Asymmetries in Information Literacy Between Law Students and Faculty: A Research Agenda


Session Description

Requirements and Objectives:

  • Level of knowledge required: zero to expert
  • What you'll learn: Insight into the different ways law students and law professors process legal technology.
  • What you'll get: Food for thought on how to best acclimate different user groups to legal technology.

Anecdotally at least, law students and law faculty approach the interaction of law and technology in uniquely different ways. For example, law professors are more likely than students to think that tech-enabled library systems can make any archival material anywhere available in pristine PDF form at the touch of a button. Yet some struggle to grasp how to use an online catalog, navigate IP-authenticated content, or download documents from JSTOR.

On the other hand, law students tend to better understand the limitations of technology, and they're quicker to learn and more at ease using new research products (like Bloomberg Law, Ravel, and any number of other databases). However, they aren't always the best at judging whether or not the information they find is "good". They lend much too much credence to Google (they don’t know what they don’t know) and are generally oblivious to, or uncritical of, the algorithms underlying search engines, Westlaw, Lexis, and other legal databases.

My plan is to survey the literature on this subject and to conduct some manner of interviews or surveys of students, faculty, and/or other librarians to ascertain their views.  will then present the results of these endeavors and an agenda for further research explaining why it is valuable and necessary that we investigate these phenomena.

Experience level