Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cornell's Legal Research Search Engine!

Wow! Cornell has teamed up with Google to offer something a bit different from the new Google Scholar legal search radio button. The Cornell Legal Research Search Engine allows users to do Google-powered searches of

* Legal Research Guides (prepared, usually by law libraries, to help explain how to do legal research in a particular area)

* The Legal Internet (this is a broad area that can include anything from law firms' websites that can be information rich or poor,depending on how focused they are on marketing; non-profit organization and government sites, and non-governmental organizations websites all of which tend to be quite information-rich; education institutions which again can be rich sources of information; corporations and private entities, private individuals and miscellaneous sponsors of websites. The question you must ALWAYS ask is WHY have they bothered to put up and maintain the website?

* Academic Blawgs Many law professors now have blogs on legal topics, or blawgs. Some write on narrow topics, others are all over the map. Some voice their personal opinions, others are writing simply about what the law seems to be. Again, as the consumer, think for yourself.

* or all 3 at once

Broad searches work very well. My student who alerted me to this site was thrilled with the site and termed it a "refined version of Google." But she also wanted to caution her fellow students that one could not search with it for pinpoint topics and expect good results. Start broadly and refine, is the advice. Understand what you are searching. A sub-set of the internet, and think about what is likely to be in the portion you choose to search. The search you use will only locate the resource of your dreams if you can guess the terms that will be in the source you hope to find!

1 comment:

Marie S. Newman said...

Thanks for this useful post, Betsy. I was not aware of this website, but will recommend it to my students in the future.