We were recently fortunate enough to receive back a number of boxes that have spent the past two decades in archives. Among the contents of those boxes was a treasure trove of great fodder for Throwback Thursday, including a copy of The Australian Digest on CD-ROM and associated marketing material.
The year was 1994. It was the days of seven-digit landline phone numbers and 015 analogue mobile phone numbers. Lillehammer hosted the Olympic Winter Games, and the football World Cup was held in the United States. Late in the year, we were proud to introduce The Australian Digest on CD-ROM.
The Australian Digest on CD-ROM was part of The Complete Legal Research System, the future of fast and comprehensive legal research which was also comprised of The Laws of Australia, the Australian Legal Monthly Digest, the ALMD Advance, and the Australian Case Citator. To run The Australian Digest on CD-ROM, our Windows users required IBM 80386 or compatible with 4MB of RAM, and Windows 3.0 or higher; an EGA or VGA monitor was strongly recommended. Mac users required System 7 with 4MB of RAM, and 68020 or better.
Electronic legal research was in its infancy in 1994, and the introduction of The Australian Digest on CD-ROM must have concerned many researchers who were used to the more traditional, paper forms of research. One of my favourite questions from the ‘Questions you may ask…’ section on the back page of the marketing material was ‘Do I need a degree in computer science to easily access the information?’ Rest assured, the answer was ‘No’: one of the greatest benefits of The Australian Digest on CD-ROM was that it was ‘so easy to use’.
“Its strengths lie in the structured presentation of the information; that is, the structure of the book is maintained, while providing all the advantages of powerful word searching capabilities.”
Back when The Australian Digest on CD-ROM was first introduced, we were The Law Book Company Limited, ‘Leaders in Legal and Professional Publishing Since 1898’. Today, we are Thomson Reuters, ‘The Answer Company’. While two decades have passed since that time, the tradition and legacy of The Australian Digest remain strong today. The Australian Digest content, including its comprehensive classification scheme and its case digests, can now be found on FirstPoint on Westlaw AU, as well as in the traditional paper format. The FirstPoint Cases team, which now provides the content for The Australian Digest, are proud to be part of The Australian Digest‘s 80-year tradition of providing organised, point-of-law digests of Australian case law.
Remember The Australian Digest on CD-ROM? Comment below!