May 21, 2013
Has Any Law Library's Print Collection Budget Increased 20 Percent Since 2010?
According to the 2012 AALL Price Index for Legal Publications (member login required)(Carol Avery Nicholson, Price Index Editor), the subscription list price inflation for serials (academic and commercial periodicals, court reporters, citators, codes, digests, legal encyclopedias, newsletters, looseleaf services, and supplemented legal treatises) for 888 sampled titles using 2010 as the base year increased 20.29% by 2012 and 21.64% if periodicals are excluded.
Subscription list price is not buy-new pricing. Quoting from the 2012 Price Index's instructions to vendors:
The price index reflects continuation costs and should be quoted at full retail, non-discounted rates. Please do not quote prices pertaining to new subscribers. "Subscription List Price" includes the cost of all supplementation, new or replacement volumes, recompiled sets, and all other continuation costs, for the stated 12-month period.
Subscription list price inflation since 2010. Federal and regional reporters increased a whopping 71.42% (13 titles). State and federal codes increased 22.93% (61 titles). For traditional research and reference tools, state, regional and federal digests increased 22.93% (58 titles), legal encyclopedias (9 federal and state titles) increased 22.42% and Shepard's citators (30 federal, regional, state and subject specific) only increased 4.59%
For traditional secondary analytical sources, supplemented treatises increased 13.99% (257 titles). Followed by looseleaf services (a 12.30% increase for 61 titles).
Got $$$? While percent rate increases are helpful, average pricing dollar amounts can be more telling for specific product lines.
|Traditional Research & Reference Tools|
|Traditional Secondary Analytical Sources|
The Substitution Effect? If we had retrospective data going further back in time to a pre-2010 base year for the current and much improved market basket of titles, I believe an empirical analysis would conclude that reported price inflation represents the consequences of the Shed West era of print cancellation, most notably in reporters, codes, digests and legal encyclopedias published by WEXIS. Intuitively one can argue that cancellations of print subscriptions due to substitution by online access is producing substantially higher print prices in some market and product line segments.
Some basis for this intuition can be found in AALL's Biennial Salary Survey and Organizational Characteristics reports. According to the 2011 survey findings (member login required), total estimated information materials budgets (of reporting academic, private and government law libraries combined) declined 21.7% in 2011 compared to 2009 data. The percentage of the total information budgets for electronic information in all market sectors continued its upward trend, meaning of course, that the percentage spent for print resources also is declining.
Without intending to criticize the work of this year's Price Index Committee or its editor, if the data for primary sources and traditional research and reference tools (my, not the Committee's, characterization) had identified average list pricing for each product type in two subcategories -- federal only and combined state -- in addition to the summary data reported above, my hunch is average state list pricing would be much higher. For example, the buy-new list price for Ohio Jurisprudence, 3d is $13,955. Since I killed both of our copies of that title years ago, pick your own percent-based continuation cost estimate. $10K if 75%? Certainly not $5K (37%) as reported for average pricing of the nine federal and state legal encyclopedia titles sampled. The same sort of differential may be the case for state-level reporters, codes, digests and citators.
The Shed West era for state print resources is reducing the subscriber base at state levels which in turn is increasing the buy-new pricing and the percentage based cost for continuations. Law libraries are already seeing such incremental increases in state practitioner "deskbook" titles acquired for their collections. [JH]
May 21, 2013 in Academic Law Libraries, Administration, Collection Development, Firm & Corporate Law Libraries, Government & Public Law Libraries, Library Associations, Publishing Industry | Permalink | Comments (0)
April 11, 2013
ARL Academic Law Library Statistics 2010–2011
From the blurb:
In 2010–2011, the reporting [74 US and Canadian] law libraries held a median of 370,485 volumes, spent a total of $216,677,517, and employed 1,987 FTE staff. Expenditures for materials and staff accounted for the bulk of total expenditures, at approximately 46% for each of the two categories. Respondents reported spending a total of $25,469,277 for electronic materials, or a median of almost 28% of their total materials budgets; this includes a total of $22,185,942 for electronic serials.
April 02, 2013
Insights from an Academic Law Library Pilot Program Using OverDrive for eLending
Nina Scholtz, Digital Resources Librarian, reports on what the Cornell University Law Library learned from its one-year experiment using Overdrive as an eLending solution for eBooks. Insights include the following about eBook collection development in the context of patron usage:
Our approach to this [eBook] pricing minefield has been to select our items for our audience carefully. Since we are not a public library and our collection is very small, we have much less pressure to purchase every bestseller. Instead, we have focused on trying to select those books that we think will interest law faculty and students and spreading out purchases over time for the opportunity to examine checkout and hold patterns. The latter step has helped considerably in divining the reading interests of our community.
For much more, see A Pilot Using OverDrive: E-lending in academic law libraries (AALL Spectrum, April 2013). Highly recommended. [JH]
February 15, 2013
On Widening, More Likely Than Bridging, Any Existing In-House Content-Distribution Divide
Linking librarians to IT adds a necessary quality to the negotiation of contracts for online research services. An emphasis on the content delivered via the contract demands librarian input. They will have worked with the practice groups and can build on these relationships to understand which resources are necessary to maintain a high quality practice. The librarian’s task will be to consolidate this information across the firm and make it possible for the IT Department to negotiate a contract from a content point of view. Here, too, there will be a return on investment. A low cost contract without value adds expense.
Too often the library director becomes embroiled as an adversary in the negotiation process. This compromises the librarian’s relationship with the vendor and jeopardizes the negotiating process. Knowledge about content and lawyer demand is not the same as knowledge about pricing. And while the IT Department may need help with both the pricing terms and the negotiation process, that help will not come from the library. The vendor relationship demanded in the negotiation process is different from the relationship expected when the contract is in place and services are being delivered. Nothing should jeopardize the service delivery, which should be spelled out by the terms of the contract.
