December 10, 2011
Say "Hi" to Savannah Law School
Just when you think the ABA might be starting to get its act together, comes word that Atlanta's John Marshall Law School has received ABA Council on Legal Education and Admissions approval to open a branch campus in Savannah. [Press Release dated Dec. 8, 2012]. AJMLS intends to have the new branch a/k/a the Savannah Law School up and running next fall with the objective of enrolling 60 full-time and 35 part-time students. According to Karen Sloan's NLJ story, aspiring student can start applying now, hiring will begin in the spring, and wait for it .... the school has not settled on a location yet.
AJMLS has a long heritage of being a law school for the "non-traditional" student. The intention is to continue that admissions policy in Savannah. Providing a means for adult learners and other significantly underserved populations is certainly laudable. But in this labor market, another law school or branch campus or whatever you want to call it? Of AJMLS' 2008 graduates, only 44.8 percent were employed at graduation. What the heck was the ABA thinking -- "oh hell, why not, it's got a pretty logo."
Well, no. Sloan reports that "the ABA has declared that limiting the number of law schools would run afoul of antitrust laws." In addition to the fairly well publicized announcement that Thomas M. Cooley Law School plans to open a new campus in Tampa next year, Sloan adds
Savannah isn't the only city set to get a new law school next academic year. A small group of lawyers aim to open the California Desert Trial Academy College of Law in Indio, Calif., in September. Additional new law schools are in the works in Louisiana and Indiana.
I'm thinking here's a business opportunity for unemployed recent law school grads -- start your own law school! How about a Roswell Law School for the non-traditional UFO crowd wanting to practice alien, flying saucer space law?
Of course getting the OK to open a law school doesn't mean the school will receive ABA accreditation but... . [JH]
December 9, 2011
Friday Fun: Repurposing Law Reporter Volume Bindings as Carpeting
Talk about law libraries going green! How about law reporter bindings as floor covering? The below picture demonstrates how to recycle West reporters from an Artspace (New Haven, CT) exhibit called Library Science. OK, I doubt the intent of the exhibit is recycling per se except as an artistic expression utilizing no longer needed print in the Shed West Era.
Using law reporter bindings as floor covering might be a bit impractical but using them as wallpaper (literally as wall covering) might work as an expression of library science in 21st century law libraries.
PS -- In a comment to last week's Friday Fun post, Going Green by Repurposing Legal Reporter Volumes into Book Flasks, a representative of Bender Bound wrote:
We would LOVE access to free legal reporters if anyone knows of any libraries or law firms looking to get rid of them and are close to New York City.
Let's Start with Basic Skills: Teaching Law Students Reading and Reasoning Skills
Obviously there has been much more change-talk than action in improving the legal academy curriculum. Perhaps that is because the legal academy is a bit befuddled about where to start. Even if we accept the premise that law schools try to teach students to "think like lawyers" (instead of to "practice like lawyers") the profession is still an intellectual activity that must teach law students reading and reasoning skills as fundamental to research and communication skills by way of work product, client relations, and court room advocacy.
In Scott Fruehwald's recent Legal Skills Prof Blog post, he calls attention to Dorothy Evensen, James Stratman, Laurel Oates, and Sarah Zappe, Developing an Assessment of First-Year Students' Critical Case Reading and Reasoning Abilities: Phase 2 (LSAC 2008) as demonstrating that the legal academy isn't doing it's job of teaching law students to think like lawyers because students aren't acquiring the law-centric reading and reasoning skills they need.
In Do We Need to Change Our Teaching Methods? Fruehwald writes
To follow the nuances of this report, you will need to read it in detail, which I recommend that everyone who is interested in the future of legal education should do. In any case, it demonstrates that we cannot say that our traditional methods of law teaching are working, and we need to develop and use new methods to teach basic skills.
