« Like Share Prices for Non-Blue Chip Companies, the Only Thing That's Certain is US News Rankings Annually Fluctuate Up and Down for Most Law Schools | Main | "It has come to our attention that we are charging off considerable Westlaw costs due to Westlaw searches that can be run more efficiently..." »
April 26, 2010
Harrington on WestlawNext: Thumbs Up But Only for Researching Primary Law; Thumbs Down for KeyCite, Headnotes, Secondary Source Searching and Making WLN Available to Law School Students in Its Current State
Ryan Harrington's review of WestlawNext was recently published on AALL Spectrum Blog. Harrington, a reference librarian at Yale's Lillian Goldman Law Library, finds "the product to be a vast improvement over the previous model, but still flawed."
In sum, the platform is better and the experience is certainly better, but I would only favor this system for specific tasks that rely on primary law. While the design and interface are sleek, I think too little attention was paid to KeyCite, Headnotes, and Secondary Sources.
In the context of WLN legal research instruction to students, Harrison writes
I hope some of the major problems are corrected long before students receive passwords, and I am very concerned about the likelihood that legal instructors will need to work with this system before it is ready.
Harrington's review, while limited to a mixture of real-time reference questions, hypotheticals from his legal research class, and research for his own publication during his six-week trial period along with two demos, is highly recommended. [JH]