University of California, San Francisco.
Legacy Tobacco Documents Library.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Search the Documents?    
The LTDL provides three different search pages to help you look for and retrieve specific tobacco documents from our collections:

Basic Search provides a Google-like interface which allows you to search for a few terms in a few specific fields or in the entire record (the full-text and the index record combined).

Advanced Search helps you to construct a search query combining Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) with up to six terms or phrases in a limited number of fields or in the entire record.

Expert Search allows for the construction of complex search queries using multiple search terms, Boolean operators, specific field codes, wildcards, dates and proximity operators. A field code matrix is available on the Expert Search page to assist you in conducting fielded searches.

Please access our Search Help pages for more information or assistance.

What is the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)?    
The Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 was a multibillion-dollar settlement of dozens of lawsuits in a majority of the States against the tobacco industry. Among its many requirements, the settlement mandated that the tobacco companies release their internal company documents to the public by depositing them into a repository in Minnesota as well as creating and maintaining websites containing searchable electronic versions of the documents. The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library preserves and maintains electronic versions of these released documents, making them widely available to researchers and the general public.

How do I find an attorney for tobacco lawsuits?    
The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library does not make any references or recommendations for attorneys but the Tobacco Control Resource Center provides a free online referral service.

Can I use some of the documents and videos in my presentation/documentary/book?    
This website may contain copyrighted material whose use, including reproduction, is governed by United States copyright law (Title 17, United States Code). The law may permit the "fair use" of a copyrighted work, including the making of a photocopy, "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research." 17 U.S.C. ยง 107. Please see Copyright and Fair Use for more information.

How do you add documents to the Collections?    
Staff working with the LTDL utilize "spidering" applications that comb the major industry document websites for newly posted documents. The dynamic collections are updated as documents are added to their respective industry sites.

LTDL holdings updated as of Wednesday, May 6, 2015. It contains 87,346,395 pages in 14,530,442 documents.

Is there a specific citation format for tobacco documents?   Back to Top
Yes, please see the Tobacco Documents Citation Format page for information on how to cite resources from LTDL as well as other document sites.

What is the difference between metadata and full text?   Back to Top
Metadata is comparable to a traditional library catalog card. A metadata record contains the document's important descriptive information such as the title, author(s), dates, and a variety of subject terms. The full-text of a document refers to the complete electronic text of a source. This text is made searchable using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. All of the tobacco documents on this site can be searched by their metadata as well as their OCR'd text except for privileged documents, which only have metadata. In some cases, such as when the document was of poor quality and the OCR is not reliable, the metadata will yield better results.

Why is there more than one date associated with a document?   Back to Top
There can be several different dates associated with each tobacco document. Document date indicates when a document was created. Date Added Industry notes when a document was published on a tobacco company site. Date Added UCSF indicates when a document first appeared on this site. Information about date searching can be found on the Search Help page.

What is Bookbag?   Back to Top
As you search LTDL, you will find document records you would like to save for future use. The search results screen allows you to save these document records, along with any notes, to a place called "Bookbag." Records can be saved one-by-one or an entire page of results can be sent to Bookbag all at once. From your Bookbag tab, you may then download or email these saved records to yourself or a colleague. See "Bookbag" on the Search Results Help page for more information.

Can I save records to my Bookbag and access them tomorrow?   Back to Top
No, once you close your session in LTDL, the Bookbag will clear itself. A session ends when you leave the site or after 4 hours of inactivity. Before you close out your session, remember to download or email the contents of your bookbag. See "Bookbag" on the Search Results Help page for more information.

How do I download references into EndNote or RefWorks?   Back to Top
Save document records to your Bookbag. In Bookbag, choose either EndNote or RefWorks and click on the "Download" button at the top of the screen. You will be prompted to save the file to your computer. From your Citation Management application, import the file you just saved. Please note: EndNote or RefWorks must be configured to format tobacco documents correctly. For complete instructions on formatting EndNote for tobacco documents, access EndNote Help. For RefWorks instructions, access RefWorks Help.

Can I save a copy of a tobacco document to my computer?   Back to Top
Yes, you are able to download the PDF of the tobacco document to your computer. From the search results screen, open the document as a PDF by clicking on the title link, then either click "Save" on the Adpbe Reader toolbar or right-click in the PDF and choose "Save As".
What are "privileged" documents?
How are they different from "confidential"?
  Back to Top
In many of our collections, the bulk of the documents were turned over by tobacco companies in lawsuits - the usual terminology is that documents are "produced" in "discovery." There are two principal grounds for a defendant to refuse to produce documents that are relevant:
  • The documents would reveal communications with attorneys for the purpose of seeking legal advice, generally known as "privileged" materials; or

  • The documents would reveal economically valuable information, generally known as "confidential" information, such as marketing plans and (future) research budgets.
Seven (7) collections in LTDL - American Tobacco, B&W, Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Lorillard, BAT and Multimedia - include records of documents withheld due to claims of privilege or confidentiality.

Often LTDL does not have the actual document image if it is considered privileged or confidential, but in the case of a privileged document, we do have descriptive information which includes a privilege code specifiying the reason(s) each document was withheld from production. In some cases we do have a copy of the actual privileged or confidential document, just under a different record ID which can be found in the "Related" field in the metadata.

Read more about Documents Designated as Privileged or Confidential

See About Privileged Document Codes for more information on privilege codes.

For assistance in searching for privileged and confidential documents, see Search Tips & Tricks.

What are "personal confidential redactions?"
  Back to Top

Some documents have "redactions," with a black or white box or black highlighting that makes the original text unreadable. Sometimes these are redactions of personally identifiable information that has been withheld from public view based on a purported privacy concern. There are two ways you may be able to identify such a redaction. First, in or near the portion of the document that is redacted, you may find the notation "personal confidential redaction" or something similar. However, particularly for older documents, the information may simply be redacted. In that case the only way to know it is a personal confidential redaction is to look in document codes under the redaction field, which may indicate that there has been such a redaction.

In December 2011, several U.S. tobacco companies entered into Consent Orders in the United States vs. Philip Morris, et al. lawsuit mandating certain document disclosure obligations (specific covered websites are listed below). With regard to personal information in particular, the Orders allow these companies to redact the following:

  • Information about any individual: social security numbers, home addresses, personal phone numbers, financial account information, driver's license numbers, date of birth, mother's maiden name and names of minors.
  • Information about the tobacco companies' own employees or employees' families, or consumers in their capacity as consumers: the same information as above, and in addition, personal email addresses and names where the document also links the person to certain kinds of information (e.g. sexual orientation, medical information, certain kinds of employment-related information)

The Orders further provide that the United States government and Public Health Intervenors (six public health groups -- the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and National African American Tobacco Prevention Network) may request that certain personal confidential redactions be lifted in whole or in part where they are broader than the limited list of allowable redactions provided in the Orders. If you come across a personal confidential redaction that you would like to see in unredacted form, you can contact us to request that we inquire whether the redaction can be lifted.

The following document collections available at this website are covered by these Orders:

  • American Tobacco
  • Brown & Williamson
  • Lorillard
  • Philip Morris
  • R. J. Reynolds

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