Finding Canadian Journal Articles on LegalTrac (Tip of the Week)

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By Ken Fox

Last week I showed you how to access LegalTrac, an American-based index of journal articles. But is there a way to find articles from specifically Canadian publications?

First, navigate to the ADVANCED SEARCH in the orange menu bar. Note that there are Search Tips in the right-hand pane. In the first searching field, I will use the drop-down menu to change the search index to “Publication Country” – and enter “Canada” as the term.

The Search Tips do not say so, but the default operator is AND. As with many databases, you can search for exact phrases by adding quotation marks. So I will try a keyword search for “spousal support” –

tip6Mar2015_1

This nets 57 results, all family law-related articles from Canadian legal journals.

Can we refine these results? Suppose we want to search for specifically articles that cite the national Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. Let’s stay with those 57 results, and rather than adding more terms to the original search, try using the “Search within results” box in the left-hand pane –

tip6Mar2015_2

This nets 5 records, all Canadian journal articles on the national guidelines. The records provide author, title, and source citation information. Most of the titles are not available in full text, so you may need to contact the library, or search a different database, to get the full article.

You could also achieve the above results by adding “advisory guidelines” in a third row of the original search. And if three is not enough, you can add more search rows. Additionally, there are various searching filters in the lower part of the screen to refine your search. However, I would exercise caution in adding too many search parameters. When you construct overly complex searches in some databases, you begin to lose integrity in the results. I have found that with LegalTrac, simpler is better.

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