Quicklaw/LexisNexis Copy Link Icon

You may have noticed the new Quicklaw/LexisNexis copy link icon. It was announced in the LexisNexis Research Update, June 2008 issue, and more recently in What’s New, July 24, 2008. (The latter link provides an illustration.) As I indicated in this old Slaw post, I have been waiting rather impatiently for this announcement ever since I first saw the new Quicklaw demonstrated. This functionality had been present for a long time in classic LexisNexis, and even existed in the new (Rosetta) Australia, New Zealand, and UK LexisNexises when new Quicklaw arrived. It had been present to some extent in old Quicklaw too. (This functionality has also been present for a long time in Westlaw, and of course it’s easy to link to a case on CanLII. I last asked customer representatives about similar functionality in CLB Online, CCH Online, and Maritime Law Book in May. I’d love to get an update from someone.)

Anyway, since I haven’t yet been able to find much documentation of this feature for Canada, I thought I would share what I have been able to discover so far by trial and error, aided by the documentation on the Australia and New Zealand sites. The idea, of course, is to be able to provide a hyperlink to something you are discussing on a website, blog or in an email. It’s a courtesy to readers. I use it whenever possible in my teaching materials. Obviously, none of all this avoids the need for a password.

If you somehow retrieve Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, [2007] B.C.J. No. 2465, the copy link icon will give you a link that looks like this:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/docview/getDocForCuiReq?lni=4S69-1YY0-TWV9-C15R&csi=298571&oc=00240

“csi=298571” indicates the home file, in this case the “British Columbia and Yukon Judgments.” “lni=4S69-1YY0-TWV9-C15R” seems to be a document identifier for the case. “oc=00240”, is an “origination code,” whatever that is. I’m not sure if it indicates which branch of the company is responsible for the document, or whether it indicates what category of user LexisNexis considers you to be. So perhaps this link will not work for those of you who are not Canadian academics. In any event, the link works for me without an “oc” number:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/docview/getDocForCuiReq?lni=4S69-1YY0-TWV9-C15R&csi=298571

If it works for you too, please click the copy link icon and we’ll see what other “oc” numbers, if any, are used for different people.

Of course, “/ca/” is specific to Canada. My guess is that people with New Zealand and Australian accounts can substitute “/nz/” or “/au/”. If one were writing for an international audience, perhaps one could include some JavaScript to help people make that adjustment. It would be a pain.

Apart from using one of the links above, you might have retrieved the case using “Find a Document”. There’s more to the story, however, if you retrieved it using a “General Search”. When I did a search in the “British Columbia and Yukon Judgments” for REPORTER-CITE(“[2007] B.C.J. No. 2465”), I retrieved the same case. I clicked the copy link icon and got the link above. When, however, I switched the View to “list” and clicked the copy link icon, I got the following:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sr?sr=%23NUMBER%28%23GENDER%28%28REPORTER-CITE%28%222007%5D+B.C.J.+No.+2465%22%29%29%29%29&csi=281010&oc=00240&shr=t&scl=t&hac=f&hct=f

This looks messier than it is. All the percent signs are used to encode symbols that have the potential to mess up URLs. The number “23”, for example, is the hexadecimal code for # in US-ASCII. # is reserved because URL parsers might think it was the beginning of a fragment identifier. (There’s a good explanation of Percent-encoding on Wikipedia. If you want the whole nine yards, there’s RFC3986. There’s also a useful discussion in David Gourley and Brian Totty, HTTP: The Definitive Guide (Sebastopol: O’Reilly, 2002), pp. 35-38.)

This last URL, I’m sure, was machine generated, and no doubt the programmers were super cautious. I’m human, so I’ve less cautiously simplified this URL without encountering problems (so far):

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sr?sr=REPORTER-CITE(‘[2007] B.C.J. No. 2465’)&csi=281010&shr=t&scl=t&hac=f&hct=f

“scl=t” seems to be the switch that puts the copy link icon onto the page. I haven’t figured out yet what “shr=t”, “hac=f”, and “hct=f” do, but I’ve left them in. My chief goal in simplifying was to be able to use the ordinary citation in the URL. This is so that I could confidently create a large number of links without constantly going back and forth between my documents and the LexisNexis system.

If I change the “csi” number, I can have the search done in “All Canadian Court Cases” instead of in “British Columbia and Yukon Judgments.”

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sr?sr=REPORTER-CITE(‘[2007] B.C.J. No. 2465’)&csi=298571&shr=t&scl=t&hac=f&hct=f

This is useful, once again, since I want to create a number of links without constantly going back and forth between document and sytem. It is also useful, however, if I only want to link to a search form, and not to a search. For example, this link gets you a search form for the “British Columbia and Yukon Judgments”:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sf?sfi=CA00STGenSrch&csi=281010&shr=t&hct=f&scl=t

This link gets you a search form for “All Canadian Court Cases”:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sf?sfi=CA00STGenSrch&csi=298571&shr=t&hct=f&scl=t

In the link in the last paragraph, “sfi=CA00STGenSrch” indicates the general search form for Canada. This is something that has to be changed before people in New Zealand or Australia can use the link.

It is possible to create links to “browse” pages too. Here is a link to the “Canada Statutes” table of contents:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/toc?shr=t&hct=f&scl=t&csi=280901

All this works the same for international content, except that there are differences in segment names. (Of course, the right “csi” numbers have to be given too.) Here is a link to Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992),107 ALR 1:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sr?sr=CITATIONS(‘107 ALR 1’)&csi=267689&shr=t&scl=t&hac=f&hct=f

This link takes you to a search form for the “Australian Law Reports”:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sf?sfi=CA00STGenSrch&csi=267689&shr=t&hct=f&scl=t

This one takes you to an ALR table of contents:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/toc?shr=t&hct=f&scl=t&csi=267689

Here is a link to Manuel v. Attorney General, [1983] Ch 77 (C.A.):

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sr?sr=CITE(‘[1983] Ch 77’)&csi=248732&shr=t&scl=t&hac=f&hct=f

Here is a link to a search form for “The Law Reports of England and Wales”:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sf?sfi=CA00STGenSrch&csi=248732&shr=t&hct=f&scl=t

Here is a link to City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation, 161 L. Ed. 2d 386 (2005):

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sr?sr=CITES(‘161 L. Ed. 2d 386’)&csi=6443&shr=t&scl=t&hac=f&hct=f

This links to a search form for “U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Lawyers’ Edition”:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/sf?sfi=CA00STGenSrch&csi=6443&shr=t&hct=f&scl=t

Here is a link to a table of contents for the “United States Code Service”:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/ca/legal/api/version1/toc?shr=t&hct=f&scl=t&csi=6362

I have no idea how to find the “lni” number (or equivalent) for non-Canadian documents, so I haven’t tried “getDocForCuiReq” retrieval except for Canadian documents.

I assume the Canadian branch plans to document this functionality itself eventually (if it hasn’t already), at least to the extent that the New Zealand and Australian branches have. In the meantime, I hope this helps people to make use of this much-awaited new functionality.

Comments

  1. John, this is really helpful. (Wish I’d had it when I was putting together my electronic casebook last year.) It seems to me that not only should this be documented but it should be possible as well to set up a form or app to construct these links according to your desired target.

  2. The Australian LexisNexis has set up forms for link generation (as have others). The user chooses the basic URL for the search type from the page, supplies the citation, and chooses a “csi” number using the drop down list.