Comments on the Court's Use of Google

Today I received an email from Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Anderson who commented on yesterday’s post: Court Notes that Google Search Might Have Turned Up Missing Defendant. He reminded me of a CNET story on this issue (See WisBlawg post dated 5/24/04 for the link). The article raises concerns that judges are using search engines to do their own research.
As I replied to him, librarians are keenly aware of the shortcomings of a Google-only strategy in the search for authoritative information. That’s not to say that search engines aren’t valuable tools – but they are just one of the many tools that the legal researcher has in her workshop.
Sure I can pound a nail with a wrench, but it will take me twice as long and will probably look awful. Give me a hammer I can hit the mark more quickly and with more precision. There is something to be said about using the right tool for the job.