Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Roncevic's E-book Platforms for Libraries
"Librarians, I hope you find the comparative tables useful and the vast landscape of ebooks a bit less daunting after having read this report. Library vendors, I hope you benefit from the insight into how your products compare to others and how you can continue to improve their functionalities and business models." -- Mirela Roncevic, No Shelf Required
Roncevic's E-book Platforms for Libraries, Library Technology Reports, April 2013 issue, is now available for purchase from the ALA Store. Here's the blurb:
E-book vendors continue to experiment: adjustments to business models, consolidation of content, and mergers with competitors mean constant change. What’s good for innovation can equal confusion when it comes to choosing an e-book platform for your library. Making a sound purchasing decision requires research and close consideration of trade-offs, and Roncevic’s new issue of Library Technology Reports will get you started. Based on surveys of e-book vendors with an established presence in academic, public, and/or K–12 library markets, this report includes
- Background and business model descriptions for 51 leading e-book vendors
- Four tables comparing content, technical specifications, functionality, and business models
- An at-a-glance overview of platforms, including vendor website URLs
- Bulleted checklists of factors to consider, and questions to ask vendors
- An examination of the blurring channels of publisher, aggregator, and distributor platforms, with advice to help you avoid content overlap
Monday, May 6, 2013
Is BigLaw Heading for a Crash Landing?
From the Bloomberg Law video's description:
Paul Barrett, assistant managing editor and senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek tells Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia that Big Law is currently experiencing "a very difficult crash landing that is taking place now and will persist for at least another several more years." While acknowledging that the 2008 recession was partially to blame for the slowdown, Barrett sees the current situation compounded by the bursting of a bubble among large law firms that hired too many lawyers and entered into ill-advised mergers. We are seeing the reckoning from overkill that built up over many years, he says.
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]
Friday, May 3, 2013
A New Law School Rankings and Everything That's Wrong With ItCheck out ATL's first Top 50 Law Schools and Elie Mystal's Everything That Is Wrong With The Above the Law Law School Rankings. [JH]
Friday Fun: Baby, just conform this way
From the 2012 Cardozo Law Revue. Good luck Class of 2013 grads. [JH]
Thursday, May 2, 2013
"Posted on Behalf of LexisNexis"
"So I just read Lexis’ responses to questions posed by CRIV on it’s eBook program," wrote Jason Wilson in This week in random ad placements: Lexis’ response to CRIV on eBooks, "and when I finished, the following ad appeared at the end of the piece [video below]. Brilliant conclusion."
The ad that appeared in the CRIV Blog post, LexisNexis Response to April 2013 eBook Questions – Posted on Behalf of LexisNexis, when I read it wasn't nearly as good as this one. Thanks Jason! [JH]
Should Retired Federal Judges' Working Papers Be Archived as Official Government Records Open for Research Purposes?
Never gave the matter a thought. You? Well, Kathryn A. Watts, Univ. of Washington School of Law, has. Judges and Their Papers [SSRN], 2013 New York University Law Review article, may be the first serious attempt to answer the question, "who should own a federal judge's papers?" Here's the abstract:
Who should own a federal judge’s papers? This question has rarely been asked. Instead, it has generally been accepted that the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal judges own their own working papers, which include papers created by judges relating to their official duties, such as internal draft opinions, confidential vote sheets, and case-related correspondence. This longstanding tradition of private ownership has led to tremendous inconsistency. For example, Justice Thurgood Marshall’s papers were released just two years after he left the bench, revealing behind-the-scenes details about major cases involving issues like abortion and flag burning. In contrast, Justice David Souter’s papers will remain closed until the 50th anniversary of his retirement, and substantial portions of Justice Byron White’s papers, including files relating to the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona, were shredded. In addition, many collections of lower federal court judges’ papers have been scattered in the hands of judges’ families. Notably, this private ownership model has persisted despite the fact that our country’s treatment of presidential records shifted from private to public ownership through the Presidential Records Act of 1978. Furthermore, private ownership of judicial papers has endured even though it has proven ill-equipped to balance the many competing interests at stake, ranging from calls for governmental accountability and transparency on the one hand to the judiciary’s independence, confidentiality and collegiality on the other.
