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Rhode Island Paralegal Association Lunch and Learn Searching Google for Legal Research Presentation December 2013


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Presentation for the RI Paralegal Association Lunch and Learn in December 2013 on Using Google for Legal Research.

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Rhode Island Paralegal Association Lunch and Learn Searching Google for Legal Research Presentation December 2013

  1. 1. USING GOOGLE FOR LEGAL RESEARCH Elizabeth Geesey Holmes
  2. 2. Using Google for Legal Research    How to formulate an effective search: choosing keywords How to use Google’s search features both basic and advanced Finding cases and legal journal articles using Google Scholar Thursday, December 13th, 2013 Presented by Elizabeth Geesey Holmes
  3. 3. About Elizabeth Geesey Holmes    Librarian Information Professional I help attorneys, paralegals, and legal secretaries find authoritative information efficiently and cost effectively
  4. 4. “The digital age’s most mundane act, the Google search, often represents layer upon layer of intrigue.” David Segal. “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search”. New York Times. February 12, 2011
  5. 5. How to formulate an effective search: choosing keywords Part 1
  6. 6. How Keyword Searching Works   Looks everywhere for your search terms Is “dumb” (unless we help it)
  7. 7. Choosing Search Terms FIRST  Reflect on your topic and focus on its main points  Think of terms that describe those main points  If you get stuck do some background reading
  8. 8. Choosing Search Terms THEN  Think about Synonyms  Think about Broader and Narrower Terms  But make keywords as specific as possible  Try the obvious first  Use words likely to appear on the site with the information you want
  9. 9. Keyword Example    Topic: The impact of substance abuse on crime in the United States Concepts: Impact, Substance abuse, Crime, United States Synonyms and Broader/Narrower Terms: Effect, Dependence on Illegal substance, Drug abuse, Alcohol abuse, Drug use, Drugs, U.S., US, America, Criminal, Crime rates, criminality, Misdemeanor, Felony, Offense
  10. 10. Choosing Search Terms FINALLY  Try “throwing” all your keywords into a Google search and see what comes up.  These search results may give you clues to other keywords to include or eliminate from your next search  Then use Google specific search strategies and tips
  11. 11. How to use Google’s search features both basic and advanced Part 2
  12. 12.  Check Your Settings!
  13. 13. Basic Search Main Page Click on Photo to access your Account Settings
  14. 14. How to Change Your Settings Do a Search FIRST! Click on Gear Icon to bring up Search Settings
  15. 15. Make sure this box is checked!
  16. 16. Search Settings: Languages Search Google automatically returns results in the language you choose for Google product text. You can also request results in other languages. If you don’t select any other language you will only get results if the page is in English
  17. 17. Search Settings: Location
  18. 18. My location is set to Providence, RI so my results are in that area Check & change location quickly by clicking here BUT first click on Search tools to open up this menu
  19. 19. Use Boolean Searching  (and/or other search strategies)
  20. 20. Boolean Connectors: AND   Google Default All of the keywords are present  Search: probate law  Results: Both the term probate and the term law
  21. 21. Boolean Connectors: OR  One keyword or the other, or both keywords are present  Search: probate OR trust law  Results: will all have the term law combined with either the word trust or probate NOTE: You must capitalize OR otherwise Google will treat it as a stop word and ignore it
  22. 22. Boolean Connectors: NOT (-)  No results with this keyword are returned Ann Tyler –author -novel  Returns results with the keywords Anne, Ann and Tyler, but without the keyword author, and without the word novel  Use this strategy to find results for your former classmate Ann Tyler, but not for the novelist Anne Tyler  Search:
  23. 23. Word Stemming (and unstemming) Searching for constitutional will also find the words: constitutionality, constitutions and constitution
  24. 24. Limiting your search results to Verbatim 1. Click on Search Tools 2. Click on All Results 3. Click on Verbatim
  25. 25. Proximity Searching: Asterisk (*)/ Wildcard Search: Elizabeth * Holmes  Results: Include:  Elizabeth Geesey Holmes  Elizabeth G Holmes, BUT also  Elizabeth Spencer, Amy Holmes 
  26. 26. Proximity Searching: Asterisk (*)/Wildcard
  27. 27. Phrase Searching: “ “    Use for searching exact phrases or words Use to stop Google from stemming Enter your phrase or word in quotation marks  Search: Ed Braks  Results: Ed, Edward, Braks and Breaks  Search: Ed “Braks”  Results: Ed, Edward and Braks – NO Breaks
  28. 28. Navigate your search results 
  29. 29. What if I just want News Articles?
  30. 30. Note related searches
  31. 31.  When to Use Basic Search, and Some Other Tips & Tricks
