Q&A: Understanding search results in WestlawNext

July 14, 2010

Q&A - Westlaw Research Expert WebinarsOur recent Westlaw Research Expert Webinar Series, “The Benefits of Terms & Connectors on WestlawNext,” generated a lot of expert-level questions about WestlawNext search results. The answers come courtesy of the West reference attorneys.

Note: Even if you missed the webinar, you can still see the slides and check out our collection of past Q&A posts, including two recent Q&As on Terms and Connectors and the Advanced Search template in WestlawNext.

Q: Is there a way to limit which databases or content areas are being searched prior to executing a search?
A: Yes.
You can easily limit what content you want to search by using the Browse section of the home page. You can select a jurisdiction, topic or content set like cases and then run a search. Once you select a content page, like California materials, you can specify which content you would like to search on that page before running your search.

Q: Can you explain the difference between ResultsPlus and “Additional Relevant WestSearch Results”?
ResultsPlus uses your search terms alone to retrieve results. WestlawNext searching (WestSearch) employs West’s editorial assets much like an expert researcher would – only faster – to find the best documents for your research, tools like the West Key Number system, KeyCite and West’s secondary sources. The Additional Relevant WestSearch Results link may appear after running a Terms and Connectors search. Behind the scenes of your T&C query, WestlawNext is also running a plain language WestSearch. The top 10 plain language results are analyzed to locate additional results that did not appear on the T&C result list. WestlawNext then displays a link to access those additional documents. The “Additional Relevant WestSearch” results link will show a maximum of 10 documents.

Q: Does “Additional Relevant WestSearch Results” only appear when a Terms and Connectors search is run?
Yes. “Additional Relevant WestSearch Results” is a feature designed to show customers additional results when they run a Terms and Connectors search.

Q: If I click on “Additional Relevant WestSearch Results,” is there an extra charge to view the results list?
A: No.
These results lists are included as part of the original Terms and Connectors search charge.

Q: When does the gray summary box (“In this issue” summary on cases) appear in search results?
The gray summary box appears when the detail selector on a result list is set to either “More Detail” or “Most Detail.”

Q: Do the “eyeglasses” disappear forever when you close out of a WestlawNext session, or will they still be there?
The eyeglasses icon is shown for documents viewed in the last 30 days using the same Client ID. To be considered “viewed,” you must actually link into the full text document; the fact that a document appears in your search results does not trigger the eyeglasses icon. Also, in order for the icon to display, you must use the same Client ID that you used when you viewed the document previously.

Q: What does “Most Used” mean in the sorting options?
The “Most Used” ranking is based on aggregate usage of documents by customers.  “Usage” includes printing, downloading, emailing, using copy with reference or using KeyCite on a document.

Q: If I use WestlawNext to pull a case by citation, am I still charged the initial $60 search fee?
A: No.
Using the search box to find a citation will incur a lesser document charge, but not the full $60 search charge.

Q: Is there a way to pull a list of multiple cites, a la West Find&Print?
A: Yes.
You can enter up to 20 citations separated by semicolons, and the result list can then easily be printed, downloaded or emailed.