Highly recommended. Those of us who have been in the legal research instruction "business" for sometime know that you really can't provide a meanful education in how to conduct legal research until students know how to read and reason in a lawyerly manner. Anyone who thinks the tool box approach to teaching legal research a/k/a as the presentation of legal bibliography is good enough, should be tarred and feathered. I'm certainly in favor of this medieval act of retribution and disgrace for acadmic law librarian and legal research instructors at this stage in the 21st century; if they are only given enough class time to teach this way, "just say no."
Hell, let's extend the whole tar and feather thning to everyone in the legal academy who just continues to engage in "change-talk" without doing something about it. This has been talked to death. Time to move forward. [JH}
The Legal Technology Category of the 2011 ABA Journal Blawg 100 Includes Too Many Damn Good Blogs!
I've narrowed my selection to three but just can't decide because they are all very deserving. Well, I (and you) have until until Dec. 30th to vote for your favorite blogs (in 12 categories) for the 2011 ABA Journal Blawg awards. Article here. Vote here (free registration required).
3 Geeks and a Law Blog: “It is a vital resource of ‘law geek’-related news, and I rely on it,” Jan Rivers, competitive intelligence liaison at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis, wrote us. Last fall, the geeks started their Thursday Elephant Posts, which pose a question (What will your firm stop buying in five years?) and post answers from librarians, marketers and other legal practitioners.
Above and Beyond KM: Blogger V. Mary Abraham is a lawyer focused on knowledge management at Debevoise & Plimpton’s New York City office. Most posts focus not on incremental news developments in her discipline, but rather its “nontech challenges” and big-picture concerns: strategy, productivity, and encouraging strong-willed attorneys to share information systematically.
Slaw: “Slaw is to law what Slate is to popular culture,” law blogger Robert Ambrogi writes. “It is an online magazine with a diverse array of writers and perspectives covering a wide array of legal topics. It is always interesting, always smart and always insightful. It represents the best of what a legal blog—strike that—any blog can aspire to be.”
Congratulations to all! [JH]
December 8, 2011
A Bit More On e-Books And Libraries
An article in The Atlantic called Library Wars: Amazon and Publishers Vie for Control of E-Book Rentals by Peter Osnos that examines the publishing world’s paranoia with e-books. They love the idea of selling them at prices comparable to print copies, but fear that libraries that loan them will discourage paying customers from paying and encourage piracy from borrowers. The second point is refuted to the extent that the article quotes Carrie Russell, the director of the American Library Association Public Access to Information program as saying “There is no evidence that security breaches have been tied to public libraries or library users. One would think this is more of an issue with everyday consumers or hackers who do not want to pay for e-books.”
We here at LLB passed along our own references to stripping away DRM from proprietary e-books here, not that I am encouraging anyone. As last I checked, the links and information in that post were still good. The Atlantic article posits that the recent move by Penguin to delay the availability of new titles in a digital format is a power ploy between that publisher and Amazon. It’s not merely the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, which Amazon slickly got around contracts by buying the book loaned to a customer, but Overdrive, a major supplier of e-books to libraries which has cheerfully partnered with Amazon to promote library loans to the Kindle.
Publishers apparently are not fond of the idea of people getting used to reading without paying some form of pay-per-view. A sale with restrictions and one that brings in top value dollar is much preferred. Amazon may not have enough market power to challenge the agency pricing model, one where the publishers set the price (high) and the profit split, but it does have enough power to scare publishers by manipulating the stock to promote its own e-book readers. Hence this back and forth between the publishers and Amazon over who gets the final say over how an e-book is delivered to a customer and upon what terms.
Let’s remember that Apple contributed to this situation by agreeing to the agency pricing model for books sold through the iTunes store. Amazon initially had a more consumer friendly pricing model that Apple was happy to thwart to protect sales for books read on the iPad, and speculatively to hurt Amazon as a competitor. That may or may not prove to be true in the coming months. Both the European Union and The U.S. Department of Justice are investigating the possible collusion between Apple and the major publishers to set prices. It could get ugly.
