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A Study of Legal Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Electronic Legal Research Tools

Makri, S; Blandford, A; Cox, AL; (2006) A Study of Legal Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Electronic Legal Research Tools. In: Blandford, A and Gow, J, (eds.) (pp. ? - ?). UCL Interaction Centre: UCL, London. Green open access


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Our work is motivated by the desire to support digital library users in ?getting to grips? with electronic resources. More specifically we are motivated by the desire to support users in understanding how to use, and in which situations it is appropriate to use, particular digital library or electronic resources. This work focuses on lawyers as a specific category of user; Callister [5] highlights that lawyers been traditionally regarded as having poor research skills. Electronic research skills are no exception: Howland and Lewis [8] surveyed U.S. law firm librarians to examine the quality and extent of the electronic legal research skills of summer clerks and first-year associates. They found that these graduates were unable to efficiently or effectively research issues that appear routinely in actual legal cases and concluded that they were not efficient or cost-effective users of LexisNexis and Westlaw (the two biggest digital law libraries in terms of case, legislation and journal coverage). This was despite all of the students having received some training on how to use the libraries while in law school. Digital libraries have traditionally been regarded as difficult to use [4] and based on our contextual observations with academic lawyers, digital law libraries such as LexisNexis Professional and Westlaw are no exception. We believe that this difficulty of use contributes to the problems that lawyers face with electronic legal research. Furthermore, we argue that developing better research skills goes hand-inhand with developing an understanding of the electronic environments in which these skills must be practiced. Our current work is focused on gaining a better understanding of legal academics? and professionals? information seeking behaviour when using existing electronic resources. This understanding will then be used to inform the design of user-centred support tools for digital law libraries (and potentially the design of the libraries themselves).

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: A Study of Legal Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Electronic Legal Research Tools
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Imported via OAI, 7:29:00 28th Feb 2008
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > UCL Interaction Centre
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Computer Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/5092
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