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Free & Low Cost Legal Research: Home

DRAGNET

DRAGNET stands for "Database Retrieval Access using Google's New Electronic Technology," a specialized search engine that was developed by librarians at New York Law School.

This feature enables you to "drag the net" through a group of free law-related Web resources.  A DRAGNET search is like a Google search, except that it runs in only a select group of websites.  The sites were chosen by our Library staff for their reliability and utility to legal researchers.

Site Evaluation

When conducting legal research on the Internet, it is important to evaluate the source of the information you intend to rely on. 

Accuracy & Authority

When evaluating a site for accuracy, look at the source of the material:

  • Who is the author or publisher? 
  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Look at the general accuracy of the site, e.g. does it have obvious errors, is it professionally made, etc.

When evaluating the authority of a site:

  • What is the domain name of the site?  Is the website part of a governmental entity, educational, or non-profit organization?
  • Look for "authenticating" indicia, e.g., the GPO Blue Eagle.
  • Is there an "about us" or similar section?  If yes, what does it say?
  • Check for any "disclaimer."
  • Is the site neutral or does it take or support a particular position?  For example, check out the Institute for Historical Review on Wikipedia!

Be sure to verify the information you intend to rely upon.  Check the authorities cited or linked to and search for the same information in other sources. 

Currency & Coverage

  • When was the site last updated?
  • How often is the site updated?
  • What time period does the source cover?  What jurisdiction?

Link Rot

Watch for link rot (when web pages go missing). 

If a web page goes missing, try referring to the following resources:

Wayback Machine (via the Internet Archive):  The Internet Archive Wayback Machine puts the history of the World Wide Web at your fingertips. The Archive contains over 100 terabytes and 10 billion web pages archived from 1996 to the present.

Cyber CemeteryThe CyberCemetery is an archive of government websites (usually defunct government agencies) that have ceased operation. 

 

Contact the Library

The Mendik Library | New York Law School
185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013
 
Contact Information: Reference Desk | Circulation | GoogleTalk:NYLSLIB | 212.431.2332 | SMS: 917.300.1933
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Tools To Aid in Your Evaluation

  • Use common sense!

  • Evaluate the importance of the research you are conducting to help determine how careful you should be when assessing the accuracy of a site.

  • Discover more about the website you are viewing, including who owns the site, utilizing:  Better Whois

  • Use the following Google Advanced Search to find out who is linking to the website you are viewing:  "link: Type website URL here"

Other Free & Low-Cost Legal Research Guides