Introduction to Boolean Searching

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1 Introduction to Boolean Searching 2015 Step 0: Know your database Indexed databases Search based on subject matter or concept Like digest searches Go to Landlords section, then look up case Information already pre-sorted into categories If information isn t in the category, you would miss it Full-text databases Search based on individual words Like a Google search Type in landlord User specifies search terms Search not limited to someone else s categorization 1

2 Yahoo search page circa 1998 Example of an indexed search database. Google search circa 2015 Example of a full-text database 2

3 Before we get started Before we get started (part two) Know the scope of what you re searching (the corpus ) so you aren t guessing what s in the database. Case Law Federal and state case law back to 1950** Statutes Other Regulations Court Rules Constitutions U.S. Code & official state statutes for D.C. plus 46 states Links to state and federal administrative regulations and codes (some are searchable) Links to state and federal courts rules (some are searchable) Links to state and federal constitutions (a few are searchable) 3

4 Two things to keep in mind Search process A good search is like a dance general steps you follow with added flourish to impress people 4

5 Getting started 5

6 Fastcase Boolean operators Operator Example Description AND, & libel AND damages Results must contain both libel and damages OR premarital OR prenuptial Results must contain either premarital or prenuptial NOT negligence NOT criminal Results must contain negligence but not the word criminal w/3, /3 custody /15 interrogation Results must contain custody w/in 15 words of interrogation. *,! testif* Results must contain some variation of the stem testif such as testified, testify, testifying, etc.? mari?uana Results must contain m-a-r-i-_-u-a-n-a with any letter substituted for the question mark estate tax Results must contain the exact phrase estate tax ( ) (confront OR cross-examine) Parentheses tells Fastcase to do the operations contained within it before doing things outside AND right AND wrong Only returns cases at the intersection ones containing both the words right and wrong. 6

7 OR car OR automobile Returns all cases around the perimeter of the two words either those using the word car or the word automobile. NOT speech NOT school Only returns cases mentioning speech without referencing the word school. 7

8 speech NOT (school OR political) Only returns cases mentioning speech, but not mentioning school or political. speech AND public NOT (school OR political) The cases returned will use both the words speech and public but won t use either the words political or school. 8

9 Proximity or within w/# or /# custody /5 interrogation return cases where custody appears within 5 words of interrogation Sample matches: in-custody interrogation of a suspect.... unless in-custody police interrogation is.... interrogation while in custody may give.... when in custody for purposes of interrogation.... (w/1 matches.) (w/2 matches.) (w/3 matches.) (w/4 matches.) Exact match [quotes ] marital privilege The cases returned must use the exact phrase marital privilege. Not in results:... the marital communications privilege may be waived spouse may enjoy marital privileges from... In results: The marital privilege has been criticized by.... 9

10 Root expander (*,!) mar* Return cases with at least one word that begins with mar. Pros: Useful for plurals, different tenses, gerunds, etc. Cons: Can slow down search times if you just want to search plurals, OR is faster Can be over-inclusive see, e.g., maritime in this search. Single letter wildcard? myr??d myr??d return all cases with either spelling (correct or wrong) of myriad myriad myraid 10

11 Quotation marks communications privilege returns only cases with that exact phrase Sample matches:... that the communications privilege encompassed within the same statute precludes marital communications privilege is not applicable here because Mr. and Mrs. Irons were estranged at the time of the conversations. Not in search results: Defendant erroneously filed two notices of appeal with.... Parentheses () Consider the following search: car OR vehicle AND getaway 11

12 car OR vehicle AND getaway What Fastcase actually sees: (vehicle AND getaway) OR car Subtle but important distinction Correct: (car OR vehicle) AND getaway Incorrect: car OR (vehicle AND getaway) 12

13 Advanced Order of Operations A: B: C: Consider the following searches: Rule* /5 803(5) AND knowledge OR recall NOT memory 3 4 knowledge OR recall NOT memory AND Rule* /5 803(5) Rule* /5 803(5) AND (knowledge OR recall) NOT memory A (wrong): 157,342 results; B (wrong): 1,038,488 results; C (right): 99 results 13

14 Concept Testimonial privilege Communications privilege Compelled testimony Spouse Criminal trial Keyword and operator (testimon* or marital) /3 privileg* AND (compel* or requir*) /5 testif* AND (spous* or husband or wife) NOT civil 14

15 (testimon* or marital) /3 privileg* AND (compel* or requir*) /5 testif* AND (spous* or husband or wife) NOT civil First Search (testimon* or marital) /3 privileg* AND Second Search (testimon* or marital) /3 privileg* /15 (spous* or husband or wife) (compel* or requir*) /5 testif* AND (spous* or husband or wife) AND (compel* or requir* or forc*) /5 testif* NOT civil NOT (civil or attorney /2 privileg*) 15

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18 Use Forecite to enhance your results Forecite: Fastcase has identified 3 additional decisions that may be relevant to your research topic, but do not contain one or more of your search terms. 18

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20 Customer Support Available 8 am - 8 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) CALL LIVE CHAT Help Live Help Additional Training Resources: CLE: 4 weeks. No need to . 20

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