Understanding this, it is a gift to librarians to limit their involvement in contract negotiations. They can pass on an understanding of what the firm demands and force the vendor to consider the stake they have in the next contract with the firm. The vendors need to be accountable for the real relationship of pricing and content to contract terms. With that in mind, IT can demand a contract that has no surprises ahead. -- Nina Cunningham, Leveraging the Assets of the Law Library, (LJN's Legal Tech Newsletter, Feb. 2013, republished here).
Really? Or to quote Greg Lambert, "Um, thanks?" (Emphasis not added.)
Lambert adds "My own thoughts on vendor negotiations, and what I'm hoping where Cunningham is intending to go with this argument, is that there is some value in negotiating with the vendors in a unified way." There certainly is some value. But not, in my opinion, by way of the over-generalized role characterizations in Cunningham's far too simplified recipe.
For much more about this and other topics addressed in Cunningham's article, see Lambert's Are IT and Library "Logical Partners" in Leveraging Library Assets? Highly recommended. Cunningham's Leveraging the Assets of the Law Library, of course, is also highly recommended. [JH]
January 20, 2013
A Tale of Two Academic Law Libraries
Namely Yale and Cornell in this recent Green Bag article written by Julian Aiken, Femi Cadmus and Fred Shapiro. A snip:
While law libraries are undergoing transformative changes in many different areas, the area in which the changes are probably most transformative is in collections. The two 500-pound gorillas in collection development are tighter budgets and the transition from print to digital formats. These gorillas are not just both big, they also work in tandem to clobber traditional collection ideas.
Clobbered by way of systematic substitution of digital for print. Discussing this now widely accepted practice in academic law library collection development, the authors note that substitution encompases almost all reporters from the National Reporter System "even such basic titles as the Federal Reporter and the Federal Supplement", digests and citators. many loose-leaf services and supplemented treatises, and hundreds of US student-edited law reviews.
This tale of Yale and Cornell also reports that "both libraries have ventured where some academic law libraries have not trodden before" in patron services. [JH]
January 17, 2013
What Are the Top Ten Traits of Great Library Leaders? (Where will you find today's law librarian leaders?)
Late last year in a 21st Century Library blog post, Steve Matthews wrote:
As we approach the end of 2012, I thought I’d get back to my theme for the year – Library Leadership. In order to be a great leader, a person must possess and demonstrate certain characteristics, or traits of leadership. Here are 10 [link to post] that should be at the top of anyone’s list who is striving to become a great library leader.
Ranked as the number one trait according to Matthews is:
1. Great Leaders Have High Character
Think about a situation in which you knew you could do something and no one would EVER know about it if you didn’t tell. Good or bad, doesn’t matter, your actions would never be found out. There would be no evidence of your actions linked to you. There would be no repercussions to you or anyone you knew. That’s not to say that your actions would have no impact on anyone, actions always have impact on someone or something, just no one you know who could trace your actions back to you. What would you do? The answer to this question is what constitutes a person’s character.
“The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.” Thomas Macaulay
Matthews closes his post with the following statement:
Library leaders should be striving to be “great” leaders. It’s what the profession needs to flourish in the ambiguous future and regain the library’s relevance in the community. It is what’s needed for survival.
Who exhibits real library leadership qualities? I believe the lesson to be learned here is that library leadership is not defined by elected library association national office holders. Leadership is not an "official status." Nor is it something one can learn from the pablum of educational and professional development programs about "your value" cranked out by AALL. As the saying goes, if you have to tell people you're valuable, you're probably not. Do note well, there was (hopefully no longer) a time when that saying had to be qualified with "as long as you are a male law librarian" because of a rampant sexist perpective.
Leadership is or needs to be defined by the content of one's professional character and the actions taken by individual law librarians who assume that risk. This is particularly clear in uncertain times like the structural transformation underway today. Eventually the cumulative impact of those actions does wake up AALL officialdom as they try to catch up to the pack to "assume" a leadership role that has been defined by the concerted activities of the rank-and-file who are leading law librarians towards a direction needed for survival. [JH]
December 26, 2012
Law School Has Gone to the DogsThat was the winner of ATL's recent photo caption contest featuring Gunner the Wonder Dog in the UVA Law library. Details and photos at Staci Zaretsky's post. [JH]
October 11, 2012
Authors Guild Loses Its Suit Against HathiTrust
The lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild, foreign associations, and individual authors against the HathiTrust and university defendants came to an unceremonious close yesterday. I’ll start with the conclusion of Judge Harold Baer’s opinion:
I have considered the parties’ remaining arguments and find them to be without merit. For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs’ motions are DENIED. Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part: the Associational Plaintiffs have Article III standing; the U.S. Associational Plaintiffs lack statutory standing; and Plaintiffs’ OWP claims are not ripe. Defendants’ and Defendant Intervenors’ motions for summary judgment are GRANTED: their participation in the MDP and present application of the HDL are protected under fair use. The two unopposed motions for leave to file briefs as amici are GRANTED. The Clerk of Court is instructed to close the seven open motions, close the case, and remove it from my docket.
