July 19, 2012
How will "AALL and its members ... influence legal and government information policies in the public and private sector"? The answer can be found in AALL's Proposed Vision Statement, Vivid Description and Goals
So ... tomorrow, the AALL Executive Board is going to review its revised "Strategic Directions" statement only now it has a jazzy new title, "Vision Statement, Vivid Description and Goals." OK, well, whatever. At least it didn't add "Clear" to "Vision" because that might make one think of the Pearle Vision "naughtly librarian" ad. Disclaimer alert -- there is nothing wrong with naughtly librarians.
The title also didn't add "Vital" to "Goals." That would have been false advertising ... at least for those invoice-paying law librarians who have been calling upon AALL to engage in robust consumer advocacy. In fact, you won't (or at least, I didn't) find "consumer" or "consumer advocacy" specifically mentioned once in the text. Download the complete extracted text from the Board's meeting book.
Under the heading "Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy," the stated goal is "AALL and its members will influence legal and government information policies in the public and private sector." The first two listed (but not numbered by priority) objectives related to the goal are:
- Improve communications with information vendors regarding their products, product development, and related policies and services. (H)
- Expand relationships with policymakers and organizations on the local, state, and federal levels to advance legislation and public policy issues affecting libraries. (M)
In case you are wondering:
H stands for "Must begin objective in next fiscal year" and
M stands for "May begin objective, if resources permit, in next fiscal year."
(Emphasis in the original "priority key"; resources implies $$ and AALL employee staff, full-time and/or part-time, committment.)
Hasn't AALL engaged in an endless pursuit of trying to improve communications with vendors? Has it produced any real results? How is this objective in any way, shape or form related to "Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy"? Is it some veiled threat that if our vendors don't do what AALL has for years called upon them to do, AALL is going to ratchet things up a notch? If so, all the vendor community will do is have a collective chuckle based on the "maybe next year" priority for taking action to "advance legislation and public policy issues affecting libraries."
There is a way to reprioritize the above objectives. Just convert the vendor liaison position into a volunary non-paying one so that there would be some financial resources available to "[e]xpand relationships with policymakers and organizations on the local, state, and federal levels to advance legislation and public policy issues affecting libraries" as a "must begin objective in next fiscal year."
The entire 5-page "Vision Statement, Vivid Description and Goals" draft is well worth reading for this and other reasons. For one, the language in the draft does not dovetail into the proposed membership bylaw revision on its face. [Here and here plus cites and their comments to the blog posts.] Of course, the statement does fit nicely into AALL's de facto antitrust policy and now we know what priority the E-Board thinks consumer advocacy for law libraries and their patrons deserves.
Apparently the revision was finalized in May and submitted to the E-Board on June 20th by soon to be outgoing President Kirk. The motion for Board action is "[t]hat the Executive Board approve the proposed plan's Vision Statement, Vivid Description and Goals." Of course that language is boilerplate much like last year's Antitrustism policy. In this year's case, the draft strategic goals statement has a greater chance of being approved because it has all the top-down markings of the unofficial direction the E-Board has been mapping out for the rank-and file.
The matter will be presented to the E-Board on Friday, July 20 at 1:30 PM. That's about 15 minutes after the scheduled lunch break ends. Don't know about E-Board members but, usually after eating lunch, all I want to do is take a very long nap like Rip Van Winkle. [JH]
July 18, 2012
Background on How the Proposed AALL Membership Bylaws Revision Came Into Existence
Relating some background information about drafting revisions to Article IV. Membership of AALL's Bylaws, Betsy McKenzie reports:
According to a conversation with Darcy Kirk [AALL President], the Bylaws Committee first offered an amendment that tightened the definition of an active member. The Executive Board sent them back with directions to broaden the definition, instead. And did they broaden it! The new definition is so broad that it would extend the rights to vote and hold office to any employee of a legal publisher or other company that has consistently violated basic consumer protections in our Association’s Guide to Fair Business Practices. Some members are concerned that a significant ethical problem would unfairly burden such employees elected or appointed to offices in which their activities could directly or indirectly influence AALL policy or action on consumer advocacy, or could reasonably sustain the perception of conflicted influence. Of course, the issue remains debatable. In fact, our colleagues debated a similar issue of conflict of interest in 1987. The debate ended without resolution, but such acrimony accompanied it that repeating the controversy now seems to concerned members no small risk that our Board can and should avoid. The Board would effectively confer its imprimatur on the expanded definition of active definition by approving it in its present form for the membership’s vote, even though some members do not agree that the proposal should carry this de facto seal of approval.
Betsy also offers some talking points for this year's AALL Business Meeting & Members Open Forum on Monday, July 23, 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM in HCC-Ballroom B:
- Members were not well-apprised of the initial proposal to change the bylaws at the Board's March, 2012 meeting. Relying on the Board Book to tell general membership about important issues is NOT the kind of transparency members reasonably expect of the leadership!
- Members were not adequately informed of the request to the Bylaws Committee to broaden the active membership definition that took place at the March, 2012 meeting. Ordinary members should NOT have to dig through the Board Books and sift through 149 pages in them to find information that bears on ALL of our interests! This DOESNOT satisfy a reasonable expectation of transparency, but invites a suspicion, however misplaced, that the Board has tried to sneak a change past the membership.
- This has been a very divisive and rancorous issue in the past – when the issue of vendor membership was raised more than 20 years ago in 1987, it was a very bitter, emotionally charged town meeting.
- Changes to the Bylaws require a 2/3 approval of the full membership. An active minority will spare no procedural effort to defeat the proposed change in its present form. No one wants an avoidable conflict. The Board can still has means to avoid precipitating a conflict that otherwise seems inevitable.
Of course, the ways and means of conducting E-Board meetings also fails to be transparent in this age of live and low cost webcasting. Interested members can attend E-Board meetings in person. They can sit and listen but cannot speak unless asked to by a member of the E-Board at a board meeting when the membership knows one is taking place and what is on the agenda in advance. For example, the membership bylaws matter is on the E-Board's agenda for tomorrow's meeting. I doubt many, if any, rank-and-file members plan to attend the meeting in Boston because of the additional expense and the hurry-up taking care of business before heading to Boston.
Then there is the matter of when an E-Board meeting is called without any advance notice to rank-and-file members and the E-Board is conducting AALL business by way of a conference call. For example, "[t]he Executive Board met on June 7 by conference call to consider Antitrust FAQs that were drafted to address member questions about antitrust law and AALL." Quoted in The AALL's "Approved" Antitrust FAQ: A BS-Free Resolution for Our Association's De Facto Antitrust Policy. That meeting resulted in official E-Board action, namely approving the Antitrust FAQ.
