October 2014 Bar Bulletin
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October 2014 Bar Bulletin

Small Trick, Big Treats - What's Online

By Rick Stroup
Assistant Director


It never hurts to remind everyone about the electronic products we make available in both our Seattle and our Kent libraries. The "trick" portion of the equation is, of course, finding or making the time in your day to come in to see us. All of these products are available in either location but, due to prohibitive licensing costs, none can be accessed from our website.

The corresponding "treats" are manifold. You get a la carte access to valuable research databases that you cannot reach from your home or office. You decide just how much that access costs you. Just searching any of them is completely free. Saving electronic results to your own USB device and/or emailing them to yourself is mostly free, but printing costs 20 cents per page. Finally, you can pick the brains of our talented library staff if you need help setting up searches or choosing the right database.


We recently upgraded our public access Westlaw accounts from Westlaw Classic to WestlawNext, the latest and greatest version of Thomson Reuter's flagship electronic product. In the private sector, WestlawNext has been available for some time, but it's relatively new to public law libraries like ours.

Getting started is very simple. Like running a generic search on Google, you can simply type the words and/or phrases you're researching into the master search box on the home page. If you'd like more control over how the system handles your request, you can either select the Advanced search option and complete the corresponding form or preface your terms with the trigger advanced: or adv: and enter standard Boolean and field operators as you would have in Westlaw Classic.

Aside from paper printouts, Thomson Reuter imposes a daily limit on the number of free document retrievals available on each of our computers, but in many cases you can email or download your results for free.


For those of you who prefer the LexisNexis interface, we also offer access to Lexis. Our public access "slice" of Lexis focuses on Washington and federal primary materials, but also includes full-text versions of the Washington topical deskbooks published by LexisNexis including: The Law of Evidence in Washington; Washington Insurance Law; Washington Business Entities; and Washington Administrative Law Practice Manual.

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