I can’t say the piracy fears of the publishing industries are unfounded. I do think that some of this is brought on by the publishers themselves. The old saw is that it’s impossible to compete with free. I don’t think that’s really it. I think it’s impossible to compete with convenience over inconvenience. Some may feel that piracy is justified in order to stick it “to the man.” I believe the majority of pirates are those who simply find unencumbered books easier to load on their devices and read. As the article in The Atlantic notes, the Overdrive library lending program is popular. E-books lent through the program tripled this year over last. Library patrons are used to borrowing books from a library. Their mindset shouldn’t necessarily change with the format despite DRM restrictions. That’s inconvenient. It’s the mindset of the publishing industry that needs to change. [MG]
What Do You Do When You Are Losing Customers? Thomson Reuters Buys the Competition
Back in September, UK-based Pilgrim Systems, a provider of law practice management solutions called LawSoft, announced Another Elite site goes live with Pilgrim's Lawsoft, noting:
As well as the functionality and quality of the LawSoft solution, the firms’ selection was based as much on Pilgrim’s ability to migrate and convert one Elite database into three LawSoft systems.
Earlier this week, Thomson Reuters Elite announced it acquired Pilgrim Systems for an undisclosed sum. From the press release:
Acquiring Pilgrim and its LawSoft solution is a key component in Elite’s product development strategy and overall growth strategy to expand internationally.
Pilgrim’s current product, LawSoft, has been very successful since its launch in 1996 with a large client base in the UK. Elite will leverage this success and the strength of Pilgrim’s software development efforts to enhance its business management solutions targeted for mid-market firms in the UK and Asia Pacific. The addition of Pilgrim’s assets builds on Elite’s earlier acquisition of FWBS and its robust core matter management capabilities.
“Pilgrim is a strategic fit within our plan to provide a mid-market back-office solution for law firms in the UK and Asia Pacific region – areas where we do not currently have a solution,” said Cary Burch, chief operations officer for Elite. “This marks the fifth acquisition for Elite this year, all of which have been integral to our vision of creating a compelling, integrated mid-market offering utilizing the best technologies. The culmination of these acquisitions will broaden our capabilities and expand our offerings for our global clients.”
Why grow products organically when customer-flight tells you who has the better product line?
Is Thomson Reuters Elite on a buying binge? This is just the latest acquisition. In October, FWBS was acquired. See Elite Acquires FWBS to Offer Clients Expanded Access to Matter Management Data: Acquisition Also Extends Elite’s Growing International Presence. [JH]
Classifying Law Review Article Types
See Kyle Graham's A Guide to the Eight Most Suspect Types of Law Review Articles on Concurring Opinions. I can't decide which of the two types, below, is my favorite.
The Old-Wine-In-New-Bottles: “No one has evaluated the rule against perpetuities from an animal-rights perspective before, so, you know, what the hell.”
The One-Off: “In my previous article, I made a significant contribution to the literature. In this piece, I will coast on the vapors of that article.”
December 7, 2011
Google Undocumented Search Operators Out of Date and Updated
In response to the Google undocumented operators post from Monday, Gary Price from INFODocket, as does Carol Ebbinghouse in a comment to that post notes that the Googleguide pages are not up to date. Gary reports that the pages haven’t been updated since 2010. He adds:
For example:Phonebook: no longer works since Google no longer offers a phone book feature. rphonebook: also no longer works.
The + Sign no longer works as a way to insure a term be used in a search, now you use " ". See: http://searchresearch1.blogspot.com/2011/10/operator-is-gone-so-what.html.
I believe Define: doesn't work the way describe anymore. The same goes for store:
Also, the page says that you cannot combine terms with the link:syntax. I don't believe this is accurate anymore. http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators.html#link.
The around() works but from what I've noticed (as have others) it's a bit erratic to say the least. Exalead (no, it's not Google in terms of size and currency) but does have an proximity that I have found works well over many years. http://www.exalead.com/search/. Click the Exalead advanced search link to see what's possible.
