WestlawNext Patron Access

Have you tried WestlawNext Patron Access?

This new interface, WestlawNext, is now accessible in the law library’s computer room. WestlawNext is in addition to the “old” Westlaw, now referred to as Westlaw Classic, you may be accustomed to. One big difference that will be appreciated by library users is the ability to download and email results. These features are only available with Next, printing is the still the only option for the Classic version.

With WestlawNext you do not have to begin your research session by choosing a database to search. Instead, you need only type your search terms in the search box at the top of the page. This has a more Google like feel to it. However, you can still use the old Boolean terms and connectors in the search box and you can still select the database in which you would like to search. If you don’t though, your results will be presented to you in an organized manner. In the middle of the results screen will be the Overview. The Overview displays the results by document type displaying the most relevant within each category. Listed first will be cases, followed by statutes, regulations, secondary sources and more. On the left of the screen all of the categories will be listed with the number of results for each showing in parens. As you might guess, the number of results can be quite large, just like a Google search. This is where the ability to “filter” comes in. Once one of the categories of results or even “all results” is chosen, boxes will appear below the results on the left that allow the narrowing of the search. You could search within the results by typing in a search term such as “Maryland” or any combination of terms and connectors.

What if you just want to find a case or use Keycite, the citator? To search for a specific case, you would just enter the citation or case name in that same search box. A bar showing Keycite results will display automatically across the top of displayed documents once it is viewed.

Westlaw and WestlawNext Content

Both Westlaw Classic and WestlawNext have access to Maryland’s cases, code, regulation, Attorney General Opinions and some secondary sources such as the MLE and Maryland form books.

This is in addition to access to all state and federal cases and statutes, too. The general secondary sources include ALR, Black’s, the encyclopedias AmJur and CJS, and the Restatements and Principles of the Law. Titles of interest to litigators are the AmJur Proof of Facts, AmJur Trials and Causes of Action. The law library has a number of form books published by West. These sets along with many other titles not available in the library can be searched through the Form Finder on Westlaw and WestlawNext.

Next time you are in the law library, give WestlawNext a try at the computers labeled with a Westlaw sign. We will be happy to help you with your research using Next or the Westlaw Classic. You can also find out more through the online tutorials available on those Westlaw computers.

By Joan Bellistri

Law Library Director for the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

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