This Article is the first to give significant attention to the question of who should own federal judges’ working papers and what should happen to the papers once a judge leaves the bench. Upon the 35th anniversary of the enactment of the Presidential Records Act, this Article argues that judges’ working papers should be treated as governmental property — just as presidential papers are. Although there are important differences between the roles of President and judge, none of the differences suggest that judicial papers should be treated as a species of private property. Rather, the unique position of federal judges, including the judiciary’s independence, should be taken into account when crafting rules that speak to reasonable access to and disposition of judicial papers — not when answering the threshold question of ownership. Ultimately, this Article — giving renewed attention to a long forgotten 1977 governmental study commissioned by Congress — argues that Congress should declare judicial papers public property and should empower the judiciary to promulgate rules implementing the shift to public ownership. These would include, for example, rules governing the timing of public release of judicial papers. By involving the judiciary in implementing the shift to public ownership, Congress would enhance the likelihood of judicial cooperation, mitigate separation of powers concerns, and enable the judiciary to safeguard judicial independence, collegiality and confidentiality.
Highly recommended. [JH]
New CRS Report on Private Laws: Too late for this year's ALR courses but, hopefully, CRS reports are assigned readings for them
From the summary of Procedural Analysis of Private Laws Enacted: 1986-2013 (RS22450, April 9, 2013):
Between 1986 and 2013 (99th-113th Congresses), 170 private laws were enacted. As of this writing, no private laws have been enacted in the 113th Congress (2013-2014). Most private laws during this period dealt with immigration issues or claims against the government. Of these measures, 65% originated in the House, 9% had cosponsors, and 23% had companion bills. Most were enacted without amendment or need to resolve differences with the other house. This report examines the broad distinctions among these measures in terms of their subject matter, introduction, sponsorship and cosponsorship, referral, method of consideration, amendment, and reconciling of differences between the chambers’ versions of the bill.
Yes, a little late for an ALR course reading assignment this year. But not next year. Of course, I'm assuming (and hoping) ALR instructors are going beyond the textbook by assigning CRS reports that address executive, legislative and judiciary topics. Another recent example that I believe would be appropriate is The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress (March 8, 2013; R41933) (Featured on LLB here.) [JH]
Opening: Collection Development Manager, University of Iowa Law Library
Position available as of July 1, 2013
Employer Information: The University of Iowa Law Library is a nationally recognized premier law library. It has one of the largest collections of legal materials in the country, with an exceptional research collection of print and electronic resources relating to U.S. domestic, international, foreign and comparative law. The Law Library has a permanent staff of thirty, including fourteen professional librarians. For more information about the University of Iowa Law Library, visit http://www.law.uiow.edu/library.
The University of Iowa College of Law, founded in 1865, is the oldest law school west of the Mississippi River. The Law School currently has approximately 530 J.D. students and forty-five faculty members. For more information about the College of Law, go to http://www.law.uiowa.edu.
The University of Iowa is a major national research university located in Iowa City, Iowa and enrolls over 30,000 students. The Iowa City area provides a wealth of intellectual, cultural and athletic opportunities along with affordable housing. For more information about the University of Iowa, visit http://www.uiowa.edu.
Responsibilities: The Collection Development Manager directly supervises 3 FTE support staff and the workflows of the Collection Development Department. The Collection Development Manager’s responsibilities include coordinating the process of acquiring all new titles for the library’s collections, as well as supervising the department’s problem-solving, cancellation, and subscription renewal activities. This librarian also oversees the library’s approximately $3.2 million acquisitions budget, managing the payment activities of the Collection Services Division Merit staff, and tracking and reporting monthly and annual expenditures to assist with selection decisions.
Qualifications and Experience: The candidate is required to have an MLS/MLIS from an accredited program; evidence of strong organizational, prioritization, and problem-solving skills; accuracy and attention to detail; demonstrated written and verbal communication skills; and excellent interpersonal skills including the ability to provide leadership and direction and to perform well in a team environment. Highly desirable qualifications include one to three years of work experience in a library particularly in acquisitions; previous supervisory experience including training, mentoring, and direct supervision; and previous work with budgets and/or accounting experience.