How’s that for finality. The case came about through the agreement several university libraries made with Google to scan their collections as part of the Google Book Project. The defendant universities were free to make use of these scans under the agreement. This birthed the HathiTrust Digital Library. The parallel litigation against Google continues, though the plaintiff publishers recently dropped out leaving the Authors Guild as the principle antagonist Plaintiff in that case. I note that the publishers declined to join this suit. The case against the HathiTrust was designed to secure a ruling that the scan and possible distribution of library collections was not fair use. As we can see, that goal failed. Several issues presented themselves in this case
To make clear, the abbreviated references in the quoted paragraph, MDP means Mass Digitization Project, OWP means Orphan Works Project and HDL means HathiTrust Digital Library. Judge Baer addressed several issues, one of which is whether the trade associations had standing to file suit on behalf of their members. The answer to that question was essentially yes, via the Constitution rather than the Copyright Statute itself. While important to the litigation, it is not the central issue to the broader library community.
The Orphan Works Project was intended to make available scanned titles that were in copyright though the copyright holder could not be identified. One of the individual author plaintiffs was misidentified as not findable by the University of Michigan. The mistake caused the University to halt the program and re-evaluate the process it used to designate a work as orphan. The Authors Guild sought a holding that the OWP violated the copyright law. The University argued and Judge Baer agreed that such a ruling would be based on something speculative since there was no current program in place and there was no replacement in the office. This was resolved by the ruling that the issue was not ripe for adjudication.
The first real issue was whether Section 108 of the Copyright Act precluded the library from utilizing fair use as a defense to a prima facie claim of copyright infringement. The section defines what libraries can do with the materials in their collections. Creating archival copies is allowed when an item is damaged or lost. The Guild essentially argued that the scanning project more than exceeded the allowable uses under Section 108. Section 108(f)(4) states however:
(f) Nothing in this section—
* * * *
(4) in any way affects the right of fair use as provided by section 107, or any contractual obligations assumed at any time by the library or archives when it obtained a copy or phonorecord of a work in its collections.
Judge Baer said the argument failed on the clear statutory text. The next question was whether the activity of the library qualified as fair use. It did as Judge Baer balanced the four non-exclusive factors listed in Section 107. I won’t go through the detailed analysis. One of the main reasons used by Judge Baer was the transformative nature of the scans. They did not act as an alternative to the book in the market. The transformation came in the digital index created out of the scans. Scholars and researchers could make use of the index to search for word occurrences and references to pages with an indication as to how many hits appeared on a page. The Guild argued that it contemplated the creation of a licensed service that may offer the same capability. Judge Baer, citing case law, said the courts do not preclude an allowable alternative because something may happen in the future.
One of the other major factors in Judge Baer’s decision is the relevance of the Americans With Disabilities Act to the case. The University used the digital collection to make works more easily available to blind and seeing-impaired students. While the scanning project was not mandated by the Act, the use of the materials once scanned was authorized. I won’t go into the arguments raised by the Guild, but I will offer part of Judge Baer’s response from footnote 25:
25Plaintiffs suggestion at oral argument that print-disabled individuals could have “asked permission” of all the rights holders whose works comprise the HDL borders on ridiculous. Aug. 6, 2012 Tr. 11:13–12:8.
There were other parts of the opinion where the Guild’s arguments received similar (and deserved) treatment.
So what is next? I assume the Guild will appeal to the Second Circuit. There is no statement on the Guild’s web site (at least of this writing) on the outcome. I would suspect this ruling would bolster Google’s defense against the Guild in the parallel litigation in Judge Chin’s courtroom. The case is not quite the same in that Google claims indexing and providing snippets is fair use. The use made by the HathiTrust defendants does not offer snippets or make the underlying scan available otherwise. Assuming this case holds up on appeal, Google would be safe to do the same if it came to that.
Further analysis is available from Kevin Smith on the Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog. There are links to a copy of the opinion. Both are well worth reading. [MG]
August 12, 2012
In a Penn State of Mind
For the last few years on my travels between New Jersey and Tennessee, I had found myself passing by Penn State Law's Carlisle campus, always wanting to pop in for a visit. While I enjoy visiting places of historic signifigance, I delight in visiting law schools and law libraries. This summer, on our way home from visiting our families in New Jersey, my wife, son and I took the opportunity to visit the historic Dickinson School of Law in Carlise. PA where I was able to take in some history while visiting a law school. And I must say that second to experiencing my 99 year old grandmother meeting her new great-grandson, our visit was my highlight of the trip (traveling with infants is not easy).
It is not a large law school, but, for its size (and perhaps in part because of its size), I found the Carlisle campus to be delightful. Throughout much the building, the interior is illuminated by natural light, in part due to sunlight entering the building through the courtyard at the center of the building; the classrooms hold state-of-the-art technology (not unlike the Duncan School of Law's own classroom technology); and the rooftop is covered (purposefully, I believe - I hope) with vegetation. Moreover, traces of the original architecture provide a historic flair to the modern feel of the building's recent renovations.
I found the law library's collection development policy to make sense. Relying heavily on West's National Reporter System's content in DVD, only a few reporters can be found in print. (Oddly, they have a more extensive collection of case digests than reporters; but it will likely only be a matter of time before but a few remain.) The law journal print collection reflects a reliance on Hein and ILP. While a microform room exists, it is tucked away. The reference materials in print are of a manageable size. And a collection of rare books are promintantly displayed. I also was pleased to see that the State of Pennsylvania took sufficient sides to maintain a paper trail of its legislative record.
To be honest, it was one of my two favorite law library tours to date. This one included a couple of ghost stories too.
So when news came that the end of the Carlise campus might be near, it was almost saddening. Fortunately, the news was misreported. In the face of financial pressures created by declining applications, Penn State is confornted with a few options in regards to the Carlise. In an internal memo from Dean McConnaughay three options were proposed:
- Stay the course and maintain full programs at both campuses.
