May 20, 2013
Extended Student and Law School Grad Access to Lexis Advance
As a follow-up to this LLB post, I have received information about LexisNexis programs for students and law school grads. First, there is the new Summer Associate "All Access" program. Law students can use their law school ID this summer for academic and work purposes from the date classes end in May through August 8, 2013. Graduating 3Ls also have unlimited access from the date their classes end in May through July 31, 2013 (when their law school Lexis Advance accounts expire). Registration is not required.
Second, graduating students can have extended access to Lexis Advance after graduation until December 31, 2013 for educational, bar review and job search purposes only. Participation requires completing a registration form to obtain a new Lexis Advance ID.
Finally, the ASPIRE access for public interest program offers an alternative for students conducting verifiable 501(c)(3) public interest work to maintain access to Lexis Advance. Law Students and recent graduates need to complete a registration form and once approved will receive an ID. [JH]
May 15, 2013
Got to "Spend" Money to Make Money: Extending Law Student WEXIS User Accounts Over the Summer and Beyond
Graduates who extend their password will receive access to WestlawNext and Westlaw Classic through November 2013 instead of just through July. The exact number of monthly access hours is not available, but is at least 40 hours per month. -- Quoting from Extended Westlaw Access for May 2013 Grads published by USF's Dorraine Zief Law Library.
"I'm wonder[ing] who will be the first grad to put on his or her resume that 'if you hire me, I'll have 40 hours of free Westlaw searching I can bring with me'??" wrote 3 Geekster Greg Lambert at Even Westlaw Knows It's a Tough Market – Law Graduates Can Keep Access Through November. He added "Please, don't be that person!!"
Hell, since the USF Law Library announcement doesn't say being an unemployed Class of 2013 grad is a requirement, I'm wondering if the extension does not also benefit Thomson Reuters by exposing Class of 2013 grad employers to its research platforms, etc. Who knows. However, it is unclear to me that Class of 2013 grads really can use their school's Westlaw account in all employment settings. Usually that is not the case. See Cleveland-Marshall's announcement at Bloomberg Law, Lexis, & Westlaw: Student Summer 2013 Access.
BLaw does allow all law school students to use their school user accounts for performing research during summer employment with no restrictions on for-profit work-related use. I'm thinking WEXIS should follow that example. It's a good idea for marketing purposes. Got to "spend" money to make money in today's market for online legal search. [JH]
May 13, 2013
Bloomberg News Reporters Have Been Snooping on Subscribers' Use of Bloomberg Financial Services for Years
With the "Terminal" found in most every banking and trading company as well as industry regulators, shock waves rippled through the financial services industry on May 10th when the New York Post's Mark DeCambre broke the story that Bloomberg's financial journalists were extracting subscribers' private usage data at Goldman Sachs employees concerned Bloomberg news reporters are using terminals to snoop. The New York Times' Amy Chozick and Ben Protess reported on how widespread the monitoring activity was within the industry by Bloomberg News reporters at Privacy Breach on Bloomberg’s Data Terminals.
Reportedly Bloomberg News staff could not see trading activities but the available extracted information about when and how the Company's terminals were used by subscribers provided enough clues to aid its financial journalists for news reports. See also Zachary M. Seward's What Bloomberg employees can see when they snoop on customers.
Bloomberg confirmed that several hundred reporters have been monitoring subscriber usage of various Bloomberg financial services functions for years. The Company also announced that the system functions its reporters had been using were disabled.
First question: Et tu BLaw? [JH]
May 08, 2013
Lawyer2Lawyer Returns!Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams' very long running Lawyer2Lawyer legal affairs podcast program has returned. See Bob's We’re Back! Our Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast Resumes post for details. The first podcast after a six month or so hiatus was Will Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Get the Death Penalty? (links to archived podcast). [JH]
May 06, 2013
Bringing Sanity to Digital Licensing of Commercially Published Newsletters
Well, at least for law firm marketing purposes when a firm's lawyer writes the newsletter article.
For those of us who toil at the intersection of copyright and human behavior, any publisher who keeps making it easier to legitimize the natural impulse of lawyers to embrace every venue for highlighting their accomplishments and share news and insights with their clients gets my endorsement.
Quoting from Jean O'Grady's News You Can Use! Wolters Kluwer Continues to Bring Sanity to Digital Licensing and Oh Yes Releases Two New Daily Newsletters (Banking & Finance and Products Liability). [JH]
May 01, 2013
"Should news outlets in China engage in occasional self-censorship for the greater good of reaching readers and projecting influence?"
