May 16, 2013
11 Key Takeaways from Pew Internet's Research on the Changing Role of Public Libraries and Library Users in the Digital Age
News to me but then I rely upon AALL's Washington Blawg for legislative lobbying info (NB, perhaps I missed it) but apparently May 7th was National Library Legislative Day (ALA). Anyway, on that day, Lee Rainie, Director of Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project presented to ALA The Power and Relevance of Libraries: Takeaways from Pew Internet research based on Pew's research activities which have been focusing on the changing role of public libraries and library users in the digital age for several years now.
Unlike many Powerpoint stacks, Rainie's takeway points are well documented and highly recommended. Public sector law librarians whose institutions are represented by AALL, meaning public law school and federal, state and county law libraries that are open to the public, may find Pew Internet's research takeways relevant.
A big hat tip to beSpacific's May 6, 2013 post. [JH]
April 15, 2013
Wait, oh yes, wait a minute Mister Postman: How's securing commitments to the Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers from AALL's "vendor partners" going?
No doubt we will eventually learn what happened at the Spring Meeting of AALL's Executive Board. What the heck, it has only been one full workweek since the meeting concluded.
The Executive Board's Vendor Liasion had an item on the meeting's agenda, approval of her draft AALL Vendor Relations Policy. See Tab 21 of the Spring Board Meeting Book behind AALL's walled garden. (A draft styled "final" is available here.) From the Board Book's Agenda Item Summary:
The AALL Vendor Liaison is charged, among other things, with developing appropriate information policies to guide the Association's work on issues related to publishers and the legal information industry. The proposed Vendor Relations Policy provides a framework for AALL in its vendor relations activities and guidance to the AALL Vendor Liaison, the Committee on Relations with Information Vendors, and other AALL entities that interact with legal publishers and monitor issues relating to legal publishing.
Count the number of times the word "encourages", meaning "please", is used in Section IV, "Issues relating to publisher practices and services" of the draft AALL Vendor Relations Policy. For example:
D. AALL encourages legal publishers to consult with law library customers on significant potential publication changes, e.g. format, frequency, etc.
Meaning "vendor partners please consult with AALL invoice-paying institutional buyers on significant potential publication changes, e.g. format, frequency, etc." instead of unilaterally executing this (Lexis), this (Lexis), and this (Thomson Reuters).
Based on past "vendor partners" practices, think that is really going to happen? Was this toothless policy approved by the E-Board? I guess we will just have to "wait a minute, wait a minute, oh yeah" to find out.
One item not on the Spring Meeting agenda ... was a report by AALL's hired help on the progress made to secure commitments from instead of merely encouraging AALL's "vendor partners" to abide by the Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers (2012). One would hope some E-Board member wanted to know "what's up with that because it has been over three months?" considering all the AALL money spent on the 2011 Vendor Colloquium. Certainly in their day jobs, E-Board members hold and/or are held accountable for completing tasks.
My bad, wishful thinking. Or perhaps there is buried somewhere in the E-Board's administrative code of conduct an Ignorance is Bliss Rule. Rank-and-file members whose day jobs involve dealing with vendors, however, could use a status report:
Which vendors have been contacted about committing to the Fair Business Practices Guide? (Who, when, how?)
Which vendors have made an official response?
Did the vendor commit to all, some, or none of the Guide's fair business practices and if only to parts, which parts?
If the vendor refused to commit to all or some of the Guide, what reasons did the vendor state?
When will this information be published?
Wait, oh yes, wait a minute, Mister Postman.
Each and every vendor's written reply would be handy to have when invoice-paying law librarians represented by AALL have a problem with a specific vendor that has or has not committed in whole or part to what right now is nothing more than AALL's endorsed business practices. But the audience of public interest is much wider than law librarians. The guidelines also target business conducted with "other consumers of legal information" according to the Vendor Liasion's December 2012 Update. The complete text of all vendor replies should be published on AALLNET outside its walled garden of web communications.
Quoting from Not Yet There: On achieving the "highest priority" in the Action Plan that "emerged from" the 2011 Vendor Colloquium (LLB, Dec. 10, 2012).
