Research Guides

TMLL Research Guide - Chapter 3


USING TREATISES, HORNBOOKS, AND NUTSHELLS


Treatises

The term treatise usually refers to an in-depth scholarly work on a particular subject area. A treatise may be a single volume or a multi-volume set. Some treatises carry scholarly weight but are not too technical or theoretical to be useful to law students, such as The Law of Torts by Dan B. Dobbs. Most provide annotations to primary sources such as cases and statutes. To locate a print treatise on a specific topic, use the library’s online catalog, or ask at the User Services Desk. Some major treatises are beginning to be electronically searchable on Lexis or Westlaw.

Hornbooks, nutshells, and outlines

Besides the ubiquitous casebook, these might be the type of sources most familiar to law students, at least during the first year. They are not the type of secondary source that will provide extensive annotations to relevant primary authorities or in-depth analysis. They are however, useful for providing the quick "bare-bones" introduction and orientation to a subject field which the beginning researcher sometimes needs. Our library owns copies of many hornbooks and nutshells, which are kept in the Reading Room immediately inside the library’s entrance. Outlines, such as Emanuels and Gilberts, are stocked by the campus bookstore.

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