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January 19, 2011
From 10:30 AM to 10:44 AM on Jan. 12, 2011 CE from the law-lib list
Some time ago, I suggested that invoice-paying law librarians should continue their practice of posting to AALL lists issues and problems they are experiencing with vendors because it is the only timely way to inform members (and those vendors who by virtue of being members daily read our list messages) Later, I suggested that the AALL Executive Board should unleash CRIV to do the job the membership expects from CRIV without being censored by the the E-Club or mediated by a Board-appointed, compensated Vendor Liasion by publishing a blog. This to introduce transparency in and accountability for the vendor-AALL relationship in the open instead of behind the many and varied AALL walled gardens for the membership and also readily available to the consumer buying public since we also have a responsibility to them, too.
Well, until that happens (or until a stand-alone organization of institutional buyer representative comes into being), here's two examples why AALL officialdom flunks the vendor relations test. One involves private exchanges between law librarians, the other between law librarians and CRIV responses to them. Both by way of that walled garden known as law-lib.
How and when to cancel a single title. On Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 CE, a private sector law librarian posted on law-lib the following heads-up about American Bench at 10:30 AM:
Just wanted to give everybody the head’s up that if you are on standing order for [American Bench] you must cancel your subscription early in the year for the following edition if you no longer need. I was told by the owner that the order for the books goes in before the invoices are issued so by the time you receive the invoice it is already too late to cancel.
14 minutes later a law-lib reply-back from another law librarian appeared:
Thanks for the heads up. I've been trying to cancel this for two years!
Unfortunately, not all invoice-paying law librarians subscribe to law-lib but my hunch is they would take a CRIV-Unleashed blog's RSS feed if they perceived it as a timely and uncensored blog coming from CRIV.
Addressing issues involving a publisher that has migrated to being "digital first." Here's information provided on law-lib by CRIV chair, Rob Myers' Jan. 10, 2010 CE response to another law-lib message that damn well should be readily available for all, those beyond law-lib subscribers and including those who do not even belong to AALL to read by way of a CRIV-Unleashed blog post because individual consumers are also dealing with issues arising from "digital first" legal publishers as well as purchasing law eBooks from vendors generally.
A Note to Law Journal Press Subscribers Who Wish to Remain Print-only Subscribers
Please see the following notice from Larry Selby, Vice President of e-Products at ALM. I believe this goes a long way to help mitigate the roll-out of the print/online combination for those libraries who do not have the ability to handle online at this time.
I am also attaching the price list for LJP titles that are renewing during the period Nov. 2010 through Jan. 2011. Mr. Selby was very accommodating in supplying the price list. The purpose of providing this list is so that those who received incorrect invoices followed by corrected invoices can identify which is the correct invoice for submitting payment.
Over the next eight months all of Law Journal Press’ publications will be digitized and made available online. Law Journal Press is timing the launch of the online products to coincide with the release of the next updating release for each product. While Law Journal Press is encouraging the conversion to online, it certainly understands that libraries serve a variety of users and may not have the ability to handle online at this time.
Subscribers will be offered two options once a book is available online: (1) online-only format; and, (2) an online/print bundle priced slightly higher than the online-only option. Please note, however, that if subscribers are not in a position to handle online access in their facility at this time they should contact one of Law Journal Press’ Account Representatives (email@example.com, 877-807-8076) to discuss their needs. Law Journal Press is willing to work with all subscribers through this transition and can provide a discount on the annual renewal price to those subscribers requiring a print-only subscription.
AALL Committee on Relations with Information Vendors, Chair 2010-11
Associate Director for Collection Management, Acquisitions and Planning
The Judge Ben C. Green Law Library
Case School of Law
Case Western Reserve University
See also Beth Adelman's (Associate Director & Head of Collection Management, University at Buffalo Law Library and LLB contributing editor) rely-back to Rob's post and Rob's response to Beth in the law-lib archives.
Both matters are exactly the sort of exchanges that are CRIV-Unleashed blog worthy for all to read. Hell, I recently wrote about how I liked where LPR was heading in eBook distribution in principle. But in practice, our little county law library is not ready or willing to go this route for the few remaining LJP titles we have at this time. They would be "history" if our current choices were online-only or online-and-print. See also Rich Leiter's Jan. 14, 2010 post, Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop ("We're canceling all Law Journal Seminars Press titles.") Rob's law-lib post is helpful; I will be calling the phone number. But I wonder how many missed his law-lib message. Rich?
Rob's list message does illustrate the point that CRIV can respond quickly to issues as they arise. I wonder if Rob had to call someone in AALL officialdom before being permitted to send the message to the list. I wonder if the fact that the publisher was neither TR Legal nor Lexis came into play. Needless to say, I'm a bit worried that by republishing his list message, Rob might be banned from doing so again. On that score, four points:
- I did not upload for download purposes the provided price list.
- Life is too short to republish all the invoice-paying law librarian law-lib traffic about vendor issues taking place.
- I did not ask Rob's permission to republish his law-lib post.
- The purpose here is to illustrate that what goes on within the walled garden of AALL lists should be made more readily accessible to all consumers of legal publications by way of the blogging platform.
Another Example of What Could Have Been a CRIV-Unleashed Blog Post.
Heads-up on FOIA Requests for Lexis Agreements and Invoices from West
CRIV recently received reports that TR Legal has FOIA-ed public sector Lexis agreements and invoices in Michigan and Ohio. This is not the first time the Company has done this. TR Legal is well within its legal rights to make such open records requests in the public sector. However, to the best of the Committee's knowledge, Lexis has never requested public sector Westlaw agreements and invoices. We may be wrong about that, we may see Lexis engaging in this practice, and we do not know if other vendors have been doing this lately.
We do not know if the recent reports are isolated incidents or more widespread. If you have received federal FOIA or state open records requests from West, Lexis or any other legal publishing vendor in the last 12 months, please comment to this post or email the Committee at ... . Kindly let the Committee know if CRIV needs to submit an official request under applicable law for vendor federal or state FOIA requests you have received. If you start to receive such requests, please let CRIV know.
CRIV will provide an analysis of the scope of the requests (agreements, invoices, email correspondence, etc.) by vendor, the jurisdictions receiving them, and a time-line of this targeted solicitation of competitive information in a later blog post. We will do our best to keep this information updated by way of blog posts as new reports come to the Committee's attention
Frankly I do not know if CRIV is aware of these recent Michigan and Ohio incidents. But an FYI post alerting public sector buyers of legal resources and a not very time-consuming on-going study and monitoring like the one suggested above could be beneficial for all to read in the blogosphere because there is absolutely no reason to assume that vendor information in federal and state FOIA requests are just being solicited from public entities that employ law librarians. [JH]