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Fee-Based U.S. Legal Research Databases: Bloomberg BNA

This guide is created based on the research guide I have updated in NYU Globalex. It describes several providers of legal research databases, focusing on fee-based sources, both high-cost and low-cost


Bloomberg BNA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg.  It is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information.  Bloomberg BNA comprises a network of more than 2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners in order to deliver expert analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance within a wide range of practice areas.  Its market includes law firms, law schools, businesses, and governments.


What BNA Offers

BNA offers standalone online research databases in several subject areas.  The subject areas include antitrust, banking, bankruptcy, corporate, criminal law, employee benefits, employment and labor, environment and safety, ethics, family law, healthcare, homeland security, intellectual property, international, litigation, product liability, securities and corporate responsibility, tax, and trade and commerce.  BNA’s products usually combine primary law materials (laws, cases, regulations) with editorial analysis.


How its Databases are Organized

BNA’s databases are arranged alphabetically by subject matter.  Internally, each product is organized differently.  The daily, weekly, and monthly reports are organized like newsletters, allowing search by keyword, or browsing topically through the index.  The most comprehensive way to search is by clicking on “Search My BNA” on the left side of the homepage.  There, you can search across databases by using a variety of search operators, limit the date range, and choose which publications to search.


Most BNA databases are based on its loose-leaf publications.  The arrangement of its databases depends on the type of publication.  Generally, databases combine a subject arrangement with frequently released updates.  For smaller products, such as the Criminal Law Reporter, the default search is across the entire contents of the database.  For larger, more complex products, such as the Labor and Employment Law Library, the researcher selects from a variety of database divisions before searching.  Using BNA’s larger products usually requires training. 



BNA does not make pricing information readily available; it is best to contact the company.  Subscription options vary, but are flat rate.  Customers can buy a single-user password, a single password for an entire organization, or access via IP address recognition.  Subscriptions can be made on a one-year or two-year basis.  Free trials are available.  Customer service can be accessed through the telephone or online support forms.


Technical Information

The Bloomberg BNA Web Reference Libraries are compatible on Windows and Mac operating systems.  It is recommended to use the Mac version of the Mozilla Firefox or Netscape Navigator software as the Internet browser.  However, the Interactive Forms software included with a few if the BNA Web reference libraries is only compatible with Windows operating systems.  Additionally, Bloomberg BNA Technical Support provides assistance to electronic subscribers.  Technical Specialists are available to assist customers in the installation, configuration, and use of BNA’s electronic publications on the web, on CD, and delivered by e-mail.