November 4, 2009
Don't Waste Your Time Trying to Do Better Than WEXIS: Responses to Berring on Open Access Law
By now, I expect many law librarians have viewed West's video of Bob Berring's opinion on the open access to legal information movement. If not, see below. In a nutshell, Berring advises legal information consumers that they should not bother trying to do better than commercial legal vendors like West and LexisNexis. Berring is one of the most respected academic law librarians in the country and his contributions to the profession are substantial. I'm sure he means what he says in the video and is not just serving as a mouthpiece for West but what he has to say is very controversial (to put it mildly). In response to the Berring video, I recommend the following three blog posts:
Cornell LII's Tom Bruce: Berring on the merits
CanLII's Daniel Poulin: Berring, CanLII and Kobe Beef
Catherine Best: Berring, free legal information, and making good choices
While the YouTube video upload date is Oct. 29, 2009, the video was produced months ago as part of West's "salute to law librarians" campaign. In other words, the video was created long before the announcement of the Law.gov project. See LLB's It's Time for Law.gov post. I wonder whether Berring's opinion on OA Law would be different (but I have my doubts that it would be). I also wonder if West would have released the video had Berring come out strongly in favor of OA Law as a viable alternative to the duopoly in the legal information market. But that's another matter.
I always pay close attention to Berring's opinions on law librarianship and cannot think of one time that I have not benefited from doing so. Personally, I would rather remember Berring for his advice for reference librarians video (also produced by West) instead of the below video but this video is a worthy contribution to the on-going debate on how best to provide legal information. In other words, it deserves consideration. It's just unfortunate that it's West-branded; it is hard to ignore how all this dovetails neatly into the Company's self-interests. [JH]
I agree with Mr. Beering!
Posted by: Cheryl Niemeier | Nov 4, 2009 9:58:21 AM