Internet Legal Research Strategies Cuyahoga County Bar Association CLE Sue Altmeyer, JD, MLS Electronic Services Librarian Cleveland Marshall College of Law Library December 18, 2007
URL for this presentation • http://www.law.csuohio.edu/lawlibrary/documents/REVISEDpubrectalk.ppt
What will be covered • Formulating Search Question • Choosing Search Engine • Performing Search • Evaluating Web Sites • Invisible Web / Deep Web
Formulating Search Question • Start with broad concept; narrow as necessary • What are potential sources for information about broad concepts? Who would care? • What type of information do I want? See: The Skill of the Hunt: Effective Research Strategies for Finding Information on the Web by Genie Tyburski, Web Manager, The Virtual Chase
Formulating Search Question – Can government agencies help? • GPO A-Z Resource List • USA.gov • Books – “The United States Government Internet Manual”; “U.S. Government on the Web” • Ask a Librarian!
Formulating Search Question – Type of information wanted? • Want the latest news? Try topix.net, google news • Want podcasts? Try a podcast search engine • See: Noodletools Chart – Choose the Best Search for your Information Need
Evaluating Web Search Services • SearchEngineShowdown.com: comparison of Web Search Engine and Web Directory features
Search Services Other Than Google • Clusty – metasearch engine; groups results by topic. • Dogpile – metasearch engine; includes Google. • Ask.com – “smart” answers; easy narrowing. • Exalead – Near operator and truncation, smaller amount of web indexed • Kartoo – visual metasearch engine; has choices for narrowing. • Yahoo & Open Directory Project
Specialized Legal Search Engines and Directories • Justia • Cleveland Law Library’s Legal Search Engine list • Westlaw Webplus (for law school Westlaw subscribers)
Performing Search • Learn to use capabilities of a few search engines • Google – Use Google Advanced. See: Googling to the Max by UC Berkeley, esp. re. fuzzy searches (using or, not; synonyms) and limiting searches (by page title or domain); Google Help.
Performing Search • If first 20 hits not on point, change search statement and/or use different search service.
Web Site Evaluation Criteria • Credibility: Who wrote it; possible bias, accuracy. See Example of Inaccuracy in Wikipedia • Coverage • Currency / Updating • Writing Quality • Ease of use – Design, navigation, searchability, help • Stability
Invisible Web / Deep Web • When using a Search Engine, you are only searching information indexed and stored by that Engine. You are not searching “everything on the Web.”
Invisible Web / Deep Web • “Search engines still cannot type or think. If access to a web pages requires typing, web crawlers encounter a barrier they cannot go beyond.” See The Invisible or Deep Web by U.C. Berkeley
Invisible Web / Deep Web • Access Deep Web by finding databases via directories or search engines (search for a subject term and the word “database”), or ask a librarian. • Try The Librarian’s Internet Index and Complete Planet • See Research Beyond Google: 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources
Bookmarking • Google bookmarks or Yahoo bookmarks. • Del.icio.us – social bookmarking. • Create your own bookmark lists with tags. • Share bookmarks with others – other attorneys in your office. • Google Notebook
Further Reading • Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial UC Berkeley