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Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium - Web 2.0, Teaching Cost Effective Searching & Evaluating Subscription DBs

I'm back from Chicago Kent where I attended the Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium. I was unable to live blog the afternoon sessions, so I'll share a few thoughts now.

Right after lunch, I participated on a panel with Professors Doug Berman of the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University (Sentencing Law and Policy Blog & Law School Innovation) and Richard Friedman of University of Michigan Law School (The Confrontation Blog). The session, which was moderated by Debbie Ginsberg, was on Web 2.0: New Tools for Doing and Teaching Legal Research. The panel began with each of us discussing how we got into blogging and the place of blogs in legal scholarship. I then explored a number of Web 2.0 technologies and discussed their role in legal research. They included:

I created a handout which defines each of the above with links to examples. There is also a wiki for the panel to which you are invited to contribute

Later that afternoon I attended two more sessions. Alison Julien & Kira Zaporski from Marquette University Law School, Rosalie Sanderson of New York Law School and Sarah Valentine of CUNY Law School gave an interesting presentation on Being Research-Selective for Efficiency and Economy. They shared the strategies that they use for teaching law students cost-effective legal research strategies. I was particularly impressed with the time sheet exercise used at Marquette.

The last session I attended was on Evaluating Subscription Databases. Julie Jones from Cornell Law School began with an explanation of how the eye tracks a web site. Then she offered suggestions on how Westlaw and Lexis might improve their search interfaces so that law students could learn to use them more efficiently and cost effectively. I was glad to see that there were representatives from each vendor in attendance because she had some great suggestions.