Friday, March 4, 2011

Summon old, summon new

Introducing Summon, the new widget that sits at the top of the Library's homepage. It's a database aggregator, meaning that it searches across a host of databases - the library catalogue, and lots of full-text databases. Which means that it doesn't really matter if you are looking for a book or an article - it should find either.
Definitely worth a look, though it often happens that the major legal publishers aren't included in these one-size-fits-all sorts of deals.
I tried putting it through its paces with our standard search: material on Lange v Atkinson. Simply typing: lange and atkinson got a huge result, full of authors called Atkinson and weird medical tests, often cited in German articles, that somehow included Lange. Second attempt was "lange v atkinson" - so, searching for an exact phrase. Much better - 7 hits, all of which were relevant, roughly half of which were for books. Compare this to a LegalTrac search - also 7 hits, but none of them the same as the Summon ones. Compare this to Linx - 35 hits (that's for articles).
And then I tested it with one of the Laws 498 questions, looking for articles or casenotes on the 1964 Rookes v Barnard case. Again, I searched for it as an exact phrase. Didn't really expect to find much but there were 113. At least the first few seemed relevant. A lot of them seemed to come from HeinOnline.
So, it's a new toy. Worth playing with, but don't throw away the old ones yet, especially if you are looking for New Zealand material, or primary material.

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