Research Guides

Successful Summer Strategies: Research in the Real World

Using Looseleaf or Topical Reporter Services for Administrative Research

Basic facts about looseleaf services or reporters:

  • A print looseleaf service is usually a multi-volume set of books that are published in binder format to facilitate frequent updating, and that are devoted to a heavily regulated area of law such as employment, tax, securities, environment, and areas of health care law such as food and drug law or Medicare/Medicaid. Topical services contain the same information in electronic format.
  • These services often contain the full text of primary sources such as statutes, regulations and other agency materials, and administrative and judicial opinions, as well as commentary, and thus are highly useful to the researcher.
  • Not all books published in binder form are looseleaf services - some treatises or newsletter-based publications also appear in this format, but lack the comprehensive coverage or currency of a true looseleaf service.

How to locate a helpful looseleaf or topical reporter service:

  • Search the catalog of the library where you are working; browse the shelves in the call number area for the relevant subject; ask a librarian or other colleague.
  • It is becoming more common for these services to be accessible in employment and academic settings via electronic subscription, through CD-ROM, or through Lexis or Westlaw, so ask for assistance if in doubt. In the workplace, often training and a password will be required for use of an electronic subscription.

Frequently used services include:

Using looseleafs/topical reporters:

  • Look for a section entitled "How to Use This Service" for helpful hints
  • Use a volume containing indexes or document "Finding Lists"
  • Remember that many services are arranged by paragraph number rather than page number and indexes may refer to the paragraph number.
  • Be patient - it’s usually worth the effort to master using a looseleaf service. Ask for help if you need it.

For further information about and help in using looseleaf services, consult the TMLL Guide to Legal Research "Using Looseleaf Services: Basic Pointers."


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