February 16, 2011
Print Format Switcheroos: Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis Respond to CRIV Questions
Check out the written replies to the below-listed questions in CRIV chair Rob Myers' Reasons behind the Rise of Print Format Changes Implemented by Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis, The CRIV Sheet, Feb. 2011 at 5.
1. What is the main force that drives a decision to change a publication’s print format to another print format?
2. How are titles selected to undergo a format change?
3. If a format change is based on customer feedback, what is the process for collecting and evaluating customer feedback?
4. Is there a place on your website where librarians can find out ahead of time about upcoming format changes (and the likely date the change will take place)? If not, would you consider creating such a place (e.g., a cataloger’s corner)?
5. Is a list of titles that have undergone format changes or will be undergoing format changes presently available? Would you be willing to supply a copy of the list?
6. If there is not a list, is there a way for libraries to determine which titles may be undergoing a format change (i.e., any title that is not already a multivolume loose-leaf set will become a loose-leaf set in the case of LexisNexis, or any title that is a loose-leaf with annual supplement will become an annual pamphlet in the case of Thomson Reuters/West)?
7. Would it be possible to disclose exactly what has been updated in a revised edition, supplement, or loose-leaf update? (There are ways this could be done, including a more detailed explanation of sections affected/content added in the filing instructions, or by requiring publishers to give an estimate of the percentage of new content in a given update.)
8. Are publishers aware—or is any consideration given—to the budgetary impact format changes have on libraries and library staffs? (The impact is limited not just to the cost of the material but also includes time and money involved with cataloging, labeling, and processing the new material and withdrawing or labeling the prior material “superseded” or “not current.”)
9. Is there any other information you would like to share that would help librarians understand the need and rationale for changing a title’s format?
10. Thomson Reuters has included a customer survey questionnaire when shipping a new pamphlet formatted title. While this is appreciated, it seems to put the cart before the horse as the product has already undergone the format change. Will Thomson Reuters actually revise a product back to its previous format if it receives enough negative responses?
Thomson Reuters' reply to the last question:
We are comfortable that we capture enough customer, author, and editor feedback before any title undergoes a format change and are confident that this feedback effectively reflects customer preferences.
In other words, the answer is "no." [JH]