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Legal Information Skills

This guide is aimed at students who are new to finding legal information. It will take you through searching the Library resources, how to find your course readings, and also how to search key databases.


The library offers thousands of different resources and it can be difficult to sort out what you are after. You can access the library resources in several places.


DiscoverEd is our library catalogue, which provides information about our collections, about useful resources available online, and much more! 

You can find a guide on how to get started using DiscoverEd herehosted on Microsoft Sway - please contact us if you need a more accessible version of this content. 

However, please be aware that in law you will also need to use specific legal databases to access case law, legislation, legal resources and other materials which are not visible in DiscoverEd. You can find more information about this in Section 2: Searching

Resource Lists

Resource List logo

Many of your courses will use Resources List- The online reading list service which links through to the essential course resources. To find out more about resource list go to the Resource Lists page of our website.

Scots Law

Hierarchy of law reports

Your course will look mainly at Scots Law, which has unique features from the law within the rest of the UK. 

This short presentation hosted on Prezi explains some of the key aspects of Scots Law which relate to finding legal information. We designed this as part of the LibSmart Legal Information module, which has lots of useful information for those getting started with Legal Information. If you're interested in exploring this self-enrol course on Learn, you can find more information on the LibSmart web page

You will find information there about how to enrol, and you may also be interested in looking at the introductory course LibSmart I to help develop your digital skills and to get the best out of the library. 

Next Steps

Your next steps are to click through to the next section of the guide and have a go at searching:Next page arrow

  1. Where to find and access resources
  2. Searching
  3. Referencing
  4. Further help and training
  5. Test yourself!


A quick way to access library resources is via MyEd in the Studies tab, under the Library section.

This has links to your library account and the main catalogue. It also links to a 'Search and Access Library Resources' area where you will find links through to the list of databases and the subject guides.

Subject Guides and Databases


Databases are collections of subject specific resources. The databases related to law offer access to case law, legislation, legal documents and resources, as well as legal journals and books. 

The main databases students will need to use are Westlaw, Lexis+ and HeinOnlineAll of these are accessible through the Law Databases page. 

We will look at how to search these in Section 2. 

Subject Guides:

The Law Subject Guide collates the most relevant library resources for law courses within the university.  It is a great place to find key links to advice, information and help on library resources related to your course. 




a) Finding specific books through DiscoverEd

Search for the books below, and then answer the questions which follow.

Gloag & Henderson: Law of Scotland. 15th ed. W Green.

  1. Which library has this book?
  2. How many copies?
  3. If they are on loan, when are they due back?

Dewart, Megan H., and Robin M. White. The Scottish Legal System. 6th edition. 

This record contains information about the ebook and print book

  1. Click into the ebook. What is the title of the fifteenth chapter of this book?
  2. Return to the record. What year was this edition published in?

b) Searching by author name and using filters

Imagine you found the second book above to be very helpful and you want to find more work by this author. Use the ‘advanced search’ option to search for more works by Author/Creator: Dewart AND Title: Law.

Try to find a recent book published on the topic of property law by using keywords 'Scottish', 'property' and 'law' and using the filter on the left hand side of the page to select publication dates 2021 to 2022. Then select only Books available in the Law Library. 

Practicing using DiscoverEd to locate your course reading will stand you in good stead when you come to begin your research for assignments. Click through to the next page on 'Searching' for more help with locating information you will need.