Transparency implies accountability. Without intending to put words in Betsy's mouth, I view her post as one that is calling the E-Board to be held accountable. For much more, see Betsy's AALL changing definition of Active Members! post. See also Betsy's follow-up posts, Selling your association for a mess of pottage and Regulatory Capture and Professional Associations. In the context of the proposed bylaw revision, she raised the issues of ethics and potential conflicts of interest. As a rank-and-file "active" AALL member, I would argue the case that our fundamental duty is to represent our employer's interests which is certainly doable when our employers support the objectives stated in Article II of our association's bylaws. Under the proposed bylaw changes, will AALL have to institute some sort of "pledge of allegiance" and "good housekeeping seal of approval" to weed out those vendors who do nothing more than give lip service to AALL's non-binding recommended business practices?
As I have stated already, if the intention is to only include as active members, colleagues working in related fields like knowledge management, competitive intelligence and business development, and those IT/IS functions that relate to evaulating, purchasing and supporting vendor solutions for legal process workflow who are employed by our employers, then I am strongly in favor of that. If others want to point to other library associations that allow vendors to be full members, it would be wise to remember that our market structure is too concentrated for taking that step. It is even much more concentrated than in 1987 when, as Betsy notes, a similar membership revision proposal was considered.
The drafted revision need to be changed. Just like any 1L LW&R instructor would point out, poorly drafted language does reflect sloopy thinking. Based on the background information Betsy provides, don't blame the Bylaws & Resolutions Committee because it is clear that the Committee was taking directions from the E-Board.
"Per request of the AALL Executive Board, the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee presents this language for Bylaws amendments [for Article IV. Membership]."
July 17, 2012
Dick Spinelli for AALL President for Life
Because Dick Spinelli is the only vendor employee I know who, if elected to national office, would want current AALL "active members" to think for themselves as representatives of their employers. But wait, he can't hold national elective office because he is only an "associate member" under AALL's current Bylaws.
Well, that could change because the associate membership category would be eliminated and the active membership category would be revised to include vendor employees under proposed revised Bylaw language that is on the agenda for the E-Board's July 20, 2012 meeting. Text below (illustrated).
If the intention is to include in the active membership category, legal information professionals whose employers have bureaucratically separated functions that once were but are no longer performed "in the library," then the bylaws language needs to state that. I, for one, am strongly in favor of changing the bylaws to include such once internal library functions as knowledge management, competitive intelligence and business development, and those IT/IS functions that relate to evaulating, purchasing and supporting vendor solutions for legal process workflow as long as the folks who are now performing that work are employed by our employers. Hell, if we don't try to bring those folks into the fold, private sector law librarians might as well just turn in their AALL dues-paying membership "cards" and become a special interest section of ALA -- the Association of Legal Administrators, not the other ALA.
But the current language is so poorly drafted that it is much more inclusive. Vendors who are "interested in the objectives of the Association" could become full "active" members and their employee representatives could be elected to national office by the membership or appointed chairs of national committees by the Executive Board, which as we all know, is made without any rank-and-file oversight.
Suggestions for Thinking for Yourself as a Representative of Your Employer. Quoting our association's current bylaws
Article II. Object
The American Association of Law Libraries exists to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the public, the legal community, and the world, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information and information policy, in recognition that the availability of legal information to all people is a necessary requirement for a just and democratic society.
1. How do we foster a skills and knowledge-based profession when we haven't got enough information about today's proprietary metadata-enhanced search engines?
2. How do we provide leadership in the field of legal information and information policy when the commerical law publishing oligarchy is firmly entrenched in the "content farm" model because that is what "their customers want."
3. How do we even pretend to recognize that legal information should be available to all by way of Open Law and Open Access to primary legal resources generated at all levels of govenment and fair use of licensed electronic secondary sources when it is clear that some newly minted active members, under the proposed Bylaw revision, are more interested in enhancing revenue flow?
Remember, AALL is not an association of law librarians or legal information professionals. It is an association of "law libraries". We as members represent our employers' interests which despite the hollow "partnership" rhetoric of AALL oftentimes does conflict with our vendors strategic objectives and tactics at the enterprise and industry levels. As an association of employers should vendor employees whose paychecks are written by paymasters who certainly are interested in but not supportive of AALL's objectives be allowed to be active members with all the rights of membership?
What the heck, if the Bylaws drafters don't bring back associate membership status for vendor reps and don't limit active membership to representives employed by the same entities that employ us, we can eliminate the vendor liaison employment position entirely, close down the government affairs office, and the E-Board can appoint one of our "Dear Colleagues" push-back letter writers to head up CRIV. Imagine the tightly controlled Nominations Committee offering up two WEXIS reps for VP-P-Elect some year. This may sound fanciful but there is only one way to guarantee that it won't happen ... elect Dick Spinelli AALL President for Life! As you can see from the above campaign poster, Dick has plenty of life left in him.
If called to serve, I know Dick won't let us down.
End Note. Do note well, that when the E-Board considers this revision at its pre-conference July 20, 2012 meeting it has several options including (1) accept the currently submitted revision; (2) unilaterally change the drafted language; or (3) instruct the Bylaws Committee to go back to the drafting board. The first two options could result in a presentation for the current active membership's consideration and discussion and then a vote on the revised bylaws. That process would start within 60-days of what the E-Board decides to do --- meaning it would end post-Boston 2012. However, this does not mean the topic cannot or will not be open for discussion at this year's AALL Business Meeting & Members Open Forum on Monday, July 23, 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM in HCC-Ballroom B. [JH]
July 13, 2012
Books in Browsers
Books in Browsers 2012: Building the Next Book will take place October 24-26, 2012 in San Francisco. With interest running high in Law eBooks among law librarians as evident by AALL programming, some may find several of the Books in Browsers 2011 archived video presentations worth viewing ahead of Boston 2012. If interested, go here. [JH]
"Friday Fun": The Pre-Sentencing Hearing for the Librarian Judged Obsolete: Something to think about while visiting exhibits at AALL Boston 2012.
|Screen capture taken on June 30, 2012.|
After publication of The Advance of the “No Touch” Sales Model: On obsolescence in the vendor-buyer "partnership" on June 26, 2012, which included a video excerpt from the Twilight Zone's 1961 Obsolete Man episode, several LLB readers asked me to post the earlier portion of the episode that contained the court scene for the librarian who was judged obsolete and ultimately sentenced to death. One email requestor, who asked for anonymity for reasons that should be obvious to all, thought it would be approprate to do so because of AALL's website promotion for visiting the exhibit hall. "Talking to booth bunny experts, really?"