Both the New York Times and Bloomberg News decided not to do so. The Chinese government shut down The New York Time's Mandarin news service and blocked its English language website. Bloomberg's bloomberg.com and BusinessWeek websites are also blocked. Here are examples of news media companies deciding to fight government censorship and preserve their integrity while sacrificing revenue generation.
For more, see Jeff John Roberts' Banned in China: Bloomberg and New York Times say they had no choice (paidContent). [JH]
April 22, 2013
An Update on Developments About the Lexis eShift for Periodical Subscriptions
Since initial receipts of the "ACTION REQUIRED TO CONTINUE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION" Lexis eShift Notices (republished here) in early April (March?, earlier?) of this year by institutional subscribers, additional information has become available. Most of the information comes from a series of email exchanges between Caroline Walters, Collection Development Librarian for U.S. and the Materials Budget, Harvard Law Library, and Lexis representatives.
From the context of the exchanges, Lexis understood that the Company's responses to Caroline's questions would be made available to a wider audience. The provided information was republished inside AALL's walled garden of web communications on the Consumer Advocacy Caucus community message board by Betsy McKenzie, Director of the Moakley Law Library and Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School and Caucus Chair. Highly recommended.
Without intending to speak for either Caroline or Betsy, I view this, my opinion and only my opinion, as:
- Caroline was not representing either the Caucus specifically or AALL generally. All she has been attempting to do is acquire information from Lexis about the periodical eShift to perform her day job duties for Harvard Law School Library; and
- While Betsy is Caucus Chair, I believe she was simply posting those exchanges on the Consumer Advocacy Caucus web community message board for FYI purposes about a pressing work-related issue. Furthermore some Caucus web community messages were posted by other law library representatives to help answer day job related questions that had been asked.
Of course, one also may view the Caucus message board activity as an appropriate means for gathering concrete information so that the Caucus can make recommendations to the Executive Board.
BTW, all AALL members -- law library and vendor representatives -- may join and contribute to Consumer Advocacy Caucus web community message board. Again, only speaking for myself, I believe that anything which advances prompt responses to and understanding of time-sensitive issues involving institutional buyers and their vendors can be productive. I may be wrong but I believe buyer and vendor representatives can post to the Consumer Advocacy Caucus web community without being members of the Caucus.
End note. Last week CRIV conducted a conference call with Lexis representatives "to further discuss the change in format to eBooks/eNewsletters and invoicing." According to this April 19, 2013 CRIV Blog post, "LexisNexis will be posting an official response to the questions covered during this call, and we will post the response to the CRIV Blog as well as sending it out through our listserv liaisons." See also this CRIV Blog post dated April 19, 2013, What is the LexisNexis eShift? ("Note: Our serials coordinator alerted me to the following letter included with our copy of Benedict’s Maritime Bulletin.") (Includes the text of the "ACTION REQUIRED TO CONTINUE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION" eShift Notice). [JH]
DPLA Launches with 2.4 Million Records
The portal delivers millions of materials found in American archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions to students, teachers, scholars, and the public. Far more than a search engine, the portal provides innovative ways to search and scan through its united collection of distributed resources. Special features include a dynamic map, a timeline that allow users to visually browse by year or decade, and an app library that provides access to applications and tools created by external developers using DPLA’s open data.
The DPLA portal is powered by a rich repository of information, known as the DPLA platform, which enables new and transformative uses of America’s digitized cultural heritage. With an application programming interface (API) and maximally open data, the DPLA can be used by software developers, researchers, and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery, and engaging apps. The DPLA App Library features an initial slate of applications built on top of the platform; developers and hobbyists of all skill levels are freely able to make use of the data provided via the platform.
March 29, 2013
SCOTUSblog Wins Peabody Award
"SCOTUSblog is a treasure trove mostly of text – archival material, updates, analysis – about the daily and historic workings of the Supreme Court," quoting from the press release. It certainly is. Despite my initial "oh-no" concerns when Bloomberg Law became the blog's sponsor, the combination of the blog's always strong editorial content with free click-thru access to BLaw primary legal resources has enhanced the usefulness of SCOTUSblog. [JH]
Former Thomson Reuters CEO Lands Gig on Morgan Stanley Board of DirectorsFormer TRI CEO Tom Glocer will replace former Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock according to a recent proxy filing. See this Reuters report. It's still "good to be Tom." [JH]
March 27, 2013
Editorial Board of Journal of Library Administration Resigns in Protest
The entire editorial board of JLA has resigned because "the licensing terms in the Taylor & Francis author agreement are too restrictive and out-of-step with the expectations of authors in the LIS community."
After much discussion, the only alternative presented by Taylor & Francis tied a less restrictive license to a $2995 per article fee to be paid by the author. As you know, this is not a viable licensing option for authors from the LIS community who are generally not conducting research under large grants.
