Although subtitled "The Law Professors' Network," JURIST has a multitude of services to offer anyone from high school students to library patrons looking for the answer to a legal question. The site has won numerous awards for quality including Lycos Top 5%, Infoseek Select Site and a 5-Star rating from Legal.online. These awards are well warranted. JURIST is a comprehensive site in terms of content and its layout, design and utility are outstanding.
On the front page of the site a search interface resides at the top, a navigation table at the left and links for legal news and a database search are immediately noticeable. For a user looking for a current news story or a quick reference question, this layout is ideal.
News and access to databases is only the beginning for this site as the next category of links on the navigation table under "Start" is "Academic Pages". This set of links provides access to course syllabi, papers written for courses in legal education, and legal databases such as FindLaw, LEXIS-NEXIS (provided you have a password), and FedLaw. The "Presentations" link will take you to a list of transcripts or audio or video recordings of recent conference presentations (the audio/video recordings run o n RealPlayer). "Examinations" has course exams, institutions' comprehensive examinations and information on the bar. If you are interested in what's going on in legal education in other countries, the "JURIST Worldwide" link provides a list of professor s' pages from Ireland to China.
Where JURIST really excels is in the "Services" set of pages. Books-on-Law offers reviews of recently published legal literature. The Media Center is a collection of all video and audio recordings throughout the JURIST site. The Reference Desk gathers di rectories, dictionaries, and links to major legal research sites together with an online Reference Librarian whose queries and answers are posted in a bulletin board format. Professors can find all the latest legal news home and abroad through the Facult y Lounge as well as a bulletin board for announcements and requests and JURISTChat, an "online interactive conversation and collaboration tool". Law students can find information on preparation for law school to job advertisements in the Student Lounge. It is difficult to imagine the information need not met by these services.
Navigation through the site is exceedingly easy as the navigation table is present on all pages except, of course, those not actually on the JURIST site but linked to as a resource. Only the few resources such as the LEXIS-NEXIS database are restricted t o users with account passwords. The vast majority of information collected by JURIST is free and open to everyone. As a test of the operation of the site, this reviewer used it to answer a patron's question about the origin of the phrase "separation of c hurch and state". After only a few minutes of searching using the Constitutional Law subject page, a transcript of the Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education referencing the Constitution satisfied the patron's need. The design of the site is clean and well organized, although the small font may need some adjustment for users with vision impairments. Headers are consistent and as the scroll length of pages can be long, frequ ent "back to top" buttons are sprinkled liberally. This reviewer found no dead links or inoperable resources over the course of a week spent examining the site.
The JURIST site is well organized and exceptionally useful for anyone with questions about or an interest in the law, the legal profession, or legal education. Librarians will find it an excellent site for reference service or collection development in l aw or for just keeping up with current events.
Central Washington University