Use the alphabetical Digest Topics list at the beginning of each print digest volume as a table of contents.
Check the key numbers under the topics that seem most relevant.
Browsing the Topic Hierarchy
1. Cases are printed in the National Reporter System reporters. National Reporter System Topic and Key Number System Digests Headnotes Constitutional Law 1 . 2 . 3 4. 2. Each point of law discussed in a case is summarized in a headnote. 3. The point of law in each headnote is assigned a key number(s). 4. Digests organize all headnotes (digest paragraphs) by key number. 5. The key number in a digest is used to find other relevant cases. 4 3. 5.
There can be as many as eight levels in the topic and key number hierarchy.
This process continues until further breakdown of a legal issue is unproductive and a specific key number is assigned. See, 92k90.1(1.2), above.
92 Constitutional Law (Topic) 92V Personal, Civil and Political Rights (Subheading) 92k90 Freedom of Speech and of the Press 92k90.1 Particular Expressions and Limitations 92k90.1(1.2) k. Election Regulations (Specific Key Number)
This is a breakdown of subheading 90.1 (Particular expressions and limitations) under the Constitutional Law topic and subheading V. (Personal, Civil and Political Rights) in the print version of the digest.
92k90.1(1.2) is the specific key number dealing with Election regulations.
Example: John Landlord failed to replace a light bulb in the hallway of one of his apartment buildings. Jane Tenant failed to see a step and fell down a flight of stairs. She is suing John for damages.
You might start by checking in the index under landlord , tenant , apartment , common area , or premise liability . At least one of these entries will probably lead you to key numbers assigned to headnotes in cases that discuss the same or similar issues.