Mathew Bender on CD-ROM

By Griffith, Cary | Information Today, February 1992 | Go to article overview

Mathew Bender on CD-ROM


Griffith, Cary, Information Today


Today virtually every legal publisher in the industry has either already produced a CD-ROM product, is contemplating one, or at the very least is keeping abreast of the marketplace. And it is easy to understand why. Many areas of the law are particularly well suited to CD-ROM publication. Several publishers have already produced CD-ROM versions of legal treatises, federal and state case law, statutes and regulations, legal directories, and other primary and secondary legal materials. But no other legal publisher has made available the same number of legal CD-ROM titles as Matthew Bender.

Matthew Bender has been in the legal publishing business for many years. They publish a wide assortment of legal treatises in several areas of the law, including federal civil practice, bankruptcy, and intellectual property. Some of their better known titles include: Bender's Federal Tax Service, Moore's Federal Practice, Collier on Bankruptcy, Nimmer on Copyright, Milgrim on Trade Secrets, and Giison--Trademark Protection and Practice.

Print versions of the preceding titles, as well as several other well known titles, have been published by Matthew Bender for several years. But in the last couple of years they have begun to make these titles available in CD-ROM format.

In addition to the preceding Matthew Bender (MB) titles, MB also publishes a CD-ROM version of several other well know treatises. Table 1 lists those titles, along with the number of volumes in the print format.

Even though Table 1 notes that several titles may reside on one disc, Matthew Bender can limit user access to only those titles to which the user has subscribed. For example, even though the Intellectual Property Library contains 10 titles (comprising 31 printed volumes), if a user subscribes to Nimmer on Copyright, they will receive the disk containing the entire Intellectual Property Library, but only be able to search and use Nimmer.

Matthew Bender is another example of a major legal publisher making many of their print products available in CD-ROM format. There are several reasons for MB's use of CD-ROM technology. These reasons fall into four major groups: information density, enhanced research capabilities, enhanced document production capabilities, and ease of updating.

CD-ROM formats of legal information provide legal researchers with some very powerful capabilities. One of the primary strengths of CD-ROM is the amount of information that can be contained on one disc. With CD-ROM technology it is possible to store approximately 600 megabytes, or 300,000 typed pages of text, on one 4 3/4 inch disk. In comparison, a 5 1/4 inch magnetic floppy disk (like those most often used on IBM compatible personal computers (PCs) holds approximately 270 typed pages.

For several MB titles, the information storage capabilities of CD-ROM technology are particularly useful. For example, the print version of Bender's Federal Tax Service consists of "18 volumes of expert analysis, Code, regulations, tax tables" and similar federal tax information, as well as their state tax services. The CD-ROM version consists of one disc. The comparative ease of handling a single disk instead of 18 volumes is obvious, not to mention the savings in shelf space.

One of the most powerful features of CD-ROM technology is its computer assisted research capabilities. Generally speaking, these research capabilities include the Boolean research features similar to those available on today's online services--like Lexis, Westlaw, Dialog and others. Enhanced CD-ROM features also usually include hypertext capabilities, or the ability to move from point to point in a research session with tremendous ease, flexibility, and power.

The search and retrieval engine for MB's CD-ROM products is Search Master. For CD-ROM products search and retrieval engines (or the software that is loaded onto the PC to which the CD-ROM drive is attached) is extremely important. …

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