Site Search | Site Index

Site Search | Site Index

Law Library News

Law Library News Archive

Nov. 22, 2004
Mary Whisner, Editor

Introducing: Clusty, a New Web Search Tool

--Cheryl Nyberg

Clusty.com is a meta search engine that organizes results into clusters or categories.

Submit a search via Clusty and the programs “subcontracts” the search to Gigablast, Looksmart, Lycos, MSN, Open Directory, Overture, and Wisenut. It then organizes the search results to group like items together.

Here’s an example. Search Clusty for “anthrax.” The top 200+ results are sorted into the following clusters:

  • Terrorism, Bio (37)
  • Anthrax Vaccine (30)
  • Biological, Weapon (30)
  • Band (25)
  • Attacks (21)
  • Bacteria (15)
  • CDC (6)
  • Disease caused (13)
  • Centers for Disease Control (5)
  • Inhalation Anthrax (8)

These groupings help you quickly distinguish websites on the heavy-metal band called Anthrax from websites dealing with anthrax as a biological weapon.

Consider using Clusty when your Internet search term has more than one connotation. Example: USC, which is the acronym for the United States Code and the University of Southern California.

Books, Books, Books of the Week: Most-Cited Books

-- Mary Whisner

This week we highlight, not one, but 100 books!

There are various ways to measure the influence of a work. One might survey leading scholars, asking which books are important in their fields. Or one could ask coworkers or classmates which treatises they have heard of. One proxy for influence is citation: the books that are cited a lot are probably noteworthy (even if they are only cited for the purpose of disagreeing with them).

Fred R. Shapiro, a law librarian at Yale, conducted a study of citations of books and treatises in U.S. law journals and social science journals:

Fred R. Shapiro, The Most-Cited Legal Books Published Since 1978, 29 J. Legal Stud. 397 (2000), available on Westlaw and LexisNexis.

Mr. Shapiro created four lists of books published since 1978:

  • Most-Cited Legal Books (other than Treatises and Texts) (top 50)
  • Most-Cited Treatises and Texts (top 20)
  • British Legal Books Most Cited in Social Sciences Citation Index (top 10)
  • Nonlegal Books Most Cited in Legal Periodicals (top 20)

Wouldn't you like to know what the hot books are? And even take a look at some of them? We're making it easy: we have created a guide listing the books (in order by author, rather than citation rank) with their call numbers and locations here (and, in some cases, elsewhere on campus). See http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/mostcited.html.

By the way, we aren't just appropriating Mr. Shapiro's work: he gave us permission to post this guide.