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Levin College of Law

Conducting Legal Research

Resources and tips for conducting legal research .

What is a Citator?

What is a citator?

At its core, a citator is an index of legal materials. With a citator service, a legal researcher can generate a list of materials that cite to a specific source or document. The two primary legal citators are KeyCite (Westlaw) and Shepard’s (Lexis).

Bloomberg Law also has a citator, BCite.

Why Should I Use a Citator?

Why should I use a citator?

Citators help you to:

  • Determine whether a primary law source, such as a case or a statute, is still valid law.
  • See the effect a citing document has on a case or a statute (positive,       negative, affirm, overturn, question, etc.), and see the depth of treatment the citing resource gives to that case or statute.
  • Expand a primary source by using that source to find additional relevant primary and secondary sources.
    • Limit citing resources by headnote (point of law), jurisdiction, date, and other categories.
  • See the appellate history of a case.

Sources a Citator Serves

What types of sources does a citator serve?

KeyCite and Shepard’s provide citator services for the following materials:

  • Shepard’s: cases, statutes, the CFR, select administrative decisions, and law journals.
  • KeyCite: cases, statutes, administrative decisions, federal regulations, and law journals.