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Q UINCY COLLEGE Paralegal Studies Program Paralegal Studies Program Legal Research & Writing LAW-215 E-Research: Legal Research Using the Internet.

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Presentation on theme: "Q UINCY COLLEGE Paralegal Studies Program Paralegal Studies Program Legal Research & Writing LAW-215 E-Research: Legal Research Using the Internet."— Presentation transcript:

1 Q UINCY COLLEGE Paralegal Studies Program Paralegal Studies Program Legal Research & Writing LAW-215 E-Research: Legal Research Using the Internet

2 In this unit, we will learn: In this unit, we will learn: The definition of Internet-related terms. The definition of Internet-related terms. Tips and strategies for conducting legal research on the Internet. Tips and strategies for conducting legal research on the Internet. The ethical concerns regarding the use of the Internet The ethical concerns regarding the use of the Internet The “best of the best” sites for various legal research tasks as well as some sites for non- legal research. The “best of the best” sites for various legal research tasks as well as some sites for non- legal research. How to use the Internet for legal research. How to use the Internet for legal research.

3 Ways Legal Professionals Use the Internet Communication Communication Court Filings Court Filings Marketing Marketing Commerce Commerce Research Research

4 Start Pages Cornell University Law School Legal Information System (LII)  Cornell University Law School Legal Information System (LII)  Washburn University School of Law  Washburn University School of Law  FindLaw (West)  FindLaw (West)  MegaLaw  MegaLaw  CataLaw  CataLaw  Nolo’s Online Law Center  Nolo’s Online Law Center 

5 Home Page for Cornell University Law School

6 Home Page for Washburn University School of Law

7 Home Page for FindLaw

8 Home Page for MegaLaw

9 Home Page for CataLaw

10 Home Page for Nolo Online Law Center

11 Strategies and Tips for Internet Legal Research Take notes Take notes Use the history lists Use the history lists Use bookmarks Use bookmarks Do not spend too much time reading the screen Do not spend too much time reading the screen Be aware of gaps in the information available on the Internet Be aware of gaps in the information available on the Internet Never completely rely on the Internet Never completely rely on the Internet Subscribe to a listserv Subscribe to a listserv Consider disclaimers Consider disclaimers Use RSS to obtain updates Use RSS to obtain updates

12 Search Engines Google Google AltaVista AltaVista Ask Ask Lycos Lycos Yahoo! Yahoo!

13 Google Scholar Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer- reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer- reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research. URL: URL:

14 Google Advanced Scholar Search Page

15 AltaVista Advanced Web Search Page

16 Ask.com Search Page

17 Lycos Home Page

18 Yahoo! Home Page

19 Using Boolean Logic and Other Techniques to Enhance Search Statements Because the Internet is so huge, searches will often provide too many results. When creating search statements you should take advantage of additional techniques to refine your search results. Because the Internet is so huge, searches will often provide too many results. When creating search statements you should take advantage of additional techniques to refine your search results.

20 Boolean Logic Boolean logic, particularly the use of the Boolean operator AND, is the most important technique for limiting results in any database or search engine. Boolean logic, particularly the use of the Boolean operator AND, is the most important technique for limiting results in any database or search engine.

21 Boolean Operators UseExamples AND + To get fewer search results cake AND chocolate OR To get more search results adolescents OR teenagers NOT - To get fewer search results media NOT radio The Principal Boolean Operators

22 AND Retrieves only records that contain both words - Combine your key concepts using AND

23 NOT Eliminates material you don’t want- Be careful not to get rid of stuff you might actually need

24 OR Retrieves matches for either term, so you get more records. Use with terms that have about the same meaning in your search

25 Nesting Combine AND and OR in a single search. This technique divides your terms into units like an equation, by using parentheses. Combine AND and OR in a single search. This technique divides your terms into units like an equation, by using parentheses. Examples: Examples: fruit AND (apple OR orange) fruit AND (apple OR orange) (fruit AND juice) AND apple (fruit AND juice) AND apple fruit AND (apple OR orange) AND juice fruit AND (apple OR orange) AND juice (fruit AND juice) AND (apple OR orange) (fruit AND juice) AND (apple OR orange) ((fruit AND juice) AND (apple OR orange)) AND NOT banana ((fruit AND juice) AND (apple OR orange)) AND NOT banana

26 media AND politics OR election retrieves records that match "media that also match politics" OR retrieves records that match "election." media AND (politics OR election) retrieves records that match media that also match either politics OR election.

27 Truncation and Wildcard Truncation is a technique that enables a searcher to look for a word and any of its possible endings. This is sometimes called using a "wildcard" as it usually enables the searcher to insert a symbol as a wild card at the end of a word. Truncation is a technique that enables a searcher to look for a word and any of its possible endings. This is sometimes called using a "wildcard" as it usually enables the searcher to insert a symbol as a wild card at the end of a word. This symbol instructs the computer to look for the root of the word and all alternate word endings or variations of a word and expands your search results. This symbol instructs the computer to look for the root of the word and all alternate word endings or variations of a word and expands your search results.

28 Truncation and Wildcard Use a symbol (like an asterisk *, !, or ?) at the end of a word to replace any number of letters (truncation). Example: teen* will find results containing any of the following terms: teen, teens, teenager, teenagers, teenaged Use a symbol (like an asterisk *, !, or ?) at the end of a word to replace any number of letters (truncation). Example: teen* will find results containing any of the following terms: teen, teens, teenager, teenagers, teenaged Use one or more symbols within a word to replace one or more letters (wildcard) Example: Use one or more symbols within a word to replace one or more letters (wildcard) Example: wom?n will find results containing any of the following terms: woman, women

29 Use enough of a root word not to confuse the computer. Using opera* to search for operations retrieves opera, operant, operable, etc.

