Mar 08

Study Aids

Posted in Audio Nan Balliot Posts      Tagged Comments Off on Study Aids

Study Aids LibTour QR Code

This LibTour on study aids commonly found in the law library, which you can download here, was written by Nan Balliot. Nan is the Readers Services Librarian at Roger Williams University School of Law.

LibTour Poster:

Librarians and legal writing professors:  Download the pre-made, letter-sized LibTour poster. Print the PDF, and post it close to your library’s collection. Students can scan the QR code to hear the audio file instantly on their smart phones.

What Else Can I Do With This?:

We offer LibTour materials to you under this Creative Commons license. It means those of you at schools and libraries – including law firm and public libraries – can use LibTour about however you want. Just give credit to CALI and don’t turn around and sell our work.

But, change it around completely, post it on your own site, work it into your library tours, paste all the QR codes onto one handout…whatever you want. Just have fun, be creative, share and let us know what you’re doing with them!


This CALI LibTour covers study aids available through your library. To supplement your casebook and in-class notes, you might want to use a hornbook, nutshell or other study aid. A study aid is a secondary source that explains the legal concepts in a particular area of law. There are study aids on numerous legal subjects. These study aids are generally authored by law professors.

A hornbook is a single volume devoted to one area of law. A hornbook contains references to cases, statutes, and secondary sources such as law review articles and American Law Reports annotations. Unlike a hornbook, a nutshell provides a basic overview of the legal concepts in a particular area of law with few references to cases, statutes, and secondary sources. Hornbooks and nutshells are published by West/Thomson Reuters.  Check Westlaw/WestlawNext for electronic availability of a particular hornbook or nutshell.

LexisNexis publishes the “Understanding …” series and Aspen publishes the Examples and Explanations series of study aids. The Examples and Explanations series of study aids has hypotheticals along with explanations to the hypotheticals. Foundation Press, an independent affiliate of West/Thomson Reuters, also publishes the Concepts and Insights series on various areas of the law. The “Mastering …” series is published by Carolina Academic Press. There are other study aids by other publishers. Mentioned in this audio tour are the major publishers of study aids.

Generally, study aids have a table of contents in the beginning of the book and an index of subjects in the back of the book. References from the index may be to a section rather than a page. A study aid may have a list of cases cited in the book and, depending on the topic, a list of statutory sources that may include citations to the United States Code or to a uniform or model act such as the Uniform Commercial Code. Publishers will update the study aid by publishing a new edition.

Study aids are shelved with books on the same subject by Library of Congress call number. Current editions of a study aid may be shelved on Reserve with earlier editions being shelved in open stacks or all editions of a study aid may be shelved together in the open stacks. To locate available study aids in a library’s collection, use that library’s online catalog or ask a librarian for assistance.

In addition to the print study aids, CALI (Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) provides electronic access to over 850 interactive lessons on numerous legal subjects. Lessons are authored by law school professors and law librarians. When signing up to access the lessons at the CALI website (, you will need to obtain your law school’s authorization code.  You can search for a lesson by topic, author, casebook or subject outline.