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Library Services to Journals

Policies and instructions to Harvard Law School journal editors and staff on the services available from the Harvard Law School Library.

Getting Started


Welcome Journal Editors and Staff! This guide is intended to provide an overview of the policies and services for journals using the library. If you have any questions, please contact Claire DeMarco or Alethea Jones for more information.

The most important step as journal editors and staff begin the process of reviewing and editing their articles is to register with the library.

Registration will allow journal staff to:

  • Check out materials through distinct journal borrowing cards associated with each article.
  • Reserve shelf space in the Reference Room for those materials.
  • List a mass subcite day on the subcite schedule.

Please explore the rest of this guide for information about library services and policies.

Shelf Space

How to Obtain Shelf Space

Journals must register to use shelf space in the Law Library each semester.

One week before you need a shelf, either fill out a registration form or email Alethea Jones:

  • your name and contact information
  • journal name and article author name
  • start and end dates
  • mass subcite date and time (if applicable)

Shelf space will be set aside in the subcite area of the Reference Room (4th Floor) organized by journal/article author.  Materials checked-out under an journal's article borrowing card must remain on their designated shelves when not in use and may not leave the library.  Journals do not have permanent borrowing cards.

Shelf Policies

HLSL Materials Must Remain on Subcite Shelves When Not in Use

  • Materials checked out to subcite shelves cannot be recalled and are considered in-library use only.
  • Because of this, library staff or patrons may need to retrieve items checked out to subcite shelves temporarily for photocopying, scanning, or other brief on-site use. 
  • To ensure library materials are available and can be located by staff and patrons, items must remain on the proper assigned shelves.
  • If a journal staffer needs to use a book checked out to a subcite shelf outside of the library, he or she must transfer that item to his/her individual student card at the circulation desk.


  • Journal members are not required to return Law Library materials that have been checked out to the subcite shelves.
  • When a journal’s end date (as listed on the Subcite Registration Form) approaches, the editors will be contacted by the Circulation staff to confirm that the items are no longer needed. Members of the Harvard Law Library Shelving Staff will remove from the Journal Subcite Shelves only materials owned by the Law Library.
  • Any item left on the shelf that is not a Law item, will not be removed and will remain the responsibility of the student who has checked it out to an individual account.  It is not recommended that students leave items checked out to them personally, on the Subcite Shelves.

Missing Items

  • If an item appears to be missing from the shelf, then the journal staffer should put in a Search Request Form.
  • When submitting the Search Request, the student should include his/her name and the journal's name, as well as the author of the work being subcited. It can be picked up by any journal member.

Items that CANNOT be Stored on a Subcite Shelf

  • Anything from a library outside of Harvard (ILL and Borrow Direct items)
  • Critical Items (US Code, Reference Materials, Reserve materials)

The above items are at risk of being re-shelved at any time.

Items checked out to a patron's personal card or those from other Harvard libraries may be stored on the shelf at the patron's own risk.

Subcite Schedule

Schedule Policies

The Subcite Schedule is used as a guideline, not a reservation. 

Space is not guaranteed, even if a journal is on the schedule.

Space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If more than one article team plans to come in at the same time, the Circulation Services Specialist will instruct the editors to look at the schedule, but it is up to each journal’s editors to decide whether they still want to come in or reschedule.


To add a mass subcite to this schedule,

complete the registration form or email


Items Available at Harvard Library

Journal staffers may check out journal production-related items either to assigned subcite shelves or to individual student library cards (student ID cards).  

NOTE: Materials requested by one patron cannot be picked up by another patron, nor can we share waitlist information.

Journals do not have permanent borrowing cards.

Scan and Deliver

Scan & Deliver is a free, electronic document delivery service for Harvard students, faculty, staff, summer school students and special borrowers with access to Harvard Library's electronic resources. You may request and obtain electronically scanned portions of certain items from the library collections that are currently on the shelf.

All Scan & Deliver requests must be placed through the HOLLIS record. If an item is eligible, the Scan & Deliver link will appear in the availability screen for that item.  Scans are delivered within four (4) business days. A notice is sent to your e-mail account with a link to the PDF.

What can be requested?

  • Journal articles (one per issue) or book chapters, (one per book) not exceeding 10% of the work

What can't be requested?

  • Items being used as course materials, including course reserves
  • Special collections
  • Items too fragile or brittle for scanning
  • Requests exceeding 100 pages

Recalls by a Journal

Before placing a recall for materials, please check the journal office or the shelves where books are being held to be sure another journal member has not already retrieved the material. If another journal member hasn’t obtained the material already, place a recall request.

