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4. Research strategies - How to use World Law

4.1. There is no perfect legal research tool

The number of web pages on the Internet already estimated as exceeding one billion. The number of law sites, the complexity of their content, and their rapid expansion, makes a comprehensive catalog for law impossible. The best Internet-wide search engines only manage to make less than half of these web pages searchable, and it is completely unknown what percentage of web pages relating to law are searchable.

There is therefore no perfect tool for legal research, and any research strategy has to start with these two points:

• World Law/DIAL is just one good starting point for legal research, but should not be the only tool used to find websites/

• Always use both search engines and catalogs, because each has strengths that complement the other.

4.2. Always check ‘Other Indexes’

World Law has one of the Internets largest catalogs of law sites, but there are many other valuable catalogs (also called indexes and directories) of law sites on the web, and some of them will contain valuable links to law sites not yet provided by World Law.

The Categories >> Other Indexes page lists a very wide range of other Internet legal indexes available. A limited scope search from this page will often provide a very high value list of the specific pages in other indexes that index a particular country or subject.

Many country and subject pages in World Law have an Other Indexes subcategory in their top set of subcategories. It is always worthwhile checking the Other Indexes page.

A few of the most useful other indexes which give some degree of global coverage are:

These can all be found on the Categories >> Other Indexes page.

Guided Tour
  1. Go to the Categories >> Other Indexes page, and inspect at least two of the indexes recommended above, plus at least two of the other world-wide indexes that look interesting to you.
  2. Go to the Other Indexes >> By Country@ page and look at one or more of the other indexes for:

• Canada

• a country of interest to you.

  1. Go to Other Indexes >> By Subject @ and look at:

• at least two of the subject-oriented global indexes listed at the bottom of the page;

• the range of indexes available for at least two subjects that are of interest to you, using the subcategories at the top of the page.

4.3. Always use an Internet-wide search engine as well

Internet-wide search engines have different strengths and weaknesses than World Law search engine. They cover all types of subject matter, not just law. They are likely to cover some law sites not in World Law, but to miss others.

The Categories >> Research >> Search Engines page provides a list of over 30 Internet-wide search engines.

Some of the best Internet-wide search engines at present are:

Guided Tour

Go to the Categories >> Research >> Search Engines page.

  1. Go to the Google search engine:

• Go to the page explaining the basics of Google (you will first have to do a search, or -Note that Google only returns those pages that include all of your search terms (ie it gives an automatic all of these words search), and that you cannot use truncation.

• Search Google to find Mongolian legislation. Try these three different searches and note the difference in the number of items retrieved. Why does one of them give a much better result?

• Mongolia Mongolian legislation

• Mongolian legislation

• Mongolia legislation

•  Find the range of languages that you can search in using Google.

• Look at the ‘Advanced Search’ options. Search for legislation only over websites from Mongolia (ie those from the .mn domain).

  1. Go to the Alta Vista search engine. Try the same exercise as you tried above for Google.
  2. Searching with Google as a general Internet-wide search engine will usually give very general results and not necessarily all law related. Compare this with the specifically law-related searching when translating a World Law search (with its automatic addition of law words and terms).
Guided Tour

Compare results from Google and World Law:

  1. Go to the Google search engine and search for 'fishing Tonga'.
  2. Repeat this search from the World Law Categories page using the Law on Google search scope option.

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