  32. 32. Use Basic Search As…  Your starting point  Refine your keywords, narrow results, or use Boolean search operators to get more relevant hits
  33. 33. Use Basic Search As…  A tool to look up simple facts  Population Ecuador  President Poland  Capitol of Massachusetts
  34. 34. Search: capital of massachusetts
  35. 35. Use Basic Search As…  A calculator: 7 * 2 + 4
  36. 36. Use Basic Search As…  A dictionary Search: define: res ipsa loquitur Search: suggesstion
  37. 37.  When and how to use Google’s advanced search
  38. 38. How to get to Advanced Search 1. Do a Basic Search 2. Click on GEAR Icon 3. Choose Advance d Search
  39. 39. Tyler “Ann” –author -novel Boolean search using the Basic search box Boolean search using the Advanced search page
  40. 40. Click on these down arrows to bring up options and select one
  41. 41. Limiting Results to Specific File Formats Enter your search words in the Boolean search boxes at the top of the page  Scroll down to narrow your results by File Type  Choose the file type from the drop down box  Example: Limit search results to .ppt to find presentations posted to the web by opposing experts. 
  42. 42. Limiting Results to a Specific Web Site Search one site (like or limit your results to a domain like .edu, .org or .gov  The command to do this in basic search is site: 
  43. 43. Enter your search terms Limit to a domain or domain type
  44. 44. Advanced Search translated into a Boolean and Google commands search string All Results are from domains ending in .edu
  45. 45. A few more Hidden Features Limiting results to where your search terms appear in the website  In the title of the page  In the text of the page  In the URL of the page  In links to the page  Limiting results by date updated 
  46. 46. Advanced Search Page Limit by where terms appear is only on Advanced Search Page
  47. 47. Two ways to limit by date updated Advanced Search Page
  48. 48. Search tools menu at top of search results page Click on Search Tools to bring up the menu below. Click on Any time to bring up various time limits
  49. 49. Why Use Advanced Search Indispensable in refining your searches to bring the relevant results to the first pages  Fill in the box format means you don’t have to remember specific search commands 
  50. 50. Finding cases and legal journal articles using Google Scholar Part 3
  51. 51. What is Google Scholar? Specialized search that retrieves results from a separate database  Includes: Articles, Theses, Books, Abstracts, Patents, and Court Opinions  From academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other scholarly web sites 
  52. 52. How to get to Google Scholar Go to: ( OR  In Basic Google type in the search: scholar  Your first result will be for Google Scholar 
  53. 53. Defaults to searching Articles and Patents
  54. 54. Important Settings Change from default Search articles to Search legal documents Make sure Open results in a new window is checked Don’t forget to Save
  55. 55. What legal research material can I find here? And where do they come from? Federal and State case law  Legal journal articles  Google’s own database  Google also links to alternate sources for some cases, such as Cornell’s LII, Justia and 
  56. 56. Google Scholar Case Coverage U.S. State appellate and supreme Court case opinions 1950-present U.S. Federal district, appellate, tax and bankruptcy court case opinions U.S. Supreme Court case opinions 1923-present 1791-present
  57. 57. Click on down arrow to open Advanced search window Roe v Wade
  58. 58. Search by Citation Advanced Search Window 100 F Supp 1
  59. 59. Search by Party Name
  60. 60. Vogel Search by Judges Name
  61. 61. Limit to a particular State’s courts or by Time
  62. 62. Search results for Roe v Wade limited to Case Law Click here to create and email alert for this search
  63. 63. Results list limited to Articles
  64. 64. Limiting by Court before you enter search terms
  65. 65.  Navigating a search results hit
  66. 66. Results for our search for Roe v Wade limited to the title
  67. 67. Pros of Google Scholar for Legal Research        Hyperlinked case citations Fast and accurate search results Relevancy as good or better than commercial legal research services “How Cited” tab provides links to cases and scholarly documents that have cited your case Set up Alerts Send direct links to cases It’s FREE
  68. 68. Cons of Google Scholar for Legal Research      Search results based on Google’s system for ranking search results rather than actual importance of case Cannot easily tell if case is still good law. No index tool Statutes and Rules are not hyperlinked Lacks some older cases
  69. 69. Resources       Official Google Blog ( Google Search Help Center ( Google Scholar Help ( Nancy Backman’s Google Guide ( Google for Lawyer’s by Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch Google Search Secrets by Christa Burns and Michael P. Sauers
  70. 70. Contact Information Elizabeth Geesey Holmes  Librarian  Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP   m/ 
  71. 71. “Have fun and keep googling.” ~Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a note on the new (1998)