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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

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Internet legal research strategies l.jpg

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

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URL for this presentation


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What will be covered

  • Formulating Search Question

  • Choosing Search Engine

  • Performing Search

  • Evaluating Web Sites

  • Invisible Web / Deep Web

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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

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Formulating Search Question – Can government agencies help?

  • GPO A-Z Resource List


  • Books – “The United States Government Internet Manual”; “U.S. Government on the Web”

  • Ask a Librarian!

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Formulating Search Question – Type of information wanted? help?

  • Want the latest news? Try, google news

  • Want podcasts? Try a podcast search engine

  • See: Noodletools Chart – Choose the Best Search for your Information Need

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Evaluating Web Search Services help?

  • comparison of Web Search Engine and Web Directory features

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Search Services Other Than Google help?

  • Clusty – metasearch engine; groups results by topic.

  • Dogpile – metasearch engine; includes Google.

  • – “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

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Specialized Legal Search Engines and Directories help?

  • Justia

  • Cleveland Law Library’s Legal Search Engine list

  • Westlaw Webplus (for law school Westlaw subscribers)

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Performing Search help?

  • 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.

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Performing Search help?

  • If first 20 hits not on point, change search statement and/or use different search service.

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Web Site Evaluation Criteria help?

  • 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

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Invisible Web / Deep Web help?

  • When using a Search Engine, you are only searching information indexed and stored by that Engine. You are not searching “everything on the Web.”

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Invisible Web / Deep Web help?

  • “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

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Invisible Web / Deep Web help?

  • 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

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Bookmarking help?

  • Google bookmarks or Yahoo bookmarks.

  • – social bookmarking.

  • Create your own bookmark lists with tags.

  • Share bookmarks with others – other attorneys in your office.

  • Google Notebook

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Further Reading help?

  • Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial UC Berkeley