A current (as of October 2011) compilation of syntax from the Google Search Education team https://sites.google.com/site/gwebsearcheducation/advanced-operators
Thanks Gary. As any of the pages who show this kind of information note, Google (as can) any of the other search engines) remove support at any time without announcing it. He also passes along that Wolfram Alpha has releases a “Lawyer’s Professional Assistant” mobile app. More on that is here. [MG]
Google To Seek Dismissal of the Book Scanning Case
Google is asking the District Court to dismiss the claims brought against it by the Author’s Guild et al. This comes as settlement talks still appear to be ongoing, though nowhere near any agreement. I don’t know if this is meant as leverage in the talks, but at least it may ultimately address the ultimate issue in the case, whether scanning entire works and displaying snippets without permission of the copyright holder is a violation of copyright law. I would have to think that the Court may treat a motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment as a matter of practicality. Otherwise, what is the point? Are there any facts in dispute? I would think that the only issue at this point would be damages, assuming that Google loses.
Judge Chin’s most recent order gives Google until December 23, 2011 to make the filing, with the plaintiffs’ response due on January 3, 2012. Google gets to file its response on February 3, 2012. By then the case will have dragged on for almost seven years. PC World has a story on the move by Google here.
There is a companion piece from earlier in November that suggests that precedent from the record industry litigation against MP3.com squarely lines up against Google’s fair use defense. I don’t know. This case would have been over long ago if it were that easy. [MG]
Pssst ... Want to Counter Commercially Drafted Proposed Legislation? A thought about advocating for fair use legislation under state contract law
When I first heard about the American Legislative Exchange Council's extensive collection of in-house drafted "model" bills, I thought, hum ... perhaps consumers advocating for fair use in commercial electronic information resources might want to give this non-profit a call. Then I read Brendan Greeley and Alison Fitzgerald's description of some of ALEC's "success stories" in their recent extensive Businssweek article:
The American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit based in Washington, brings together state legislators, companies, and advocacy groups to shape “model legislation.” The legislators then take these models back to their own states. About 1,000 times a year, according to ALEC, a state legislator introduces a bill from its library of more than 800 models. About 200 times a year, one of them becomes law. The council, in essence, makes national policy, state by state.
ALEC’s online library contains model bills that tighten voter identification requirements, making it harder for students, the elderly, and the poor to vote. Such bills have shown up in 34 states. According to NPR, the Arizona bill that permits police to detain suspected illegal immigrants started as ALEC model legislation. Similar bills have passed in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Utah, and have been introduced in 17 other states. Legislators in Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Hampshire, and New Mexico have sponsored bills with identical ALEC language requiring states to withdraw from regional agreements on CO2 emissions. Sound a national trend among state legislators, and often you will find at the bottom of your plumb line a bill that looks like something that has passed through the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Yikes. Just how naive can I be!
A bit more:
Paul Weyrich started the council in 1973 with a group of Republican state legislators. Weyrich also founded the Heritage Foundation and coined the phrase “moral majority.” More than 2,000 state lawmakers belong to ALEC; each pays $50 in yearly dues. A look at former members now on the national stage suggests the organization is a farm team for Republicans with ambition. There are 92 ALEC alumni serving in the U.S. House, 87 of them Republicans. In the Senate, eight Republicans and one Democrat are ALEC alumni, according to information found on ALEC’s website in April that has since been removed. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, a Madison (Wis.) research group, four sitting governors were members, including John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Ron Scheberle, the council’s executive director, is not a legislator. He spent 30 years as a lobbyist for Verizon (VZ) and GTE. He declined a request for an interview. ALEC is open and helpful about some parts of its work and quiet and evasive about others. It tends to withhold information that might shed light on its corporate members, the ones that pay almost 99 percent of the council’s $7 million budget.
If you haven't already read Brendan Greeley and Alison Fitzgerald's Pssst ... Wanna Buy a Law? When a company needs a state bill passed, the American Legislative Exchange Council can get it done, consider doing so. For much more detailed information about this so-called "nonpartisan" group, see The Center for Media and Democracy's ALEC Exposed.