- Eliminate the first-year program in Carlisle and require all first-year students to study in State College, and promote the Carlisle campus to upper-level law students
- Require all law students to spend one or more semesters of the three-year program in State College
If the school decides not to stay the course, finding that a duplicative first year program is too cost prohibitive, I would suggest to eliminate the first year program in Carlise (though I doubt anyone of import cares what I think). One of the perks of having a campus in Carlise is the fact that it is so close to the state capital, and being so close to a state capital offers far more internship, externship and employment opportunities than the more distant and somewhat more remote Univerity Park campus. And few things provide better training in a profession like law than real life experience. In any event, the original Dickinson School of Law made a positive impression on me, and I see it as a glimmer in light in the darkness of the university's recent history. (DCW)
August 07, 2012
New Law Students: Make Friends With A Librarian
U.S. News & World Report has a short post out for new law students who will start their law school career in the next few weeks. It offers four points for navigating law school:
- Come prepared
- Focus on finals
- Make friends
- Remove distractions
I’d like to focus for a moment on the third one. The author suggests making connections within the law school and the wider university through activities and other diversions as a break from the law school routine. That’s great advice as law school can be a highly competitive grind. I’d like to make one other suggestion that may help the new student: get to know a librarian. Why? Because we know stuff that students do not.
We know the cycle of the law school academic year. It normally doesn’t shock us when 1Ls invade the library for the legal writing treasure hunt. It’s not exactly the running of the bulls, but there are certain parallels. For students it’s a new experience. For us, it’s “been there done that.” Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even for the simple stuff. There’s usually a ready answer that can make a student’s life easier.
We also know the resources. It may be nice to have all of those apps on tablets and phones. And I’m sure there are plenty of new law students who have a lot of experience doing research in college. Legal research, however, is a different animal. Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law are not free in the wild. The mechanics can be a challenge despite the trend to provide Google-style interfaces. Librarians understand how this stuff works and can help.
I’ll offer related word of advice: not everything is online. More important, not everything is online and is free. It’s more often than not a pay for play world. Luckily the law library has licensed a lot of the good stuff. We can tell students what information is easily accessible and what is not. We can also explain how to get remote access to stuff, like articles, hard to find documents, exams, and other materials.
Librarians know the law school. We’re not the concierge for the school, but we know how it works. We can tell you generally which office likely handles what responsibility. We can tell you where are public copiers, scanners, microform readers (yes, they are still necessary) and other useful resources may be. We can also tell you generally what your expectations should be in using them. The library is probably the friendliest location in the law school. Students use the library facility regularly in spite of the integration of technology into the curriculum. We try to make the place a comfortable and quiet space to study. Take advantage of that.
So, make friends with a librarian. We won’t break the rules for you. But our institutional knowledge of the law program and legal information can make a student’s life easier. We even know where the bathrooms are located. Don’t be afraid to ask. [MG]
July 20, 2012
Programming AALL's Next Annual Meeting: Top-Down or Bottom-Up?
From 2013 Annual Meeting Program Committee survey.
The 2013 Annual Meeting Program Committee is already thinking about programming in Seattle. We have identified the following content areas, and each includes particular issues and challenges that you may be facing in your job. As you look at these issues on the following pages, let us know which ones pertain to your situation. The feedback you provide here will help us develop programs that meet your educational needs.
Raising the profile of the library/librarian
I think AMPC should rethink its thinking.The best way to provide relevant programming for as diverse a group as practicing law librarians as we are is to establish track scheduling at annual meetings wherein which sessions will be offered is removed from AMPC's control and given to special interest sections to decide. Addressing topics such as the ones listed above require a far amount of specificity to be relevant for different types of law libraries.
Think programs selected for private libraries, academic libraries, and public and government libraries by their SISs based on their members (and others, if they want) submissions (with deadlines set by each SIS) to fill substantial slots of time each regular conference day. Perhaps, for example, PLL's annual summit could be held during the annual meeting instead of before it so that some of the sessions can be attended by all interested law librarians who can only go to the annual meeting. Functional groups like tech servs and computing can also be given time slots.
Must definitely there should be an official Executive Board track so that the Board's Summer meeting is conducted during AALL's annual meeting, not before the annual meeting, so all interested rank-and-file members can attend, in addition, to the epic tragic comedy known as the Business Meeting and Members Open Forum, as well as the "educational" sessions AALL conducts to inform members what AALL thinks about issues.
AMPC should be left to fill in a remaining limited number of time slots for others (smaller SISs and Caucus groups) and AALL ceremonial events. etc.
Having offered my 2-cents opinion, by republishing (without premission but what the heck) Steven Lastres' post (on AALLNET's Members Open Forum and Private Law Libraries SIS) I am not suggesting he agrees with me. However, he calls attention to changes in the making for programming Seattle 2013. I do think we both agree that (1) there are some serious issues about the 2013 Seattle programming procedural changes and (2) annual meeting programming needs to be relevant for specific types of law libraries.
Help Protect SIS Rights To Keep Providing Our Members With Relevant Programming
Dear Valued PLL Members,
There are significant changes being implemented for the 2013 AALL Annual Meeting in Seattle. While many are positive, there are some that may significantly impact the ability of Special Interest Sections (SISs) to offer programming that is relevant to its members. I am copying the "Members Open Forum" because I think the membership and other SISs should be aware of the potential impact to all of our members.
For example, SISs will no longer have any minimum guaranteed programming accepted and all SISs will be limited to sponsoring only one independent education program. SISs can no longer rank their submissions in order of importance/relevance to their members. The Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) will be making all the decisions about your programming.
Why should you care? Because PLL members deserve to attend a conference that provides them with relevant content they need to succeed in their work environment. While we always welcome the opportunity to cross polinate with our academic and court colleagues, law firms are a unique environment and are under economic siege. In fact, we have seen the loss of over 50 PLL members over this past year. A trend that continues since 2008.