Considering the topic addressed in the "No Touch" sales model post, I concur with the requests for posting the below video. It's categorized as a "Friday Fun" post to recognize that at least one uber vendor's strategic objective is clearly striving to make law librarians, also known as well-informed buyer reps, obsolete by following the Amazon model for eCommerce "no touch" retail sales to the individual consumer under its OnePassYourAss billing scheme. [JH]
July 12, 2012
A Prelude to PLL's Summit III: On the future of law firm librarianship
It seems appropriate to characterize Jean O'Grady's recent interview as an unofficial prelude to this year's PLL Summit because the summit's theme is "The Path to 2020: A Vision for Change." If registration for a pre-conference event is a measure of interest in the Summit's agenda, then something like 200-plus law librarians are planning to attend. Apparently, some are traveling to Boston only for this event. [JH]
July 11, 2012
"It Is The Way That Things Are": Your eBook reading is being mined for usage analysis
When one of my colleagues mentioned awhile back that he had just heard a news report about how eBooks are being mined for usage data by eBook sellers that is being shared with publishers my response was "damn I hadn't thought of that but it makes sense because it is doable." The source for this information was WSJ reporter Alexandra Alter's Your E-Book Is Reading You (updated June 29, 2012). A quick snip from Alter's story:
The major new players in e-book publishing—Amazon, Apple and Google—can easily track how far readers are getting in books, how long they spend reading them and which search terms they use to find books. Book apps for tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook record how many times readers open the app and how much time they spend reading. Retailers and some publishers are beginning to sift through the data, gaining unprecedented insight into how people engage with books.
eBook reading monitoring can go very deep as in (1) how long it takes to finish reading an eBook (2) what text a reader highlights, (3) what sections the reader skips over, and (4) whether a reader stops reading the book before finishing it in its entirety. Much but not all of the WSJ article focuses on how useful this data can to publishers to help them create books that will hold readers' attention better.
[Barnes & Noble vice president of e-books Jim Hilt] says that the company is still in "the earliest stages of deep analytics" and is sifting through "more data than we can use." But the data—which focuses on groups of readers, not individuals—has already yielded some useful insights into how people read particular genres.
I think we all know that just because this sort of data analysis is not focused on individuals it doesn't mean that data collection on eBook reading cannot track individuals. The first mainstream media report on eBook reading deep analytics I found was published in December 2010. See Martin Kaste's Is Your E-Book Reading Up on You (NPR's All Things Considered). In that episode, Cindy Cohn, EFF's legal director, warned that if the collected data is retained long-term the information could be subpoenaed to check someone's alibi, or as evidence in a lawsuit.
And it's not just what pages you read; it may also monitor where you read them. Kindles, iPads and other e-readers have geo-location abilities; using GPS or data from Wi-Fi and cell phone towers, it wouldn't be difficult for the devices to track their own locations in the physical world.
"Ultimately, this sort of thing scares the hell out of me," [author Steven] King says. "But it is the way that things are."
As law librarians should we be concerned? I think we should. I'm not sure the data is retained long-term by general trade eBook retailers but there is no doubt in my mind that collecting deep data of the Law eBook usage by WEXIS (and other vendors) for Law eBooks sold to individual consumers can be and hence likely will be, if not already is, collected just like all manner of legal search usage has been.
Our Law eBook publishers may make the case the general trade industry is making that such metrics will help them produce better enhanced law eBooks. For example, "[p]inpointing the moment when readers get bored could also help publishers create splashier digital editions by adding a video, a Web link or other multimedia features." Quoting from Alter's WSJ story.
With reader metrics Law eBook publishers can discover with some level of predictability what it takes to make an eBook a "best seller." Collecting reading habit metrics for Law eBooks can be crucial to the success of legal publishers who are crafting new normal sales models that are just as retail-centric as general trade publishers in the march towards No Touch eCommerce.
I seriously doubt our Law eBook reading users has even thought that their reading can be recorded and analyzed and that is doable down to the level of their user accounts. How do you think billing by user account is created on the fly? Law librarians know what is and has been going on.We know that database usage is mined and has become incorporated in crowd-sourcing, oops, I mean, usage metics for today's search engine designs.
Unlike the general eReading population, when attorneys are reading an eBook, they are typically doing so in their professional capacity. I seriously doubt data crunching vendor programming gurus and their Mad Men give this much thought. However, law librarians should be concerned about the deep data mining of Law eBooks reading.
UNC Law Library Director Anne Kleinfelder certainly does. See her When to Research is to Reveal: The Growing Threat to Attorney and Client Confidentiality from Online Tracking, 16 Virginia Journal of Law & Technology No. 1 (Spring, 2011) and Library Standards for Privacy: A Model for the Digital World?, 11 North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology 553 (2010) [SSRN].
The issues presented in both of Klinefelter's articles will be featured at Boston 2012. She will be presenting this year's well-deserved Distringuished Lecture Address.
Should Librarians Retire the Privacy Ethic?
Monday July 23, 2012, 2:45pm - 4:00pm in HCC-Room 208
Can we really protect library users from being tracked individually by database producers, search engines, websites, and mobile reader devices? And does government access to this collected data undermine our PATRIOT Act advocacy? Should librarians retire the privacy ethic and instead embrace the content, customization, remote access, cloud efficiencies, collection control, and safety benefits we can now purchase with privacy?
Klinefelter is also an organizer/presenter for the following Boston session:
Attorney-Client Confidentiality and the Law Librarian
Sunday July 22, 2012, 3:45pm - 5:00pm in HCC-Room 304
Attorney-client confidentiality is challenged by cloud computing, passwords that identify database users, vendor advertisements that identify subscribers, employer access to employee email, Internet Service Provider and web tracking access to online research activity, and some uses of social media. A Boston attorney with expertise in confidentiality and privacy law will outline the scope of ethical and legal requirements for attorneys and for the librarians and IT staff who support them. Participants will receive tips on how to support compliance with confidentiality requirements. A significant portion of the presentation will be devoted to audience questions in order to address specific concerns of those attending.
Clearing interest in the rise of Law eBooks offering from our major vendors is evidenced by the below-listed pre-Conference and Conference session programs featuring Law eBook vendor reps..
PLL Summit III Session
E-books: Is Colecting Vinyl Appropriate in the 21st Century?