Advocating for consumers and users of commercial E-Content by fair use legislative proposals. It sounds to me like the first place the publishing industry will turn to protect their e-content licenses from fair use legislation would be ALEC! Do note Greeley and Fitzgerald article recounts a story in public interest fashion about how an ALEC-acquired draft legislation in one state was followed up with corporate and industry group lobbying efforts and campaign donations. How would consumer advocates counter the bill-drafting, public policy shifting might of ALEC?
Well, it might be time to start taking a very serious look at David Robert Hansen's draft Educational Fair Use Preservation Act, provided in A State Law Approach to Preserving Fair Use in Academic Libraries [SSRN]. Quoting from Time for AALL to "Interfere" in Licensing: An Approach for Petitioning State Governments:
Hanson's hypothetical Educational Fair Use Preservation Act would render any licensing provision between rights holders and an IHE that modifies or eliminates fair use for users void. While it addresses the issue in the context of public academic libraries, Hansen observes:
Academic library users are not, however, the only group of users that are negatively impacted by licensing restrictions on rights like fair use. As the digital distribution of copyrighted works becomes more common, consumers are presented with the same problems as those in academia. Because contracts—creatures of state law—are what enable these problems, serious thought should be given by states courts and legislatures to modifying state contract law, either for individual classes of users (as this paper proposes), or for consumers in general.
I'm thinking "for consumers in general," someday. But for the moment, it is probably more realistic to tackle all public libraries, state-by-state-by-state by way of model legislation along the lines offered by Hanson who, by the way, is currently a Digital Library Fellow at Berkeley Law. The one corrective to corporate lobbying and campaign contributions could be costs state and local entites pay for commercial online vendor licensing. In this time when public libraries -- public IHEs, primary and secondary schools, general public libraries, and state and county agency and court law libraries -- are being "downsized" due to public funding cuts, this strategy might have some traction with state legislators. It would be pretty damn hard for state legislators to rationalize public library funding based on the "it's all electronic" argument when confronted with the costs and commercial business practices assocated with providing e-resources across the entire spectrum of public sector libraries plus the hue and cry from public library patrons who need those services. The moral and voter high ground can trump corporate lobbying efforts and their campaign contributions.
Library consumer advocacy groups like ALA and ACRL and now the AALL Consumer Advocacy Caucus with its sanctioned mandate to submit recommendations to AALL for government petitions, have the ways and means to move into the state legislative arena aggressively because under most, if not all, state records acts, public contracts can be obtained. Obviously, this could lead beyond fair use to the escalating costs of unfair and anti-competitive business practices in the public sector.
In Standing Together For Consumer Advocacy, Michael Ginsborg, chair of the AALL Caucus on Consumer Advocacy recently echoed an opinion shared by many:
Our Caucus belongs to every AALL member. We want to respond to your interests and concerns. If you support our purpose, how do you think we should pursue it? If you do not support it, or feel ambivalent, what are your concerns? All of us share the same fundamental values as law librarians, even where some of us may disagree on their application to consumer advocacy. Our shared values allow us to explore not only our differences over consumer advocacy, but our overlooked opportunities for consensus.
Hopefully, address licensing issues in public sector contracting will not be an overlooked opportunity for acquiring a consensus. All it takes is one motivated group to get the ball rolling. Others, like ALA and ACRL, will jump on board and contribute to the project. [JH]
Robert Hu Elected to the American Law Institute
Quoting from the ALI's Membership Overview page:
To further its law-reform work, the Institute seeks individuals who reflect the excellence and diversity of today's legal profession. ALI membership is a distinct professional honor, and the number that can be admitted is limited to 3000 (not including life, honorary, and ex-officio members).
Our elected membership consists of eminent judges, lawyers, and law professors from all areas of the United States and from many foreign countries, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law.
Recently ALI announced the names of 52 newly elected members, including Robert Hu, Professor of Law and Director of the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library at St Mary's University School of Law. Congratulations! [JH]
December 6, 2011
Free and Reliable e-Text Downloads for the New Federal Rules of Evidence (as well as 2012 editions of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Criminal Procedure)
The Restyled Federal Rules of Evidence, which became effective on December 1, 2011, are "[s]impler. Easier to read. Easier to understand. These [characterizations] describe the Federal Rules of Evidence after their first top-to-bottom restyling since they were drafted and enacted 36 years ago," according to the Third Branch. Ah, OK but ... well, for once our commercial legal publishers have a "justifiable" reason for shipping very expensive new pamphlet editions of FRE, a government document, this year.
