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Too Crowded? The Pros and Cons of Crowdsourcing Legal Research

My latest for RIPS Law Librarian:

RIPS Law Librarian Blog

crowdsourcingA few weeks ago, I gave a lecture in our Advanced Legal Research course on free and low-cost legal research. This is not a new lecture topic for me. Typically, we focus on Fastcase and Casemaker for the low-cost resources, and Justia, FindLaw, Google Scholar, and government websites (among others) for the free resources. Recently, however, a number of legal research startups have come on the market that are attempting to change traditional legal research in some way. Ravel Law, for instance, approaches legal research through a data visualization lens. What I have found particularly interesting, however, is the trend toward crowdsourcing legal research.

“Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.” I took this definition from Wikipedia, which seems fitting given that Wikipedia…

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I am the Assistant Director for Public Services at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law. My research interests include exploring how emerging and existing technologies can be used to enhance library services and legal education as well as how to address knowledge gaps and meet the educational expectations of today's law students.

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