Vermont Bar Journal
THE VERMONT BAR JOURNALVolume 35, No. 3Fall 2009CybersleuthingA Guide to Improving Your Research SkillsReviewed by Cynthia W. Lewis, J.D., M.S.LI.S.Online research is not new to legal professionals. Lexis and/or Westlaw have been a part of the daily routine in many law offices for decades. In the last decade, the explosive boom of the Internet has revitalized online research. The practice of law must embrace this new resource, and legal professionals must learn to use the Internet for more than just making hotel reservations and following current developments. The fact that Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch's, The Cybersleuth Guide to the Internet: Conducting Effective Investigative and Legal Research on the Web is already in its ninth edition is evidence that the Internet is firmly established as a fundamental resource for today's legal practice.
After scanning the first few chapters- "Introduction to the Internet and Web Browsers," "How to Search the Web- Search Engines," and "Our Favorite Search Engines"-readers may assume the text is too elementary. These chapters cover very basic information about how to move around the web, how to create favorites, and how to search the web using Google. If you are new to the web, then digesting this information will quickly bring you up to speed. The authors provide helpful screen shots of web browser pages(fn1) with helpful labels and descriptions. However, even expert Internet searchers are likely to pick up helpful tips for constructing sophisticated searches, such as "Search Within Results" and using "Advanced Search." Increasing Internet searching prowess means always learning how to use search engines to their full potential.
Even Internet-savvy readers will benefit from the detailed content in the next chapters of the book. Many believe that everything is searchable via Google. However, Levitt and Rosch discuss the concept of searching the invisible web. They define the "invisible web" as "documents that are freely available on the Internet, but only if you have the exact URL to locate them" (61). The fact that search engines cannot retrieve the documents is what renders them invisible. For example, search engines typically do not drill down into the data housed within databases on the Internet. The authors...