Over the last several years, PLL members have grown accustomed to having over 10 progams at conference approved by the AMPC, in addition to 4 to 6 independent programs PLL pays to present to provide PLL members with more programming choices. These 14 to 16 education programs are also independent of the PLL Summit (now in its third year with expected attendance to exceed 300 attendees), which hosts over 10 additional programs as a preconference.
The PLL Education committee works hard to help our member submit programming relevant to "law firm librarians". As you well know, our working environments are unique and have special challenges.
The 2013 Annual Meeting Program Committee is conducting a survey to identify topics and issues of importance to AALL members.
I urge you to tell them what education programming you need to not only survive but to thrive as a law librarian who works in a law firm setting.
Took the survey and would not have know it existed but for Steve's membership alert. There are comment boxes in the survey but not one that asks "are you in favor of the plan we will be executing for you?" [JH]
July 20, 2012 in Academic Law Libraries, Education & Professional Development, Firm & Corporate Law Libraries, Government & Public Law Libraries, Library Associations, Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 12, 2012
No more paper, electronic books.
I was informed by Westlaw that come June 2013 the Westlaw Printer Program for academic customers would come to a close. West cited both the cost of the program and its substantial environmental impact, but explained that the law school has the option of assuming owenership of the printers recieved from Westlaw. At first, I was a little more than disappointed. I doubted that the environmental impact had much to do with West's decision to can the program. Afterall, the law school could choose to assume the printers themselves. It is not that the ability to print is going away but rather just the supply of "free" toner and paper that will cease. Nor was I convinced that WestlawNext's viable alternative to prinitng made much sense either. The letter stated, "The foldering and sharing capability within WestlawNext, which is available to students in 100 percent of U.S. law schools, now provides a viable alternative to printng lengthy documents and storing hard copies in paper folders." West noted that with WLN, users also have the highlight, annotate and store documents and snippets in folders.The letter then went on to say that as a result of these new capabilities, West has "already seen a significant decline in printing amoung all WestlawNext users, including law students."
So let me get this right. There has been a significant decline in the use of printing, which means that ending the program will lessen the negative environmental impact? If there's been a significant decline by WestlawNext users, wouldn't that mean that cost and environmental impact are less of a concern than it would have been prior to the introduction of these features?
More interestingly, it noted that there was a decline in printing by WLN users, but said nothing about classic WL users. Is this just a way of getting people off WL and onto WLN? Let me be clear, I rather enjoy working with WLN, but for pedagogical reasons, I prefer to train students on WL before getting them hooked on WLN. As I've said before, WLN is a great tool for well-trained legal researchers, but it allows students to think they can fly before they can crawl. And I like to operate under the assumption that when current law students get out into practice, they may not have the option of using Next at their place of business, and must use Classic instead. I have found that if one can use Classic Westlaw, one can easily switch to WestlawNext (as long as they understand to use "strict:" at the end of any boolean search string), but I do not find the reverse to be true.
But I digress.
Yes, I was upset at the news at first, but I got over it. Both Westlaw and WestlawNext are beautiful tools. To some extent, both Westlaw and WestlawNext have improved the quality of my working life. I prefer living in a world with them, then one without them.
I was recent;y reminded about how much better life is with Westlaw, then without it when I was having a conversation with my podiatrist while he was tearing off my toenail. "Remember when we had to go into the library and pull out books and spread them all over the table to work on research papers in college? Now, you can just Google it or use databses . . . Research isn't as important anymore." Although I still don't know which hurt more, having my toenail removed or his statement that research isn't as important as it used to be thanks to Google, he emphasized the reason as to why I'm not that upset over the loss of the Printer Program. I was trained in law school to use the books in print to conduct legal research. I would have to get up, walk over to the digests too search for cases, then walke over the reporters to read them, then Shepardize them with print Shepards, then walk back over to the reporters, etc.. And while I read, I had to take notes. There was no printing, and the walls around me did not come crashing down. If I was fine without printing out cases from Westlaw, I should be fine with it now.
The only real problem with the end of paper is that, for me, the materials are not as easy to read on screen as they are in print. I do find it easier to read material on WLN, then WL, but it still hurts my eyes reading from a computer screen all day. It is easier to actually highlight and mark up a printed page than use the alternative WLN features. But these are things with which I can live; I must.
So, I really don't have much of an issue with this. While I want as much as I can get from a product, free printing is not why we use Westlaw. We use it for the citators, the hyperlinks, the Key Number System, so on. So go ahead, deny me your toner, deny me your paper. Go ahead, get rid of your student reps too.
Of course, I am rather certain that our law students who had the option to print for free will be in a frenzy come the fall 2013 semester. Of course, printing has always been the bane of a law librarians existence. And I wonder what kind of impact the end of the Westlaw printer program will have on the use of Lexis and Lexis Advanced. I anticipate that LexisNexs will experience a growth in the usage of its products by law students if Lexis continues to keep their printer program. And if LexisNexis is smart, they might consider providing free printing only to Lexis Advance users to boost the use of it.
In any event, academic law libraries have a year to transition to a world with less free paper and more electronic usage. So brace yourselves. (DCW)
June 26, 2012
How the proposed Rutgers/Rowan merger affects my view of Seton Hall Law.
There has been talk of a merger between Rutgers University and Rowan University for months, the details of which are somewhat confusing. According to former New Jersey Attorney General, John Farmer, Jr., the "New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act" will split "Rutgers-Camden from the rest of the university and (Rutgers-Camden will be) funded separately; control will reside in a separate board for Rutgers-Camden and a joint board with Rowan University." While this seems unduly complicated, I wonder what it means for my alma mater, Rutgers School of Law - Camden.
