Alert or Clipping Services
Public Available Internet Sources
Web Sites Operated by Government or Private Entities:
Legal Research Web Sites
Internet Search Engines
Selecting an Electronic Legal Research Service
Constructing a Word Search
Most electronic services recognize two types of word searches:
Selecting a Database
You should select the narrowest database that contains all of the information you need. Searching in an overly broad database requires you to sort through information that is not relevant to your search, making it difficult to determine if your search was successful. Choosing a database tailored to your research needs will improve the efficiency of your electronic searching.
Reviewing the Search Results
If your word search does not retrieve useful information, consider the following options:
In a Boolean search you have additional options for revising your search:
Many services will alllow you to limit your search to individual components of the document, such as words in the title, the name of the author, or the date of the document.
Boolean searching requires you to understand various commands and connectors. Most fee-based services will have a listing of their preferred boolean connectors.
Natural Language Search
Another way to excecute a word search is to use what is called "natural language" searching. Natural language searching can be helpful if you are researching an area of law with which you are unfamiliar. Natural language results can be inconsistent, especially because you do not specify the connectors used to define the relationships among the search terms. Boolean searching offers more flexibility in tailoring a word search to your needs.