Saturday, July 21, 2012, 2:30-3:15 p.m. at Marriott Copley Place
From the PLL Summit session announcement:
Are the new apps of e-books truly necessary/helpful for modern day research or are they a throwback to albums, eight-tracks and CD ROMs? A panel of vendor representatives will share their perspectives on this rapidly changing medium.
Presentations by Scott Meiser, LexisNexis, Brian Kundeson, Thomson Reuters and John DeFeo, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
If you can only attend regular AALL program sessions, PLL is offering the following eBook session:
Law Firm Libraries: Your E-book Future Has Arrived
Monday July 23, 2012, 1:15pm - 2:15pm in HCC-Room 306
With little fanfare, LexisNexis has begun offering some content in e-book format (e.g., the color books such as the Redbook New York Civil Practice Law and Rules). Thomson Reuters has indicated court rules for New York and others will be in e-book format in the fourth quarter of 2011. The ABA and Apple have entered into a partnership to publish legal e-books for sale in the Apple bookstore. Visions of attorneys waving their Kindles and iPads in front of our faces demanding e-books have begun to haunt our dreams. So many questions come to mind: What will the functionality be like? How will updates work? Will attorneys want both print and e-book formats, and what will that do to our budgets? What happens when an attorney leaves, along with e-book content paid for by the firm? A panel of two firm librarians who have conducted e-book trials, and two vendors will talk about this experience, as well as what vendors are doing with regard to functionality, pricing, and administration.
Presentations by some (all?) of the above-listed Summit III vendor reps?
Clearly saving the dates and times for the above-listed "Should Librarians Retire the Privacy Ethic?" and "Attorney-Client Confidentiality and the Law Librarian" should be included in your AALL Boston 2012 schedule if you are attending Boston 2012 IMHO. [JH]
July 10, 2012
AALL's "Approved" Antitrust FAQ: A BS-Free Resolution for Our Association's De Facto Antitrust Policy
Do other professional associations
The FAQ's "answer" to Question #10 is "yes."
"American Library Association discusses its antitrust policies here." (Link embedded emphasis added).
OK, well that is just another FAQ. Considering ALA's recent advocacy actions of behalf of its institutional members and their patrons, ALA's FAQ does make for interesting reading since ALA clearly is not afraid of and has not been sued or investigated for that library association's example-setting actions. The ALA FAQ does, however, offer answers to topics omitted from AALL's FAQ which are directly related to the antitrust issue, most notably the role of lobbying activities which certainly is relevant to petitioning federal and state governments as consumer advocates.
A link to SLA's "policy" is also provided in response this, the last question, in AALL's FAQ. It sends interested readers to a wide-ranging "Legal Issues" narrative but for additional information that text cites to SLA's Tax and Legal Handbook. AALL "approvers" apparently thought obtaining a copy of the Handbook wouldn't make for interesting reading by AALL's rank-and-file members.
Of course, all this assumes that whomever included the ALA and SLA links into AALL's FAQ answer to Question #10 actually read the content in the linked documents.
Is our Executive Board "approved" Antitrust FAQ an official AALL policy statement? The question is prompted by several Q & A's in AALL and Antitrust: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). See sidebar right for one example.
The fundamental issue is presented in the very first Q & A:
1. Why do we need an antitrust policy?
The Executive Board feels a responsibility to provide members who are interested in consumer advocacy issues with information that would help them act in a manner that would not subject them or the Association to legal liabilities. Some activities of professional or trade associations may subject the associations or their members to liability under the antitrust laws. At its 2011 Summer Meeting the AALL Executive Board considered a proposed antitrust policy that was an effort to provide members with information on how the Sherman Antitrust Act could affect their activities. The Board did not adopt the proposed policy in order to allow more careful understanding and evaluation of the issues currently of concern to AALL members.
Ah, OK. In some unbelievably sloppy language that is usually corrected during 1L LW&R courses, the Executive Board "feels a responsiblity" to provide the membership with some "information." Thoughts and feelings are not the same. Emotions are physical sensations and, as we all should know, such feelings can distort reality if logic is not applied to understand them.
So did the "approvers" of AALL's FAQ have a collective emotional moment? If so, is it one that might require group therapy? Talk therapy in AALL-land might be the next order of the day. Will we see all E-Board members at Antitrust Considerations and the Association (Monday, July 23, 2:45 pm – 4:00 pm in HCC-Room 306)? Or will some, if not all, of our "approving" elected officers be too busy rehearsing for the immediately following AALL General Business Meeting and Members Open Forum (4:15 pm - 5:30 pm in HCC-Ballroom B)?
Moving beyond this uncorrected IL student legal writing practice, the FAQ's very first "answer" provides some "information" but "information" is not an official AALL statement of antitrust policy. Do note well that the "Antitrust Considerations" session also is not intended to be a discussion of policy. For all practical purposes, it assumes one already is in place. From the session's blurb:
Join in this practical exploration of how antitrust issues relate to associations, led by Shaun Esposito, CRIV Chair 2011-2012. Stephen W. Armstrong, Senior Counsel and chair of the Antitrust Practice Group at Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP, will provide a brief overview of antitrust concerns relevant to professional organizations. AALL Vendor Liaison Margaret Maes will briefly summarize the “AALL and Antitrust FAQs” recently published on AALLNET, with Armstrong providing commentary and analysis of the FAQs. Esposito and Maes will then take turns presenting fact scenarios to Armstrong based upon activities that AALL members and leadership have identified as key challenges facing associations when considering action at the organizational level. Audience members will then be invited to ask questions or present fact scenarios of their own for consideration.
The spoon-fed "fact scenarios" from the podium to AALL's new (and for the first time identified) antitrust legal counsel will be very interesting in a top-down sort of communciations way. Certainly the audience will hear some well-crafted Do's and Don'ts. Much more interesting will be the selection of (and omission of) fact scenarios presented by Maes and Esposito to Armstrong. I think this part of the program will remind law school grads of a canned session of the Socratic method of learning to "think like a lawyer." However, in this case, the "students" on the podium will be posing the questions to the "law prof-like" expert so the so-called learning outcomes are really intended for the audience to learn how to think like our association leadership currently does based on a de facto antitrust policy.
A close reading of the FAQ can, however, extract what AALL's de facto antitrust policy is. And here it is in the form of a resolution.
