The Value of Digests

Do Slawers have a view on the continuing value of foreign digests in this electronic age? I mean in particular the West Digests and The Digest (formerly the English and Empire Digest) which are likely to be held by most Canadian academic law libraries. We still subscribe to The Digest, although at several hundred dollars a volume I have grave doubts as to its worth these days. Myself, I have only ever used it for alternative citations to old, mostly UK law reports and I am not proposing to discard the set should we cancel it so that purpose would still be served. Does anyone argue that its still worth subscribing? Ruth or anyone in the UK, what use is made of it there?

And what of the West Digests? We, like most Canadian law schools, cancelled the subscription some time back. But does anyone argue that it is worth keeping on the shelves for instructional purposes at least? Who, with access to Westlaw, would use the print digests now? What is the situation in US law libraries? I know Shepards Citators in print have been widely discarded but what about the Digest?


  1. I am old enough to have spent a few dozen hours piling up the Decennial Digests and wondering why someone wouldn’t invent a better way. Well they did and no-one should want to go back.

    As for the Digest, it’s fine for English law, hit and miss for Scots law, and completely patchy for current Commonwealth material. Its coverage of Canadian law is very partial.

    I tend to use it for the old stuff, but if Halsbury’s laws can be available, then why not The Digest, or the English and (very small print) Empire Digest