One-Stop Research on a Single Disc

By Griffith, Cary | Information Today, December 1995 | Go to article overview

One-Stop Research on a Single Disc


Griffith, Cary, Information Today


It has taken a decade to finally begin realizing the full potential of CD-ROM technology. Disc compression, user interest, publisher familiarity with the technology, and similar concerns have coalesced to make the production of a "vertically integrated content" CD possible. "Vertically integrated content" means an entire library of primary, secondary, and finding-tool research materials are available on one disc.

Legal research is not much different than research conducted in other disciplines. When researchers want to explore a topic, a typical process involves looking in indexes (finding tools), treatises (secondary sources), and finally the cases, statutes and regulations on which the law is based (primary sources).

In the past, CD-ROM titles usually provided access to one level of information. For example, the Index to Business Periodicals contains only the index to business periodicals and not the full text of the articles themselves. Similarly, Information Access Company produces Trade & Industry ASAP on CD, which contains the full text of articles from a variety of different kinds of industry publications.

In legal research all three levels of research materials are extremely well integrated but are typically found in separate sources. In the past, if a researcher located a case citation using an index, he or she would have to look in a different book, CD, or online source to view the full text of the case. Similarly, while reading a treatise--e.g., Siegel's New York Practice, 2d--primary research materials cited or footnoted in the text would have to be acquired elsewhere. But now West Publishing has produced a new form of CD-ROM product: an expanded edition of a treatise on CD.

The new expanded edition of Siegel's New York Practice, 2d contains the full text of the popular treatise and instant links to the full text of more than 5,000 cited cases, statutes, and court rules.

Siegel's New York Practice, 2d is recognized by many practitioners as the leading authority on civil practice in New York. The treatise addresses strategies, tactics, and practice pointers for all areas of civil practice. And now it also contains the full text of the primary materials on which much of the treatise is based.

The full text of New York case law has traditionally been published in the New York Supplement. New York statutes and rules are published in McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated. Federal statutes and case law can be found in other familiar titles--The United States Code Annotated and various federal reporting services. Now the full text of relevant parts of both New York titles and federal publications are also published in a new, expanded edition CD-ROM version of Siegel's popular treatise. Including the full text of cited documents on a single CD is an innovative development for three reasons.

One-Stop Research

The obvious and perhaps most important reason this version of Siegel's treatise is innovative is simply due to its vertical integration. Suddenly researchers using Siegel's text for its invaluable assistance in their civil practice have access to Siegel's knowledge, as well as the underlying, primary law on which that knowledge is based.

Comprehensive Searching

Siegel's treatise is available using West's PREMISE Research Software. PREMISE is one of the industry's most popular and sophisticated CD-ROM search engines. It provides users with a variety of different search and data management capabilities that are worth exploring, particularly as they are applied to the expanded edition of Siegel.

Searching the Siegel treatise is simplified by using the familiar PREMISE search template. For example, if you wanted to perform a search of Siegel, at any time in your research process you could call up the search assistance template by clicking on Search Book button or by using the Search pull-down menu. Both approaches summon the search template screen. …

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