Yup, it's time for this music video. [JH]
March 07, 2013
March 10-16: Gearing Up for Sunshine Week 2013?
I think we law librarians know what Sunshine Week is. Promoting open government and freedom of information by way of this annual week-long series of events is one way to advocate for the public's right to know. AALL will again co-sponsor a Sunshine Week webcast with OpentheGovernment.org. It will to be held on the morning of Friday, March 15. For details, see Save the Date! Sunshine Week 2013 (Washington Blawg) and/or the March issue of Washington E-Bulletin.
In addition to AALL, the co-sponsors of OpentheGovernment's March 15th event include the American Library Association, American Society of News Editors, Association of Research Libraries, Center for Effective Government, League of Women Voters, National Freedom of Information Coalition, Project on Government Oversight, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Special Libraries Association, and Sunlight Foundation. For more information, see Register Now: OpenTheGovernment.org’s Sunshine Week Event on March 15. Here's the event's agenda.
According to Sunshine Week's About page, Bloomberg LP and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are providing financial support for Sunshine Week 2013. Did someone forget to ask Thomson Reuters? The American Society of News Editors FOI co-chairs Andrew Alexander and Tim Franklin discuss Sunshine Week 2013 in the below video. [JH]
November 01, 2012
PLL Summit Resuscitated for 2013
Perhaps I missed the "memo" but I think I would have noticed the news if posted on either AALL's Members Open Forum or PLL-SIS web communities. It certainly was not a news item in the October 2012 issue of the AALL E-newsletter. Not newsworthy enough for what would have been a logical vehicle of web communication to all members?
Buried fairly deep in the Board Book for the E-Board's November 2-3 meeting comes this information:
AALL Executive Board Conference Call Meeting Minutes
Monday, October 1, 2012
MOTION FOR BOARD ACTION:
That the AALL PLL-SIS Summit can be held in 2013, as it has in the past with the PLL-SIS responsible for planning and logistics and that the appropriate charges will be made for administrative service costs incurred by AALL in support of the Summit. These charges to include, but not limited to, room charges, registration costs, credit card fees and bank processing charges.
The motion carried.
If you attended the Members Open Forum in Boston, the podium people clearly indicated that the Summit was "history" but mumbled that perhaps some sort of PLL-SIS "workshop" sessions could be conducted the day before the Annual Meeting officially commenced instead. The Summit "as it has in the past" was not workshop-oriented. It was and hopefully this announcement means it will remain an exchange of ideas about emerging issues that are impacting the private sector in 2013. Whatever happens in the private sector market will eventually impact the government and academic markets.
PO-ing the PLL-SIS members including something like 300 who attended the 2012 Summit (of which 54 members only attended the Summit) plus the vendor community that financially supported the Summit because the private sector is their major food group just was not smart.
However, do note well that the Board action says nothing about 2014. "Can be held in 2013" is not the same thing as "can continue to be held until further notice." [JH]
September 19, 2012
In re Books Conference on Oct. 26-27Organized by the Institute for Law and Information Policy, In re Books: A Conference on Law and the Future of Books will be held at the New York Law School on Oct. 26-27, 2012. Program topics include rightsholders, bookstores, libraries, eReaders and more. Details including registration information here. [JH]
August 22, 2012
Three Questions about Programming Future AALL Annual Meeting Sessions
While off in a post-op narco-haze (read painkillers for minor knee surgery) late last week, AALL President Jean Wenger posted a message about AMPC's new procedures to screen programming submissions to the Members Open Forum on August 17th. Read it yesterday. More importantly, yesterday Cheryl identified what many may think are the three most important issues in this controversy in Question, Answer, quoting from Wenger's statement, and her issue-specific "Musing" format:
Question 1: Is it the intention of AALL to bring the currently independent type model of the PLL Summit into the fold of the larger AALL Annual meeting?
Question 2: How will the "blind review" process that is to be used by AMPC for choosing programs for the annual meeting in Seattle work?
Question 3: Is it true that all SISs will also be limited to sponsoring only one independent education program?
