West has recently released a new tool that is sure to enhance legal research using the West Key Number System. Here is an excerpt of an announcement from West:
The Search for Key Numbers tool, released November 10, 2007, offers a lightning-fast solution: Type a short description of your issue and click Search. Key numbers—each with a link to a jurisdiction-specific Custom Digest result—are provided for you.
This new feature instantly identifies the key numbers assigned to your legal issue and retrieves on-point cases via the Custom Digest. To access the new Search for Key Numbers tool, click Key Numbers at the top of any Westlaw page or on the site map. A page is displayed that contains the Search for Key Numbers text box, as well as links to the West Key Number Digest outline and to KeySearch®.
To use the Search for Key Numbers tool, type a description of your issue, e.g., landlord duty of care to trespassers, in the text box. To select a jurisdiction, click Change Jurisdiction and use the check boxes provided. (If you don’t select a jurisdiction, the default jurisdiction is your home state.) Using West’s exclusive CaRE® technology, the same technology behind the scenes of ResultsPlus®, the Search for Key Numbers tool displays key numbers potentially relevant to your issue. Click a key number, and you retrieve jurisdiction-specific headnotes classified under the key number.
There is no charge for using the Search for Key Numbers tool to identify key numbers. If you click a key number and retrieve headnotes via the Custom Digest, you are billed in the same manner as with any other Custom Digest search.
You can access more information about the Key Numbers Search Tool here.