Two of the vendor demos earlier today at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries taking place in Moncton, New Brunswick were those by SOQUIJ and Wolters Kluwer.
SOQUIJ, a Quebec para governmental corporation, presented its "Recherche juridique" legal research platform that is gradually replacing the existing Juris.doc suite of databases. Juris.doc is organized along the lines of separate databases for commentary, court decisions and tribunal rulings in labour law, occupational health law and various administrative law areas. Recherche juridique is based on an integration of all the available databases. In theory, a searcher will be able to simultaneously search in case law, legislation and commentary.
The new product is also based on a simplified interface with a range of filters on left of the search screen for date, court and jurisdiction, and topical area (based on the SOQUIJ subject classification system) and a keyword search box in the main part of the page. A searcher can use the filters and then add keywords. Theoretically, an infinity of new lines of keywords can be added to refine the search. The number of search results is recalculated automatically with each search refinement (new keywords, new filters added) and instantly displayed onscreen.
The results page has also been greatly simplified. For example, when searching for case law, the user can select tabs along the top of the results list to gain immediate access to a summary of any case, the full text, the case citator or the case history.
Legislation has not yet been connected to the new portal but that will be implemented over the summer. The final integration of legislation with case law and commentary will allow for a single search across all content (millions of cases, thousands of articles, hundreds of laws).
Wolters Kluwer, the purveyor of search products from the CCH family (in particular Canadian tax research databases) provided a demo of the IntelliConnect platform.
There is already a Google search plugin for IntelliConnect.
On the platform itself, again as in the case of SOQUIJ's new product described above, the user encounters a simple interface: in the lefthand column, a list of available CCH databases that can be selected individually, product news in the centre column, and training materials and videos on the right. Along the top, one finds a search box. One can search across all subscribed CCH products or narrow the search to a specific database or product using a drop-down list.
Results are sorted automatically by type eg legislation, commentary etc. The left side of the results page contains filters to drill down further. A drop-down at the top of the screen on the results page allows for further narrowing of the search by adding new keywords.
Users can also add notes inside documents and store them in research folders that can be shared with colleagues
SOQUIJ and Wolters Kluwer seem to have adopted an approach similar to what is found in products such as WestlawNext and Yvon Blais' La Reference (a Quebec law research portal): the implementation of a single interface that allows for searching across all subscribed content, with facets (usually on the left of the screen) to filter by document type, date, jurisdiction or subject heading.