The purpose of this paper is to explore legal information requirements of the legal community in India for a proposed online legal information system tailored to the Indian environment.
A needs assessment survey was conducted using a structured questionnaire circulated among 750 respondents from eight institutions in Delhi. A total of 397 filled-in questionnaires were personally collected by the investigator, showing a response rate of 52.9 per cent. All these questionnaires were selected for analysis and interpretation of data. Responses to 45 questions were analyzed and presented in the form of tables and figures using various statistical techniques.
The findings of the study show that majority of the respondents felt they faced a number of problems in using online legal resources such as accessibility of legal information in legal resources, lack of online help features, description of legal information sources, search screen too confusing and poor website design. In addition, respondents highlighted that access instructions on the online resources are not clear. Lack of expertise and insufficient knowledge of information and communication technology in using legal databases are also major hurdles. Majority of the respondents are somewhat satisfied in using open-access and commercial legal information resources and not aware of open-access resources in the field of law. Model online legal information system (OLIS) was designed and developed based on the findings drawn in the needs assessment survey to empower the common man with legal resources at no cost, and foster research in the field of law.
The model OLIS contains only a sample collection. It is expected that the proposed system will be implemented on a wider scale, so that lawyers, research scholars and common people can benefit.
The findings of the study will help libraries to subscribe to legal information resources and to design robust OLIS suitable in the Indian context. It is anticipated that the needs assessment survey of OLIS will help government agencies and law libraries to understand the problems of the legal fraternity in accessing legal information.
The present study designed a model OLIS for the Indian environment (www.olisindia.in) to aid the legal community in India, enabling them to save their valuable time. This system will help and foster interdisciplinary research learning and can be used as a tool for learning the basic concepts, as well as help deliberate on the emerging areas in the field of law.
Bhardwaj, R.K. and Margam, M. (2016), "Online legal information system for Indian environment: a user’s perspectives", Library Review, Vol. 65 No. 8/9, pp. 593-624. https://doi.org/10.1108/LR-09-2015-0095
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