We’ve long complained that Google’s search paradigm encourages behavior not unlike that of a slot machine addict. You put in some terms, you pull the handle, you see what you get, you put in some terms, you pull the handle… pull the handle… pull the handle… oh, sorry. Got lost there for a moment. The problem with the slot machine paradigm, of course, is that you can only change your bet (by changing terms) or get someone to rig the machine (by changing the underlying algorithms). The feedback you get from the machine is, perhaps, not so useful.
Over in VoxPop, Julie Jones looks at the question of better interfaces for legal research – a step away from the slot machine, and toward something better. Have a look.