Quicklaw’s Auto Link and WestlaweCARSWELL’s CiteLinkCanada

Although both of the Canadian tools below have been available for some time now, I have only recently started to experiment with them.

Both products – which are free but which each require subscriptions/passwords – will “auto-populate” your research memos with hypertext links to the cases cited in your memo.

The Quicklaw product is Auto Link which will add hypertext links to the Quicklaw version of cases cited in your memo (it allows you to do this in bulk, that is, with more than one memo at a time). Related to this product on the same page is downloadable software for Quickfind, which puts an icon on your taskbar that allows you to “paste” a citation into a search box and then click “enter” to (quickly) get a copy of that decision from Quicklaw (the software works behind the scenes).

Likewise, the WestlaweCARSWELL product is CiteLinkCanada which provides hypertext links to their version of the case (in bulk as well). The WestlaweCARSWELL product also adds a toolbar to Microsoft Word giving direct to WestlaweCARSWELL’s “find by citation” feature and the ability to easily “Key Cite” or noteup a case. This product also gives you the option of creating a Table of Authorities in your Word document.

In the United States, it appears that both vendors have “expanded” versions of these tools. For LexisNexis it is Total Search and for Westlaw it is West KM. Both of these tools “auto link” your documents but also allow you to apply their search engines to your own document repositories. Both products go further than the Canadian ones by also indicating in your documents the status of the case cited (i.e., whether it is still good law). Both American products have other, more powerful features. For example, West KM searching will allow you to classify your internal documents according to their West Key Numbering classification scheme, while the LexisNexis product provides their document profiling tools.

My sense is that neither US product is widely used in Canada yet, likely due to their being developed using the taxonomies in the US versions of their databases. It would be nice if both products were adapted to the Canadian market, although the market here may be too small for a lot of customization.

I will be speaking next week in Toronto at the Canadian Technology and Law Forum on the topic of effective litigation knowledge management and will inquire there about whether either American product may be adapted for the Canadian market.

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