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Ohio Secondary Sources Legal Research Guide: Digests


The West's Digest helps you to find cases on point to a particular legal issue. The Franklin County Law Library no longer updates the Digest in print. The National West Digest system is on Westlaw. Ask a librarian for help.

The Digest system is a subject index to cases. It contains brief summaries ("squibs") of Ohio cases, both State and Federal. The squibs are grouped into topics- for example Appeal and Error, Corporations, Taxation, etc. Each topic has an outline, and each subtopic in the outline is assigned a "key number" (for example, Corporations k46 - Acting in False or Assumed Name). You can browse the topic outline to find an appropriate key number. Or, you can look up a subject or keyword in the Descriptive Word Index to find a key number on point to your research. When you find a good key number, you find summaries of cases on the point of law in question.

Cases in West's reporters, such as the North Eastern Reporter, have "headnotes" for each point of law in the case. The headnote is the same summary or "squib" contained in the Digest. The headnote is accompanied by the assigned key number. So, if you have one case on point, you can find other cases on point by taking the key number from the headnotes of the case, and looking in the Digest under that key number.

The Digest also contains a table of cases, listing the key numbers contained in the headnote of each case.

West's digest is available on Westlaw by clicking on Tools and then West Key Number System.

Lexis Advance uses Lexis headnotes to identify points of law in the case, and can be used to access other cases on point.




Using the Digest System on Westlaw from the Georgia State University Law Library.