West American Digest System - The Digest On Westlaw

The Digest On Westlaw

Researchers can also search the digest electronically using Westlaw:

  • with the "Key Number Search Tool," which uses a word search to identify up to five key numbers,
  • with the "Key Numbers and Digest" feature (browse by subject using an expandable tree - no search terms required),
  • by a key number search using the "Terms and Connectors" method (with a known topic and key number - in the form of 134k261; topic 134 is Divorce and the key number is 261 for "Enforcement, In general"),
  • by using the KeySearch feature (a menu of hierarchical links that automatically generates a search without the need to see the key numbers or the terms and connectors query), or
  • by finding a relevant case using keyword searching and then using the key number hyperlinks in the document to find related cases.

Most secondary sources published by Thomson West, such as Corpus Juris Secundum and American Jurisprudence, also have key number hyperlinks in their on-line Westlaw versions.

The "Key Numbers and Digest" feature and the hyperlinks create a "Custom Digest."

The Custom Digest allows:

  • selection of the jurisdiction of interest (so that headnotes from cases in that jurisdiction will appear in the results);
  • limiting the time frame of the search; and
  • adding additional search terms.

Selecting key numbers and jurisdictions in the "Key Number Search Tool" results in a similar display of digest headnotes.

Since all West headnote annotations are merged on Westlaw into a single database from which each Custom Digest is generated, there is no need to consult each separate series of the hard copy Decennial Digest. Full text of the cases may be accessed from the Custom Digest by clicking on the underlined case citation. The key number search or KeySearch will retrieve entire cases from a case law database.

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Famous quotes containing the word digest:

    The man who reads everything is like the man who eats everything: he can digest nothing, and the penalty of crowding one’s mind with other men’s thoughts is to have no thoughts of one’s own.
    Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924)