January/February 2001 // Spotlight Site
JURIST: The Legal Education Network
by Stephen Downes
Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source (http://ts.mivu.org/) as: Stephen Downes "JURIST: The Legal Education Network" The Technology Source, January/February 2001. Available online at http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=1034. The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.

An outstanding example of an educational portal, JURIST: The Legal Education Network, is a complete one-stop resource for students, professors, librarians, and professionals in the field of legal studies. Hosted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, with affiliates in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, JURIST is a massive site, containing such resources as information on law schools, faculty services, positions available, videotaped lectures, course listings, law professors' home pages, columns, discussion, legal news, articles, and more. It is no wonder that since 1997, JURIST has won numerous awards and distinctions.

At first glance, the front page of the site appears overwhelming. Four columns crammed with links may be sufficient to dissuade all but the most determined aficionado. But the page is thoughtfully organized, and the new user will find a quick guide almost immediately by following the Introducing JURIST link, prominently displayed under the "Starting Points" banner.

Following a quick description of the site's origin and purpose, Introducing JURIST guides readers through a list of things that they can do on the site. And they can do a lot: professors can read law school news, keep up with book reviews, find out about conferences, and communicate with colleagues; students can get advice on writing law school exams, search federal case law and legislation, research law programs, and get information about bar exams. Activities are also provided for lawyers and other professionals, law librarians, reporters, and interested citizens.

As has become customary for portal sites, JURIST provides a My JURIST option, which allows readers to create a customized view. Readers subscribing to My JURIST access all of JURIST plus information about their own law schools, local information, case law, a calendar of events, and more. Regular readers will want to visit the Legal Education Today section for a list of conferences, new books and articles, stories, and events. They may also wish to subscribe to JURIST Update, a free weekly e-mail newsletter, by providing an e-mail address in the form on the front page.

Readers with a more narrow focus will invariably find a section of JURIST devoted to their particular interests. For example, one section of JURIST, Books on Law, is a subsite in itself. Edited by two professors from Seattle University School of Law, Books on Law is a monthly publication containing reviews and commentary. Like all areas of JURIST, Books on Law is interactive, allowing readers to voice their opinions about the books reviewed.

JURIST should attract the interest of all educators, not merely those interested in legal studies. It is probably the best educational portal on the Internet today and is a must-view model for any person developing an online resource in any topic. JURIST shows what an educational portal can be, providing personalization and community, information from a wide variety of sources, authoritative discussion, and a comprehensive set of resources.

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