On February 1, Westlaw plans to roll out a Googlesque interface called WestlawNext. According to reports in the ABA Journal and the New York Times, the new GUI (pronounced “gooey,” meaning graphical user interface) is expected to revolutionize legal research, again. Evidently LexisNexis plans a similar revamp but the release date is not yet known.
WestlawNext is supposed to be a better-looking interface serving up more relevant search results and new tools for document-sharing and other collaboration. The Times reports that the interfaces for both Westlaw and LexisNexis were beginning to look dated and had served an older generation of lawyers who learned how to research in books before the online databases were available.
Just to muddy the waters with more online legal publishing competition, Bloomberg Law plans to launch its online product later this year.
Does the entry of Google Scholar and Bloomberg into legal publishing makes things easier for the legal researcher? Perhaps it makes legal research deceptively easy. More than ever students and practitioners will need the help of legal knowledge management professionals (A.K.A. law librarians) to show them the way.