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Database Research Basics 2002. Heafey Law Library Reference Staff Santa Clara University School of Law Introductory Lecture: Lexis and Westlaw Full-Text Database Searching. Overview. Administrative details. Passwords Printers Labs Introduction to full-text databases.

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Database research basics 2002 l.jpg

Database Research Basics 2002

Heafey Law Library Reference Staff

Santa Clara University School of Law

Introductory Lecture:

Lexis and Westlaw

Full-Text Database Searching


Overview l.jpg
Overview

  • Administrative details.

    • Passwords

    • Printers

    • Labs

  • Introduction to full-text databases.

  • Basics of searching.

  • The Next step.


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Passwords

  • You will receive your passwords at your hands-on training session.

  • Educational Purposes Only!!!!

    • Not to be used on the job.

    • Do not share your password with others.

  • See the Reference staff.

    • Lost passwords.

    • A password list is kept at Reference if you forgot your number.


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Passwords …….(cont’d)

  • Be sure your name is on your card.

  • Passwords limited during the summer.

    • Exceptions include summer school, law review, and faculty research assistants.

  • Your name will not appear on printouts until you register online.


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Printing

  • There are print limit restrictions for both Lexis and Westlaw.

  • DON’T print before you know it is relevant.

  • At school, all print jobs MUST go to the designated Lexis and Westlaw printers.

    • If you send it to attached (network) printer, you will have to pay to have it printed!

  • Pick up printouts.

    • Saves paper & keeps the place neat


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Lexis Printing

Select PRINT from the Lexis screen, NOT Netscape.

Do Not Use Netscape print in the labs.


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Lexis Printer Options

While printing from the labs,

be sure the student printer is selected, NOT the attached printer


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Do not use the browser print command while in the labs

Select the print command from the Westlaw software

Westlaw Printing


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Westlaw Printing Options

Check the destination of your print job.

Do not choose attached printer option in the labs.

Default printer can be changed with this button.


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Computer Labs

  • Library has three computer labs:

    • Toso, Di Napoli and Ruffo.

  • All hands-on training in the Di Napoli lab.

  • DO NOT send Lexis and Westlaw print jobs to the attached printer option in the labs.

  • Lab doors MUST remain locked. Report climate control problems to library staff.


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Introduction to Online Databases

  • Powerful full-text databases.

  • Online vs. manual hard copy searches.

  • Cost factors.


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Full-text Databases

  • Westlaw and Lexis provide:

    • Parallel coverage of primary materials : cases and codes and regulations.

    • Overlapping coverage of secondary materials: law review articles, administrative materials and news.

    • Exclusive access to various news, medical, and business databases.


Online vs manual l.jpg

Online is best for:

Specific fact patterns.

Opinions by a specific judge, lawyer, etc.

Non-standard citations.

Current updates for cases and bills.

Unpublished cases.

Administrative materials.

Newspapers and periodicals.

Manual is best for:

Complex legal issues.

Concepts expressed in common words.

Right to jury trial

As is clause

Unfamiliar areas of law.

Commercial loose-leafs combine laws, cases, and regs in one spot.

Online vs. Manual


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Cost Factors

  • No charge to students. Library pays for educational access, includes printing paper and toner.

  • Lexis and Westlaw are expensive.

  • Various fee options.

    • Transactional fees charged by search.

    • Hourly fees per minute.

    • Flat fee contracts.

    • Specific service fees.


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Cost Saving Tips

  • Select your database and search terms before you sign on.

  • Browse in keyword format.

  • Don’t print unless you need it.

    • Printing is charged separately from search fee.

  • Take advanced training class on cost effectiveness.


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Basics of Searching

  • File selection --- Search ---- Display

  • Terms and Connectors vs. Natural language

  • Full-text search concepts

  • Boolean operators

  • Phrase searching

  • Sample search

  • Precedence


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Selection

  • Decide where you want to search.

    • database (fact pattern search) OR

    • citation search (Shepards, KeyCite, Find a Document)

  • Select the file or database.

    • Lexis is organized in libraries and then files.

    • Westlaw is organized into various databases.

    • Larger databases (mega files) have larger fees.

  • Decide how you want to search.

    • Terms and connectors/boolean searching.

    • Natural language/freestyle.