I don't know if Cheryl was intentionally trying to minic AMPC's FAQ but her takeaways aka musings from AALL President Wenger's Members Open Forum post are more direct and to the point than anything written by AALL officially. Of course, they are Cheryl's own opinions about the issues but her 3 Geeks post, Rethinking My Musings on Future AALL Annual Meetings and the Fate of the PLL Summit, is recommended for deconstructing the matter. [JH]
August 16, 2012
Faking It Beyond Fake: Yeah, [AALL] really wants you, they really want you, they really do
Because an LLB reader thought "Doll Parts" was a better musical selection than "Make Me Over" for AALL's huge gaping hole of credibility playlist, here it is. No doubt the request was made because our association continues to demonstrate by its actions when contrasted with its rhetoric that it "fake[s] it so real, [it is] beyond fake." [JH]
August 14, 2012
“You Better Watch Out … For What You Wish For”: Was the PLL Summit Just Too Damn Successful?
During Denver 20-whenever, I was enjoying a cup of coffee with two vendor folks when the proverbial question was asked. “How’s the annual meeting going for you?” I just shrugged my shoulders and replied back that I wished AALL would let the private, academic and government SIS groups program their own tracks. In a nutshell, the vendor rely was that would be a good idea because their marketing campaigns segmented AALL’s institutional buyers into those three market sectors.
We all know or should know that it is the purchasing power of the private sector law libraries that drives product development because the private sector generates by far the most revenue for our vendors. The “proof” is easy to see. Vendors have been very willing to help PLL sponsor its pre-conference summits because the audience has been primarily private sector law librarians. Summit attendance has grown every year. At Boston 2012, registration reached 300, with some 90% representing law firms and legal departments. Some law librarians only attended the pre-conference Saturday Summit. There is no doubt that the Summit's popularity with attendees and vendors has been because the agenda was relevant, particularly compared to the regular annual meeting programming.
The above summary provides several points for arguing that the three-year pre-conference PLL Summit track record was just too damn successful for AALL officialdom to take.
- Sponsorship dollars flowed into the PLL Summit by vendors who knew this was their most significant revenue base.
- Sponsorship revenue for the Summit bled off some sponsorship contributions to AALL’s annual meeting.
- Contributions to the Summit were not under the direct control of AALL for expending on activities other than the Summitt.
- Attendance proved PLL’s Summits have become very popular because they have offered an agenda that was relevant to attendees.
Let’s add one additional point. While session moderators were usually law librarians, in general Summit session speakers were not. Like OMG dude, an entire day of programming including multiple professional development opportunities scheduled at the same time, from non-law librarians that law librarians wanted to attend and were (1) willing to pay an separate registration fee for it while sticking around for the regular annual meeting or (2) willing to make a special trip to just attend the PLL Summit.
Is this the back-story of AMPC’s hostile takeover of the PLL Summit? You decide. Not one major vendor I talked to at Boston 2012 likes the unilaterally implemented changes. Some were quite frank in their opposition. Certainly most PLL members are opposed to this.
I’m thinking pissing off roughly 40% of AALL members and the vendors who are willing to pony up sponsorship funds for the Summit may someday knock some sense into the punch-drunk AALL decider-ers. Hopefully, AALL will toss in the towel by institutionalizing multi-day track scheduling with relevant agendas controlled by the market-segmented food groups (AKA as institutional SISs) of our vendors someday. This track-system cetainly could and should extend beyond institutional market sectors to include SIS groups that use vendor-supplied products and services, like OPACs if not topics covered in private, academic and government sector libraries.
If not or until then, I’m thinking the pre-conference PLL Summit probably won’t be “history” despite AALL officialdom’s collective embarrassment of its success. I don’t know about Seattle 2013 but my hunch is some sort of pre-conference non-workshop-like re-branded “PLL Workshops” will reappear no later than 2014.
Why Attend Seattle 2013? The best reason to attend Seattle 2013 might be the tourist attractions for Grunge Rock fans. Who knows, perhaps after Boston’s psychedelic love-in, TR Legal will book Courtney Love for next year’s “West Party.” The folks in the Land of 10,000 Invoices have plenty of tattered and torn flannel shirts, right?