Recalls from a Journal

No items will be recalled from a Subcite Shelf if it is properly checked out. If an item is checked out to an individual’s card, however, the library’s Recall Procedure applies. Failure of an individual to return a recalled item will result in large fines and possible suspension of privileges.

Items Not Available through Harvard Library

If you determine that a book, article, or other resource you need for cite checking is not available at a library on this campus, there are two services that are available - Borrow Direct and Interlibrary Loan (ILL).  


  • If an item is owned by a Harvard Library, but currently checked out to another patron, the journal may only enter a Borrow Direct or ILL request after first trying to recall the item from the first patron.
  • Before turning to Interlibrary Loan, check WorldCat to see whether any local libraries have the item. The reference librarians can provide you with a Letter of Introduction to help you gain access to the other local library.

Borrow Direct

Borrow Direct enables Harvard University students, faculty, and staff with library borrowing privileges and active e-mail accounts to borrow books (only) directly from libraries at affiliated universities. The library bears the cost of the service and there is no charge to patrons.  Available books usually arrive within four (4) business days.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

It may take two weeks or more to receive a book requested through ILL, so it is important not to delay making the request.

To request an item, visit the ILL page and click on the link to “Online Patron Request Form” and complete all required and additional applicable sections.

NOTE: Due to the nature of cite checking, more than one student in a journal may need to see the same book or article. This can result in duplicate ILL requests. Please check with your supervising editor or other journal staffers before placing an ILL request.

Materials that may not be requested via ILL

  • Statutes
  • Newspaper articles available on Lexis or Westlaw.
  • Materials readily available in PDF format from a reliable source.
  • In addition, the library will not pay more than $75 to get a book or article through ILL.

Arrival of requested items

Articles are usually sent electronically within a week of a request, but some libraries still send articles by U.S. mail. These articles, as well as books, may take up to two weeks or more to arrive. If we place an ILL request for an article that arrives by e-mail, it will be forwarded to your university e-mail address. You will be notified of books and photocopies that arrive through U.S. mail, which can be picked up at the library Circulation Desk.

If a lending library has determined that an item should be restricted to "In-library use," then when that item is received by the law library, it will be sent to our Historical & Special Collections (HSC) reading room, located on the 4th floor of the law library. The student who requested the item will receive an automated email letting them know that the item has arrived and must be viewed in HSC. 

Potential problems with receiving a requested item

It is not always possible to find a library willing or able to lend a requested item. Here are some common reasons:

  • The item is of a type libraries typically won’t let off their premises: Videotapes, Microfilm/fiche, All or parts of multivolume sets, Looseleafs, Reference books, Books on reserve, Books in rare book collections, Lending library is the only library that owns the item
  • Previous patrons of our library consistently failed to return ILLs on time
  • The lending libraries charge more than our library is willing to pay (this is a rare circumstance but does occur from time to time.)

Renewal requests

Renewals of ILL items should be requested at least one week before the item is due. Do not assume that the lending library will grant your request for the item to be renewed. You will be notified of the new due date or of the lending library’s refusal to renew the book. In the latter case, please return the book to the circulation desk so it may be returned to the lending library.

Returning items

Return items at the circulation desk. Please remember, items obtained through ILL cannot be placed on the Journal Subcite Shelves. If found on the Journal Subcite Shelf, it will be removed.

Tech Services


The Law Library does not provide copy cards to the journals. All student journals, other than the Law Review, should contact Sheena Prosper, Law Journals Administrator, regarding the process by which each journal can pay for and obtain copy cards. (Sheena can be reached at sprosper@law, or 617-495-3694.) However, the Library will help to facilitate the use of copy cards that are kept with the reference desk on the 4th floor.


Journal students needing to print documents for journal work in the library should check with their editors to see if they have a journal printing account at the library and to obtain the username and password. (Editors should talk to Sheena Prosper to arrange for such account.) The library staff does not know the username and password information for journal printing accounts.

Microform readers/printers are located at the library microfiche room, on the 2nd floor of the library, directly across the hall from the computer lab. Please call the circulation desk at 617-495-3455 if you encounter a problem with this equipment. There is no charge to print from microform printers. Additionally, there are two microform-attached-scanners that can be used to download documents onto a flash drive, at no charge.

