September 17, 2009
Hello Words and Phrases Online, Goodbye Words and Phrases in All Formats
Citing West Librarian’s Relations Newsletter (9/2/2009) the Cocky Law Blawg provides the following except reporting on a new Westlaw database for the Company's long-running print Words and Phrases title.
On August 24, a new WORDS-PHRASES database was released that permits searching of words and phrases, without using the caselaw or statutes databases. The new database contains more than 1 million judicial definitions and references from published and unpublished opinions of state and federal courts, including almost 70,000 historical references that have not previously been available on Westlaw.
Great...ah, frankly I don't know if this is new Westlaw database or a re-do of some earlier version of Words and Phrases online. (Does the database graphically map language use?) It's been decades since I've had any real need for the title. I doubt Word and Phrases is needed in either print or digital except as an instructional device to teach online searching (read I hadn't thought about adding this title to my Shed West list until reading Cockly Law Blawg's post).
With full-text searching online Words and Phrases is a relic. In the print-only days, the research tool was an editiorial attempt to provide what good pinpoint online seaching can now do; it was great and useful product once upon a time. Just another West invoice few law libraries need to pay these days. The current budget crunch has some pluses, one being a close examination of long standing purchasing decisions that need to be reversed. Goodbye Words and Phrases in all formats. [JH]
Never one to flinch from humiliation, I'll say that I really like the Words & Phrases encyclopedia and was quite disturbed when I found out that the "words and phrases" searches on westlaw were not the same as the Words & Phrases books. The references I find in the digest words and phrases volumes or through a westlaw search are never as on-point as the info I get in the Words & Phrases set, and I frequently find definitions in the Words and Phrases set that are absent from the digest vols. In my firm I get requests for judicial definitions with surprising regularity.
Let me know if there's something I'm missing here.
Posted by: Ann Jeter | Sep 18, 2009 9:23:59 AM