Five Electronic Tax Research Databases Compared

A recent post in the Law Librarian Blog linked to an abstract of interest to tax researchers. The link is to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) article by three Loyola Law School tax professors entitled The Virtual Tax Library: A Comparison of Five Electronic Tax Research Platforms. The article comparrs five online tax research databases and the primary and secondary resources and features that they offer. The databases, LexisNexis, Westlaw, BNA Tax Management Library, CCH Tax Research NetWork and RIA Checkpoint, are all available on the BLS Library database page. Each of the databases is a virtual tax library offering tax researchers much of the content and functionality of a physical tax library, as well as some useful functionality features (e.g., direct linking of primary and secondary sources) a physical tax library cannot provide.

The Article provides detailed comparisons of the content and features offered by each of the five databases. It also explains how to access various types of primary and secondary tax sources in each database and provides detailed search pathways that will help tax researchers better navigate the databases. The article has two useful appendices to help tax researchers better understand the differences in the databases. Appendix A provides a side-by-side comparison of the primary source content available on the five electronic tax research databases with search pathways and date restrictions for each type of content. Appendix B provides a side-by-side comparison of the functionality features offered by each database. The chart includes quick reference guides for initiating various types of searches, as well as user support information for each platform.