Does "Rutgers Law - Camden" become "Rowan Law?" If it does, it'll make things complicated for Rutgers Law- Camden graduates, new and old. In one instance, I would have to explain that I attended Rutgers Law, that there used to be two Rutgers law schools, but the one I attended is now Rowan Law, instead of having to explain that Rutgers has two seperate law schools, and that I graduated from the one closer to Philly (afterall, New Jersey is the mass between Philadelphia and New York). Okay, so semantics. And, afterall, I'm not sure that the merger would force a change of the name of Rutgers School of Law - Camden. Would the merger affect the education I would have recieved had I attended Rutgers after the proposed merger? I doubt that there would be an immediate affect, if one assumes that a legal education is primarily the result of the efforts of a law school faculty. While I cannot tell you that I found the instruction in all of the courses in which I enrolled to be above par,I believe that a number of professors truly shaped my legal educatuion in a way in which the same would not have been true at other institutions. Thanks to Michael Carrier (Intellectual Propery); Dane Perry (Religion and the Law); Sandra Gavin (Evidence); Earl Maltz (Conflic of Laws); Richard Singer (Criminal Procedure); Robert Williams (Statutory Interpretation); Camille Andrews (Antitrust and Independant Study in the interpretation of the federal antitrust statutes), my legal education may not have been the same. (To be fair though, the quality of the legal research instruction was sub-par in my humble opinion. Let your librarians teach research skills; you'll be better for it. Hays Butler was my Legal Research professor at Rutgers for my MLIS and he was far better than my LRW professor.). So (notwithstadning the legal research instruction) if the faculty remain and are replaced by equally qualified teachers (which may prove to be difficult should the merger ensue) I have faith that the little law school in what is perhaps the worst little city in America will continue to provide a quality legal education to its student body. That being said, prospective students may disagree as applications at Rutgers Law - Camden are reportedly down. While the stats reveal a sad fact, it might be worse; prospective students might choose Seton Hall instead, where the law library director doesn't event hold a library degree. So my advice to prospective law students in New Jersey is: Don't go to Seton Hall. (DCW) P.S. The merger in no way affects my view of Seton Hall Law.
Does "Rutgers Law - Camden" become "Rowan Law?" If it does, it'll make things complicated for Rutgers Law- Camden graduates, new and old. In one instance, I would have to explain that I attended Rutgers Law, that there used to be two Rutgers law schools, but the one I attended is now Rowan Law, instead of having to explain that Rutgers has two seperate law schools, and that I graduated from the one closer to Philly (afterall, New Jersey is the mass between Philadelphia and New York). Okay, so semantics. And, afterall, I'm not sure that the merger would force a change of the name of Rutgers School of Law - Camden.
Would the merger affect the education I would have recieved had I attended Rutgers after the proposed merger? I doubt that there would be an immediate affect, if one assumes that a legal education is primarily the result of the efforts of a law school faculty. While I cannot tell you that I found the instruction in all of the courses in which I enrolled to be above par,I believe that a number of professors truly shaped my legal educatuion in a way in which the same would not have been true at other institutions. Thanks to Michael Carrier (Intellectual Propery); Dane Perry (Religion and the Law); Sandra Gavin (Evidence); Earl Maltz (Conflic of Laws); Richard Singer (Criminal Procedure); Robert Williams (Statutory Interpretation); Camille Andrews (Antitrust and Independant Study in the interpretation of the federal antitrust statutes), my legal education may not have been the same. (To be fair though, the quality of the legal research instruction was sub-par in my humble opinion. Let your librarians teach research skills; you'll be better for it. Hays Butler was my Legal Research professor at Rutgers for my MLIS and he was far better than my LRW professor.). So (notwithstadning the legal research instruction) if the faculty remain and are replaced by equally qualified teachers (which may prove to be difficult should the merger ensue) I have faith that the little law school in what is perhaps the worst little city in America will continue to provide a quality legal education to its student body.
That being said, prospective students may disagree as applications at Rutgers Law - Camden are reportedly down. While the stats reveal a sad fact, it might be worse; prospective students might choose Seton Hall instead, where the law library director doesn't event hold a library degree.
So my advice to prospective law students in New Jersey is: Don't go to Seton Hall. (DCW)
P.S. The merger in no way affects my view of Seton Hall Law.
June 14, 2012
Call for Participation in New Generation of Legal Research Databases Survey: Findings will be reported at AALL Boston 2012
One of the best programs I attended at last year's AALL annual meeting was a well-organized and equally well-prepared panel presentation on WestlawNext. Interest was high. Despite being scheduled for the late afternoon of the last day of Philly 2011 (meaning, of course, the traditional time most attendees are heading home), the program was attended by many law librarians, particularly law firm representatives. No doubt, this year's follow-up program will be just as informative. Emily Marcum, Jean Davis, Jean O'Grady, Susan Nevelow Mart and Vicki Szymczak's The New Generation of Legal Research Databases: 2012 Boston Sequel will take place on Sunday, July 22.
From the description:
This forum will enable librarians familiar with Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis Advance, and WestlawNext to compare the developments of these research tools and consider the effect these changes have had in libraries. The discussion will contrast the latest interfaces of these services to their classic versions, as well as to each other. What worked? What failed? Have these “improvements” changed the workflow at your institution or company? Did these changes impact user preference? And, how can vendors improve future product generations? Practical matters – such as implementation, user education, accuracy of results, document sharing, billing practices, and user satisfaction – will dominate the discussion.
