Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another blogger kicks the tires on WestlawNext and lives to tell about it

Contract drafting expert and commentator Ken Adams of the Adams Drafting blog travelled to Eagan, Minnesota earlier this week to get a firsthand look at WestlawNext.  Here's a portion of his report:

You can search on WestlawNext using “natural language” or by using Boolean terms and connectors. But a natural-language search on WestlawNext is much more sophisticated than a natural-language search on Westlaw. For one thing, that’s because WestlawNext’s search algorithms leverage West’s extensive proprietary analytical content, notably the West Key Number system. If two cases are grouped together in the Key Number system, a WestlawNext search that retrieves one of the cases will take that grouping into account in determining whether to include the other case. Similarly, WestlawNext searches also consider KeyCite citation links between documents.

I found it particularly intriguing that in handling a given search, WestlawNext also considers customer usage with respect to comparable searches. More specifically, it looks to “meaningful interactions.” If a customer looked at a given document retrieved in a search, that’s not especially meaningful. But if the customer printed the document, or saved it to a folder, that would increase the odds that the document was particularly relevant for purposes of a similar search performed subsequently. When amassed over thousands upon thousands of searches, that sort of incremental information should add real value.

You can read more of Ken's review here.

I am the scholarship dude.


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