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Over the past fifty years the American legal system has changed from a system dominated by case law to a system dominated by legislation. The expanding role that legislation has assumed is apparent, not only by the scholarly commentary precipitated by this change, but also by the new legislative research tools which have become commonplace in many law libraries. Well-established legal publishers and newer entrepreneurs are offering an array of computer-based systems that the researcher can use for searching legislative histories and pending and enacted legislation. For instance, with the computer-based products of Congressional Information Service, the Congressional Quarterly, and other services, the researcher can compile federal legislative histories more quickly than with manual tools. Moreover, researchers can perform online searches of pending legislation for a multitude of jurisdictions on the bill status and tracking systems such as the systems offered by Commerce Clearing House and Public Affairs Information. In addition, a few codified statutes can be searched online using LEXIS or WESTLAW.

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