Decipher citation abbreviations and find articles or cases with BodLaw tools

By | 6 November 2017

The Bodleian Law Library provides a number of database tools to help you find articles and cases from reading list citations. The basic process is to

    1. Determine the name of the journal or law report from the standard abbreviation used in the citation.

You will almost certainly be able to tell from the citation whether it is a reference to a case report or a journal article but in some instances this is less clear, which is why you need to decipher the abbreviation before you head off to the shelves or select the correct database search tab.

    • Use one of the abbreviation tools we have bookmarked on Diigo (We recommend Cardiff Abbreviations as best first port of call )
  1. Find out where, and in what format, the item is held, by searching the catalogue ( SOLO)

If you want to go straight to an online version, click ‘View Online’ (1) …

… and you will be presented with our SFX list of available sources, with holdings details.

In most cases, clicking on the link will take you directly to the title browse screen, but some database links will only take you to their main search screen.

NB Some items are available online direct from the publisher via our UK copyright agreement –  i.e. publishers have opted to provide us with electronic access rather than a hardcopy. Access to this material has to be made from a computer or networked login within the University’s IP range (2) .

If you want to consult hardcopy:

When you find a hardcopy item on the catalogue, the Find and Request tab will show you which libraries hold a copy, and what their holdings are (3)

[NB College libraries are only generally accessible to their own students, while most department and Bodleian libraries can be accessed by anyone with a valid university card – though you may need to register at circulating libraries if you wish to borrow books, where this is possible]

If the item is held in the Bodleian law Library:

You will need to find the shelfmark (4) to determine whereabouts it is held. We are still in the process of reorganising the collection by material type, but for now make use of our floor plan and index handout, or ask staff to guide you

Alternatively, try our

Law Reports & Journals database

This contains a list of all the report and journal titles we hold in the Bodleian Law Library, now with ‘value added’ abbreviations, to help make this a one-stop-shop because you can combine the first two steps (Determine the name of the journal or law report from the standard abbreviation used in the citation AND Find out where, and in what format, the item is held)

The database is listed on our home page, under Finding Resources, as shown:

or bookmark this direct link





Search for CJLJ in the abbreviations field,

leaving ‘either’ format selected if you are not sure whether it is a report or a journal, and noting too, we do not use full stops in our abbreviations, so you may need to try variations on a theme

This will automatically list…

  • the (in this case) 6 x sources we have for this item,
  • the holdings for, and format of, each one, and
  • a link to take you (in most cases) directly to the journal title, or at least the search page for the holding database.
  • The BLL shelfmark to locate hardcopy in our library, and a link to the catalogue record for hardcopies, in case you need to check for alternative holdings locations




If you already know the name of the report or journal, you can, of course, enter this as a title search, with the same results.