Reference Services

Reference service are limited to factual questions and assistance in locating or using library materials. Reference services do not include conducting legal research. Reference librarians cannot interpret or explain the law or provide advice about laws that may apply to a specific situation because doing so may constitute the rendition of legal advice and/or the unauthorized practice of law. Similarly, the reference librarians are unable to provide an opinion regarding what form should be used in a specific situation or assistance in completing such forms.

Historical Material Retrieval: As staffing levels and workflow requirements allow, reference librarians may be available to perform historical material retrieval. For example, if an attorney desires to have previous versions of a provision of the South Dakota Codified Laws or historical provisions from the codes of the Territory of Dakota, such a retrieval service is available. While the first 30 minutes of retrieval are free, retrieval services requiring more than 30 minutes will be charged at the rate of $25 per hour. This rate is in addition to copying or scanning charges. See the Document Delivery section below for copying and scanning fees.

Email Reference: The University of South Dakota McKusick Law Library Public Services Department provides an E-mail reference service at This service is available to all University of South Dakota McKusick Law Library patrons. Please see the link on email Reference Services for further information regarding appropriate email reference inquiries.

Telephone Reference: The University of South Dakota McKusick Law Library Public Services Department also provides reference services by phone; however, due to the nature of legal reference services, the scope of telephone reference services are limited and Law Library staff encourage patrons to utilize in-person or email reference services.

The Law Library uses an online tool to track reference statistics, prepare reference reports and as a mechanism to help create a knowledge base of reference questions and answers. Questions submitted via email reference will be included in the online records; however, personal data information is generally deleted from such entries.

Document Delivery

In certain cases, articles, briefs or other materials can be provided to you by email or copies can be provided via U.S. Mail or other commercial carrier. All document delivery services must be in conformance with copyright law. If copyright permissions are required, the Law Library may seek the appropriate permission. Please note that significant delay may be associated with seeking such permission and the cost of obtaining such permission will be assessed to the requestor.

For most items, the document delivery charges are $2 per page to copy or scan, with a maximum charge of $50 for 150 pages or less. If the Law Library staff copies or scans between 150 – 250 pages, the Law library charges a flat rate of $75. For South Dakota Supreme Court briefs, the law library charges $1 per page up to 100 pages. If the brief exceeds 100 pages, there may be an additional charge.