Casemaker to enter second year with new features

Issue October 2003 By Abigail Shaine<br /> Executive Director

I cannot believe it has been one year since we launched Casemaker (and, by the way, two years since I started as executive director). In that time, Casemaker has experienced significant improvements both in terms of coverage and features.

When we went online, there were only four other state libraries, together with the federal library. Now there are 14! And still more states are in the final decision-making process.

True to our promise, we have listened to you and to your suggestions and priorities for improvement. As a member of the Casemaker Consortium, we have been able to work together with the other members to get these improvements implemented.

We know, for example, that many of you miss the proprietary Shepherds option in working with Casemaker. Consequently, improvements to Casemaker's Citator system have been the highest priority.

Sometime during the next 90 days we will introduce the new Citecheck feature, which will allow the researcher to see the later case cite while viewing the underlying case, as well as list the name of the case immediately below the citation. You also will be able to click on a later citation and jump right to the place in the later case where the principal case you are using is mentioned. That will make it quick and easy for you to determine the importance of this later citation.

In addition, we know that right now it is inconvenient when you print the first screen of a Casemaker case because it includes the list of later citations. Within the next 90 days you will be able to print a case with or without the list of citations. And you will be able to print the citations separately.

An additional feature that will be installed within this 90-day period will involve "Next hit" and "Previous hit" options. These will allow the researcher to advance to the next hit term or return to the last one by the click of a radio button.

Finally, you will notice a new library category that will include the recent opinions of the supreme courts of all 50 states in a single data file. This will make it easier for you to search for recent opinions supporting new trends or direction in law over the last year.

For your benefit

I wrote last month about some of the new technology benefits we are featuring in the MBA's Legal Tech Toolbox. We will continue to provide you with in-depth information about the items in the Toolbox. To that end, please accept our invitation to attend our free Benefits Fairs, where the products will be explained in person and where you will have the opportunity to test their capabilities for yourself.

The Benefits Fairs will include vendors from both new and longtime partners, so it is also an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with some of the features that we have offered for years. The MBA also will offer topical seminars during these discussions.

The Boston Benefits Fair will take place on Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Seminar programming will be at the beginning and end of the day. The Springfield Benefits Fair will take place over three days, Oct. 8-10, between the hours of 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Each day some of the vendors and some of the programs featured at the daylong fair in Boston will be repeated at the MBA's Springfield office.

Watch the Web site and e-Journal for additional details on the schedules. All are welcome: members and nonmembers, lawyers and paralegals, and law librarians and IT administrators.