5 basic categories of the major secondary sources & what they contain:
1. American Law Reports: this is a hybrid source that is both a primary and secondary source. It is a primary source because it is a selective reporter. Each reported case has a companion article or annotation reviewing the subject of the case and summarizing similar cases from around the United States.
2. Encyclopedias: Include a general discussion of broad topic in the law. Most encyclopedias contain a general discussion at the top of the page, with citations to authority in support at the bottom of the page. Encyclopedias can be general, or specific to a particular jurisdiction.
3. Text & Treatises: Very similar to encyclopedias, but are devoted to a single subject and tend to be much more in depth.
4. Law review articles / periodicals: Very specific articles devoted to a specific question of the law. These are written by experts in the field (lawyers, judges, professors) and edited by the highest-ranking law students.
5. Restatements: Offer a black letter outline of common law subject and include commentary and illustrations.
The approaches to using secondary sources offered by most secondary sources:
1. Table of Contents
3. Table of Cases: If you’re researching a particular case, you can look it up alphabetically and this table will tell you where the case is discussed in the secondary source.
4. Table of statutes: Very similar to a table of cases, but lists statutes instead.
Updating of most secondary sources: Pocket parts.