Thus, the Board came to the conclusion that it is not possible to produce a quality journal under the current licensing terms offered by Taylor & Francis and chose to collectively resign.
Quoting from an email received by and published in Brian Mathews' So I’m editing this journal issue and… (The Chronicle's The Ubiquitious Librarian blog). See also board member Chris Bourg's My short stint on the JLA Editorial Board. [JH]
March 20, 2013
Sunlight Foundation Evaluates Online Public Access to Legislative Information for All 50 States and the District of Columbia
During Sunshine Week last week the Sunlight Foundation released a "transparency report card" that graded how accessible state legislative information was available online to the public. "Most state legislatures are generally behind the technological curve, and that has negative implications for government oversight," wrote Gabriela Schneider in Editorial Memo: How to Improve State Legislatures’ Transparency. She added:
To their credit, many states have embraced the web for decades and do disclose legislative data, but their technological progress has stalled. At the same time, a cottage industry of expensive pay-services has sprouted to make state legislative data more useful to those who can afford it.
James Turk explains that the transparency report card is a byproduct of the work performed to produce Open States. [LLB post] He identifies the six criteria used to evaluation each state: completeness, timeliness, ease of access, machine readability, use of commonly owned standards and permanence. For more about the methodology, see Open States: Transparency Report Card.
To view your state's grade, check out the Sunlight Foundation's first but hopefully not last Transparency Report Card. [JH]
February 20, 2013
Ronald Dworkin (1931-2013): On the value of being skeptical while being here
Many would agree that Ronald Dworkin was the most important philosopher of law (and politics) in the Anglo-American sphere of influence in our time. Note well, that proposition is based on a value judgment and that is Dworkin 101.
Propositions in Dworkin 101 (philosophy alert -- propositions are statements examined by critical, logical analysis) are true if they flow from principles of fairness and justice. Define what is fair and just, and then draw conclusions that do not violate formal logic. However, if one disagrees with the value propositions about what is fair and just, there's no need to continue reading unless one wants to identify topics not covered or critique the specific methodology used. Just return the text to the law library.
But this is always the case in philosophical thought. For example, if you don't accept that "Becoming" is the result of "Being" and "Nothing", there is no reason to continue reading Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (or Mind or Culture) except for performing a critical analysis of Hegel's speculative methodology aka "dialectics" and/or identifying topics not covered by this and all "all too human" thinkers. Accept "Being" to "Nothing" to "Becoming": Hegel's dialectical reasoning is ruthlessly logical. One can end up an "absolute idealist," not that there is anything wrong with that!
Some would argue that Dworkin's major contribution was to make the case that moral considerations should be taken into account in law plus politics (avoiding the "law and .."). One could argue that since they already are considerations, for example, at the judicial level, ethics in law (not legal ethics) must be the "stuff" of close examination. I would argue that Dworkin's project was much more fundamental. The philosopher's task is to question and by questioning to remind others that they ought to do the same. Becoming skeptical is the root from which our Euro-centric tree of philosophical traditions originated from.
In the below video clip, Dworkin makes the case that skepticism is a moral position. As such, it must be earned according to Dworkin. Should the intellectual output of unearned skepticism be ignored? I don't think Dworkin is saying that one should have a closed mind. An open mind is evidence of being willing listen to anyone because one has the guts to re-think one's own assumptions. Ultimately that is the task of a philosophical GPS in the world of spirit or mind or culture we all too human beings dwell until we die.
Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog has posted links to obits and memorial notices at In Memoriam: Ronald Dworkin (1931-2013). Highly recommended. [JH]
February 14, 2013
Dick Spinelli, Dark Horse Candidate for Pope?
Rumor is that Dick Spinelli was called away from his modest estate in Italy and escorted by the Swiss Guard to Rome yesterday to be vetted as a possible candidate for Pope. Confirmation from the Holy See was not forthcoming because this reporter cannot speak Latin.
Please don't toss your hat in the ring Dick. OK, OK, I guess becoming the first U.S. legal publishing executive elected Pope would be more historic than becoming the first vendor executive elected AALL President. Folks at Hein indicate that Dick is contractually obligated to attend Seattle 2013 no matter what the hell happens in Rome. Thank god for that! [JH]
February 05, 2013
Thomson Reuters "is getting out of the dead trees end of the legal education business"
So wrote Jennifer Smith in Thomson Reuters Bids Adieu To Law School Publishing (WSJ Private Equity Beat, Feb. 4, 2013). Of course, it is a little more complicated than merely getting out of the dead trees business. TRI once tried to pitch some unenhanced law school eBooks but academic law libraries pushed back due to costs.
