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Compiling State Legislative Histories (with information on Indiana Legislative Documents)

Describes state legislative documents, basic strategies to use in gathering state legislative publications, and select sources to be used in determining intent for state legislation. Information on Indiana legislative documents is presented.

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources may be the most helpful tools in determining the intent of legislation.

  • Law review articles might provide an analysis of a specific issue that has been addressed (or should be addressed) by the state legislature.
  • Legal research manuals and bibliographies that describe legislative material are often available for state specific research.
  • Legislative research agencies that research, draft and recommend new legislation issue studies on given topics that often result in enactments. These studies are rarely attached to specific legislation.
  • Legislative guides might list the legislative publications available for each state, contact information and the legislative process for each state. Here are two publication titles that are particularly useful: 
  • Manz, William H., Guide to State Legislation, Legislative History, and Administrative Materials, 7th ed. [Reference KF1 .G8 2008 and online at HeinOnline]
  • State Legislative Sourcebook (A Resource Guide to Legislative Information in the Fifty States), annual, [Reference JK2495 .S689]

To Find Articles

To find articles, use periodical indexes or search full-text databases.  Access Indexes and Full Text Sources from the Library's Online Resources page.

  • Periodical Indexes
    • Index to Legal Periodicals (H.W. Wilson)
    • LegalTrac
  • Fulltext Databases
    • HeinOnline
      • Law Journal Library
    • WestlawNext
      • Directory > Secondary Sources > Law Reviews & Journals > by State or by Topic
    • Lexis Advance
      • Legal > Secondary Legal > Law Reviews & Journals
    • The Law Library's Digital Repository houses the full run of all Maurer School of Law Journals.

To Find Books

IUCAT: the catalog of materials held in the Indiana University Library System.

  • Use the linked subject headings once you have found a relevant book

  • Click the “Request This" button to request delivery of books from other campus libraries or from the Auxiliary Library Facility.

WorldCat: a catalog of materials held by libraries all over the world. Request these materials through interlibrary loan.

  • Use the linked subject headings once you have found a relevant book to find more books like it.


GD-SIS State Bibliographies (AALL) contain bibliographies of states' legal publications and official state documents

  • Available in print and online in HeinOnline > Spinelli's Law Librarian's Reference Shelf 

Search Tip: Search a library catalog (IUCAT or WorldCat) using the following examples as a subject heading searches:

  • Law--[state]--Bibliography
  • Legal research--[state]
  • State government publications--[state]--Bibliography.

Bar Publications, Newspapers, Blogs

Other secondary sources to consider include bar journals, newspapers (legal and general), and blogs.

  • Bar Publications
    • HeinOnline's Bar Journals library
      • Contains more than 80 state and local Bar Journals.Search by article title, author, description, date, or across the full text of the articles
    • Res Gestae (Indiana state bar association magazine, available in print or online at WestlawNext and CaseMakerX)
  • The Indiana Lawyer provides statewide coverage of Indiana's legal community, state and local courts, and the legislature.