AALL has a long history of ignoring membership interests. It also has a well-established tradition of kissing vendor ass. Luckily this is an instance where the latter can promote membership interests because this issue not merely specific to the private sector. (Loop back up the Denver 20-whenever portion of this post.)
Wouldn’t you think AALL decider-ers would want to build on the success of PLL’s Summit as a model for annual meeting programming? Watch for backpeddling from AALL without, of course, any explicit admission that this latest collective screw-up was produced by insulated group-think.
Is it time for Make Me Over? [JH]
August 08, 2012
Braun Offers Tips on Free Online Legal Research Tools at the ABA Annual Meeting
Here's Stephanie Francis Ward of the ABA Journal interviewing Matthew Braun, legal reference librarian for the Library of Congress at this year's ABA Annual Meeting. [JH]
August 06, 2012
"All the world's a stage" at AALL's Members Open Forum
And at Boston 2012, this was clearly evident in the Podium People's "As You We Like It" performance.
In RESPECT: Musing on AALL Members Forum, 2012, Betsy McKenzie offers her perspective on the two major issues "addressed" during AALL Boston 2012's Members Open Forum: the proposed bylaw membership changes and how future annual meeting programming will be administered by AMPC. I put addressed in quotes because the Podium People kept saying "we are prepared to answer questions" about the bylaws amendment that was unanimously approved by the Executive Board in their pre-conference Boston board meeting. In this case, "prepared" means theatrical staging. Betsy writes:
This item was introduced gingerly, with the moderator and executive board members obviously waiting for a bunch of angry responses. They had 2 former presidents of the association all ready primed with prepared statements about why it is such a terrific idea and why it’s the future of the association. They sort of didn’t know what to do when they received very little feedback from a fairly silent audience.
Frankly I expected the Executive Board to approve the bylaws changes but I had hoped one or more E-Board members would have voted against it. So the unanimously approved membership bylaw change will be up for a vote of the AALL membership. The Podium People indicated that an FAQ about this will be provided. Will it be based on the prepared statements Betsy referenced?
I am unclear whether that FAQ will accompany the ballot or will be published separately and before the ballot with a reasonable amount of time being provided for the expression of alternative views. Of course, then there is the issue of how any such views would be provided to the membership -- by the same means the E-Board uses? Since the E-Board vote was unanimous, there will be no minority views expressed in its approved FAQ.
Where is the "healthy debate'"? AALL statements prepared for former AALL presidents to present at the Members Open Forum, really? The attendance of two rank-and-file members at the E-Board session who were not asked to express their opinions about the Bylaws agenda item per E-Board meeting protocol that stipulates non-Board members may speak only when asked to by a Board member. None did.
If the E-Board's approved Antitrust FAQ is any indication, conveniently selected questions with equally convientiently scripted brief answers is becoming AALL's norm. For the official bylaws FAQ, it is reasonable to expect a white-washed gloss-over based on the warm snuggie known as the E-board "group-think" soliloquy.
Time is of the essence, right? In the Bards of Chicago's Théâtre de l'Absurde, timing certainly is. On July 22, an FAQ about AALL programming procedure changes was posted on AALLNET. That was a couple of days after Steve Lastres, the outgoing chair of the PLL SIS, posted a membership alert on AALL web forums. It was also the first day of Boston 2012. Now, how many attendees do you think actually thought about checking their emails for AALLNET postings during the annual meeting?
Great timing for the release of this FAQ. Of course if our association's official playwrights view rank-and-file existence as having no meaning or purpose other than being a revenue source, then all communication can be expected to break down because contrary opinions are just irrational and illogical speech that leads to one ultimate conclusion, silence. Loop back up to the last sentence in Betsy's quote above.
The already approved annual meeting programming changes was another topic addressed at the Members Open Forum and reviewed in Betsy's post. She charactizes it as "the AALL takeover of the highly successful PLL Summit." In response to Steve Lastres' questions the nutshell answer from the Podium People was "take a hike, Steve." (My assessment, not Steve's.)