TRI confirmed that the long anticipated sale of its law school publishing unit concluded last Friday. Terms of the deal with Eureka Growth Capital were not disclosed. [JH]
February 04, 2013
Google Settles Linking Dispute With French Publishers, Implications Abound
Google’s settlement with French publishers over the use of links and snippets in Google News is not getting rave reviews from the press or politicians. The announcement came last Friday that Google agreed to set up a fund of about $82 million for the benefit of French publishers. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt described it this way on the Official Google Blog:
Today I announced with President Hollande of France two new initiatives to help stimulate innovation and increase revenues for French publishers. First, Google has agreed to create a €60 million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to help support transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers. Second, Google will deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology.
France was considering changes to its copyright law that would require royalties for links. I can’t say whether France was serious about this beyond a negotiations ploy, but that is off the table with the new agreement. Commentators say that while this may benefit Google in the short run it may set a precedent for how publishers deal with other aggregators. $82 million is lunch money for Google. That it couched the agreement as an advertising partnership means it will recapture some of that cash through its ad network.
Google settled with Belgian publishers not long ago with a similar deal, though that was the result of copyright litigation in that country. German performance rights society GEMA is in a royalties dispute with YouTube over musical content licensed by GEMA. YouTube has blocked the videos with a message suggesting that GEMA is not licensing the content. GEMA is upset with this as it is willing to license the content, though at a higher rate than Google will accept. German publishers are interested in pushing Google for money based on the French and Belgian precedents. They, however, want some type of agreement that would bind all aggregators such as Bing, Yahoo, and others.
Linking is the new frontier for publishers desperate for money in a declining industry. Google may be the biggest target with the deepest pockets but the web is much more than Google. Social networks users, for example, have a habit of casual linking to news. It’s only a matter of time before publishers complain that Facebook et al. are not paying their fair share on behalf of their customers. Google’s business arrangements in France, Belgium, and likely Germany, can force a new worldwide model on unwilling participants. What may be a political dispute will become the cost of doing business. I’ll be following these developments over time.
One commentary in particular that enforces that idea comes from the Guardian UK. The perspective there is that Google pulled a fast one on the French as there is no binding contract holding Google to a set of actions. Any conflicts under the deal are not subject to arbitration. Google does not have to reveal its search algorithms which are something that may be an issue in the European Union’s antitrust investigation into search ranking. It’s available here. [MG]
January 29, 2013
Short Takes On The News: Admission Misinformation, Windows 8, Big Law, and Google
It seems that misreporting of admissions data is not exclusive to law schools. Inside Higher Ed reports that four universities and have misreported undergraduate test scores to U.S. News. The latest is Bucknell, which misreported SAT and ACT scores for a six year period. One MBA program reported incorrect admissions information as well. U.S. News seems to think this is not a trend, though the article seems to question that conclusion.
Anyone interested in purchasing cheap copies of Windows 8 upgrades are advised to do so by Thursday. Microsoft’s promotional pricing of $39.99 for downloads ends on January 31. Upgrades to Windows 8 Pro are available at that price for Windows 7, Vista, and XP. The price goes to $119.99 for the regular edition and $199.99 for the Pro edition. I saw the Windows 8 Pro disc set on sale at Costco for $66.99 and at Wal-Mart for $199.99. Microsoft’s download page is here. CNET has more pricing details here.
All the job troubles with Big Law suggested a retrenchment of what services and costs clients were and were not willing to pay. At least that was the narrative over the last several years. The Wall Street Journal reports in a very short article that the survey by the Wells Fargo Specialty Group shows law firms had good numbers in 2012. The figures aren’t reported, though the conclusion is. I doubt that this will lead to more hiring. My guess is a firm that could produce good financial results will not want to increase its overhead unless absolutely necessary.
Finally, CNET reports on a documentary from the recent Sundance Film Festival called Google And The World Brain. It examines the failed book settlement and questions whether placing the world’s knowledge in the hands of a corporation. Google, can after all, change its mind about levels of access to its scanning project without much oversight. CNET’s review notes that the problem is bigger than Google, with implications for all when major corporations gather intimate information about its customers. Implications aside, that’s what you get in a commerce driven world. [MG]
Hello World from the Land of 10,000 Solutions
I'm "Legal Solutions" from Thomson Reuters, your 21st century "premier source for legal solutions, including WestlawNext and law books" (at least until "solutions" becomes too tired a buzz word). Type in http://west.thomson.com to be redirected to http://legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-products/ to watch my welcome to my new home video. Then take the site tour of my "one-stop convenience" store "for everything legal" hosted by my big daddy, Thomson Reuters (at least as long as the Thomson family doesn't divest their holdings to return to the oil and gas industry should this not work). I can't tell you how excited I am to join Jim Smith and Stephane Bello in our investors conference call on February 13th. Good riddence to Johnny and Jenny Westlaw.