A Resolution Supporting Competition and Fair Business Practices in the Provision of Commercial Legal Resources
WHEREAS, the American Association of Law Libraries endorses federal and states public policies promoting competition and fair business practices in the commercial marketplace; and
WHEREAS, the Association is the largest non-profit organization of academic, government, public and private sector institutional consumers of legal resources in these United States; and
WHEREAS, the Association fully supports the eradication of unfair and deceptive practices in the commerce of legal resources in all formats by both the rigorous enforcement of existing federal and state laws and regulations and the enactment of new laws and regulations to protect consumers; and
WHEREAS, the Association fully supports the eradication of anti-competitive business practices in the commerce of legal resources in all formats under current and/or future antitrust laws and regulations that provide consumers with certain rights and immunities under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and protects States’ rights to govern under the Parker doctrine; and
WHEREAS, the Association acknowledges that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” and that the States have enacted similar guarantees essential for a free society.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the general membership of the Association affirms that the eradication of anti-competitive and unfair and deceptive practices shall be the objective for any and all official actions to engage in a lawful program of robust consumer advocacy sanctioned by the Association.
BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the Association encourages the efforts of those legal resources consumers who individually or collectively as a class of representative consumers lawfully document anti-competitive, unfair and deceptive practices and seek to redress their grievances through all lawful means on behalf of consumers of commercial legal resources throughout the nation. HOWEVER, no such efforts by those legal resources consumers who may be members of the Association including but not limited to elected officials, committee and caucus members at the national or chapter level are authorized to or are acting with the apparent authority of the Association. ACCORDINGLY, the Association disclaims any and all advocacy efforts on behalf of legal resource consumers by its members that the Association’s Executive Board or the general membership of the Association have not affirmatively approved in a timely manner by resolution following the procedures set forth in the By-Laws of the Association.
I believe the above is a fair statement of AALL's de facto policy but I have no intention to propose the resolution since I have a number of issues with it, professionally speaking but only from my own POV. Frankly, one doesn't need to be an expert in antitrust law as it applies to professional associations who represent institutional buyers to see where our association's leaders are heading on this issue.
Nor does one need to be an antitrust expect to be or become informed about relevant issues as it applies to professional associations. Experts can always be retained later. There are plenty of reliable monographs to "read more about it." Some, well actually one, of the titles listed below (see the second listed title) includes very prophylactic measures recommended based on its trade association-centric analysis as if those measures are entirely appropriate for library associations.
Suggested Reading List
The following suggested reading is, I believe, a non-partisan selection. Certainly I am neither recommending nor even suggesting that interested rank-and-file members try to cram for the upcoming "Antitrust Considerations" session by reading them all now. Interested and engaged rank-and-file members can certainly "reading more about it" after Boston 2012, although some members might want to start now.
My hunch, however, is that AALL "approvers" failed to do their own due diligence in their official capacity. Instead they hide behind the cloak of the "apparent authority" of legal counsel. According to the soon to be former AALL President Darby Kirk's June 2012, AALL E-newsletter:
The Executive Board met on June 7 by conference call to consider Antitrust FAQs that were drafted to address member questions about antitrust law and AALL. We consulted with an antitrust lawyer, Stephen W. Armstrong from the firm Montgomery McCracken in Philadelphia, to draft the FAQs.
If our elected national officers want to do the job they are expected to do by the rank-and-file as "leaders" of AALL instead of trying to catch up to the rank-and-file to justify being "leaders," then this reading list is also provided for their benefit. Some might consider it one of those "Learn, Connect, Grow" "proposals" as a "positive and forward-thinking theme for the upcoming year and the 2012 Annual Meeting to be held in Boston." Hell, for one, I won't object if AALL membership dues are spent to provide each one with a personal copy.
1. ABA Antitrust Section, Monograph No. 19, The Noerr-Pennington Doctrine (1993) (113 pages) which is only available from re-sellers via Amazon.
While it focusing on the right to petition, one should take into account that the traditional view that First Amendment rights are “cut from the same cloth” and thus “are inseparable,” may no longer be the case. See Justice Kenedy's opinion in Borough of Duryea v. Guarnier, 131 S. Ct. 2488 (2011). Kennedy wrote that there could be cases “where the special concerns of the Petition Clause would provide a sound basis for a distinct analysis” and where the rights of petition and free speech “might differ in emphasis and formulation." See Krotoszynski's Reclaiming the Petition Clause: Seditious Libel, "Offensive" Protest, and the Right to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances (Yale UP, 2012) (Borough of Duryea v. Guarnier "suggests that the court could be sympathetic to carefully devised arguments focused on the right to petition.") My April 2012 post about this speculation can be found here. There may be an analysis of the antitrust implications of Borough of Duryea or even antitrust opinions citing the dicta but I haven't looked into that because I'm no antitrust expert but the dicta could be a good thing. However, I do not see it reflected in the formulaic Antitrust FAQ.
My bottom line is that this 1993 ABA monograph remains a very good doctrinal law starting point, assuming you haven't read it yet. Why? Basing arguments on academic speculation can be weak. However, basing arguments on ALA's official consumer advocacy activities are not weak.
2. ABA Section on Antitrust Law, Antitrust and Association Handbook (2009) (248 pages), available from the ABA bookstore.
This text can be viewed as the "Bible" for trade and industry-setting standards associations. Library associations are neither. The work does discuss professional associations like AALL but the "Sample Association Antitrust Compliance Policy" and "Association Antitrust Reminders and Meeting Guidelines" fail to make important distinctions. Do note that when I think of ALA's recent eBook advocacy efforts in the context of this work and AALL's FAQ, I find ALA to be taking a much more aggressive approach than the prophylactic measures recommended by this ABA title.
3. ABA Section on Antitrust Law, Market Power Handbook: Competition Law and Economic Foundations, 2d ed. (2012) (183 pages), available from the ABA bookstore. Recommended because it tries to approach market power in a non-technical manner. I say "tries" for good reason because that is relative to the uber technical economic analysis that has taken over the original "trust-busting" federal legistative intent. I'm not implying that this is a "bad thing." Hell, it is the one instance where academic legal scholarship has actually contributed to real world statutory interpretation by way of regulatory enforcement. However, the "non-technical" characterization is relative because it does require a fair amount of "law and economics" homework.
4. For unfair and deceptive practices at the States' level and at the FTC federal level, Pridgen & Alderman's Consumer Protection and the Law, 2011-2012 ed. (2 vol. West "pamphlet", 2011) looks good enough. I say "looks good enough" because (1) we didn't own the earlier edition so I have no idea how well it has been updated with caselaw and state statutory changes and (2) when I ordered the work in April, I insisted that my library not be placed on standing order for later editions. This is not a "buy" recommendation because there are excellent and substantially less expensive than the $867 WestMart list price for god knows how many of the 2,500-plus pages were actually updated with something more than Keycite string citations.
