557 research outputs found

    Studying Academic Lawyers' Information-Seeking to Inform the Design of Digital Law Libraries

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    We report findings from the initial phase of our study on legal information seeking, which comprised a series of semi-structured interviews and naturalistic observations of academic law students and staff looking for electronic legal information. This study has the long-term aim of informing the design of digital law libraries. Participants found it difficult to use digital law libraries, arising from poor knowledge of the digital library system rather than from poor general electronic research skills. Hazy and faulty system-related knowledge were rife, suggesting the need for academic lawyers to understand more about the digital library systems that they use (within-systems knowledge). These lawyers chose to rely primarily on one major digital law library for legal information seeking. Their preference was often based upon vague or flawed rationale and suggests the need for academic lawyers to appreciate the situations in which different electronic resources might be useful (between-systems knowledge)

    An open source MATLAB program for fast numerical Feynman integral calculations for open quantum system dynamics on GPUs

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    This MATLAB program calculates the dynamics of the reduced density matrix of an open quantum system modeled by the Feynman-Vernon model. The user gives the program a vector describing the coordinate of an open quantum system, a hamiltonian matrix describing its energy, and a spectral distribution function and temperature describing the environment's influence on it, in addition to the open quantum system's intial density matrix and a grid of times. With this, the program returns the reduced density matrix of the open quantum system at all (or some) moments specified by that grid of times. This overall calculation can be divided into two stages: the setup of the Feynman integral, and the actual calculation of the Feynman integral for time-propagation of the density matrix. When this program calculates this propagation on a multi-core CPU, it is this propagation that is usually the rate limiting step of the calculation, but when it is calculated on a GPU, the propagation is calculated so quickly that the setup of the Feynman integal actually becomes the rate limiting step for most cases tested so far. The overhead of transfrring information from the CPU to the GPU and back seems to have negligible effect on the overall runtime of the program. When the required information cannot fit on the GPU, the user can choose to run the entire program on a CPU.Comment: 8 pages, 2 figures, 1 table, 22 reference

    Studying Lawyers’ Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Digital Law Libraries

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    In this paper, we describe our ongoing work which involves examining the information seeking behaviour of legal professionals. This work involves studying the behaviour of both academic and practicing lawyers with the long-term aim of integrating user-centred legal information seeking support into digital law libraries. We report preliminary findings from the initial phase of the study, which comprised a series of semistructured interviews and naturalistic observations of academic law students looking for information that they require for their work. This group of academic lawyers often found it difficult to find the information that they were looking for when using digital law libraries. A potential symptom of this difficulty was that hazy and incorrect knowledge of the digital library system and information sources within the system were rife. This suggests the need for students to understand more about the digital library systems that they use (within-systems knowledge). We also found that although this group of academic lawyers often used several electronic resources in a complementary fashion to conduct legal information seeking, they often chose to rely primarily on one of either the LexisNexis or Westlaw digital law library platforms. Their preference was often based upon vague or sometimes flawed rationale and suggests the need for students to appreciate the situations in which different electronic resources might be useful (between-systems knowledge)

    ‘I’ll just Google it!’: Should lawyers’ perceptions of Google inform the design of electronic legal resources?

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    Lawyers, like many user groups, regularly use Google to find information for their work. We present results of a series of interviews with academic and practicing lawyers, where they discuss in what situations they use various electronic resources and why. We find lawyers use Google due to a variety of factors, many of which are related to the need to find information quickly. Lawyers also talk about Google with a certain affection not demonstrated when discussing other resources. Although we can design legal resources to emulate Google or design them based on factors perceived to make Google successful, we suggest this is unlikely to better support legal information-seeking. Instead, we suggest the importance of taking a number of inter-related tradeoffs, related to the factors identified in our study, into account when designing electronic legal resources to help ensure they are useful, usable and used

    Studying Law Students’ Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Digital Law Libraries

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    In this paper, we describe our ongoing work which involves examining the information seeking behaviour of legal professionals. This work involves studying the behaviour of both academic and practicing lawyers with the long-term aim of integrating user-centred legal information seeking support into digital law libraries. We report preliminary findings from the initial phase of the study, which comprised a series of semistructured interviews and naturalistic observations of academic law students looking for information that they require for their work. This group of academic lawyers often found it difficult to find the information that they were looking for when using digital law libraries. A potential symptom of this difficulty was that hazy and incorrect knowledge of the digital library system and information sources within the system were rife. This suggests the need for students to understand more about the digital library systems that they use (within-systems knowledge). We also found that although this group of academic lawyers often used several electronic resources in a complementary fashion to conduct legal information seeking, they often chose to rely primarily on one of either the LexisNexis or Westlaw digital law library platforms. Their preference was often based upon vague or sometimes flawed rationale and suggests the need for students to appreciate the situations in which different electronic resources might be useful (between-systems knowledge)

    A Study of Legal Information Seeking Behaviour to Inform the Design of Electronic Legal Research Tools

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    Our work is motivated by the desire to support digital library users in ?getting to grips? with electronic resources. More specifically we are motivated by the desire to support users in understanding how to use, and in which situations it is appropriate to use, particular digital library or electronic resources. This work focuses on lawyers as a specific category of user; Callister [5] highlights that lawyers been traditionally regarded as having poor research skills. Electronic research skills are no exception: Howland and Lewis [8] surveyed U.S. law firm librarians to examine the quality and extent of the electronic legal research skills of summer clerks and first-year associates. They found that these graduates were unable to efficiently or effectively research issues that appear routinely in actual legal cases and concluded that they were not efficient or cost-effective users of LexisNexis and Westlaw (the two biggest digital law libraries in terms of case, legislation and journal coverage). This was despite all of the students having received some training on how to use the libraries while in law school. Digital libraries have traditionally been regarded as difficult to use [4] and based on our contextual observations with academic lawyers, digital law libraries such as LexisNexis Professional and Westlaw are no exception. We believe that this difficulty of use contributes to the problems that lawyers face with electronic legal research. Furthermore, we argue that developing better research skills goes hand-inhand with developing an understanding of the electronic environments in which these skills must be practiced. Our current work is focused on gaining a better understanding of legal academics? and professionals? information seeking behaviour when using existing electronic resources. This understanding will then be used to inform the design of user-centred support tools for digital law libraries (and potentially the design of the libraries themselves)
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