Toward a Cyberlegal Culture: Legal Research on the Frontier of Innovation, 2nd Edition / Edition 2

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Although universal online access to legal information has vastly expanded the lawyer's practical resources, it does not come with a clear and reliable methodology. A fundamental shift in approach is necessary to understand its enormous transformation of the legal research process; using it requires a new set of procedures amounting to the assimilation of a new legal culture. Now for the first time this new "cyberlegal" culture is fully set forth in a way that makes its great benefits available to all legal practitioners and law librarians.

This volume provides an in-depth analysis of the new legal infrastructure inherent in the internationalization of legal research via the internet. It presents dependable strategies for navigating efficiently in the virtual reality environment, with special attention to the librarian's role in shaping legal database interfaces. It thoroughly explains how the law library's mission is restructured, adding a teaching dimension to its traditional role as a reference service.

The author describes the skills and managerial decisions that characterize the cyberlegal culture, showing the reader exactly how the cyberlegal information specialist conducts substantive legal research. She spells out the guiding principles on evaluating databases, other online legal research tools, and the "linked thinking" capabilities of the internet. Concrete examples are provided throughout, such as:

  • modules for teaching online legal research, with sensitivity to different regions, jurisdictions, and levels of comprehension;
  • a catalog of reliable international and foreign legal databases, listed (with search strategies) by subject as well as by jurisdiction; and
  • URLs for all databases discussed.
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Editorial Reviews

Legal research increasingly takes place in an electronic domain of databases and server software. Roznovschi (a reference librarian at New York U.'s Law School Library) sees this "cyberlegal culture" as having entered a stage of stability, credibility, and confidence<-->poised for availability to legal specialists across the globe but not yet a pervasive reality. Her text reviews what reliable law databases now exist, in the US and elsewhere, and covers the strategies needed to benefit from these resources, including the intricacies of evaluating databases. The text includes a chapter on the evolving mission of law librarians as they become expert at training students and faculty in online skills. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571052728
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi
Chapter 1 Electronic Reference and the Internationalization of Legal Research 1
Tales of Strategy for Surviving in the Cyberlegal Culture 8
Define your work "jurisdiction" 8
Realize that each action incurs a series of reactions 9
Anticipate "hidden costs" in subscription decisions 10
Learn from your imitators 10
Integrate complementary collections 11
Use teamwork 11
Better teach than provide 12
Be aware of security protocols and devices 13
Try not to assume that one source is better than another 13
Work on many projects simultaneously 14
The Legal Information Specialist's Role in Designing the Interfaces of Legal Databases 14
Chapter 2 Legal Research on the Frontier of Innovation 19
The Online Concept 34
Online Access Politics 35
Online Legal Research 36
Evaluate your resources: what kind of document is needed? 38
What is the subject area? 42
Online Sources for Tracing Laws in Different Jurisdictions and Different Subjects 43
Guides, pathfinders, Internet indexes 43
Legal portals and vortals 45
Online encyclopedias 47
International digests 48
Yearbooks 49
News sources 49
Listservs 50
Indexes to foreign and international primary and secondary sources 51
Online legal journals 57
Dictionaries 59
Library catalogs 60
Library consortia 62
Subject-oriented databases 63
Foreign Collections and International Implications 63
Databases and General Search Engines 66
How old is your document? 67
Search engines 68
Search engines for international and foreign law 71
Search engine logic 74
Database search engines 74
Online translation 76
How to evaluate your search 77
Search strategies: some practical examples 77
Chapter 3 Guiding Principles on the Evaluation of Legal Databases 87
Databases 94
Criteria of Evaluation 96
Product description and main user identification 97
Completeness of content 97
Who is the author/publisher? 99
Does the database indicate the page of the printed document? 101
Language 101
Accuracy 102
Currency and Timeliness 104
Coverage 107
Archiving 108
Search quality/findability 109
Workability 110
Stability/server reliability/malfunctions 112
Interactivity with the user 113
Cost: online versus print format 113
Copyright stipulations 114
Licensing 117
Structural considerations/database performance 118
Conclusion 119
Chapter 4 Teaching versus Reference versus Teaching: Restructuring the Mission of the Law Library 121
Supporting the School of Law/Legal Institution Instruction 132
General training 132
The legal institution's special projects 134
Specialized training in international and comparative law research 135
Teaching in the School of Library and Information Science 141
Teaching Abroad 143
The basic level 144
The intermediate level 148
The advanced level 153
How to built an electronic law library in a foreign country 157
Conclusion 160
Appendix International and Foreign Law Databases 165
General sources for Public and International Law 166
1. Treaties 166
2. Judicial Decisions 170
a. International Courts and Tribunals 170
b. National Courts 172
c. Arbitral tribunals 172
3. Scholarly Writings 173
Subject-Oriented Databases (Collections of International and domestic Laws) 175
Arbitration 175
Constitutional Law 175
Copyright 177
Environmental Law 178
Treaties 178
Decisions 180
Human Rights 180
Treaties 180
Decisions 181
International Organizations 182
The Council of Europe 182
European Union 182
International Labor Organization 184
North American Free Trade Agreement 185
Organization of American States 186
United Nations 187
World Health Organization 188
The World Intellectual Property Organization 188
World Trade Organization 189
Patents and Trademarks 190
Transnational Business and International Trade 191
a. Tax laws: Treaties and country legislation 191
b. Business laws: Treaties and country legislation 192
Regions of the World and Individual Jurisdictions 194
1. Comparative law databases 194
2. Collections of foreign materials 195
3. Individual jurisdictions 199
Argentina 199
Australia 199
Austria 201
Belgium 201
Canada 201
China 202
France 203
Germany 204
India 205
Israel 205
Italy 206
The Netherlands 206
New Zealand 207
Pacific Basin Jurisdictions 207
Romania 207
Russia 208
South Africa 209
Switzerland 209
United Kingdom 210
United States 210
Bibliography 213
Index 223
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