A Rose by Any Other Name?

I am currently in the process of up-dating my guide to Australian legal research on LLRX.com. One of the things I always have to change is the current state of the names of the major legal publishers and their respective ‘big’ databases. As the take-overs and buy-outs and mergers continue so do the name changes, although, frustratingly, there’s rarely a quick changeover and sometimes a merger of the names, confusing many people and meaning that my Guide is rarely current on this aspect. In Australia Butterworths and Law Book Company were, for many decades, the main law publishers, trailed at a distance by CCH. Butterworths is now owned by Reed, aka LexisNexis, and Law Book, which became, for a while LBC, now Lawbook, is owned by Thomson. The Butterworths brand, for books, seems to have been replaced by LexisNexis, but the local online platform, Butterworths Online, seems to have become (is becoming?) LexisNexis Butterworths Online. Lawbook Online, I think, still exists independently of Westlaw, which has an expanding Australian library. Its quite hard to be certain of all this from afar, so I would welcome enlightenment from Australian SLAWers.

For non-Canadian readers, we’re going through the same transition here. Carswell is now part of the Thomson group and their database, eCarswell has been merged with Westlaw – now WestlaweCarswell on the local scene. And Quicklaw was bought by LexisNexis who are releasing a new platform soon with the combined names – although it looks mostly like Lexis, certainly much more than it does Quicklaw. Frankly I’d prefer it if the decision-makers at the respective corporate HQs simply acknowledged the fact of these mergers and dropped reference to the local names – they’re much too long to type!


  1. Well, Carswell hasn’t suddenly become part of Thomson. It has long been the original Thomson company; it is just a matter of rebranding. Just as CCH has been rebranded as CCH a Wolters Kluwer business. It is amusing, isn’t it? I agree shortening the names would be a better idea. Or do what Dow Jones Interactive did with its joint venture, rebranding to the new name factiva. Took a bit to get used to it, but the name stuck a lot better. I know few people who call it “WestlaweCarswell”. Most I know call it “Westlaw” or “eCarswell” but then I wonder if they really know what they are talking about.

  2. When in doubt, create an acromym! WEC, GLP :-)

  3. I would actually dissent on this. The acquisitions aren’t just rebrandings but the integration of another sub-continental regional market service into the overall strategies of Eagan and Dayton.
    Unless there are linguistic barriers – pace Quebec – the working taxonomies and logical structures of Canadian legal texts would not justify separate interfaces or taxonomies.
    In the same way that the sisters of Austlii have strong family resemblances.
    Though having said that I’ve noticed that I get different results when I use Worldlii than the various national services.