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Studying Law Students’ Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Digital Law Libraries

Makri, S.; Blandford, A.; Cox, A.L.; (2006) Studying Law Students’ Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Digital Law Libraries. Presented at: 10th European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries 2006 (ECDL2006), Alicante, Spain. Green open access

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Abstract

In this paper, we describe our ongoing work which involves examining the information seeking behaviour of legal professionals. This work involves studying the behaviour of both academic and practicing lawyers with the long-term aim of integrating user-centred legal information seeking support into digital law libraries. We report preliminary findings from the initial phase of the study, which comprised a series of semistructured interviews and naturalistic observations of academic law students looking for information that they require for their work. This group of academic lawyers often found it difficult to find the information that they were looking for when using digital law libraries. A potential symptom of this difficulty was that hazy and incorrect knowledge of the digital library system and information sources within the system were rife. This suggests the need for students to understand more about the digital library systems that they use (within-systems knowledge). We also found that although this group of academic lawyers often used several electronic resources in a complementary fashion to conduct legal information seeking, they often chose to rely primarily on one of either the LexisNexis or Westlaw digital law library platforms. Their preference was often based upon vague or sometimes flawed rationale and suggests the need for students to appreciate the situations in which different electronic resources might be useful (between-systems knowledge).

Type:Conference item (Presentation)
Title:Studying Law Students’ Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Digital Law Libraries
Event:10th European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries 2006 (ECDL2006)
Location:Alicante, Spain
Dates:17 - 22 September 2006
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Please also see http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/5093 for the accompanying poster.
Keywords:Digital libraries, lawyers, attorneys, law, information seeking, information behaviour, legal, user-centred design, Google, information seeking support, mental models, online help, grounded theory, qualitative, Contextual Inquiry.
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > UCL Interaction Centre

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