Salary: $50,000 to $58,000
Application Process: Candidates must register and apply via JOBS@UIOWA (http://jobs.uiowa.edu). Once registered, click on “Search for Jobs” and check the box next to “Librarians/Library Science” then “Enter”. This position is Requisition #62625. Review of applications will begin on May 24, 2013 and will continue until the position is filled.
The University of Iowa is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
ABA Uncertain About Law School Faculty Tenure Requirements
The National Law Journal and others are reporting on the work of the ABA committee charged with updating the organization’s standards, this time in regard to faculty tenure. It’s a touchy subject, having evoked a lot of criticism starting in 2010 when it was suggested that the existing standards did not require tenure as a provision of job security. See the July, 2010 TaxProf Blog post More on the ABA’s Proposal to Dilute Law Faculty Tenure which includes links to various articles from that time.
Fast forward to 2013 and we find that the committee can’t seem to decide what to do with the issue. The NLJ reports four possible options under a revised standard:
- Maintain the existing standard
- Afford security to full-time faculty via long term contracts, but not tenure
- Afford security as above but include clinical and legal writing instructors in coverage
- Eliminate the security requirement entirely
I can see problems with all of these approaches. Law schools are obviously under pressure to change due to declining enrollment and calls to make the curriculum more practice oriented. A tenured faculty tends to be one of the institutional barriers to these changes, at least out of self-interest. The two middle choices may seem reasonable but there are other implications. These, along with the fourth option eliminate tenure entirely though with some form of security in place. I wonder how well that would go over with other university departments and schools where tenure is routinely part of the employment options.There is also the issue of library staff that may be eligible for tenure track positions. I can imagine eliminating tenure for the faculty would almost certainly mean the same for law librarians in institutions with these employment options. It may even lead to further unionization in academics. Something not required by the ABA may still be subject to collective bargaining. There is one other development lurking in the backdrop to all of this. The Sixth Circuit ruled last August that tenure is defined by the terms of the contract between school and faculty member, essentially meaning that achieving tenure does not require a school to tender successive contracts. See my post Sixth Circuit Makes Tenure Almost Meaningless. Whatever standard is ultimately adopted will have impact well beyond the law school. I don’t envy the committee or fault it for taking its time. [MG]
Another Vendor Pushback Response to a CRIV Inquiry
A firm librarian alerted CRIV to Thomson Reuters requiring that the last four numbers of an SSN are a required element as part of an eSignature for conducting an online business transaction with the Company. So CRIV asked Thomson Reuters and here is the Company's response:
Our ordering system requires a method to verify the person placing the order, commonly referred to as an electronic signature. The system’s settings require the individual’s name, title and last four digits of their social security number for verification.
Dah, I'm thinking the questioner knew that the SSN number was being used for verification purposes but was thinking there should be some better way to conduct eCommerce in the B2B context.
In Request for Assistance: Requiring Social Security Number as part of eSignature for Business Transactions – Thomson Reuters (includes text of response), CRIV writes
Due to the response, CRIV is following back up on the issue to see if a more concrete explanation on this topic is available. For example, why can’t One Pass Verification be used as an alternative?
I'm not keen on CRIV's OnePassYourAss suggestion unless the OnePass account system includes specific verification from the buying institution that a OnePass holder is authorized to make purchases billed to the institution. Safeguards need to be established. That's very easy to do by way of Thomson Reuters' OnePass account management system. Just add a check box to each OnePass account listing and set the damn default to "no." Give system authorization only to a master OnePass account manager at each institution to change the setting to "yes" for business-to-business transactions. [JH]
How a Visit to a Presidential Library Can Be an Enlightening Experience
“I have no doubt in my mind, after spending some time in Mr. Bush’s library and museum, that the United States simply must intervene in Iraq in order to temper volatility in the Middle Eastern region as a whole,” Obama said, according to Obama Orders Reinvasion Of Iraq After Illuminating Trip Through Bush Presidential Library. Of course, it's the Onion News. [JH]
"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]
On the Impending Retrenchment of Legal Practice and Legal Education in ChinaIn 2011, Carl F. Minzner's (Fordham University School of Law) China’s Turn Against Law [SSRN] was published in American Journal of Comparative Law. The article argued that "Chinese leaders’ shift against law is a distinct domestic political reaction to building pressures in the Chinese system. It is a top-down authoritarian response motivated by social stability concerns."
