Database Scope Notes

A note about the Quicklaw NetLetters Collection reminded me recently about scope notes. Quicklaw is focusing on NetLettrs that are most widely used by their customers and discontinuing some others. Like most collections that are discontinued, the archive of the discontinued titles will remain. LexisNexis Quicklaw has committed to helping users identify archival content:

The discontinued NetLetters will remain on Quicklaw as archive sources with the archival indicator (*) appearing beside the source name.

Understanding when database coverage starts and the currency of a collection is an important element in comprehensive legal research. Each research tool looks after currency in unique ways:

  • CanLII offers a Scope of Databases page
  • CCH Online offers News trackers in their topical database
  • LexisNexis Quicklaw offers a scope note for each database accessed by clicking a link from the source directory.
  • The National Reporter System offers a Recent Case Law list
  • WestlawNext Canada offers a “What’s in LawSource” and eBulletins describing content additions

Some of these are more useful than others. I prefer to see scope notes that tell me not only the stat date for coverage, but those that offer a “current to” or “updated on” note as well.

How often do you look at scope notes?

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