The organizers have launched the following surveys to gather information about Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis Advance, and WestlawNext. The findings will be presented at the Boston Sequel. Many of the questions focus on each library type's different institutional circumstances. They request that the director of each library appoint one person to respond to the applicable survey. The deadline is June 30th.
June 14, 2012 in Academic Law Libraries, Electronic Resource, Firm & Corporate Law Libraries, Government & Public Law Libraries, Legal Research, Library Associations, Meetings, Publishing Industry | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 25, 2012
Friday Fun: Don't Be a Private Snafu
Future ready? Then start up. Don't be a Private Snafu. [JH]
May 15, 2012
A Quick Take On the Georgia State e-Reserve Case
I’ve read the decision in the case of Cambridge University Press et al. v. Becker, et al. The case is essentially about whether placing items on the e-reserve system at Georgia State University violates the copyright laws. Judge Orinda D. Evans conducted a methodical analysis of the copyright laws, compared it to the plaintiff publishers’ rights in their works, the four factors that underpins the fair use defense, and the conduct of the faculty and library at Georgia State University in utilizing these works. As the judge stated at the very end of the opinion “The truth is that fair use principles are notoriously difficult to apply.” That hard truth did not stop Judge Evans in any event.
The plaintiff publishers brought claims of infringement in 99 works. Georgia State was found to infringe in the use of 5 of the titles. Whatever the damages may be in this case will have to wait for another proceeding in the case. The judge weighed the first factor involving the purpose and character of the use and noted that Georgia State is a non-profit educational institution. That helped distinguish the case from other litigation where commercial course pack aggregators had been found liable.
The second factor invokes the nature of the copyrighted work. Judge Evans found this factor weighed in favor of Georgia State as the excerpts from books were informational non-fiction in nature rather than purely creative. Judge Evans cited Supreme Court precedent for the proposition that some works deserved more protection than others. The more creative the work, the more protection it deserved, along with the converse, less creative publications are farther from the core of intended copyright protection.
The third factor, the amount and substantiality of the portion used compared to the original work, was a bit more difficult. Factors the Court considered included the purpose of the use, the amount taken, and whether the use had any impact on the market for the works. This is where the classroom guidelines came into play. The source of these is the memorialization of an agreement between academics and publishers as to the amount of a work that may be used without permission. They are contained in an appendix to a House Report which is part of the legislative history to the 1976 Copyright Act.
The publishers characterized the limitations in the report as a bright-line maximum allowable limit for use. The Court rejected this, noting that the Guidelines represented a minimum statement of quantitative copying, citing statements in the body of the Report to that effect. The next part addressed the parties disputing what defines the book. The publishers wanted only the text where Georgia State argued for the entire work. The Court agreed with Georgia State on this one. The Court reserved stating what amount of use was allowable until it considered the fourth factor, covering the impact on the market.
The judge framed this as market substitution. The plaintiffs argued that the ability to license the works for academic use through the Copyright Clearance Center places the analysis of the fourth factor in their favor. The Court did not agree completely with this. She cited shortcomings in the evidence that licenses for some of the works were even available to Georgia State. At the same time she noted that unpaid use of the copyrighted work did have some effect on the value of the copyright to its owner. Judge Evans declined to take an absolute position on market substitution. It depends on a lot of factors, including the conduct of other actors in the same circumstances.
The publishers argued that a reduction in licensing payments could cripple them financially, possibly causing them to go out of business. She called that position “glib.” Judge Evans stated:
In fact, permissions income is not a significant percentage of Plaintiffs' overall revenues. Plaintiffs' 2009 rights and permissions income from all sources (including corporate and other commercial uses) was nine-tenths of one percent of Plaintiffs' average 2009 revenues of $169,268,000. Plaintiffs' 2009 permissions income relating only to academic book and journal permissions (APS and ECCS) was only .0024--less than one quarter of one percent—of revenues. Plaintiffs' 2009 permissions income from ECCS was only .0005 of overall revenues--five one-hundredths of one percent—of revenues.
* * * *
In summary, there is no persuasive evidence that Plaintiffs' ability to publish high quality scholarly books would be appreciably diminished by the modest relief from academic permissions payments which is at issue in this case. There certainly is no evidence that a modest reduction would impact the desire or the ability of academic authors to publish new works. Making small free excerpts available to students would further the spread of knowledge.
The Court summarized the effect of the four factors and then issued its own guidelines as to what is acceptable use by a non-profit educational institution:
Where a book is not divided into chapters or contains fewer than ten chapters, unpaid copying of no more than 10% of the pages in the book is permissible under factor three. The pages are counted as previously set forth in this Order. In practical effect, this will allow copying of about one chapter or its equivalent. Where a book contains ten or more chapters, the unpaid copying of up to but no more than one chapter (or its equivalent) will be permissible under fair use factor three. Excerpts which fall within these limits are decidedly small, and allowable as such under factor three. Access shall be limited only to the students who are enrolled in the course in question, and then only for the term of the course. Students must be reminded of the limitations of the copyright laws and must be prohibited by policy from distributing copies to others. The chapter or other excerpt must fill a demonstrated, legitimate purpose in the course curriculum and must be narrowly tailored to accomplish that purpose. Where the foregoing limitations are met factor three will favor fair use, i.e., will favor Defendants. Otherwise factor three will favor Plaintiffs.
The rest of the opinion analyzes each book and excerpt used compared to the Court’s view of the fair use test. The Court also concludes that the University Copyright policy in place encouraged violation in some situations by not identifying restrictions such as using only one chapter rather than multiple excerpts from a single work.
