The very first Research Tip on this blog was about reading the URL. That advice is the same today as it was back in January 2011. Understanding ‘where’ on the web you are getting information from is a useful skill.
Dan has written about phishing and there is a a good twist on Lifehacker that discusses how to boost your phishing detection skills. The skill set boils down to reading the URL and being aware of where you are vs. where you want to be.
What does this have to do with legal research? Reading a URL and understanding where the information you are gathering is posted is important. Is that decision you found through a link sitting on a website that you can safely cite to? Is it a Scribd item added to a news article? Aare you looking at something that has been uploaded for a purpose? Is the decision part of the course material from a law school open casebook? In what context is it being offered up?
Reading the URL is a good information gatehring practice. Today’s Tip: glance up and to the left and take note of the web address. Look to your status bar before clicking on a hyperlink that will take you down a research path that is not useful to you.