A. What’s There Today
1. Pay world
2. Free world
3. What’s missing?
a) Invisible web
B. What about Reliability?
1. Link Rot – when web
pages go missing
Breaking Down Link Rot: The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive's Examination of URL Stability, Sarah Rhodes, Published in LLRX on March 1, 2011
a) Wayback Machine
(via the Internet Archive)
The Internet Archive Wayback Machine puts the history of the World Wide Web at your fingertips. The Archive contains over 100 terabytes and 10 billion web pages archived from 1996 to the present.
b) Cyber Cemetery
The CyberCemetery is an archive of government websites that have ceased operation (usually websites of defunct government agencies and commissions that have issued a final report). It features a variety of topics indicative of the broad nature of government information.
2. Substantive Reliability
C. Site Evaluation
1. Why Bother?
2. Because stuff happens . . .
3. The take-away: use good judgment
4. Specific Elements to Evaluate (A2+B+C = GOOD)
Look at the source of materials – the author, the publisher, etc.
Look at the accuracy generally, e.g., does it have obvious errors, is it professionally made, etc.
Who is behind the site? Always check the “About Us” and “Disclaimer” links. Is it a government entity? An educational or non-profit organization? Look for “authenticating” indicia, e.g., the G.P.O. Blue Eagle
Is the site neutral or does it take or support a particular position on an issue?
Institute for Historical Review [check it on Wikipedia!]
When was the site last updated? How often is it updated?
5. Some tools
a) Your Brain
b) Google Advanced Search – link:URL (pages that link to the page you are evaluating)
6. More resources – Berkeley Tutorial
II. Travels in the Online World
Directories provide a subject arrangement of web sources. The value of the Directory often depends on the person or organization that catalogs, arranges, and describes the sites.
2. General Reference
a) Internet Public Library (“Information
You Can Trust”)
Free selection of reference books – encyclopedias, quotations, dictionaries, thesauri, and more
c) ReferenceDesk.org and RefDesk.com
All kinds of valuable reference tools at your fingertips – dictionaries, thesauri, quotations, converters, calendars, etc., etc.
What it says about itself: Reliability of Wikipedia
3. Public Library Databases
a) New York Public Library Articles and Databases
b) New York State Library NOVEL (New York Online Virtual Electronic Library)
Provides access to information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from your desktop. A wide variety of resources − books, magazines, newspapers, research and reference sources and more are available for free to New York State residents.
B. Search Engines
(1) New pages
(2) Skewed to commercial sites
(3) Vocabulary and spelling
b) Special Features
(1) Google Scholar
Cross-discipline literature searches including depositories of peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, court opinions, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, universities and other scholarly organizations.
(2) Google Books
Google is working with several major libraries: Universities of California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, and New York Public to digitize their collections. A search result provides basic bibliographic information about the book and a few sentences around your search term in context. You may see the entire book if it is out of copyright.
(3) Google News
A computer-generated news site that aggregates headlines from news sources worldwide, groups similar stories together and displays them according to each reader's personalized interests..
c) Hacks, Syntaxes, Tools
(1) Use Advanced Search and
Advanced Search Tips link
(ii) + (to search for noise words)
(iii) – (to exclude words)
(2) Google Guide
(ii) Unabridged for Novices
(iii) Unabridged for Experts
2. Other Search Engines
DRAGNET, which stands for “Database Retrieval Access using Google’s New Electronic Technology,” is a specialized search engine that was developed by librarians at New York Law School. It allows researchers to “drag the net” through a group of free law-related web resources.
c) Ask.com (f/k/a Ask Jeeves)
3. Use More than One Search Engine – Thumb shots Ranking
4. Evaluating Search Engines – Search Engine Showdown
C. Some Special Sources
1. Historical Information and Archives
2. Statistical Information
Statistics from more than 100 federal agencies
b) Statistical Abstract of the United States
c) National Center for State Courts (Court Statistics Project)
Collects and analyzes data from all state courts
3. Think Tanks
III. Federal Legislative and Regulatory Materials
b) Public Laws and the Statutes at Large
c) Congressional Record
d) How our Laws are Made
2. FDsys (Federal Digital System, formerly GPO Access)
b) Public Laws and Statutes at Large
c) Congressional Record
d) United States Code
GovTrack.us is a tool designed to help the public research and track activities in the U.S. Congress. It provides access to the status of U.S. federal legislation, voting records for the Senate and House of Representatives, information on Members of Congress, district maps, as well as congressional committees and the Congressional Record. What sets it apart from other sites is that it enables users to track all activity relating to particular pieces of legislation as well as Congressional committee meetings. Tracking can be set for daily or weekly updates.
B. Regulations and Administrative Materials
1. Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.)
2. Federal Register
3. Agency Materials
of Virginia Government Information Resources
An online collection of Administrative Decisions and other actions by Federal Agencies, indexed by agency as well as by subject.
c) Catalog of Government Publications
The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications is a finding tool for federal publications and provides direct links to those that are available online. Users can search by authoring agency, title, subject, and general key word. More options are available through the "Advanced Search" feature. The catalog also offers you the option to find a nearby Federal Depository Library that has a particular publication.
MetaLib is a service of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications which functions as a federated search engine that searches multiple U.S. Federal government databases, retrieving reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available online.
4. Presidential Materials
IV. New York Legal Materials
B. Regulations and Administrative Materials
C. New York City Materials
(from New York Law School’s Center
for New York City Law)
A free online library of New York City administrative decisions, with more than 65,000 decisions from 22 NYC agencies.
2. Rules of the City of New York
3. New York City Agencies (use drop-down menu to select among city agencies)
D. Other State
Fantastic Facts about the 50 States: Websites for State Legal Research (Wendy E. Moore, University of Georgia School of Law Library)
V. Case Law and Court Materials
A. General Sources for Case Law
1. Public Library of Law
A large, free, open source library powered by Fastcase. Contains case law as well as statutes, regulations, court rules and forms.
A for-profit company that makes available for free a large volume of federal and state legal material, including both case law and statutes. The dates of coverage vary.
3. Google Scholar
You can access U.S. Supreme Court opinions from 1791 to the present and other federal opinions, including district, appellate, tax and bankruptcy opinions, from 1923 to the present. State appellate court cases are available from 1950 to the present. You may search for cases the same way you search for any information on Google. Using the advanced search option, you can restrict your search to federal or state court opinions.
4. FindLaw.com for Legal Professionals
Although you can find U.S. Supreme Court decisions back to 1893, dates of coverage for other federal decisions and for state decisions varies.
B. Bar Association Sources
York State Bar Association (Loislaw)
Loislaw.com provides free legal research and access to recent cases to all NYSBA members. Recent decisions are available from the New York courts, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics Decisions are available as well.
2. New Jersey State Bar Association (Fastcase)
NJSBA members have free access to the complete New Jersey law library from Fastcase, which includes: U.S. Supreme Court Cases; New Jersey Supreme Court Cases; New Jersey Appellate Division Cases; New Jersey Superior Court Cases published in A.2d; Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Cases; and New Jersey Codes and Rules.
C. Dockets, Court Rules, Forms and Briefs
D. Federal Materials
E. New York State