The Relevance of Results Generated by Human Indexing and Computer Algorithms: A Study of West’s Headnotes and Key Numbers and LexisNexis’s Headnotes and Topics

Law Library Journal, Vol. 102, p. 221, Spring 2010

29 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2010

Date Written: Spring 2010

Abstract

This article begins the investigation into the different ways results are generated in West’s “Custom Digest” and in LexisNexis’s “Search by Topic or Headnote” and by KeyCite and Shepard’s. The author took ten pairs of matching headnotes from important federal and California cases and reviewed the results sets generated by each classification and citator system for relevance. The differences in the results sets for classification systems and for citator systems raise interesting issues about the efficiency and comprehensiveness of any one system, and the need to adjust research strategies accordingly.

Keywords: citators, digests, relevance, legal research, Lexis, Westlaw

JEL Classification: K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Mart, Susan Nevelow, The Relevance of Results Generated by Human Indexing and Computer Algorithms: A Study of West’s Headnotes and Key Numbers and LexisNexis’s Headnotes and Topics (Spring 2010). Law Library Journal, Vol. 102, p. 221, Spring 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1473905

Susan Nevelow Mart (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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