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Archibald Jose T.

Juris Doctor – 3rd Year
CEU School of Law and Jurisprudence

Pros and Cons of Internet Research

Bonnie Hill, the librarian for Utah State Attorney General’s Office, said in his article Legal
Research on the Internet: Criminal Law Resources that change is one thing constant in the
Internet, as people from both public and private sectors that continually use it add, delete and
update information. However, he does not recommend that people rely solely on the Internet for
legal research.i

The reason on why people should not rely solely on Internet for research purposes is that law
students and lawyers must accurate, authoritative and comprehensive in using and researching
information to be used in their work.ii

The advantages of using Internet for research purposes is first, it is a cheaper alternative to use of
commercial databases like CD-Asia, eSCRA, and in USA, Lexis-Nexis and WestLaw. Moreover,
these materials are more available quickly in the Internet than on other sources, including the
commercial database websites mentioned earlier.iii Also, there are instances where it is only
source where one can find materials like legislation and jurisprudence from foreign countries,
treaties, and other information for legal professionals and students, especially materials in areas
of law that have been traditionally underrepresented in print and electronic legal publications,
which are important to interdisciplinary research and legal research.iv

However, there are also disadvantages when using the Internet as a resource. There is no
screening or review process and there is no standard of identifying subjects and creating cross-
references. Also, anyone can put anything on a Website, which means that a researcher needs to
be very cautious and attentive while reading and researching for materials online.v

In his article Research Using the Internet, Mr. MacDonald provided basic guidelines when
researching for materials online. Just like Bonnie Hill, he advises that a person should not rely
exclusively or solely on the Internet for resources. Second, he advises that researchers should
double-check the URL’s that they cite on their papers, as typographical errors presented in an
Internet address will make these references useless. He also advises that one should cross-check
the information retrieved from the Internet with resources found in the library so that the
information to be used is reliable and authoritative.vi

http://www.m.page (last seen and accessed at 4:47 p. last seen and accessed at 5:04 p. “Legal Research on the Internet: Criminal Law Resources. of 11 May 2016).ca/advice/reading-and-researching/research-using-internet (cited hereafter as Research using the Internet.org/newsletter/publications/gp_solo_magazine_home/gp_solo_magazine_inde x/hill. http://www2.m.m. http://www.utoronto. Lexis Nexis website. v W.com/en- us/lawschool/pre-law/why-an-internet-search-is-not-legal-research.m. last seen and accessed at 5:21 p.lexisnexis. . of 11 May 2016) iii Lyonette Louis-Jacques. of 11 May 2016) ii Why an Internet Search is not Legal Research. http://www. “Research using the Internet. Brock MacDonald.lib.html.writing.html (last seen and accessed 4:43 p. of 11 May 2016) vi Ibid.edu/~llou/mpoctalk. (cited hereafter as Legal Research.americanbar. Legal Research Using the Internet. iv Ibid. University of Toronto website.” American Bar Association website.uchicago.iReferrences: Bonnie Hill.