Step 5.2 Access sources

As Dennis Gaulin said, 'There is often a vast difference between awareness of a resource and gaining access to it'.182 For example, you might know that a library holds a book you want, but you still must know about the library's borrowing rights and procedures and opening hours to access that book.

So, after you have identified a potentially relevant source, you must 'learn and develop strategies to legally gain access'183 to that source 'in the most cost-effective manner'.184 Think creatively about how you can best access a resource. For example, consider the following possibilities.

brainstorm BRAINSTORM

See if you can access the source from …

  • free access to databases provided as part of law society and bar associations membership
  • free access to databases provided at public libraries
  • free student or alumni access to university databases (make sure you read the license terms)
  • free trials (most database providers offer free trials)
  • law school libraries, courthouse libraries, national libraries, private law libraries
  • more than 1 database provider (often, more than 1 supplier provides the same database, so shop around to find the best mix of online resources suited to your needs, at the cheapest price)
  • 'public domain' sites

Table 56: Brainstorm ways to access sources

182 Dennis Gaulin, 8 As of Information ( (accessed 2 June 2007).

183 Dennis Gaulin, 8 As of Information ( (accessed 2 June 2007).

184 Dennis Gaulin, 8 As of Information ( (accessed 2 June 2007).

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