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 The Butterworths brand, for books, seems to have been replaced by LexisNexis, but the local online platform, Butterworths Online, seems to have become (is becoming?)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!