Monday, February 20, 2006

The Law Journals Formally Known As The Journals of Law

Call numbers are great because they keep together a complete run of a law journal whereas an alphabetical sorting would require law journals to be scattered all over the library. Take for example the Brandeis law journal. The Brandeis law journal is the new title of the Brandeis Journal of Family Law which used to be called University of Louisville Journal of Family Law and before that the journal was titled the Journal of family law, University of Louisville School of Law. (This example was chosen because I just happened to be looking for that journal; I know there are other journals with just as many changes or even more!)

There are many creditable reasons why a journal would change names, such a shift in focus from more general coverage to a more specific topic or vice versa. Also a journal may wax and wane in interest as the topics they traditionally cover goes from very hot and new to old news (e.g. energy law in terms of petroleum very hot during the 1970s, not as hot in the 1990s, currently very hot).

Catalogers have done a great service by adding in a library record, notes of either “continues” or “continued by”. “Continues” let you know what a journal used to be titled and “continued by” indicates the new name. In many cases the record for the old or new title is hot linked from record to record, so it is easy to track the evolution of name changes.

Another way to track the history of a journal is to search by the name of university that publishes the journal. You can a run a search in a library catalog using the university’s name as the author. If the catalog you are using does not automatically default to search only in the law library, you will want to do so before you run the search. Otherwise your results maybe very large and require lots of weeding