This Article also analyzes the risks facing China as a result of the shift against law. It argues that the Chinese leadership’s concern with maintaining social stability in the short term may be leading them to take steps that are having severe long-term effects of undermining Chinese legal institutions and destabilizing China.
Excerpted from the abstract of China’s Turn Against Law.
In The Rise and Fall of Chinese Legal Education [SSRN], Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2013, a companion analysis to his earlier article, Minzner has turned his attention to the consequences to China's legal education system, internally and abroad, as the Chinese government strives to regain top-down party control of its legal system. Here's the abstract:
Over the past three decades, legal education in China has boomed. Numbers of law students and schools have increased exponentially. Legal education has become standardized at universities throughout the country. Prominent legal academics have emerged as public voices for political reform.
But Chinese authorities now perceive flaws in these trends. A flood of law graduates faces dismal employment prospects. Schools remain uniformly focused on academic research rather than practical skills. And the liberal orientation of many faculties is at odds with new conservative Party views on legal reform.
In response, officials are remolding legal education. They are reducing numbers of law students. They are pushing law schools to differentiate themselves from each other. And they are increasing political content in classrooms.
This Article analyzes both the expansion of legal education in China and its impending retrenchment.
China’s difficulties are not entirely unique. In both Latin America and Japan, efforts at rapid reform of law schools have foundered. And in recent decades, the United States has experienced unsustainable, credit-fueled growth in the cost and structure of legal education.
This Article argues that the current bubble in Chinese legal education is largely the result of state policies pursued since the late 1990s. These pushed the rapid expansion of university legal education through the use of one-size-fits-all target evaluation systems. But they have detrimentally affected the quality and direction of legal education in China.
As a result, authorities are reviving educational practices from the 1980s, that themselves have roots in the 1950s. Chinese legal education may be returning to its own past, rather than converging with foreign models.
This Article also contends that legal education can serve as the canary in the coalmine for understanding the direction of political and legal reform in China. The ability of conservative Party authorities to politically remold legal education may indicate whether their influence has already crested or if it will continue to expand yet further.
Last, this Article argues that Chinese developments will directly impact the efforts of American legal educators to address their own financial problems. Efforts to blindly ramp up recruitment of Chinese LLM students may be unsuccessful as a long-term strategy to solve the current problems confronting U.S. law schools.
Both articles are highly recommended. [JH]
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Two More Codes Now Available from PublicResource.Org
Following the March 25, 2013 upload for bulk distribution of the DC Code, (LLB post here) PublicResource.Org uploaded the Colorado Code on April 16th and the Baltimore, Maryland Code on April 19th. About the Baltimore Code, see Carl Malamud's Twitter exchanges.
Hat tip to Legal Informatics Blog. [JH]
Happy 20th Birthday Public World Wide Web
Cern has restored the first web server and the first web site ever produced on the “World Wide Web.” The link to the site is http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. Be advised that the link will likely generate an error page due to the traffic generated by interest in seeing it. The cached copy delivered via Google shows a spare white page with text appearing in generic Times Roman font. Those were the days.
The story of the creation of the working web appears on a Cern page in a similar, spare style. It was on April 30, 1993 that the first web page went live. We learn that the hardware involved consistent of a NeXT Cube that cost, at the time, $6,500. If anyone remembers, this was a computer that was produced by Steve Jobs’ venture in between his stints at Apple.
The page headline notes “Twenty years of a free, open web.” I think that’s true to a large extent, though the commercial distribution of digital goods has had a profound effect on the concepts of open and free. Think DRM and pay walls as an example. These aren’t necessarily bad things given give the requirements of some business models. I do believe, though, the implementation, in some situations can be extreme. One of the major discussions going on about the implementation of the video tag in HTML5 is whether DRM will be added by extension. See this article, for example.