Hat tip to Jason Wilson's And It Begins... and officially ends for West. [JH]
January 24, 2013
Harper's Publisher Says Google Steals Its Content, Buries Harper's In Search
I’ve read many an attack on Google for all kinds of reasons, some valid, and some not. I usually don’t encounter one that is so misguided that reading it would turn eye-rolling into an art form. John R. MacArthur publishes Harper’s Magazine. He recently published a rant editorial criticizing Google for “stealing” copyrighted information for the company’s own benefit and profit. “Media barons,” he calls Google executives Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt. His complaints are typical of the aggrieved publisher seeking an easy target. Here’s an example:
Google’s bias for search results that list its own products above those of its competitors is now well-known, but equally damaging, and less remarked, is the bias that elevates websites with free content over ones that ask readers to pay at least something for the difficult labor of writing, editing, photographing, drawing, and painting and thinking coherently. Try finding Harper’s Magazine when you Google “magazines that publish essays” or “magazines that publish short stories” — it isn’t easy.
Perhaps, but most people looking for Harper’s would simply type in the name. paidContent points out that only a tiny fraction of individuals would search for Harper’s content that way. I agree. Do most people seriously search for essay collections with that kind of search? I think Google is marvelously useful but it’s not a substitute for a reference librarian. As it turns out, using MacArthur’s search phrase brings up results that include Harper’s, at very least referencing reactions to his essay.
Another one of his statements elicits multiple head scratches:
Or try to get up-to-date news about Xavier Niel and Free through your friendly local Google search engine. Not exactly web neutral, our buddy-philanthropists Larry, Sergey, and Eric.
Perhaps MacArthur hasn’t heard of Google News. Results there show multiple stories as current as today with a deep archive of active, accessible links. Google invites one to set up a news alert that will return up to the minute results. No news blackout there as far as I can see. For the record, Xavier Niel runs the French ISP Free which is doing battle with Google in France over copyright. That country is considering changes to its copyright laws that would require search engines to pay a royalty to link to French media content.
MacArthur further acknowledges that the Federal Trade Commission dropped its investigation in how Google ranks search results. He attributes this to Google’s vast lobbying capability. Most commentators speculated that the FTC may have concluded it couldn’t win a case if it brought one. Even the FTC indicated that while subjective ranking may hurt competitors, it didn’t hurt the consumer. Consumers are the object of the antitrust laws, not competitors.
MacArthur describes himself as “a journalist and board member of the Authors Guild.” I think I know where he gets his outlook on the Internet. The Guild has been fighting a losing battle to suppress indexing of content in its members books. The HathiTrust case comes to mind. Despite the rejection of the settlement in the Google book scanning case, it’s an open question of whether the Guild will prevail on the ultimate copyright issue if the HathiTrust case holds up on appeal.
It’s easy to lament the fact that online versions of newspapers and magazines do not generate the same kind of revenue as their print products had in the past. There are a couple of alternatives MacArthur could take. He could lobby Congress to change the copyright laws to better protect his product. He could remove all of his content references from Google. Rupert Murdoch threatened that but never followed through. I wonder why. Or he could put Harper’s content behind a complete and very thorough pay wall. Consumers can then decide if its value is worth the charge for access. I’ll mention that I read a lot of online materials in The Atlantic, the New Yorker, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast and comparable publications. Their writers and bloggers are not shy about commenting on and linking to stories on other sites. I never see references to Harper’s. I’ll ask again, I wonder why? [MG]
January 07, 2013
Acquiring Current Awareness and Productivity Solution Services for Private Sector Specialist Legal Markets by WEXIS
Reaching beyond the generalist legal market because that is not where the cash flow is, WEXIS started off 2013 with announcements that Thomson Reuters acquired UK-based how-to Practical Law Company and Lexis acquired Seattle-based Knowledge Mosaic. No details yet on what Thomson Reuters plans to do with Practical Law Company's services but Jean O'Grady identifies some potential synergies and strategic implications in her recent Dewey B Strategic post.
Following last year's acquisition of Law360, LexisNexis is beefing up its news and current awareness portfolio for speciality law practice areas. Reportedly, Lexis will offer Knowledge Mosaic as a standalone service while also integrating its content and tools with Lexis services such as Lexis Practice Advisor. Check Dewey B Strategic for Jean O'Grady's promised post about Knowledge Mosaic's acquisition by LexisNexis. [JH]