The outcome of this case is not cut and dried for fair use of educational materials by libraries by any means. First of all, it applies to non-profit academic libraries in the Northern District of Georgia. Other courts confronted with the same issue may adopt Judge Evan’s reasoning given that there aren’t many opinions on the subject. I can’t believe, though, that there will be a proliferation of them. The opinion states that the plaintiff publishers were recruited by the Copyright Clearance Center and the Association of American Publishers. The two organizations are fronting the costs of the litigation.
I assume this was perceived as a test case to limit the reach of fair use in academics. The rejection of the Classroom Guidelines as a maximum must have come as a major disappointment to the plaintiffs. Libraries, on the other hand, should compare their copyright policies to the discussion of the Georgia State policy. Georgia State did argue that their policy was conservative compared to other universities. Judge Evans basically said that being in the mainstream or less had nothing to do with compliance with the copyright laws. The quick analysis of the opinion suggests that anything more than a chapter or 10% of the book will require a license fee. Once the loose ends in the case are wrapped up it will be on to the appellate court.
The Association for Research Libraries has its own issue brief on the case, with links to other analyses. [MG]
May 14, 2012
Georgia State e-Reserve Case Decided
The case filed by publishers against Georgia State University over the use of materials in e-reserves was decided last Friday. The case is not available on the Northern District of Georgia web site. There is commentary by Kevin Smith from the Duke University Libraries, here. He indicates that the case is a mixed bag of results, with the publishers failing to establish the most egregious claims of infringement by the University. There is, however, some liability for some of the activity by the University and some restrictions on the volume of content that can be placed on e-reserves. The opinion is some 350 pages. I'll be commenting further on this once I read the full opinion. I'm curious if any of the reasoning in the opinion will have any effect on the HathiTrust case. [MG]
April 27, 2012
Findings from Law Library Benchmarks Survey
From Research and Markets' press release for its Law Library Benchmarks, 2012-13 Ed.:
The study looks closely at the budgets, spending, technology acquisition, web use and other practices by law libraries in the USA and Canada. Data is broken out by size and type of law library and for law libraries in the USA and Canada.
Just some of the study's many findings are that:
- 50% of libraries in the United States and 30.43% of those in Canada feel that the space allocated to their library will decrease in three years time.
- Libraries in the sample spent a mean of $3,462 on online databases per lawyer employed in 2011 and a maximum of $20,835. Libraries in the United States spent a mean of $3,883, while those in Canada spent about $2,647.
- University libraries spent a mean of $1,141,321 on salaries, more than twice the mean $487,504 spent by government and courthouse libraries and more than four times the $243,054 spent by law firm libraries.
- In 2011, 41.33% of libraries in the sample increased their overall library budget.
- Law firm librarians in the sample spend a mean of 9.03 staff hours per week in finding new clients for the firm.
- Materials budgets are expected to decline in real terms in 2012.
- Libraries in the sample spent a mean of $5,892 on salaries per lawyer in their organization.
- Print resources still accounted for 53.65% of the materials budget for the libraries in the sample though only 42.5% for law firm libraries.
- 3.8% of the libraries sampled used the cloud service DropBox for cloud computing services.
- Libraries with less than 100 lawyers in their organization spent a mean of $32,027 on scholarly journals.
- Print subscriptions to magazines and newspapers cost libraries in the sample a mean of $68,998 in 2011.
April 18, 2012
UConn Law Library Turns Into an "Inferno" During Recent Heat Wave
"It’s almost like UConn Law is trying to start a trend in dropping it like it’s hot. First, they dropped six spots in the U.S. News rankings, then they dropped Dean Jeremy Paul, and now they’re asking law students to drop trou in the library due to unseasonably warm temperatures and their inability to turn off the heat," reports ATL's Staci Zaretsky. A tipster described UConn’s law library as an “inferno.”
Why? According to an email sent out by the law library:
[T]he air conditioning unit is not ready to be turned on.
Please note that the air conditioning in the Law Library is much more complicated to turn on than simply flipping a switch to your home air conditioning unit.
The weather report indicates that air temperatures will return to what is considered normal for the month of April on Wednesday 04/18/12. With this in mind, please dress for warmer temperatures while on campus both today [April 16th] and tomorrow.
In her April 16th ATL post, The Only Thing That’s ‘Hot’ at This School Is the Temperature, Staci Zaretsky advised law students who may have been cramming for exams in the law library, "Of course, you could also leave the library — it’s UConn, not Yale." The weather forecast for Hartford, CT is looking better for today. [JH]
March 08, 2012
New Management Team Announced for Harvard Law School Library
Harvard Law School has announced that Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Faculty Co-Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and Professor of Computer Science, has been appointed Vice-Dean of Library and Information Resources and Suzanne Wones, HLS Library’s Assistant Director of Research, Curriculum and Publication Services, has been appointed Acting Executive Director of the law library, both effective July 1, 2012. According to yesterday's announcement, Zittrain and Wones will serve for one academic year, "after which the library’s leadership structure will be further assessed."
About Zittrain and Wones' roles and responsibilities:
Zittrain will oversee the work of the executive director and the associate director, Kim Dulin, who leads the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. He will also chair the HLS Library Committee and represent HLS on the Harvard Library Board. He will serve as the primary liaison between the library and the faculty, oversee changes to the Collection Development Policy, and lead other matters concerning library strategy.
Wones will oversee all daily HLS Library activities, including research services, FRIDA, academic technology, empirical services, scholarly communications, case studies, collection development, historical and special collections, and digitization. She will also lead strategic planning with input from HLS and library administrators, develop and manage the library budget, steward faculty/library relationships, work with the HLS development office, and serve as a representative of the HLS Library within Harvard University and on HLS committees and working groups, at national conferences, and with collaborative partners.