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
U.S. Statutes at Large
U.S. Code Congressional & Administrative News
West’s Florida Session Law Service
Laws of Florida
|Legislative Branch – Subject
U.S. Code, Lawyers Edition
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
|Florida Law Weekly
Southern Reporter, Florida Cases
|Judicial Branch – Subject
|U.S. Supreme Court Digest
West’s Federal Practice Digest
American Law Reports
|West’s Florida Digest, 2d
Florida Jurisprudence, 2d