Another development that questions the open aspect of the web is the level of political control some countries exert (or try to exert) over web content. I doubt those in the web project, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and others foresaw this or the attempts by governments to implement heavy handed surveillance to web communications. See this story as an example.
Then again, the web isn’t all business. I think 20 years ago we would all be horrified at the idea of sharing our personal details with governments, corporations, and complete strangers. Who could have predicted the web as a vehicle for high levels of exhibitionism and voyeurism? That now seems to be the social norm for many. For my money, the web is really a secret plot by cats to spread bad grammar in the form of cuteness. We’ll all be dumbed down to the point where we cater to their every need. In fact, I can has finish post this so I cans open another can of noms for the kittahs.
The BBC has an in-depth story on the birth of the public web. Feed your kittahs before reading it. Priorities, after all. [MG]
Joining the Major Leagues: Institutionalizing BLaw into the Law School Setting
BLaw started making its aggressive push into the academic market last year. Mark wrote in BLaw Makes Its Push Into Law Schools (LLB, April 23, 2012):
The offer to schools is interesting to say the least. Any school that subscribes to the BNA Premier Service will receive a significant discount on their subscription charge and free access to Bloomberg Law. That discount can be in tens of thousands of dollars for an acknowledged high quality legal database. What Bloomberg asks in return, is parity with the way other electronic legal research services are treated at law schools.
By parity, Bloomberg Law wanted student exposure to and instruction in its online research services similar to the treatment given to WEXIS in law schools. In Bloomberg Law and the Quest for Parity, CRIV Sheet, May 2013, at 3, Lee Sims (Rutgers-Newark Law Library) commented
If we are not adding BLaw, as well as Loislaw, Casemaker, and EDGAR, to whatever we are teaching, we are not providing our students with tools they need to be successful graduates. And this was a point on which everyone I surveyed seemed to agree: to prepare students for the current legal research environment, we have the obligation to expose them to as many resources as possible. If those resources include BLaw, so be it.
"Do the right thing: vote early, and vote often (unless you’re a bot)."
Polls close for voting in ATL's annual Law Revue Video Contest Wednesday, May 1st at 11:59 PM. You can view the finalists' videos, listed below, and vote at Law Revue Video Contest 2013: The Finalists!
1. Columbia Law School — That’s Why You’ll Make Law Review
2. NYU Law School — Last Thursday Night
3. UCLA School of Law — Don’t Call On Me
4. UVA School of Law — On A-T-L
5. Washington University in St. Louis School of Law — This is Law School
6. West Virginia University College of Law — Law School
Monday, April 29, 2013
Supreme Court Action: FOIA and a Dismissal of Certiorari in a Capital Case
The Supreme Court issued one opinion this morning along with a per curiam dismissal of a case noting certiorari as improvidently granted. The case with full opinion is McBurney v. Young (12-17). The case is a challenge to Virginia’s FOIA scheme that denies non-resident access to documents otherwise available to Virginia citizens. The Court combined two cases challenging the distinction as a violation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause and/or the Court’s dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence.
McBurney, a citizen of Rhode Island, requested the Commonwealth’s Division of Child Support to file a petition on his behalf due to his wife’s default on child support obligations. The agency complied after a 9-month delay. McBurney filed a Virginia FOIA request for agency internal documents to determine the cause of the delay. The agency denied his request as he was not a Virginia citizen, though he was able to get most of the information via a request under Virginia’s Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act. He did not receive policy documents on agency procedures for claims such as his. Roger Hurlbert, a citizen of California, filed a FOIA request for real estate tax records in Henrico County which was denied. Hurlbert maintained a business that acquired these types of documents for clients.
The lower courts rejected claims by both individuals. The Supreme Court agreed:
Petitioners allege that Virginia’s citizens-only FOIA provision violates four different “fundamental” privileges or immunities: the opportunity to pursue a common calling, the ability to own and transfer property, access to the Virginia courts, and access to public information. The first three items on that list, however, are not abridged by the Virginia FOIA, and the fourth—framed broadly—is not protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause.
