Category: Techno Review

WestlawNext: Everyone’s Got It?

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By , June 16, 2011 2:20 pm

by Kristine Lloyd

Just like the Guess jeans I used to covet in 7th grade–the ones that all the cool girls wore while I was oppressed by the Lee jeans my mother scored at T.J. Maxx–I sometimes wonder if all of the cool law firms out there already have WestlawNext. There have been some interesting postings to AALL chapter list-servs and blogs lately, summarizing polls tracking stats on who has migrated. Fewer than you might think have made the leap. Out of 11 firms that responded to an informal Dallas area poll, only 2 firms provide access. A NOCALL surveyshows that 4 of the 6 Biglaw firms that responded provide access to WestlawNext. Out of 8 mid- to small-sized firms responding, 5 have it and 3 do not. Another pollwhich doesn’t specify a geographic region shows about a 50-50 split in small, medium and Biglaw firms that are planning to or have already migrated to the product. Continue reading 'WestlawNext: Everyone’s Got It?'»

CCH IntelliConnect Updates

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By , June 9, 2011 1:20 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

When CCH made the transition to IntelliConnect there was some uproar. The resistance to change focused on the seemingly dramatic shifts in log-in, interface, navigation, and access. Even though this took place back in 2009, it feels like long ago that weaccessed the Tax Research Network. However, the world didn’t end and our practice groups continue to chug along.

IntelliConnect aimed at a revolutionary legal research step. Whether that has happened or not, the news for now is their next evolutionary upgrade. This update has been sorely needed and will (hopefully) make IntelliConnect a more intuitive system. Interface clutter aside, my issues with IntelliConnect mainly dealt with sorting through research results. The new features help break results up by document type and include jump links to specific document types.  For the last two years the results tray was quite jumbled.

Also available is a CCH mobile appthat might be the best thing for new users and hesitant IntelliConnect adopters. Mobile apps force a minimalistic interface, design, and presentation. The CCH app has a simplicity of use that makes navigating a cinch.  Unfortunately I can’t give a review of the mobile app. I’ve received constant errors when attempting to log-in.

Apps for Lawyers

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By , May 26, 2011 5:19 pm

by Karen Helde

By now we’ve all become used to seeing lawyers with Blackberries and iPhones. But for me at least, an iPad in a law firm still merits a second look. As iPads become work tools for lawyers, there’s an opportunity for librarians to get involved, particularly in navigating the world of apps. There are a few resources which I’ve found helpful. My favorite is the Mobile Applications for Law Students and Lawyers Guide maintained by UCLA’s Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library. Well-curated and sensibly organized, this guide can you help you pull off the illusion that you’ve totally got a handle on this whole app thing. Mobile Apps for Law is a new product from an old friend (Infosources Publishing). It’s fee-based, but reasonably priced right now with a $25/year introductory rate. If you like using 15th century technologies to read about 21st century innovations, pick up a copy of iPad in One Hour for Lawyers published by the ABA and available (as far as I can tell) only in paper. There are a number of legal blogs which cover law-related use of tablets and iPads. This Attorney at Work post is a good jumping off point to start exploring.

Dialog: Cause for Calgon?

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By , April 15, 2011 2:18 pm

by Kristine Lloyd

Does the thought of using Dialog make you reach for your migraine meds? It may be a trifling claim to fame, but I was once an excellent Dialog researcher, in graduate school, a million years ago. The commands were burned into my brain along with my SSN and pin numbers, but alas, it’s not like riding a bike, you use it or lose it. I find myself heading to the old Rolodex to phone a friendly Dialog rep every time I’m faced with a need to use the service.

Ever since ProQuest acquired Dialog, I have been wondering how this fickle but powerful research tool might evolve. Seems like it was an albatross around Thomson’s neck, one that they were happy to offload. Plus, its cache of educational and academic materials makes it a better fit with ProQuest.   Continue reading 'Dialog: Cause for Calgon?'»

Technology in Retrograde

By , March 30, 2011 12:41 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

With the iPad 2 and the battle for tablet dominance taking shape, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look at more simple tools. NoteSlate is a new product, arriving in June 2011 and priced at $99, that bills itself as a low technology option in the face of massive multimedia consumption and overload. At its basic level, it is a writing tool with three buttons: save, show, and delete. The save options are to an SD card or to the cloud with a wi-fi model. The show button pages back to your last page, and the delete button deletes the current page. There is room for innovation, as it runs on open-source software, making possible potential enhancements such as ebook reading, calendars, gaming, or on-the-go blogging. The important thing to remember is that NoteSlate’s true goal is finding simplicity in the face of overwhelming technology. Continue reading 'Technology in Retrograde'»

WestlawNext: Revolution or Renovation?

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By , March 24, 2011 2:11 pm

by Kerry Fitz-Gerald

I’ve had access to WestlawNext for several months now and have played with it a little bit. Undoubtedly it’s different from classic Westlaw, but I haven’t spent enough time with it to clearly identify the pluses and minuses of the new system. Fortunately, Ronald Wheeler, Director of the Dorraine Zief Law Library at the University of San Fransisco School of Law, has put it to the test and described his results. Continue reading 'WestlawNext: Revolution or Renovation?'»

FREE?: Lexis Advance for Associates

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By , March 9, 2011 2:49 pm

by Kristine Lloyd

No doubt you’ve received the press release by now. Something’s cooking over at Lexis. We heard whisperings of it last year, but it seems that a roll-out of federated searching is in our near future. Those lucky librarians over at 3 Geeks got a sneak prview of the product, and here’s a summary of some of their comments.

Sit down for this one: there are no charges for this new product for current Lexis users. Crazy, huh? Seeing as how pricing, at least the vaguest notions I have about it, for WestlawNext are pretty steep, this could be an interesting and enticing development in the war between providers. Continue reading 'FREE?: Lexis Advance for Associates'»

Public Records Déjà Vu

By , February 9, 2011 2:32 pm

There’s a new kid on the public records research block, although on closer examination, it’s actually a familiar face. TLO was founded by Hank Asher, the man behind Accurint and AutoTrack. Another founder is John Walsh, who you might recognize as the Host of America’s Most Wanted. Their pricing is reminiscent of Accurint in the early days. The style and tone of their website may work against them in the law firm and law librarian community, but some competition in this arena is always welcome.

Lexis v. Westlaw: Coke v. Pepsi?

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By , January 13, 2011 5:18 pm

by Kristine Lloyd

There are those of us who are merely curious about the subtle differences between caselaw research on Lexis and Westlaw, and then there are others who are fascinated, nay, obsessed by those differences. So much so that they spend hours pouring over results sets to analyze the differences. If you have the time and the inclination, I say go for it. If you do not, then I say take advantage of others’ scholarly pursuits. If you can get past the first sentence, then you’ll find some interesting tidbits in this article by Dennis Crouch about how coverage differs between the two systems. And then see if you can tell them apart in a blind search test.

New Lexis Interface: Get Reading Glasses

By , November 16, 2010 1:34 pm

by Kristine Lloyd

As a librarian, I actively try to avoid succumbing to any of the stereotypes out there, you know, the sensible shoes, calf-length skirts, support hose and elaborate bun, so I resist the notion of getting reading glasses. Thankfully, I don’t need them quite yet, but I may sooner rather than later thanks to Lexis’ new interface. What size is that font? 6 point?

Lexis has also changed their colors. We all need a little change now and then, perhaps a new “color analysis,” and the red, tan and black scheme was getting pretty tired. The new color palette, primarily red, blue and white is much more patriotic, but the vast white spaces make the minuscule font even harder to read. Continue reading 'New Lexis Interface: Get Reading Glasses'»

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