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ALR Research Using Online Library Catalogs

ALR class Research Using Online Library Catalogs and Library Webpages Feb 4, 2015

Brian Striman

on 5 February 2015

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Transcript of ALR Research Using Online Library Catalogs

Advanced Legal Research
Using Academic Law Libraries
for Effective Research: Online Catalogs
Versus Webpage Resources and Information, with Reference Librarians Being Your Trump Card.
It's all about time and avoiding spending (a.k.a. wasting) time on doing research.

Control time by being efficient in everything you do. Efficient planning, researching, compiling, reading, analyzing and reporting.

What's the desired result of what your working on (a case, legislative research, ? Start with the desired end THEN start your beginning.

How much time have you got to work
with? No much time means going to the phone for help.

Where are our "best" shots at
getting to answers we need fast and efficiently?

Hot Tip #1. Take time to THINK. Thinking first is not wasting time but corralling it for better results.
Getting Relevant Data fast.

Getting Relevant Data at lowest cost.

You're use to doing legal research at no direct
cost to you while being a student.

You're now in the business landscape where each minute is really important.

of when you're floundering!
The 3-minute
Anti-floundering rule. Stop! --- and recalibrate after 3 minutes of going nowhere.
Flounder Avoidance Strategies:

> Spend a few moments thinking about where are the resources you'll need to do your research. Are you working on anything that is outside what the firm can provide (old stuff not in BNA, Bloomberg, WESTLAW, LexisNexis, HeinOnline: and odd stuff (old muni codes, old CFR's, state CLEs, and int'l resources).

If not, think about where and what and who, that offer you the quickest best resources.

Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Google it? Go to a nearby academic law library online? Use WorldCat? Could a public library, county law library, or state law library have what you need?

>Think about what data you need. Group your best shots by what's in the firm and what probably won't be in the firm.

> Taking more than 3 minutes? Re-group. Re-think quickly.
> Who has the best chance of having what you want, and how far away is it?
> Can you get the information sent to you?--- ask a librarian.

At the online search start gate what's best?
>Shotgun approach? keyword in google or
google-looking box in some online research database.
> Specific approach: author, title, subjects?

Take time to look closely at the library's website: hours, number of staff,

Figure out what the names mean to you in terms of contents. Won't take long. What's HeinOnline? What's Google Scholar? What's SSRN?

Go to the library's main search engine pages. Take a few minutes to see what's there.

Worldcat. What is that?
Secondary Sources
Al Gorithms- Nice guy, but unpredictable.
- In Google - pretty good
- In website pages search engines - crummy
- In online law library indexes - bit of both

Relevancy rankings defy logical results for law libraries when shared with other libraries.

Results from searches - 3 minute rule here.

Some online academic indexes seem to have the same look and feel. That's because of national
standards being followed by professional librarians. Search options the same.

Time to pretend! Let's have some fun!

What city would you most like to practice law?

What libraries are within 20 minutes to drive?

What's the largest law library in the area?

Let's check out their online resources.

Why is this Class Important to You?

Not Everything You Need Will be Easy to Find.
Not Everything You Need Will be on the Web.
Not Everything You Need is at the Firm.
Not Everything You Need is "Legal."


Law 733/G (3 cr)
Session by Prof. Striman
ALR Class 2/4/15

Floundering doesn't have to be
that you are frantic. You can flounder
in quiet, controlled office too.

Wasting time can sneak up on you.
Library Website


Library Online "Catalogs"
Discovery Outside the
Law Firm
Our UNL Library Search Engines. Ours is typical of most, we follow standards. Most are inadequate.

Let's do a class survey, hands up:

Who has used our online library searching index?

Did you like it?

Was it confusing?

Results were totally insane?

Did you give up? Why and when did you give up?

~~ Time for a Visual Break ~~

GO TO: large academic law library, go-to first.

More money for staff and resources.
Collection is deep.
Collection is varied: law, science, medical, and subscription databases and platforms.
Collection is shared if with a "main" research library.
Collection has pretty good online catalog.
Has professional tech services and public services staff: Reference Librarians staff to help you with strategies on how to approach finding the law.
Librarians KNOW were the best resources are.
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