End note. Even an old dog like me can still learn a new trick or two. The National Consumer Law Center publishes in print (with low cost print updates and companion websites) some damn good resources that fills the gaping hole in the offerings by WEXIS like the above mentioned Consumer Protection and the Law title. My one-time purchase of Consumer Protection and the Law was an experiment in whether our county law library patrons would opt for "Brand Recognition" instead of professional editorial quality. They have not -- the National Consumer Law Center's regularly updated publications circulate more than anything even close to being comparable by WEXIS in our little county law library. Who will be the first to license them? BLaw, Lexis or TR Legal? But I digress... . [JH]
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 14, 2012
The First Sale Doctrine: What if libraries really own Random House eBooks as the publisher asserts?
Rob Maier, director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and a member of ALA’s Digital Content and Libraries Working Group reported in a May 10, 2012 ALA E-content blog that "[a]t the Massachusetts Library Association annual conference in Worcester this morning [5/10?], Ruth Liebmann, director of account marketing at Random House, stated emphatically that libraries own the ebooks they purchase from Random House."
Do note the immediately following statement from the E-Content blog editor:
[Ed. Note: This statement won’t really mean anything until a library tries to exercise rights from the first sale doctrine with respect to Random House ebooks. If we really own them, can we ILL them? Can we sell them at a used book sale? —Christopher Harris]
For much more, about the Massachusetts Library Association annual conference panel which was moderated by ALA President (and library association consumer advocate) Molly Raphael, see Libraries Own Random House Ebooks. [JH]
FYI: An LLB reader brought to my attention Rachel Ann Geist's A "License to Read": The Effect of E-Books on Publishers, Libraries, and the First Sale Doctrine, [bepress] 52 IDEA 63 (2012).
April 10, 2012
Pew Interent to Research the Changing Landscape of Library Services in First Comprehensive Examination of Reading Habits Since the Rise of eBooks
Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project is conducting the frist comprehensive examination of the reading habits of the general population in the digital era since eBooks came into prominence. The first installment in this Gates Foundation-funded research was pubished in a report dated April 5, 2012. Titled, "The rise of e-reading," Pew reports on the findings of its survey results in detail. The report can be downloaded in PDF here and can be viewed online here.
Key findings include:
- A fifth of American adults have read an e-book in the past year and the number of e-book readers grew after a major increase in ownership of e-book reading devices and tablet computers during the holiday gift-giving season.
- The average reader of e-books says she has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-e-book consumer.
- 30% of those who read e-content say they now spend more time reading, and owners of tablets and e-book readers particularly stand out as reading more now.
- The prevalence of e-book reading is markedly growing, but printed books still dominate the world of book readers.
- E-book reading happens across an array of devices, including smartphones.
- In a head-to-head competition, people prefer e-books to printed books when they want speedy access and portability, but print wins out when people are reading to children and sharing books with others.
The Role of Commercial eBooks in Public Libraries. "The rise of e-reading" report is part of the first phase of Pew's research project. "Subsequent reports will cover how librarians and patrons perceive the situation with e-books and other digital content, and how people in different kinds of communities (urban, suburban, and rural) compare in their reading habits. Further down the line, this research will cover the changing landscape of library services."
Later in this first phase of the work, we will survey librarians and library patrons about the role of e-books in libraries. In the second phase of the work later in 2012, we will conduct focus groups with librarians and patrons about the changing scope of services being offered and being contemplated in libraries. We will supplement that work with a national survey of the general public about the evolving role of libraries in communities. In the third phase of the work in 2013, we will conduct a large national survey of library users and non-users.
Once completed, I think Pew's research will provide an empirical foundation for public libraries and the trade publishing industry which may be useful to move forward. Certainly ALA's promise to detailed circulation data to the general trade industry may help those publishers who do not offer eBooks for lending by providing some information for crafting a pricing matrix. Pew's research could put that specific issue in a broader context.
The Changing Landscape of Law Library Services Because of Commercial Enhanced Law eBooks. I do not believe Pew's research will attempt to isolate the use of specialized eBooks by professionals in the context of work-related needs. However, I believe legal information professionals, institutional and individual consumers of professional eBooks may find the findings of Pew's research studies useful albeit not directly on point.
We are not yet at the stage where our vendors' enhanced law eBooks has risen to the prominence seen in general trade titles. That's because our vendors have been behind the curve in bringing to market this new form of publication where the e in eBooks stands for enhanced. But they are catching up and are beginning to compete with each other; enhanced law eBooks are here.
Our major vendors target the private sector first because that is where the $$$ is. That's why on my schedule of possible programs to attend at Boston 2012, one of the few sessions I marked with a check mark instead of a question mark is Law Firm Libraries: Your E-book Future Has Arrived, (Monday July 23, 2012 1:15pm - 2:15pm at HCC-Room 306) Organizers and presenters include two large law firm librarians and representatives from Thomson Reuters and Lexis.
This a session I hope all law library market sector buying representatives consider attending. I seriously doubt the organizers intended to exclude the "rest of us." It is just that firm libraries will be the first adopters of enhanced law eBooks. The rest of us will benefit now and in the future from the law firm perspective.
Quoting from this program's description:
Visions of attorneys waving their Kindles and iPads in front of our faces demanding e-books have begun to haunt our dreams. So many questions come to mind: What will the functionality be like? How will updates work? Will our attorneys want both print and e-book, and what will that do to our budgets? What happens when an attorney leaves, along with e-book content paid for by the firm? A panel of two firm librarians who have conducted e-book trials, and two vendors will talk about the experience, as well as what vendors are doing with regard to functionality, pricing, and administration.
April 09, 2012
The New Poster Boy of AALL!
I recently saw AALL's new poster boy in the latest issue of Spectrum. It's found in an ad for Boston 2012 (foreground image below, click to enlarge if you have the stomach for that). OMG, I'm thinking for AALL ad purposes the use of a stock model photo would do better.
For truth-in-advertising purposes, we certainly can find a better real law library worker to represent AALL in its ads than both a stock model photo and what's-his-name (below). For example, see the AALL award-winning image on the left in this LLB post. Any issues with that photo have already been addressed by the photographer in a Spectrum article (Images from a Library: Reflections on a photo and a profession). Alternatively, perhaps the image on the right in the above-linked LLB post might do.
