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Online Research Tools

NACDL's Champion magazine has a November 2012 article that gives many tips for taking online research to the next level. A simple Google search or use of LexisNexis or Westlaw is not sufficient to adequately research an expert and may not yield information that is needed on other topics. Below are several free tools and websites that will help attorneys conduct more thorough online research of experts or simply locate needed information online:

  • Access to journal articles - if you are a North Carolina resident and have a public library card, simply go to NCLive which offers access to a wide variety of academic journals, news articles, and scientific articles for at-home use (for free!). In many cases, the full- text document can be printed, emailed, or saved on your computer. There are various databases which can be searched. Attorneys may be interested in these databases: Academic Search Complete, ArticleFirst, Health Source: Nursing/Academic, Newspaper Source Plus and Science Reference Center.
  • Internet Archive Wayback Machine - this can be useful to find information that was once posted online but has been removed. Older versions of websites can be found using this tool.
  • CyberCemetery - this is an archive the websites of government commissions and agencies that have ceased operation. This may be useful if an expert participated in a commission or is cited in a commission report.
  • Google has tools available that make it easier to search for a particular term within a website. For example, doing a google search for "site:cnn.com Medical Examiner" will show you where the term Medical Examiner appears on CNN's website.
  • Library of Congress Electronic Resources Pages - the collection contains over 200 databases that include, print journals, newspapers, magazines, books, manuals, and other materials.
  • THOMAS - this website provides of federal legislative information. If the expert has testified before Congress, testimony is available within its collection of congressional documents. Also, the full Congressional Record can be searched by keyword or phrase.
  • HighWire Stanford University Press - this website contains a large repository of free full text life science articles.
  • Google Scholar and PubMed are also comprehensive search tools for journal publications. RefSeek and citeulike are other search engines that will produce results from journals and other academic sources.
  • The American Board of Medical Specialties - this website provides physician certification information. Attorneys can search to find out if an expert is certified in a particular medical specialties or subspecialties.
  • Members of the American Society of Addiction Medicine - this is helpful if a case involves addiction and an expert on the subject is required. The website also contains publications related to addiction research.
  • National Student Clearinghouse - this website is helpful to verify an expert's curriculum vitae. Many schools will not longer verify degrees attained and instead will refer attorneys to this fee-for-service website.
  • National Association of State Jury Verdict Publisher - the expert witness directory on this website provides an alphabetical listing of experts who have testified in civil jury trials across the United States.
  • Blogs - attorneys should research whether an expert has a blog or posts on blogs because blogs may reflect the author's personality and views. There are many sites that host blogs, including WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogspot.
  • Twitter - this is a useful tool if you want to be updated with information on a certain person; you have to have a twitter account in order to receive these updates. Tweets may reveal the expert's views or may simply provide information about the expert's interests and articles that the expert is reading.
  • Podcasts - are audio files that can be downloaded and listened to. If an expert has recorded a podcast, it may contain information about the expert's views. iTunes or YouTube can be searched for podcasts.
  • Social media - be sure to look on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to see what information the expert has posted about him or herself. The amount of information available will depend on the privacy settings used by the expert.