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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

Database Research Basics 2002

Heafey Law Library Reference Staff

Santa Clara University School of Law

Introductory Lecture:

Lexis and Westlaw

Full-Text Database Searching

  • Administrative details.
    • Passwords
    • Printers
    • Labs
  • Introduction to full-text databases.
  • Basics of searching.
  • The Next step.
  • 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.
passwords cont d
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.
  • 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
lexis printing
Lexis Printing

Select PRINT from the Lexis screen, NOT Netscape.

Do Not Use Netscape print in the labs.

lexis printer options
Lexis Printer Options

While printing from the labs,

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

westlaw printing

Do not use the browser print command while in the labs

Select the print command from the Westlaw software

Westlaw Printing
westlaw printing options
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.

computer labs
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.
introduction to online databases
Introduction to Online Databases
  • Powerful full-text databases.
  • Online vs. manual hard copy searches.
  • Cost factors.
full text databases
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
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
cost factors
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.
cost saving tips
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.
basics of searching
Basics of Searching
  • File selection --- Search ---- Display
  • Terms and Connectors vs. Natural language
  • Full-text search concepts
  • Boolean operators
  • Phrase searching
  • Sample search
  • Precedence
  • 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.
search concepts
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.
  • 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 ...
single character truncation
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
boolean operators
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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
other connectors
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
phrase searching
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”
  • Search order:
      • or
      • /# smallest number first: /2 before /50
      • and
      • and not
  • Works for 90% of searches
  • Force different order using parentheses ( )
sample search
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?
    • attorney
    • malpractice
    • inadequate
    • research
    • Attorneyor lawyer orlegal
    • malpractice or liab!
    • inadequat! or adequat!or fail!
    • research
    • attorney OR lawyer OR legal /5 malpractice OR liab! AND fail! OR inadequat! OR adequat! /10 research
the next step
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
  • 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

The End

Good Luck

Remember Just Ask!