Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The New Quicklaw Arrives at the Supreme Court

I reported on May 2, 2006 about the New Quicklaw Interface, still in development at the time.

In particular, I liked the tabular presentation of search results and the many filtering options available for organizing and limiting them.

This morning, we received training on the actual live product at the Supreme Court of Canada. The trainers told us that we are the first client in Canada to get our hands on the new launch version of Quicklaw. Over the past few months, various law firms and other commercial clients helped test the beta version of the new interface but what we saw this morning is "it".

Most of the features mentioned in my May posting are of course still there.

Additional features I didn't have the time to discuss back then include:
  • there are tabs for search templates in the following categories: general search (across all database sources), court cases, tribunal cases, legislation, commentary, journals, news
  • there is a quick "Find a Document" box near the top of the search page that allows for finding a case by name or by citation or for noting up a case. In addition, the new Quicklaw now allows for searching for the "v." in the style of cause so one can do a search on cases such as "R. v. [whatever name here]"
  • administrative tribunal decisions are being added to the Quickcite function (case citator)
  • as mentioned back in May, Quickcite (case citator) results are filterable by jurisdiction, treatment (negative, negative and cautionary, positive) or court level (either alphabetically or by hierarchical level), but also by date. And all the existing parallel citations of a case are provided
  • new operators are available: new commands include the "atleast" term frequency command (as in LexisNexis), "allcaps", "nocaps", "/seg" (in the same segment or field) and "/s" (within the same sentence)
  • an interesting difference between the old and the new Quicklaw is that one first had to choose a database in the old version and then perform the search. In the new version, one can type the search terms and connectors and then use a drop-down menu in a search template to determine in which databases or sources to launch the search
  • in the old version, the "modify search" command allowed the user to change a search but only within the same database. In the new version, one can transfer search terms to a new source or modify them and launch them in a new source
  • one can "Narrow a search" (searching within the search results list) more than once
  • search strings can be saved as "alerts" for automatic delivery at intervals the user can specify in categories such as case law, legislation, bills and commentary
  • the legislation search template has a versioning function: a user can see all the earlier versions of a statute section. N.B.: this does not yet go back very far (back to Jan. 1999 for most federal Acts, but it does go back to 1988 for various criminal law statutes such as the Canada Evidence Act)
  • if a client has a subscription to the News component, it is interesting to see how results are organized: results can be broken down into source categories such as magazines, newspapers, newswire services, newsletters, blogs and web-based publications

Overall, the new version appears much cleaner, lighter, easier on the eyes and much more customizable.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:17 pm

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