cool: Jotwell: The Journal of Things We Like (Lots)

November 6, 2009

It is often difficult to keep current with what is new in the world of legal academic publishing. Jotwell, sponsored by the University of Miami School of law, attempts to make this task easier by identifying and discussing the best new legal scholarship in the form short (500-1000 words) reviews of recently published articles, or contributions to pre-publication sites like SSRN or BePress. Each section of the site is supervised by an editorial team of legal academics who solicit entries from the academic community.  The site includes sections on

Users can subscribe to an RSS feed which makes keeping up to date even more efficient by delivering content to you via your news aggregator or directly to you e-mail