Lexis Advance case law searches now have a new, time-saving feature: Ravel View. This revolutionary search visualization tool instantly provides a sort of bird’s eye view of the research forest. Ravel View maps the top 75 case search results on a grid, so it visually explains the relationship between cases, the importance of each case, relevance to search results, and Shepard’s treatment.
Here’s how it works. Each case on the grid is represented by a circle, and the bigger the circle, the more times the case has been cited. This means that seminal cases are quickly identifiable, saving considerable time and effort for the harried researcher. The grid’s horizontal axis represents time, and shows the progression of cases from old to new from left to right. The vertical axis represents jurisdiction, with the highest federal court at the top, followed by other federal courts and state courts at the bottom. Cases that are more relevant to the search query are positioned higher within these jurisdiction segments. It is also possible to sort the results along the vertical axis by relevance alone—simply switch the “Sort by” option from Court to Relevance. When there is a citing relationship between two cases, lines connect the circles to one another. Hover over one of the circles, and color-coded lines reveal Shepard’s treatment. The result of putting all these features together is that instead of spending hours scrolling, sifting, and sorting through search results, researchers can see the big picture with a click of the Ravel View icon. It’s located in the upper right corner of the case search results and looks like this: Below is an example of mapped case search results after clicking on one of the cases in the grid:
After selecting one of the cases, hovering over another case displays a pop-up box that explains the citing relationship between the two, as well as a snippet of the relevant section of the opinion. All the usual filters are also available, so the results displayed on the grid can be searched for additional key words or narrowed to a particular jurisdiction or date range.
Come to the Law Library to see Ravel View in action! The Library provides two hours per day of free access to Lexis Advance and other research databases.