OK, OK, the below image is probably better than the last suggestion. The image on the right in the LLB post would need more help than PicMonkey provides. But if Jenny Craig is looking for a non-celebrity someone... . [JH]
April 04, 2012
Content and the Culture Business: Time to move beyond the rhetorical excesses of the copyright industry and its opponents
On March 30th, the Copyright Clearance Center presented a one-day program titled OnCopyright 2012: Advancing the Creative Economy at Columbia Law School. One of the featured speakers was Robert Levine, a fairly well-known journalist. He was probably invited by CCC to speak because of his recent book Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back (Doubleday (2011). Certainly the person who introduced Levine called attention to the use of phrase "digital parasites" in the work's title. From the book's blurb:
In Free Ride, Robert Levine narrates an epic tale of value destruction that moves from the corridors of Congress, where the law was passed that legalized YouTube, to the dorm room of Shawn Fanning, the founder of Napster; from the bargain-pricing dramas involving iTunes and Kindle to Google’s fateful decision to digitize first and ask questions later. Levine charts how the media industry lost control of its destiny and suggests innovative ways it can resist the pull of zero.
Fearless in its reporting and analysis, Free Ride is the business history of the decade and a much-needed call to action.
paidContent's Jeff John Roberts reported on Levine's OnCopyright 2012 presentation. "Levine’s words are likely to please no one involved — and that may be a good thing."
Levine called out the industry for invoking loaded terms like “stealing” and “child pornography” as a pretext to obtain draconian enforcement powers. But he also had choice words for those who frame any sort of copyright controls as inherently oppressive.
In practice, this means major content owners should stop trying to pass off legal sledgehammers as scalpels. To be taken seriously, they will also have argue the case for copyright controls without invoking crime and terrorism. Meanwhile, their critics will have to acknowledge that thugs like Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom aren’t paragons of civic expression and that some forms of intellectual property are acceptable.
Quoting from Robert's Time to move beyond ‘sharing’ and ‘stealing’ in the debate over content.
Here is Levine's OnCopyright 2012 presentation. After watching the video, I decided to read Levine's Free Ride. The whole "digital parasites" thing had been too off-putting when I first spotted the book. [JH]
March 09, 2012
Keeping Austin Weird: SXSW 2012 Starts Today
Alas, attending SXSW still remains on my bucket list. Austin is great place to spend 10 days. Perhaps one of the members of our law library community's Lone Star State contingent will be attending and will report on the activities.
Interactive: March 9–13
Film: March 9–17
Music: March 13–18
Here's the official First-Timer's Guide to SXSW. But I like the title of UT-Austin School of Information student Paul Vinelli's SXSW Interactive guide, Unofficial SXSWi Primer for Rowdy Librarians. See slide 17 for a listing of some presentatons. More information here.
Hat tip to LISNews. [JH]
March 07, 2012
Licensing eResources by Law Libraries
In case you missed it or in case you refused to accept the terms and conditions of AALL's web communications policy to join the Members Open Forum that AALL unilaterally populated with all AALL members, in a March 5, 2012 date-stamped Members Open Forum post, AALL's president issued the below call to the membership to take a survey. Do note well, the survey closes on March 19, 2012.
Recently, I appointed the Library Procurement Process Improvements Task Force, to address one of the outcomes from the Vendor Colloquium Action Plan. As part of its work, the task force has developed a short 10 minute survey in order to gain additional feedback from AALL members. The results from the survey will help identify areas of high-priority as the task force continues to review the AALL Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources and creates a checklist based off these principles to serve as additional guidance in the library procurement process.
Please complete the short survey before it closes on March 19, 2012 to ensure that the task force understands the broad spectrum of practices and concerns that need to be considered in the revised principles.
The survey really is short. Not sure how AALL came up with the "10 minutes" time because it took me all of 60 seconds to answer the no-brainer questions. They are very and I mean very general but in the context of the objective of identifying "high-priority" areas (read not specific issues), I guess this effort is or can or may be characterized as the start of a long and winding road to specificity assuming that the Task Force intends to solicit additional feedback by follow-up issue-focused surveys. Don't know. "Principles" are not "guidelines."
Even if AALL decides "guidelines" for licensing e-Resources are long overdue, it is not like our association of institutional buyers will have much success with enforcing them. Besides the likely outcome that AALL's long established practice of dithering over pressing institutional buyer concerns has typically resulted in "too little, too late" responses, AALL certainly has not had much success with persuading its vendor "partners" to abide by its long established guidelines of p-resources, even after the Vendor Colloquium. It is going to take a much more aggressive consumer advocacy to do anything that actually represents its insitutional buyer members. So far, AALL has earned one big F = failure if we use ALA as the standard of what can actions can be taken by an institutional buyers association well-informed about member concerns.
Attendees of Boston 2012: Learn, Connect, Grow (whatever), might want to mark the following session on their calendar.
G4: Antitrust Considerations and the Association, Monday July 23, 2012 2:45pm - 4:00pm @ HCC-Room TBD
Speakers Shaun Esposito, Margaret K. Maes
Target Audience: Librarians with responsibility for library administration and/or legal information purchasing decisions
1) Participants will understand the history of the Federal Trade Commission guidelines related to legal information resources and of the antitrust discussion within AALL.
2) Participants will be able to identify the challenges posed by current antitrust law on association activity, while also identifying strategies for effective collective responses to unfair licensing and publishing practices.
AALL Vendor Liaison Margaret Maes will introduce the program with a brief history of the transition from FTC rules to guidelines and the antitrust discussion and considerations that have garnered interest within the Association’s membership. Panelists will then review key challenges that associations face when considering action at the organizational level, identifying those activities that are outside the boundaries of legal collective action. Next, panelists will offer a survey of association activity related to business practices that are acceptable and feasible, along with a report of action taken to date by the Executive Board with respect to antitrust policy issues. Lastly, the audience will be asked to contribute suggestions and responses.
All panelists have not yet been identified. I'm thinking our association's legal counsel who drafted last year's bend-over rejected but de facto implemented antitrustism policy should be there, if still retained. If not, our association's current legal counsel should be there. Hell, some AALL members have suggested that an independent antitrust specialist attend this session because "the audience will be asked to contribute suggestions and responses." I am willing to support that suggestion by pulling out my checkbook even if it is not a recognized "sponsorship" opportunity by AALL.
I'm also thinking that this may be the first public opportunity for our association's vendor liaison to respond to former AALL president Kathie Price's closing comment at Harvard's 2011 "Future of Law Libraries: The Future is Now?" conference. In her "Developing Human Resources: The Skills Needed for Law Librarians of Today and the Future" session, Price closed her presentation by stating that AALL must confront publishers over antitrust issues before it is too late. Ah, that had nothing to do with the session topic. I was there. Price was looking directly at our association's current vendor liaison when she made that statement.