Journals Liaisons

2016-2017 Liaison Assignments

Article Preview

For Cite Checking

The Article Preview service streamlines the cite-checking process by identifying those items that may be difficult to obtain.  Articles should be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the student cite checking event. A research librarian will examine the article and inform the journal’s leadership of items that will require special handling. (Please note that the librarian will not, and should be expected to, review every single footnote included in the article.)

The librarian can identify campus resources for some publications, suggest online alternatives to print resources, help to identify sources that may have to be gathered by ILL or that may be difficult to obtain without the author's help, and suggest visits to other libraries for select resources.

To submit an article for the Article Preview service, please send an electronic copy to your specific library liaison.

For Empirical Research

The library statistician can conduct a cursory review of articles that are empirical in nature or based primarily on data for soundness of methodology, statistical analysis and appropriate use of statistics and data.  To submit an article for empirical support review, please send an electronic copy to Arevik Avedian

Please allow at least 2 weeks for review.

Docs on File

Key Contacts & Resources

To implement the Docs on File program for your journal, submit electronic files to an existing Docs on File program, or ask a general question about the program, contact and copy your HLSL liaison.  You may address your inquiry to Jessica Farrell and Jane Kelly.

Visit this overview and guidelines for labeling folders. For guidelines on submitting electronic material, refer to the related section in this guide.

Getting Started

The Documents on File Program is a service offered to student journals at the Harvard Law School for the sole purpose of retaining unpublished, difficult to access, or ephemeral sources cited in the journal.

In order to participate in this program, EICs, MEs, or the appropriate delegate must first schedule a brief meeting with Historical & Special Collections staff to review details of the program and to sign a Deed of Gift. Materials will not be accepted without a signed Deed of Gift on file.

Preparing Documents for Transfer

Whether your document on file is physical or digital, HSC requires some accompanying information. We do not accept duplicate copies in both electronic and physical formats, so please have your authors choose one. Transferring electronic documents is typically easier and quicker for both parties.

All documents transferred to the library are identified in citations using the following explanatory parenthetic: “On file with the Harvard Law School Library.” A web page saved in does not require this citation.

The Library will not accept material with access restrictions or materials available at other libraries or archival repositories. Documents transferred to the library will be freely accessible to all patrons who must abide by Historical & Special Collections Reading Room rules. All documents will be available for duplication upon request.

Transferring Electronic Files

Journals must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Electronic files must be transferred using the HLS Secure and Large File Transfer System. Visit this page for information about this service, including how to sign up.
  • Each electronic transfer should contain only one volume of documents on file. Include the volume, page number, year, footnote number, and filename of the document associated with this data either in the body of the email or an attached spreadsheet.
  • To capture a web page, the author should use to archive it at the time of research and use the provided stable link in their citation. No further action is required.
  • HSC will not accept printed copies of webpages.
  • To submit an electronic file that falls outside of these guidelines, contact and copy your HLSL liaison.

Transferring Physical Documents

The Harvard Law School Library Historical & Special Collections Department will provide journals with archival, acid free, file folders for the sole purpose of transferring documents. In preparation of transfer, journals must organize sources by: Volume, Page Number, Year, Footnote Number.

See “How to label folders for documents on file” for further explanation of labeling procedure.

Journals must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Folders are labeled on the tab using pencil. Please do not use pen.
  • When possible keep pages loose. Please do not use staples or paperclips. (Sources that have already been stapled may be left as is).
  • Place large documents in several folders and label accordingly.

Scheduling Delivery

Electronic documents can be transferred at any time. A Historical & Special Collections staff member will confirm their receipt.

While there is flexibility regarding when physical documents can be delivered to HSC, advance notice is required. Please contact the Historical & Special Collections Assistant to arrange delivery. Materials will not be accepted if dropped off at other library departments (unless previous arrangements are made).

Contact Information and Hours

Jane Kelly, Historical & Special Collections Assistant,, (617) 496-4616

Jessica Farrell, Curator of Digital Collections,, (617) 496-9732

Historical & Special Collections Reading Room,, (617) 495-4550,

Monday-Friday, 10:00am-5:00pm

By Appointment Only


Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid

1. Books being re-shelved prematurely if:

  • they are left out on tables
  • they are shelved in with another subcite that is finished
  • they do not have the proper subcite charge slip from circulation

2. Getting term billed for overdue fines and unreturned books

3. Not giving yourself enough time for ILL (2-3 weeks)

Avoid these mistakes by properly registering and contacting the library for help!

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