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Using WilsonWeb to Find Legal Articles

Prepared by Diane Murley, SIU Law Library, Summer 2005

The law library's subscription to WilsonWeb includes two databases, Index to Legal Periodicals Full Text and Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective. Together the two databases are the electronic equivalent of Index to Legal Periodicals (Index K8 I532). Because of license restrictions, WilsonWeb is only available from computers on the Law School network.

Index to Legal Periodicals Full Text provides indexing to more than 850 legal periodicals from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, including legal journals, law reviews, yearbooks, institutes, statutes, bar association publications, university publications, and government publications. Indexing begins from 1982, and the database is updated daily. ILP Full Text also has full text of more than 200 select periodicals, as far back as 1994, and links to full-text articles available elsewhere. In addition, it provides indexing to approximately 1,400 books per year.

Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective contains the indexing from 38 printed cumulations covering the period 1908–1981, with links to full-text articles available in other library databases, including Hein Online.

Using WilsonWeb

  1. We recommend that you use Internet Explorer to navigate WilsonWeb. At this time, WilsonWeb does not work properly with Firefox, particularly when retrieving full-text documents.
    • WilsonWeb uses "cookies" to manage session information while you are connected, so cookies must be enabled for it to work properly.
    • If you use a popup blocker, you must allow for popups from "hwwilsonweb.com." Many features, including Help, Save, Print, WilsonLink, Dynamic Holdings, and other WilsonWeb features launch separate windows for the requested function.
  2. Open Internet Explorer using a computer on the School of Law network and go to:
  3. At the WilsonWeb main screen you will be asked to select at least one database, Legal Periodicals Full Text or Index to Legal Periodicals Retro. (If your screen lists only one of the databases at the top, you can get to the main screen by clicking on "Open Database Selection Area.")
    • You can check both databases and search them at the same time. However, keep in mind that ILP Full Text has fields and limiters not available in ILP Retro. If your search includes those fields or limiters, you will not retrieve any articles from ILP Retro.
  4. From the main screen, click on one of the four search buttons in the left column: Advanced Search, Basic Search, Browse, or Thesaurus.
    • The Basic Search accepts simple word or phrase searches, which searches the indexed fields using Wilson's All-Smart search algorithm.
      • Click in the check box if you want to "also search within the full text of the articles, for extra results" (not in Retro).
      • You can also use Boolean operators to compose a very precise search. WilsonWeb recognizes the Boolean connectors of AND, OR, and NOT; quotation marks to indicate a phrase search; and many more operators.
      • For more information about the All-Smart Search and other Boolean operators, click on the Help link in the left column.
    • The Advanced Search screen uses text boxes, radio buttons, check boxes, and drop-down menus to help you tailor your search.
      • Enter your search terms in the text boxes, using the drop-down boxes on the left to choose the connectors AND, OR, or NOT.
      • Use the drop-down menus on the right to specify how each word or phrase will be searched—using Wilson's All-Smart Search algorithm in the indexed fields, as a Keyword search of the indexed fields and abstracts, or in a Specific Field such as
        • Author or Title of the article;
        • Court Cases field includes the name of any case an article is about;
        • Statute field lists any specific statutes that the article is about (not in Retro);
        • Statute Jurisdiction is the state or country in which a statute was enacted (not in Retro).
      • The Advanced Search screen also provides the following options:
        • a drop-down menu to specify a sort order by date, by a particular field, or by relevance;
        • radio buttons to limit by date;
        • drop-down menus to limit by document type and physical description;
        • check boxes to limit to full-text, page image (PDF), or peer-reviewed items (not in Retro).
      • If you are searching ILP Full Text, you can check the Expand box to "also search within the full text of the articles, for extra results" (not in Retro).
    • In Browse, enter a term and select a field from the drop-down menu to go to the point in that alphabetical list where your term appears. This is a helpful tool if you are unsure of the spelling of your term or if you want to see the various subdivisions of a subject.
    • Search the Thesaurus to find suggested subject headings and related terms. The results screen displays your search term, or a related term, in a hierarchy of broader and narrower terms. Click on the highlighted words retrieved to start a system search. Click on a blue term to stay within the Thesaurus and can view other possible subjects.
  5. After entering terms in the search box and choosing any available options, click on Start to run your search.
  6. A list of article and book citations that match your search will be displayed. Across the top of the screen is a yellow area in which you will see a summary of your search results as well as icons on which you can click to limit your results to full-text, PDF, or peer-reviewed items. There is also a Revise Search button in the bottom taskbar.
  7. To the left of each citation in the list, small icons indicate whether the article is available in full-text or PDF. Click on the icons to go to the full-text or PDF document. Most citations will display the WilsonLink icon to the left, whether or not there is a full-text or PDF icon. If you click on the WilsonLink icon, the search engine will search for full-text copies of the article outside of WilsonWeb.
  8. If you click on a title in the citation list, you will see the full bibliographic display for each article or book. Click on any of the links in the full display to retrieve all items matching that field, for example clicking on the author or subject links will retrieve all articles by the same author or about the same subject. If you click the Full button in the bottom taskbar, you can switch from Brief Display (citation list) to Full Display for all records. Click the Brief button to switch back.
  9. You can mark items of interest by clicking on the check box to the left of each item. Marked terms cumulate until you click the Clear Marks button in the bottom taskbar. Once you finish marking your entries, click the Get Marked button in the bottom taskbar to view only the marked items. Click the Return to All button in the bottom taskbar to get back to your result list without clearing the marks.
  10. To print items, click on the Print Email Save button in the left column. Click on Print Options to see all print options and to select which records, how much of each record, and what other information to print.
    • When the Print Options area is visible, click Print Instructions to review detailed printing instructions.
    • Click the Estimate button to calculate the approximate number of pages that will print. A popup window will display the number of pages.
    • Click the Print button to print your selections.
  11. To email items, click on the Print Email Save button in the left column. Click on Email Options to see all email options and to select which records, how much of each record, the format, and what other information to email.
    • When the Print Options area is visible, click Email Instructions to review detailed printing instructions.
    • Enter email address and email subject.
    • Click the Email button to email your selections.
    • When the email is sent, a confirmation number will be displayed. This number will appear in the subject line of your email.
  12. To save items, click on the Print Email Save button in the left column. Click on Save Options to see all save options and to select which records, how much of each record, the format, and what other information to save.
    • When the Print Options area is visible, click Save Instructions to review detailed printing instructions.
    • Click the Save button to save your selection.
    • Your selection will be sent to your browser in the format you chose. Depending on the format and your browser settings, your browser will either display the file or ask you whether you want to open the file or save it. Choose Save if given the option and then choose a name and location for the file on your disk. Otherwise, use the Save As option on your browser's File menu.
  13. To return to the full list of citations, click on the Back to Results button in the left column. To begin a new search, click on any of the four search buttons in the left column in the left column.
  14. If you need help at any point when you are using WilsonWeb, click on Help toward the bottom of the left column. A pop-up window for the current screen will come up. Near the top of the pop-up screen are tabs for other helpful information such as the InfoCenter, Tutorials, the Journal Directory, and Database Descriptions. On the left side of the pop-up screen is a listing of all Help topics. Any topic can be selected for review.
  15. When you are finished with WilsonWeb, close your Internet browser.

PDF version of this research guide.

Law Search Tips Sheet from WilsonWeb.      Get Adobe Reader


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