However, here's two free and reliable e-text alternatives from Federal Evidence Review and Cornell LII-CALI:
1. Federal Evidence Review is providing a complimentary PDF download of the restyled Federal Rules of Evidence. The PDF includes direct links to the legislative history, jump links to specific rules and is searchable. There's more. Federal Evidence Review's e-publication project includes:
- Restyled FRE Legislative History page which summarizes and provides background information on the restyled amendments;
- A summary of the step-by-step process to restyle the FRE with links to key judicial reports; and
- Federal Evidence Blog posts on the new FRE.
The Federal Evidence Review is no fly by night effort. [About Page] It has been around for some time now and has established an excellent reputation for being a very dependable, expertise-driven resource.
2. Another free and very reliable e-resource for the Restyled FRE has been produced by Cornell Legal Information Institute and published in partnership with CALI, The 2012 eLangdell Federal Rules of Evidence plus the 2012 eLangdell editions of Federal Rules Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are availble as free downloads in EPUB format here.
If you have doubts about editorial quality and manufacturing production control mechanisms in place at one or more of our very expensive legal publishers for materials like the above, there are alternative sources available which have established reputations that are not driven by profit maximization. [JH]
From Point A to Point B: Can a court take judicial notice of the distance as calculated by Google Maps?
According to the recent opinion in United States v. Sessa, 2011 WL 256330 (E.D.N.Y. 2011), the answer is "yes" writes Colin Miller. See his EvidenceProf Blog post for details. [JH]
December 5, 2011
Undocumented Search Operators In Google
Searching Google, or any search engine for that matter, almost always offers relevant results, though with a lot of noise hits thrown in just for the fun of it. I’ve always imagined how Google might benefit from using Boolean connectors for power searchers. The useful but limited Advanced Search options seem to be pretty much it. Even those options are at least one level deep in a search as Google now puts the option at the bottom of the first page of search results.
Google lists some of the terms it supports as limiters in text entry here. It turns out that there are a whole slew of undocumented operators for use in the general search box beyond what Google lists. The complete list is available via the Googleguide.com website along with examples and explanations as to what they do. Googleguide.com is not affiliated with Google.
The more interesting term that works with Google is AROUND(n), as in doctor AROUND(5) malpractice returning pages where the two terms are in very close proximity to each other. Google can always eliminate the functionality as with any undocumented feature. It’s not exactly a w/n type connector, but it works as of now. More information and examples for the AROUND(n) search term is here. It might make searching legal documents in Google much more precise. [MG]
Soliciting Professional Intelligence for Addressing Our Legal Relationship with Vendor Business Practices and Their Licensed Content
The Vendor Colloquium resulted in two documents, A Statement of Shared Principles and an Action Plan. Follow-up work has commenced. The October 2011 issue of AALL's eNewsletter included an announcement that our President has
recently established two task forces to begin implementing two of the recommendations contained in the Vendor Colloquium action plan. The Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers Revisions Task Force will be chaired by Kay Todd, and the Library Procurement Process Improvement Task Force will be co-chaired by Katherine Lowry and Tracy Thompson Przylucki.
In the inaugural Vendor Liaison Update eNewsletter (Oct. 2011; published on Oct. 12, 2011), AALL's Vendor Liaison added:
While all of the [Action Plan] goals will be addressed in time, the board identified two areas of new project work for immediate implementation. AALL President Darcy Kirk recently completed the appointment of two task forces to begin this work.
The AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers Revisions Task Force, chaired by Kay Todd, stems from Action Plan Goal I-A, Reinforce our Commitment to the Fair Business Practices Guide. The task force will review the 2008 edition of the guide in light of the rapidly changing legal publishing environment, with an eye toward updating the principles and adding language to address the electronic publication and delivery of information. The task force began its work this month, and the project timeline calls for a final report to be submitted to the Executive Board at its fall 2012 meeting.