This issue is broader than just the PLL Summit. Even my little SCCLL SIS issued a membership alert after the annual meeting. The programming changes are a wholesale takeover of the annual meeting's agenda. See Programming AALL's Next Annual Meeting: Top-Down or Bottom-Up? Compare the new AMPC procedures with the following rhetorical statement from the AMPC FAQ [Download the FAQ]:
Annual Meeting attendees seek relevant, substantive educational content that addresses their professional needs. AALL members – particularly SISs – will be crucial to helping the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) identify topics critical to our members’ professional success and development.
In calling for improved and more timely communications from the E-Board to the rank-and-file, the E-Board's FAQ communications strategy have taken the tactic of issuing top-down propaganda soliloquies. With respect to AMPC FAQ and the forthcoming Bylaws FAQ, a strong case can be made that their release is a tad too timely for rank-and-file responses. My hunch is given the opportunity, some members would present alternative proposals by way of logical construction and argument in reasoned narratives, something AALL apparently cannot do since it has fallen in love with the convenience of the FAQ short-form format.
E-Board flash "transparency" needs rank-and-file accountability. Absent an Occupy AALL movement, that's more than just a wee bit difficult to do when the Official AALL Players is staging its performance of "As You We Like It" with tickets priced at the cost of membership dues. For more, see Betsy's four-point statement on where the real problem lies. [JH]
August 03, 2012
"Oh Well, There is Always Lady Gaga": The Lady Gaga video is now iPad friendly
Responding to a couple of LLB reader requests, the Lady Gaga video linked to at My Playlist for Boston 2012, Monday: Amy Winehouse's Cover of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and posted at No Business Model Required has been re-coded so that it can be viewed on iPads at the second listed link. My bad. [JH]
July 26, 2012
Old Habits Die Hard, Part II: AALL Boston 2012 in a Nutshell
From the AALL leadership to the rank-and-file members:
We will protect you from yourselves.
Maybe, maybe not. [JH]
July 25, 2012
Hey Jason and John, Do You Remember Giving Ed Permission to Publish Our Photo Because I Don't
The caption reads: "@jasnwilsn, @johnpmayer & Joe Hodnicki behaving well (briefly) at the @Fastcase hospitality suite." I must have OKed publication after that brief moment of being well-behaved.
Oops, my bad. I didn't ask to republish it! Happy birthday, Ed. [JH]
July 24, 2012
My Playlist for Boston 2012, Tuesday: Roy Buchanan & Albert Collins performing Further On Down The Road
July 23, 2012
My Playlist for Boston 2012, Monday: Amy Winehouse's Cover of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
The E-Board is so tuned into what's going on, I wonder if they know that Amy Winehouse is no longer performing "live." Come to think about it neither are Roy Buchanan or Albert Collins who have been featured in my earlier (and again in a later) playlist music videos for AALL Boston 2012. Oh well, there is always Lady Gaga. [JH]
July 22, 2012
My Playlist for Boston 2012, Sunday: Love Me Like You Say performed by Albert Collins
July 21, 2012
My Playlist for Boston 2012, Saturday: Roy Buchanan's Sweet Dreams
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)
Jason Wilson Wants to be Elected to AALL's Executive Board
I'm confused. So a legal publisher can now be a voting member of AALL? ... VOTE WILSON FOR EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER!
Personally, I'm thinking that once Dick Spinelli is elected AALL President for Life, Dick should appoint Jason CRIV Chair for Life because of an earlier tweet by Jason:
Looking forward to #AALL12 in Boston. I'm going dressed as a librarian this year.
Friday Fun: A Musical Prelude for AALL Boston 2012 Attendees
Provided by The Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps.
From the YouTube description:
The 3rd U.S. Infantry, traditionally known as "The Old Guard," is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving our nation since 1784. The Old Guard is the Army's official ceremonial unit and escort to the president, and it also provides security for Washington, D.C., in time of national emergency or civil disturbance.
Occupy AALL? Well, AALL is meeting in Boston, not D.C., and I seriously doubt there will be too great a civil disturbance to call in AALL's security force but that doesn't mean we won't see plenty of performances from our association's official ceremonial unit. [JH]