New York Law School’s DRAGNET: Focused Legal Search

Sunday at the AALL 2011 conference in Philadelphia about 200 people attended the Cool Tools Cafe, a 75 minute session in which we could visit 5 minute demos of new tools at any of 17 tables. I managed to visit about half. I was particularly impressed by DRAGNET, a legal search tool from the New York Law School demonstrated by Terry Ballard, Assistant Director of Technical Services for Library Systems of Mendik Library.

DRAGNET (Database Resource Access Using Google’s New Electronic Technologies) is a search tool created with Google custom search which we have mentioned a few times over the years here on Slaw.ca. Search results are pulled from 100 “high quality” law-related sites. I was particularly impressed that the search box and results are incorporated into their library resources page.

Search results come up very quickly under five tabs so that they are separated by recent links, results from New York-specific sites, results from Federal (U.S.) sites, results from international sites, and all sites combined listed in the top tab. See the image below for an example of New York results for “privacy”. Up to 100 links are returned under each tab with the results.

For more information about NYLS’s DRAGNET and how it was created, see Using Google Custom Search To Access Recommended Legal Sites by Terry Ballard, LLAGNY Law Lines (Spring 2011) Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 22 (PDF). During his demo, Terry mentioned he would like to see other law libraries create their own DRAGNETs.

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