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Many print legal resources fall into one of six categories. There are other important distinctions you will make in conducting legal research, such as civil/criminal and federal/state, but these six categories can help you understand the relationship between different sources of information.
Resources for each of the three branches of government (Legislative, Executive, Judicial) are generally arranged either chronologically or by subject. The chronological version will usually be published first, so if you are looking for updates to information appearing in a subject resource, try to identify its chronological counterpart.
If you can determine which category best describes a document, then you may find it easier to identify its relationship with other resources. A few documents may be a combination of two or more categories, such as the U.S. Code, Lawyers Edition, which is a subject arrangement of laws passed by Congress, but also provides a subject arrangement of judicial decisions associated with those laws.
Examples are provided below for some Federal and Florida publications.
Branch of Government
Legislative Branch – Chronological
Slip Laws U.S. Statutes at Large U.S. Code Congressional & Administrative News
Florida Bills West’s Florida Session Law Service Laws of Florida
Legislative Branch – Subject
U.S. Code U.S. Code, Lawyers Edition
Florida Statutes Florida Statutes Annotated
Executive Branch – Chronological
Florida Administrative Weekly / Register
Executive Branch – Subject
Code of Federal Regulations
Florida Administrative Code
Judicial Branch – Chronological
U.S. Law Week U.S. Reports
Florida Law Weekly Southern Reporter, Florida Cases
Judicial Branch – Subject
U.S. Supreme Court Digest West’s Federal Practice Digest American Law Reports