Friday, May 3, 2013

Life After Westlaw Printers

Last year, Westlaw announced that it would cease support for dedicated printers in summer 2013. As a result, the two Duke Law dedicated Westlaw printers will be removed from the library during the week of May 13, and users will no longer see these machines as a printing option within Westlaw Classic or WestlawNext.

But wait! You can still print out Westlaw-generated documents at the Goodson Law Library – you'll just need to send them to the Law School's ePrint system instead. Our recommended method is to first download the documents within WestlawNext or Westlaw Classic for a quick review, in order to ensure that you send only those pages you actually need to the printer; for example, the research references and case notes within annotated code sections can increase a print job exponentially!

However, users may also wish to consider the more environmentally-friendly option of online storage, in folders. Within Westlaw, this feature is exclusive to the newer WestlawNext interface, but is a great way for users to organize multiple research projects or issues. Access and manage your folders from the link in the upper right-hand corner of WestlawNext. There is no limit to how many documents you can store in your various folders, unless you wish to export them to your computer (in which case, a folder cannot contain more than 100 items). For collaborative projects, you can also opt to share folders with others in your "organization" (i.e., Duke Law).

LexisNexis plans to keep its dedicated printers for the time being (one in the Document Production Room on Level 3 and one in the journals area on Level 1), but they too offer a useful folder storage option within the Lexis Advance interface. Folders are accessible from the "My Workspace" drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of any screen within Lexis Advance. Lexis Advance folders can be annotated, searched, and shared with other users.

Bloomberg Law has never offered dedicated printing to law schools, but they do also provide an internal "Workspace" folder system, which can likewise be annotated, searched and shared. Workspace documentation can be accessed in Bloomberg's Help Center.

Before you print, consider your online options for storing your legal research findings! While the folder systems can undeniably limit users to a single research system (or create a confusing system of multiple folders on the same topic across different research services), they also certainly offer some advantages over stacks of printouts. Perhaps most importantly, the built-in citator services continue to update within your online folders, meaning that you'll be able to tell at a glance whether a case in your folder has received negative treatment since the last time you viewed it. The sharing and document annotation options also make these an appealing method to collaborate on research projects.

For help with using the folder storage within legal research services, be sure to Ask a Librarian.