Friday, January 29, 2010

Westlaw and Lexis To Launch New Search Interfaces

I am sure everyone by now has heard about initiatives by both Westlaw and Lexis to revamp their search technology (as described earlier this week in The New York Times).

A few lucky people have been given a sneak preview. Here are some overviews:
  • Exclusive: Inside the New Westlaw, Lexis & Bloomberg Platforms (ABA Journal, January 24, 2010): "There’s a battle about to break out on your computer screen. On the third floor of West’s sprawling corporate headquarters outside Minneapolis, a veritable army of professionals has been working for nearly five years to create a revamped Westlaw. They are changing everything from the interface users see on their PC screens to all the technology that makes it work behind the scenes. Known as WestlawNext, the new platform will debut February 1. On its own suburban campus near Dayton, Ohio, LexisNexis—the other half of the duopoly that has ruled online legal research for almost 40 years (some call it “Wexis”)—is planning its own revamped platform. Referred to internally as New Lexis, it is slated to roll out publicly later this year on a date yet to be determined."
  • The Future of Westlaw - A First Glimpse (Simon Chester,, January 28, 2010): "Yesterday, two members of Slaw were given an in-depth look at the most profound re-engineering of a legal research system since the migration to the Web. In Thomson Reuters’ impressive Eagan facility we had a briefing on the new Westlaw – to be launched at New York LegalTech next Monday under the name WestlawNext. "
  • A First Look at WestlawNext (Robert Ambrogi's Lawsites, January 26, 2010): "This is no mere cosmetic redesign. WestlawNext completely changes the search interface and the search engine behind it. In fact, the change is so dramatic that West has given its new search engine its own name: WestSearch. This new search engine does not just look at the terms you enter, a West executive said. Rather, it tries to identify the issue of law based on the terms you searched."
  • Westlaw Next (Betsy McKenzie, Out of the Jungle, January 26, 2010): "The final analysis is that users come to Westlaw for legal research for two primary types of tasks: 1) known document retrieval and 2) exploratory issue-based research. The first needs to be made as simple as possible. The second is the real heart of the matter. Westlaw researchers did a masterful job of breaking down the process of online research and then analyzing where their product either added extra difficulties or could improve."
  • The Non-Disclosure Agreements Have Expired: Amateur Fluff Being Replaced by Informed Commentary on WestlawNext by Legal Information Professionals (Law Librarian Blog, January 29, 2010): "While some may have been miffed about having to sign a confidentiality agreement with West to get a sneak peak at WestlawNext earlier this week in Eagan while West gave the ABA Journal and the New York Times 'exclusive' interviews, the NDAs signed by legal information professionals have expired. The blogosphere is now being populated with detailed, useful, informed commentary and analysis instead of most of what has been published so far."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:26 pm


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