Vendor Relations and AALL's Web Communications Policy. While I was very relucant to accept AALL's rules for its web communications platform, I did eventually hit the "accept buttom" to sign up for a couple of groups for reading purposes only. It's been a learning experience and one thing I learned yesterday came by way of a Vendor Relations group post. While we are not supposed to talk about pricing, etc., etc., one AALL member has found a work-around. That work-around is to call attention to and link to a blog post that discloses a vendor's pricing that was published outside the walled garden of AALL's antitrustism-inspired policy. Hum. [JH]
March 01, 2012
Peeps in Law: Time to create your dioramas!
The ABAJ's 4th Annual Peeps in Law Diorama Contest in now underway. "To get your Peep on, tap into your playful spirit and create a court, law or justice-inspired Peeps diorama." The ABAJ News staff will pick their favorites and then ask readers to vote to determine the top three. Contest details here.
Damn, I think it is too late to submit Peeps in the Law Library photos, dioramas or not, for AALL's 2012 Day in the Life contest. But, my hunch is that there may be some empty Exhibit Hall space in Boston if AALL wants to display actual Peeps in the Law Library dioramas for a contest. Just like the ABAJ contest, Peeps & Co. may sponsor the event by awarding the top three winners with gift baskets valued at $25, $50 and $100. At some point during AALL's annual meeting, many attendees do need a massive dose of sugar to carry on. [JH]
February 29, 2012
The Redcoats Are Coming! The Redcoats Are Coming!
By invitation this time. Details here. [JH]
February 24, 2012
Bronze is Wonderful and Represents More Than Just a Few Dollars
Yesterday, Joe Hodnicki wrote a post stating Thomson Reuters (TR) was "...doing the AALL Sponsorship thing on the cheap." Yes, it is a fact that TR is listed as a Bronze Sponsor for the AALL Conference which AALL defines as being in the $5,000-$24,999 range. But it is also a fact that AALL does not take into account the following events which TR is also paying for (in whole or in part) at the Conference this year:
1. The annual Thomson Reuters Customer Appreciation Reception to which all librarians at the conference are invited. I had a fantastic time at last year's event at the Reading Terminal Market and I can only imagine how much that event cost. And I also know TR let the event run about an hour past its scheduled end time because everyone was having such a blast and incurred even more costs as a result.
2. PLL SIS Summit Luncheon on Saturday to which all summit attendees will be invited
3. Conference of Law Library Educators Breakfast Roundtable
4. Academics and Government Librarians Luncheon and Speaker
5. ALLUNY/LLAGNY?NJLLA Reception
6. Government Librarians Leadership Breakfast and Meeting
If AALL did count all of these events TR would be well over the Gold Sponsorship level. Why doesn't AALL count these events? For that answer you will have to ask the AALL leadership. But my point is that regardless of whether or not they are counted TR is certainly not doing the conference "on the cheap".
As LLAGNY president this year I have gotten a much better understanding of the sponsorship that many vendors, including TR, provide to librarian organizations so that we can hold events, programs and give out grants, awards and scholarships. So on behalf of myself (and not on behalf of any organizational position that I hold) I want to say THANK YOU to all of the vendors for your sponsorship. (Caren Biberman)
February 23, 2012
Bronze, Really? Thomson Reuters nickel-and-dimes AALL Annual Meeting sponsorship again
Not trying to be competitive with our friends up north but apparently we in the US are not responsible for as much buying power as CALL/ACBD members are to earn a Gold sponsorship for AALL's annual meeting from Thomson Reuters. Once again, TR earns the "Cold Enough to Freeze the Balls Off a Brass Monkey" award for doing the AALL sponsorship thing on the cheap.
|CALL/ACBD Toronto, May 6-9, 2012||AALL Boston, July 21-24, 2012|
AALL sponsorship levels aren't exactly expensive for our major vendors considering how much US law library cash flows into vendor coffers each year. For the 2012 Boston Meeting they are:
- Gold Sponsorship Contributors: $65,000 or more;
- Silver Sponsorship Contributors: $25,000 to $64,999; and
- Bronze Sponsorship Contributors: $5,000 to $24,999.
Just how much under the $25,000 threshold was the miserly Thomson Reuters contribution? Don't know but to view each sponsor's contributions, go here.
Is this how "West values its partnership with AALL members"? I'm thinking many Boston attendees who attended Philly last year also may be scoping out TR Legal's Exhibit Hall footprint. Smaller than last year? Damn, I forgot to take a tape measure last year. Maybe this year because TR Legal's square footage in Philly was the smallest any regular AALL partygoer could remember.
Perhaps I'm jumping the gun. See Philly 2011 Sponsorship Update: Welcome Thomson Reuters for Coming to the No-Limit Texas Hold 'em Table with a Chip Count Between "$5,000 to $24,999" (June 8, 2011) which updated Is Thomson Reuters Going to Be a Sponsor for AALL's Annual Meeting in Philly This Year? (Feb. 28, 2011). Maybe West needs to shed some West before anteing up for its AALL sponsorship gamble. See today's earlier post, WEXIS Assets on the Auction Block. [JH]
February 21, 2012
2012 CALI Conference Call for Speakers: Seeking people with strong opinions, great ideas, interesting projects and useful advice
Some Assembly Required is the theme for this year's Conference for Law School Computing (held at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, Thursday – Saturday, June 21-23, 2012). Recently John Mayer issued a call for speakers, observing
For 22 years, the CALI Conference has organized its schedule at nearly the last minute in order to bring the most relevant and up-to-date presentations to attendees. This year is no different and we are looking for people with strong opinions, great ideas, interesting projects and useful advice.
The deadline for session proposals is Friday, April 6, 2012. In his call, John adds
We are going to use community voting to help with selecting sessions again this year. Your votes let us know which sessions you would like to see on the conference agenda. Starting on Monday February 27, 2012, voting will be opened and will remain open until Friday April 27, 2012.
Details, including how to submit a proposal for the 2012 CALI conference, are available in John's CALI Spotlight blog post.
One thing I miss by not working in academic law libraries anymore is not being able to attend CALI's annual meeting. While certainly not a techie, CALI conference sessions are always interesting because the speakers and attendees are actually engaged in the process of experimenting and implementing change. Could that be why CALI is seeking "people with strong opinions, great ideas, interesting projects and useful advice" to offer proposals for its annual meeting? Yup. [JH]