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Search Concepts

  • A word is any string of characters

    • 401K, legal, CFR, 187

  • Check spelling variations. (labor v. labour)

    • especially when using foreign/international files

  • Stop words will be ignored.

    • and - or - not - the - of - is - in - as, etc.

    • Difficult to search some terms. (as is clause)

  • Plurals: Both do regular plurals.

    • Westlaw also does irregulars.

    • Lexis catches the singular if given a plural.


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Truncation

  • The exclamation point “!” is used on both systems.

  • discriminat! will retrieve:

    • discriminate, discriminating, discriminates, discriminatory, discrimination

  • Be careful. pysch! will retrieve:

    • psychology, psychologist and psychiatry. but it will also get: psycho, psychic, psychokiller, psychobabble ...


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Single Character Truncation

  • Asterisk “*” replaces a single character.

  • Use with irregular plurals:

    • woman/women = wom*n

  • Use to limit characters at the end of a root.

    • bank***

    • will retrieve: banks, banker, banking

    • will NOT retrieve: bankruptcy


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Boolean Operators

  • AND - Used between terms to narrow a search.

  • OR - Used between terms to expand a search. (In Westlaw a space is interpreted as an OR).

  • and NOT - Used to eliminate a term. Be careful in a full-text database.


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AND

  • Limits your search results.

  • Results must contain BOTH terms.

    • Dog and cat.

    • manslaughter and driving

  • The terms can be anywhere in the document.

    • Hazardous and waste. Hazardous could be in the first paragraph. Waste could be 50 pages later.



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OR

  • Or expands your search.

  • Or is used for synonyms:

    • car or auto! or vehicle or truck or Ford

    • child or children (on Lexis) or minor, or adolescent or youth

  • Lexis: must type or car or truck or auto!

  • Westlaw space = or car truck auto!




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NOT

  • Lexis uses AND NOT.

    • employment contracts AND NOT construction

  • Westlaw uses %

    • “federal aid” % military

  • Exercise caution. There are many words in an opinion. The word you are eliminating may be used in another context.


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Other Connectors

More limiting than AND

  • /# within so many words of each other

    • William /2 Clinton [william or bill /2 clinton]

    • drunk driving /50 vehicular manslaughter

    • Stop words do not count - statute /1 frauds

  • /s within the same sentence

  • /p within the same paragraph


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Phrase Searching

  • Very limiting. Use for terms of art.

    • products liability (L) “products liability” (W)

    • child support (L) “child support” (W)

    • “Indian reservation” will NOT pick up articles mentioning “reservation owned by the Sioux Indians” Use Indian /10 reservation.

  • Lexis: just type the phrase - free speech

  • Westlaw: Use quotes - “unlawful detainer”


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Precedence

  • Search order:

    • or

    • /# smallest number first: /2 before /50

    • and

    • and not

  • Works for 90% of searches

  • Force different order using parentheses ( )




  • Sample search l.jpg
    Sample Search

    • Look for California cases involving the liability of an attorney for malpractice due to inadequate legal research OR

    • Worded as an issue:

      • Is an attorney liable for malpractice for failure to do adequate legal research?


    Concepts l.jpg
    Concepts

    • STEP ONE

      • attorney

      • malpractice

      • inadequate

      • research


    Synonyms l.jpg
    Synonyms

    • STEP TWO

      • Attorneyor lawyer orlegal

      • malpractice or liab!

      • inadequat! or adequat!or fail!

      • research


    Connectors l.jpg
    Connectors

    • STEP THREE

      • attorney OR lawyer OR legal /5 malpractice OR liab! AND fail! OR inadequat! OR adequat! /10 research


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    The Next Step

    • Individual ‘hands-on’ training.

      • Training times sign-ups are kept at the reference desk.

      • Training is MANDATORY.

    • Advanced training.

      • Cost effectiveness

      • Judicial internships

      • Summer clerking


    Resources l.jpg
    Resources

    • Computer-Assisted Legal Research: a Guide by Susan Cochard. 1997. KF242 A1 C63 1997

    • Computer Assisted Legal Research: the Basics by Penny A. Hazelton. 1993. KF242 A1 H49 1993

    • The Reference Staff.

    • Westlaw and Lexis student reps.

      • Hours posted by Reference and Di Napoli Lab.

    • 800 numbers.


    The end l.jpg

    The End

    Good Luck

    Remember Just Ask!


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