The Library Procurement Process Improvements Task Force, co-chaired by Katherine Lowry and Tracy Thompson-Przylucki, derives from Action Plan Goal I-D, Identify and Endorse Improvements to the Procurement Process that Will Benefit Librarians and Vendors. A significant portion of the discussion during the colloquium revolved around licensing, contract clauses, invoicing, and bundling practices. The task force will review and update the 2004 Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources, among other tools, and will develop a set of best practices to address the issues of invoicing and bundling. The task force will prepare an interim report for the Executive Board’s July 2012 meeting and a final report for the fall 2012 meeting.
Both task forces are charged with soliciting input from AALL members and other entities as appropriate. As a member of both task forces, I will help to provide communication between the groups on areas of common interest and work.
Serving Ex Officio on both committees, I'm unclear whether our Vendor Liaison will also serve as the point person between the rank-and-file members for one, both, or none of these new task forces but the November 2011 Vendor Liaison Update (published on Nov. 2, 2011) was the first official announcement I saw about the Library Procurement Process Improvement Task Force's call for member input on AALL's Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources (2004):
At this time the task force is seeking initial comments. We invite you to review the 2004 principles and provide any feedback you may have by November 18, 2011.
Ah, OK. Perhaps I missed an earlier announcement. Assuming no earlier announcement was widely published, it looks like interested rank-and-file members had about 16 days to submit comments. Well, at least that is be more than the apparent nine day deadline to submit comments to AALL for the draft Action Plan. In an AALL listserv broadcast dated July 6, 2011, the Vendor Liasion issued a call for rank-and-file member comments on the draft Action Plan due by July 15th. Again, perhaps I missed a previous comment call or an announced deadline extension because the Oct. 2011 Vendor Liaison Update states
After a 30-day comment period for membership input, the working group submitted the final draft of the Action Plan to the Executive Board at its July meeting.
Perhaps a "My Bad." Perhaps AALL still needs to tweak the whole web-based communications thing. Perhaps AALL has but if not a set procedure that specifies the duration of a comment period might be something to consider. I'm thinking 30 days isn't enough even after AALL get its act together for widely distributing e-announcements in "cyber speed."
In the context of the call for rank-and-file member comments about the 2004 Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources, the intent is to "make sure we [the Task Force] understand the broad spectrum of practices and concerns that need to be considered in the revised Principles." Not sure the Task Force can acquire that "broad spectrum" thing with a 16-day (or even a 30-day) comment period.
Call me cyncial but when a see a fairly short deadline, I think it is wee bit perfunctory in terms of wanting rank-and-file contributions. It is not unlike short deadlines to apply for announced job openings. See for example the Price Index Editor job announcement (official AALL posting dated Nov. 9, 2011; applications due Dec. 5, 2011). Besides for making it difficult for someone interested in the job, the impression is created that it might be a waste of time because a top candidate for the position, perhaps an insider, has been identified. My albeit cyncial bottom line is that short comment period calls by AALL generates the impression that AALL officaldom really isn't all that interested in rank-and-file input.
But the times, they are a-changing. I prefer to think "positive thoughts." Let's just assume that in baby step fashion AALL is still grapping with the new normal of association-member communications, that AALL's e-communications infrastructure is still "under construction" and that it will eventually evolve into a "cyber speed" medium. (And one that isn't tainted by an antitrustism policy that protects vendors from the professional intelligence gathering activities of member institutional buyers.)
At least in the case of member input for licensing, the comment call is only the first stage:
After gathering your feedback we [the Task Force] will compile a survey instrument to be distributed in early December to gather more targeted data.
Quoting from an email dated Nov. 2, 2011 by the AALL Vendor Liaison which I believe was re-posted on AALL's Library Consumer Advocacy Caucus independent group list; remember the Caucus is available to all. My understanding is Caucus members scrambled to submit comments and did so on or about Nov. 18th.
