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Getting the Most from the West Key Number System on

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1 Getting the Most from the West Key Number System on

2 Summary of West Topics, Key Numbers, Headnotes, and Digests West has divided the law into approximately 400 topics. Each topic is broken down into ever narrower points of law until a specific Key Number is assigned to the narrowest point of law in that leg of the hierarchy. Points of law discussed in a reporter case are summarized in headnotes. Each headnote is assigned to at least one Key Number. Digests organize the headnotes by Key Number so cases with similar issues can be easily found.

3 Topic, Key Number, and Digest Features in Access the list of key numbers using the More drop-down list on the toolbar. Key Numbers & Digest

4 The more than 400 topics are arranged alphabetically and are broken down into subtopics and key numbers as they are in the print reporters and digests. Check the key number(s) that are relevant to your research and click Search at the bottom of the screen. You can also type the key number in the text box at the bottom of the page and click GO. Topic 17, Adoption Search 17k7.2(1), Specific Key Number 

5 You can add terms to the key number search to further refine your results. Select a database. Click Search. Database Add Terms Key Number Search

6 You have created a Custom Digest document consisting of the eleven headnotes (digest paragraphs) that met your key number search request in the database you selected. The headnotes are marked with KeyCite symbols. 11 Headnotes 17k7.8(5)

7 Creating a Custom Digest from Within a Case You have read headnote 1 of Ex parte Wolfenden and want to retrieve more cases discussing the same issue. Click the Most Cited Cases link. Most Cited Cases

8 You can now create your Custom Digest just as you did from the key number list. Notice that you can arrange the headnotes in your Custom Digest by reverse chronological order or by the number of times each case is cited for the issue discussed in the headnote. The latter is a good way to quickly determine which cases will carry the most authority when cited for that issue. Order

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