Working Papers

Teaching Free and Low-Cost Legal Resources


In law schools and law firms, law librarians teach modules on how to conduct research with free and low-cost legal resources. This working paper reviews recent literature on legal research instruction. A survey of curricula, modules, and course materials about free and low-cost legal resources then follows. A framework for a model curriculum is proposed based on the preceding two sections and on additional scholarly literature, including the Boulder Statement on Legal Research Education. The paper concludes with an exploration of the responsibilities of law librarians to teach, promote, or create free and low-cost resources.

Yellow Flag Fever: Describing Negative Legal Precedent in Citators (news)


This paper analyzes the accuracy with which descriptions of subsequent negative treatment are applied by an online citator system that employs a hierarchical controlled vocabulary—Shepard’s Citations—as opposed to one that does not—KeyCite. After a contextual review of the citator’s history, a framework for assessment is proposed and employed to test the hypothesis that a citator employing a hierarchical controlled vocabulary would produce more accurate descriptions. The study’s results suggest that a system making use of a hierarchical controlled vocabulary does apply descriptions of subsequent negative treatment in a marginally more accurate way. A discussion of the citator’s place in legal research follows, including the suggestion that legal research instructors and researchers themselves, namely lawyers, should reconceptualize the role citators occupy in the legal research process.