Do note that the Task Force's survey date was not mentioned in either the November 2011 AALL eNewsletter or the November 2011 Vendor Liaison Update. So watch out for it sometime in "early December" and pay close attention to the survey's deadline.
I don't know what's planned after the survey in terms of additional rank-and-file participation but there ought to be plenty of time for another opportunity to so, hopefully with more widespread notification, a more reasonable deadline for submitting contributions, and a more open-to-all collabrative way exchange of comments. While one can take RSS feeds to both AALL and the Vendor Liaison Update's for current awareness purpose their is no public-to-all comment function; one must use circa 1990s email. I think an association that now professes to be "transparent" has plenty of time to execute better web com mediums because the Task Force's mandate calls for issuing an interim report for the Executive Board’s July 2012 business meeting with a final report due for the Executive Board’s fall 2012 meeting.
Current resources for interested members include:
- 2010-2013 Strategic Directions (Past Strategic Directions statements on consumer advocacy goals).
- Vendor Colloquium Shared Principles
- Vendor Colloquium Action Plan
- Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources (2004)
- Library Procurement Process Improvements Task Force webpage
Better also watch the Vendor Liaison Update. It appears to be a monthly eNewsletter, meaning it isn't a blog for reporting developments in "cyber time" but it does have an RSS feed and can be used for much more timely updates if AALL quits thinking in terms of antiquated publication cycles. Do note, as of December 4, 2011, 11:00 AM Eastern, neither the "December 2012" issues of AALL eNewsletter or the Vendor Liaison Update were posted. Perhaps they are now.
As for AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers Revisions Task Force which also is charged with soliciting input from AALL members, no word on that. But then, perhaps I missed the announcement. Do note that his Task Force's mandate calls for submitting a final report for the Executive Board's July 2011 business meeting. In addition to the above, current resources for interested members include:
- Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers (2008)
- AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers Revisions Task Force webpage
I don't expect much from either of these projects. "Guides" and "Principles" are not enforceable. We already know which vendors show goodwill by their voluntary compliance and which vendors have an established track record for ignoring both AALL's Guide to Fair Business Practices and Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources. But sharing the rank-and-file's professional intelligence and communicating that to our association is a good thing. AALL just has to get up to speed on ways and means to do that in the 21st century.
In a LawLibCon podcast I recall that one "outcome" of the Vendor Colliquim was AALL's realization that it needed to improve its communications with the membership because plenty of "content" was on AALLNET for member access. See the Action Plan for details. AALL still needs to improve its e-communications with the rank-and-file but at least it is trying. However, as long as the TOS for AALL forums are still infected with the disease of "antitrustism" a serious problem remains. Just get rid of that and we can see if our "associate members" (read vendors) who will monitor the forums like they monitor AALL lists complain. Under the laughable rubic of being "partners" we can see if they sue first, ask questions later, or follow the commonly accepted web forums procedure of notifying AALL of "objectable" content and the basis for their objection for a possible message takedown. [JH]
AALL Election Results
Vice President/President-Elect (July 2012 - July 2013)
Steven P. Anderson
Maryland State Law Library
Executive Board (July 2012 - July 2015)
Amy J. Eaton
Seattle Library Manager
Perkins Coie LLP
Associate Director for Faculty, Research, and Instructional Services
University of Minnesota Law Library
Congratulations to all! [JH]
December 4, 2011
Round-Up of Law Practitioner Blogs
Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog
Examines injury and medical malpractice cases, news, and related matters in Illinois. Published by Kroot Law, LLC
New York Securities Lawyers Blog
Discusses securities law cases, news and related matters such as securities fraud to a national and international audience. Published by Malecki Law
Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyers Blog
Examines medical malpractice cases, news, and opinions in Chicago, Illinois. Published by Pintas & Mullins Law Firm
Maryland Criminal Attorneys Blog
Examines criminal cases, news, and opinions in Maryland. Published by Brassel Law Group, LLC
Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog
Examines bankruptcy cases, news, and opinions in Los Angeles, California. Published by Nader Law Firm.