Category Archives: Research Strategies

Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium – Librarian and Practitioner Legal Research Survey Results

At the mid-morning session at the Back to the Future Symposium, we learned about the results from various practitioner and librarian surveys regarding legal research practices. Speakers were Sanford Greenberg and Tom Gaylord of Chicago-Kent College of Law and Patrick Meyer of Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
There was a lot of interesting data presented, including recommendations by Chicago law firm librarians on what skills they would like to see from new associates:

  • Electronic Searching Knowledge – 28.57%
  • Print Materials Knowledge – 37.14%
  • Subject Area Knowledge – 20%
  • Online Cost Efficiency – 14.29%
  • General Research Strategies – 22.86%
  • Google/Web – 2.86%

Also interesting were the recommendations by law firm librarians on which types of information are better accessed online and which are better in print. The majority of librarians surveyed felt that cases and digests were better used online while legislative and administrative codes were better used in print. And it’s no surprise that the vast majority felt that Shepards/KeyCite was better online. Over three quarters of survey respondents felt that secondary sources were better used in print.

LLJ Articles from the Berring Symposium on Legal Information & the Development of American Law

The latest edition of Law Library Journal is out and it contains articles from the symposium on Legal Information and the Development of American Law: Further Thinking about the Thoughts of Robert C. Berring. Included is Should Legal Research Be Included on the Bar Exam? An Exploration of the Question by the UW Law Library’s own director, Steve Barkan.

Librarian’s Ultimate Guide to Search Engines Has Tips for Everyone

Scott Hawksworth over at DegreeTutor has created a very useful guide for online research called the Librarian’s Ultimate Guide to Search Engines. It covers “things librarians understand about search – and things that anyone doing online research can benefit from.”
These things include discussion of where search engines are and where they are going, a glossary, advanced search tips, and a description of some of the players – big and little – in the search market.
This guide has something for everyone – from novice searcher to expert researcher.

Guide to Assessing Information on the Internet

Mary J. Koshollek, director of information and records services at Godfrey & Kahn S.C. in Milwaukee has written an excellent article on evaluating websites in the November issue of the Wisconsin Lawyer. In Assessing Information on the Internet, Mary describes the whys and hows of evaluating the authority of Internet materials.
Abstract:

This article provides guidance as you search and work to evaluate the information that you are gathering. Healthy skepticism and critical evaluation techniques are basic lawyering traits and should be applied to working with Internet-based information.

Law for the Layperson: An Annotated Bibliography of Self-help Law Books

Southern Illinois University Law Librarians Diane Murley and Amber Hewette have written a new book entitled, Law for the Layperson: An Annotated Bibliography of Self-help Law Books. It is available from Hein and Amazon.
Nearly 1,000 self-help books and other resources are reviewed and classified by topic and jurisdiction. The book is intended to help nonlawyers find the information they need and help librarians serve their pro se patrons.
Source: Law Dawg Blawg

WisStat Offers Custom Demographic & Economic Data

Looking for a map of median house values for Dane County? a family demographic profile for DeForest? or a table of major crops harvested in Wisconsin? These and many more customizable tables, profiles and maps are available free on WisStat from the UW Extension Applied Population Laboratory.
WisStat is a very powerful database for compiling demographic and economic statistics for the state of Wisconsin, its counties and smaller communities. Learning to use it takes a while, but it will be time well spent for those needing this type of detailed, customized data. A help page and introductory power point presentation are available.