Published: Sept. 6, 2017

Susan Nevelow Mart, associate professor and director of the William A. Wise Law Library, was published in the AALL Spectrum, the magazine of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). Her article, "Every Algorithm Has a POV," explores the human element in search algorithms. The introduction is below.

"When searching online, legal researchers must rely on the teams of engineers who created the algorithms that power the searches. It is easy to forget that the computer-generated results returned by a search are determined by the choices that humans made when the system was designed. All algorithms do is follow the rules set by humans who import their own biases and assumptions into the algorithm. With legal research, though, the teams that create the algorithms for legal research databases are trying to solve the same problem: The algorithm should return results that are relevant to a researcher who has entered specific search terms—terms that ought to be related to the legal problem that needs to be solved. Wouldn’t that mean the search results would be similar? Does it really matter that the algorithms for each legal research database might be created by dierent teams of humans?"

Read the full article.

Nevelow Mart's scholarly and teaching interests center on legal informatics. She has written and presented nationally and locally on legal information policy, national security and libraries, access to information, computer information retrieval systems, and legal research pedagogy. She teaches Advanced Legal Research and Analysis and Environmental Legal Research.