Document Type



For more than a century, the process of legal research remained unchanged. This process was rooted in an established legal information structure. The law was published in standard texts, such as the West reporters, annotated codes, treatises, and the West Key Number Digest. While the advent of computer-assisted legal research was a departure from the print-based model, it did not fundamentally change the structure of legal information or the nature of authority. In fact, in its conservative beginnings, computer-assisted legal research provided a mere format shift as case texts were transcribed to simple online databases. More recently, Web 2.0 technologies have altered the web, taking what was a one-way publishing platform and transforming it into a two-way participatory phenomenon. The web now offers a collaborative space in which users create and define content and determine how information is accessed. This article considers the potential impact of Web 2.0 applications on legal information. First, the traditional legal information model is reviewed. Then, Web 2.0 technologies and their implications for the legal information structure are explored. To gain a better understanding of Web 2.0 participants, recent studies are examined. Finally, the article concludes with considerations for teaching legal research in the face of the Web 2.0 transition.

Date of Authorship for this Version

July 2008


Legal information, Web 2.0