Legal Research Tools Revamp by ProQuest


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									                                                                                                                                                                                        InformationToday            27
                                                                                                                                                                                   March 2010

                                                                                                                    Legal Research Tools Revamp
                                                                                                                    New Offerings From Westlaw and LexisNexis Debut at Legal Tech

                                                                                                                              ig changes are coming to the two     and Westlaw to hang onto their client
                                                                                                                              main services that have ruled the    bases, especially solo practitioners and
                                                                                                                              online legal research world. Thom-   lawyers in small firms.
                                                                                                                    son Reuters Legal introduced a new West-
                                                                                                                                  law platform called Westlaw-
                                                                                                                                  Next, which aims to simplify
                                                                                                                                                                   Rolling Out WestlawNext
                                                                                                                    R E P O RT and streamline the front-end           The big news in the new WestlawNext
                                                                                                                       F R O M search experience and to pro-       service is that users don’t have to select a
                                                                                                                           T H E vide superior results using new   database to begin a search (and Westlaw
                                                                                                                       F I E L D back-end algorithms.              has more than 40,000 databases). Now
                                                                                                                        WestlawNext made its debut in early        users can just select a jurisdiction. In other
                                                                                                                    February at Legal Tech in New York. [Turn      words, you don’t have to know where the
                                                                                                                    to page 42 for more on the New York prod-      answer is before looking for it. The home-
Michael Hansen, CEO of Elsevier Health Sciences, opened the conference with a keynote about the importance of in-   uct premier. —Ed.] Arch competitor Lexis-      page is much cleaner, with just a simple
novation and invited attendees to take the “brave and bold” road. Photo: Dick Kaser                                 Nexis is also working on a completely          search box to perform multiple functions
                                                                                                                    new Lexis that the company says will be        (the old Westlaw page was cluttered and
that you are giving your customers value,                 The Only Constant                                         out “later this year,” but at Legal Tech,      had multiple search boxes depending on
says Mark Anderson, CEO of Strategic                                                                                it introduced Lexis for Microsoft Office.      what you wanted). You don’t need to use
News Service.
                                                          Is Change                                                 LexisNexis reports that it enables legal       special syntax or Boolean logic (terms
    Since users have and use a plethora                       Ken Doctor, who has just published a                  professionals to access content and serv-      and connectors), though you can if you
of devices, content portability is essen-                 book on the news industry called News-                    ices from LexisNexis and other sources         wish. Just type what you want in simple,
tial, says Gregory Brown, senior director                 onomics, offers a few of his new publish-                 while working directly within Microsoft        descriptive terms. As Mike Dahn, vice
of strategic development at DataStream                    ing laws. With the downsizing of the news                 Office applications. Both companies say        president of WestlawNext product devel-
Content Solutions. Technology is offering                 publishing industry, there’s 40% less                     their respective new products transform        opment, says, “Don’t worry. We haven’t
users more platform-agnostic content,                     newsprint and 20% fewer staff from 3                      the way legal research is conducted.           taken anything away—you told us you
contouring data to the devices at hand.                   years ago. There’s also less capital to                                                                               didn’t want us to dumb down
    Technology and innovation are no                      spend and less local and regional report-                                                                             your research.”
longer limited to users of a younger gen-                 ing to serve as watchdogs over actions                                                                                    Behind the simpler search
eration. Savviness in using technology is                 and activities on all levels. So be mindful                                                                           interface is the power of West-
crossing generational lines. A case in                    of Doctor’s Law No. 2: The digital dozen                                                                              Search. Its algorithms are
point is the influx of “more mature” pro-                 will dominate. Watch the innovations and                                                                              designed to do the heavy lift-
files on Facebook, a service that once was                changes from the 12 movers and shakers                                                                                ing for you. It’s about getting
geared to university-only communica-                      in the industry: ABC, AP, BBC, Bloomberg,                                                                             users through their research
tions. Jumping on the technology band-                    CBS, CNN, NBC, The New York Times,                                                                                    much faster and with the
wagon has an easier entry point today.                    News Corp., NPR, Thomson Reuters, and                                                                                 confidence that they haven’t
When Liberty Carras explained the con-                    The Washington Post.                                                                                                  missed important results. A
cept of Twitter to her Uncle Gary, he sim-                    Robin Neidorf, general manager of                                                                                 search term doesn’t even
ply said, “So you’re saying that it’s basi-               FreePint, stepped up to the podium with                   WestlawNext homepage                                        need to appear to be re-
cally like shouting into a crowd.”                        the research results from the “VIP Re-                                                                                trieved as a relevant result.
                                                          port: Economic Impact Research,” a sur-                      Besides dealing with the challenging        For example, different states have dif-
Welcome to the                                            vey that gathered information on how                      business climate we’ve been in and see-        ferent terms and abbreviations for driv-
                                                          information suppliers are coping with                     ing their legal customers struggle
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