April 20, 2009
Should LexisNexis and Thomson West Be Worried About the Economy's Turbulence? Results of the LLB Poll
Faced with substantial budget cuts to law library collections and legal research policy changes, LLB launched an informal poll on April 13th [background] looking into what impact the current economy may have on LexisNexis and Thomson West print products and online legal research services and whether any impact would having lasting consequences. The results are now in and note the conflicted situation we are in. On the one hand, participants see a permanent shift to free and low cost online legal research services, presumably for primary legal materials. On the other hand, reliance on LexisNexis and West online services for secondary materials may trend upward, but at the expense of libraries canceling LexisNexis and West print title continuations that are duplicated online.
Is it too far-fetched to contemplate that their duopolistic pricing practices may end LexisNexis' and Westlaw's dominance of the market for online primary legal materials someday? Considering the content-rich, and better designed products offered by BNA and CCH in their web-based services, will libraries eliminate from their plans LexisNexis and West online secondary legal materials covered by BNA and CCH someday? Will legal publishers like BNA, CCH and Aspen-Loislaw see this as an opportunity to expand their online offerings into subject areas they may once thought they could not be competitive? Expand by offering competitive fundamental research tools like comprehensive and reliable online citation indexes for example?
Thanks to everyone who participated in this informal poll. While utterly unscientific, the results are thought-provoking. Maybe we are living in interesting times. [JH]
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