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April 4, 2012
Some Quirks in the BNA BLAW Content Merger
This week, BLAW subscribers are starting to see BNA content merged into their BLAW screens. In fact, the login page proudly announces that BNA is totally integrated into BLAW. Well, not so fast there Mayor Mike. The BNA Reports - also known as legal news - do not seem to be part of BLAW news.
Unlike the march toward the "one search box" solution to connect everything in the world approach that wexis is taking, the BNA/BLAW merger, so far, is heading in a different direction. Sometimes content is merged and sometimes it is not. (Yes, I know BLAW has a one search box, but it is different from Westlaw Next and Lexis Advance).
When you log onto your BLAW account, the landing page clearly makes known that the BNA Portfolios and Manuals are available (see them nicely listed (first) under SECONDARY SOURCES). I imagine what you have access to will eventually depend on what you buy.
If you go to "Search and Browse" (which is the first tab on their tab bar), you have an opportunity to refine your search to specific categories: Court Opinions, News, Dockets, etc; you can also browse the secondary sources (including the aforesaid BNA Manuals and Portfolios).
I ran a few searches in 'News' to see if BLAW picked up any of the BNA Reports. For example, there was a news story today on dependent eligibility for transgender partners that appeared in the BNA Daily Labor Report (search: transgender and wife and eligible dependent). And there was a news item in the BNA Employment Discrimination Report today about Sears, retaliation and sexual harassment charges (search retaliation and sexual harassment and the company:SEARS). Neither story from the BNA Reports showed up in my rather broad news search.
I then went to the BLAW Practice Centers and selected the Labor and Employment Center. The BNA Manuals and Portfolios appear in their Resources page. And - surprise - BNA Law Reports show up there too. Both of the news stories I tried to find in the News section of "Search and Browse" were in their respective BNA Law Reports. Most people I know do not classify the BNA Reports as primary material though you can find reported cases there. Often, BNA Reports, especially dailies like the Labor Report, are considered "news." But they are not included in the "news" search on BLAW.
Understandably, the merger of content is an ongoing process and I am confident that Bloomberg will continue to work to make this better. Hopefully, they understand that if they want an equal share of the 1L legal research and writing market, they will need to be very careful not to make the choices or exceptions in their product too difficult to explain or teach. (VS)