30 In most search engines, and in many databases, it is possible to search for a phrase, or two or more words appearing next to each other. The most common method for doing this is to surround the phrase with quotation marks. In most search engines, and in many databases, it is possible to search for a phrase, or two or more words appearing next to each other. The most common method for doing this is to surround the phrase with quotation marks. Phrase Searching

31 For example: A search for "acid rain" will look for those words in the database only when they appear next to each other. A search for "acid rain" will look for those words in the database only when they appear next to each other. Other examples: Other examples: “May the force be with you” “May the force be with you” “Hillary Clinton” “Hillary Clinton” “presidential election 2008” “presidential election 2008”

32 Use 6 to 8 key words in your query More keywords chosen at the appropriate “level” will give you a smaller and more focused list of hits, greatly reducing the possible documents returned. More keywords chosen at the appropriate “level” will give you a smaller and more focused list of hits, greatly reducing the possible documents returned. Examples: new, planet, planets, discover, solar, system. Examples: new, planet, planets, discover, solar, system.

33 Limiting and expanding a database search Many databases will offer additional methods for limiting and refining search results. Some of these limiters may include: Many databases will offer additional methods for limiting and refining search results. Some of these limiters may include: full text full text you can search only for full text articles you can search only for full text articles peer reviewed peer reviewed you can search only for articles that are considered peer reviewed you can search only for articles that are considered peer reviewed date range date range you can search only for articles that have been published during a specific time period you can search only for articles that have been published during a specific time period

34 Learning to Use the Database Options Use the help screens, and advanced search options. Use the help screens, and advanced search options. Remember that every database is different, offering different ways to create search statements or use controlled vocabulary. Each database will usually provide help screens to explain how to search effectively within that database. Remember that every database is different, offering different ways to create search statements or use controlled vocabulary. Each database will usually provide help screens to explain how to search effectively within that database.

35  TIP: Be aware that each database and search engine may use Boolean logic in a different way. For example: In Yahoo and other search engines you can use the plus sign “+” as a Boolean “AND” or the “-” as a Boolean “NOT”. Some search engines have pop down lists to help. In Yahoo, a pop down menu helps you to focus your search. In Google, you can use the advanced search feature.

36 TIP: For a basic guide to Boolean Logic, see the following internet tutorial: Boolean Searching on the Internet, A Primer in Boolean Logic, by Laura Cohen, January, lean.asp

37 Hein Online Available for remote use free of charge at the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries (requires Library Card) Available for remote use free of charge at the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries (requires Library Card) Offers: Offers: Nearly 1200 Journals. Comprehensive: Every page from every issue from every volume Nearly 1200 Journals. Comprehensive: Every page from every issue from every volume English Reports, Full Reprint English Reports, Full Reprint English Reports, Full Reprint English Reports, Full Reprint Federal Register beginning with v.1 (1936) Federal Register beginning with v.1 (1936) Federal Register beginning with v.1 (1936) Federal Register beginning with v.1 (1936) Treaty Publications Treaty Publications Treaty Publications Treaty Publications US Statutes at Large, 1789-date US Statutes at Large, 1789-date US Statutes at Large, 1789-date US Statutes at Large, 1789-date US Supreme Court Opinions, 1754-date US Supreme Court Opinions, 1754-date US Supreme Court Opinions, 1754-date US Supreme Court Opinions, 1754-date PDF Format PDF Format

38 Hieros-Gamos A global legal site with links to legal and non-legal sites. A global legal site with links to legal and non-legal sites. URL: URL:

39 LexisOne Free service offering cases, forms, articles, headline legal news, links to law- related sites. Free service offering cases, forms, articles, headline legal news, links to law- related sites. Targeted at small law firms, also offers flexibly priced legal research from LexisNexis. Targeted at small law firms, also offers flexibly priced legal research from LexisNexis. URL: URL:

40 PublicLegal Web site of the Internet Legal Research Group. Web site of the Internet Legal Research Group. Offers LawRunner, a legal research tool and intelligent agent based search engine interface for Google.com and its 3+ billion indexed web pages, with the advantage of being able to limit search results only to those web pages within a particular jurisdiction for more effective legal research. Offers LawRunner, a legal research tool and intelligent agent based search engine interface for Google.com and its 3+ billion indexed web pages, with the advantage of being able to limit search results only to those web pages within a particular jurisdiction for more effective legal research. URL: URL:

41 Additional Resources Check the topic entitled, “Legal Resource Websites”, in Appendix C of the CD accompanying Oran’s Dictionary of the Law for additional e-research sources. Check the topic entitled, “Legal Resource Websites”, in Appendix C of the CD accompanying Oran’s Dictionary of the Law for additional e-research sources.

42 Anselmo Library Online Resources Start Page: Start Page: Legal Studies Research Guide: Legal Studies Research Guide: Lexis-Nexis Academic Lexis-Nexis Academic Tutorials Tutorials User Guide (See Handout) User Guide (See Handout) Zimmerman’s Research Guide: Zimmerman’s Research Guide:

43 Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries Online Resources Start Page: Start Page: With (free) Library Card, access to: With (free) Library Card, access to: HeinOnline HeinOnline RetrieveLaw RetrieveLaw Academic OneFile Academic OneFile

44 End of E-Research: Legal Research Using the Internet End of E-Research: Legal Research Using the Internet


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