Building Better Briefs: Legal Research & Citation Tools on the Internet

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Legal research in an important component in preparing a written legal argument. There is a lot of great information on the Internet, but it's important that you know how to find it and evaluate it. Legal citation tools are also examined.

Text of Building Better Briefs: Legal Research & Citation Tools on the Internet

Building Better BriefsLegal Research & Citation Tools on the Internet

Bonnie Shucha

There is a lot of great legal information on the Internet.

Its not always easy to find.

And watch out for the bad information.

When brief writing, its important that you get it right.

Evaluating Web Sources

Who created the site?

What is the site about?

When was the info last updated?

From where is the info coming?

Why does the site exist?

How accurate is the information?

The Many Faces of Google

Google

Search Terms in Quotes

Google Scholar

Google Books

Google U.S. Govt Search

There is a lot of great legal information on the Internet.

Its not all on Google.

The Invisible Web

What Google Finds

0.03%

What Google Cant Find

84%

Search Engines & the Visible WebSearch engine spider crawls Web starting with already indexed static pages

Spider encounters link to a new static Web page

Webmaster registers new static Web page with search engine

Spider follows link

Spider adds new Web page to search engines index Content rendered visible

Search EngineSearch this Database Shucha Go

DatabaseAuthorB. Shucha

Title

Publication

Searching Wisconsin Smarter Lawyer Common Law Legal Tech Tips Marquette Law Review ABA Journal

Your search results1. B. Shucha, Searching Smarter, Wisconsin Lawyer.

J. Doe

J.Q. Public

Search Engines & the Invisible WebSpider crawls Web starting with already indexed static pages

Spider encounters database

Query is required to access dynamic data

Spider incapable of generating query

Spider stops and cannot index data in database Content rendered invisible

The key is not locating the answer itself as the first step

but in locating the right database in which to search for it.

Federal Law GPO Access, http://www.gpoaccess.gov U.S. Code, C.F.R., etc. from the Government Printing Office

Thomas, http://thomas.loc.gov U.S. legislation and other congressional information

American Law Sources Online (ALSO),http://www.lawsource.com/also/

Portal to federal & state cases, statutes, regs, uniform laws, and more

Federal Law Justia Federal District Court Filings & Dockets,http://dockets.justia.com/

Dockets, opinions, orders, etc. since 2004

FindLaw's Supreme Court Center,http://supreme.lp.findlaw.com/supreme_court/resources.html

Recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions, orders, briefs, docket, and more

FedStats, http://www.fedstats.gov Statistics from United States government agencies

Wisconsin Law WisBar State and Federal Legal Resources,http://www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Legal_Research

Links to Wisconsin and federal resources

Wisconsin Briefs,http://library.law.wisc.edu/elecresources/databases/wb/

Supreme Court & Court of Appeals briefs since 1992

Wisconsin Legislative Drafting Records,http://www.legis.state.wi.us/w3asp/documents/drafting_files.aspx

Written materials given to or created by the legislative drafting attorney, 1999 to 2005

Wisconsin Law Wisconsin Legislature Infobases,http://nxt.legis.state.wi.us/

Wisconsin statutes, acts, bills, and more

Wisconsin Online Court Records (CCAP),http://www.wicourts.gov/casesearch.htm

Status information for Wisconsin cases

Journals, News & More Badgerlink, http://www.badgerlink.net Scholarly & popular journals and newspapers Available to Wisconsinites

Legaltrac, http://wsll.state.wi.us/enterlt.html Index of legal periodicals Available to WSLL card holders

Journals, News & More MPL Database for Remote Use,http://www.mpl.org/files/great/bookmark.cfm?Category=82

D&B Million Dollar Database, CQ Researcher, etc. Available to Milwaukee PL card holders

South Central Library System Online Resources,http://www.scls.info/resources/

ReferenceUSA, ProQuest, EBSCO, etc. Available to Madison area library card holders

Citation Tools

CheckCiteBatch Shepardizes your doc & verifies quotes

Free to LexisNexis subscribers

StyleCheckEnsures citations conform to BlueBook style

FullAuthorityBuilds a table of authorities from your document

Shepards LinkAdds links to Lexis, Web and your other docs

Batch KeyCites your document

CitrusAuto-corrects citations as you type MS Word

ZoteroCollect cites while Web searching

Free!

Supports BlueBook

Questions?

Bonnie ShuchaHead of Reference UW Law Library bjshucha@wisc.edu