The Court stated that it will strike down a statute that is enacted for a protectionist purpose and to burden out of state citizens. Virginia’s FOIA statute does not do this. It recognizes that Virginia citizens pay for document request services. The effect on out-of-state citizens is incidental. There are alternative ways of requesting and receiving the public documents at issue. They are available through the various clerks of the circuit court offices and in many cases are available online:
Requiring noncitizens to conduct a few minutes of Internet research in lieu of using a relatively cumbersome state FOIA process cannot be said to impose any significant burden on noncitizens’ ability to own or transfer property in Virginia.
The Court noted in McBurney’s case that he had access to Virginia’s courts and rules of procedure, including discovery, to enforce his rights. This is not much of a burden considering he received most of the information he requested under a different statute. The Court made clear that the Constitution does not offer a right to obtain all information provided by FOIA laws or that the Constitution itself a Freedom of Information Act.
As to the dormant Commerce Clause argument:
Virginia’s FOIA law neither “regulates” nor “burdens” interstate commerce; rather, it merely provides a service to local citizens that would not otherwise be available at all. The “common thread” among those cases in which the Court has found a dormant Commerce Clause violation is that “the State interfered with the natural functioning of the interstate market either through prohibition or through burdensome regulation.” Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp., 426 U. S. 794, 806 (1976). Here, by contrast, Virginia neither prohibits access to an interstate market nor imposes burdensome regulation on that market. Rather, it merely creates and provides to its own citizens copies—which would not otherwise exist—of state records.
Justice Alito delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion denying the validity of the negative Commerce Clause jurisprudence.
The second case is Boyer v. Louisiana (11-9593). Justice Alito wrote a concurring opinion on the dismissal, joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas:
We granted certiorari in this case to decide “[w]hether a state’s failure to fund counsel for an indigent defendant for five years, particularly where failure was the direct result of the prosecution’s choice to seek the death penalty, should be weighed against the state for speedy trial purposes.” Pet. for Cert. i. The premise of that question is that a breakdown in Louisiana’s system for paying the attorneys representing petitioner, an indigent defendant who was charged with a capital offense, caused most of the lengthy delay between his arrest and trial. Because the record shows otherwise, I agree that the writ of certiorari was improvidently granted.
Justice Sotomayor, along with Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan, dissented. [MG]
"So What": Dealing with Format Switcheroos
What if hosting eShifted Lexis periodicals as a method for archiving and accessing the PDF issues means hosting them on a local directory at C://... on one workstation? Based on Michael Ginsborg's close reading of the LexisNexis Electronic Publications Master Agreement in his LexisNexis eShift or eShaft? analysis, my web server hosting suggestion sounds like a violation of the Company's Master Agreement, even if the PDFs were hosted on an internal closed intranet. My bad. As Michael correctly observed, the basis of my post was the Lexis eShift Notice tech processing staff were finding in the shipments of the last print periodical issues their law libraries would receive.
Well, I doubt anyone has commenced following my April 8th suggestion at this time. Why? Because attentive serials check-in staff are still catching the ACTION REQUIRED TO CONTINUE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION notice. Apparently the list of known affected titles appears to be growing. What point is there in taking any systematic in-house problem-solving action until institutional subscribers know how extensive the Lexis eShift's impact to their libraries will be unless, of course, one's collection development policy has become to cancel the periodicals.
It is clear that once again Lexis is in customer service damage control mode; the scramble is on. Apparently nothing much was learned from the "free" eBook substitution for CDs that commenced in November of 2012, nothing that is except maybe someone in Dayton or New York City mentioned "we're going to have to answer to CRIV again". And indeed, Lexis will. But despite CRIVs very best efforts I seriously doubt the forthcoming periodical e-migration response will be any more enlightening than the Company's response to CRIV's first go-around with the eBook substitution.
CRIV can only go so far. Based on the recently approved Vendor Relations Policy by AALL's Executive Board, CRIV cannot do much more than ask Lexis to please consult with and please provide reasonable and detailed advance notice when Lexis or any other vendor for that matter considers or decides to change a title's format (from one print to another print format, from one electronic to another electronic format or from one print to an electronic format).
No doubt Thomson Reuters is enjoying this second round of WTF-ing from law libraries about Lexis. Usually Thomson Reuters is at the center of these sorts of kerfuffles with their invoice-paying institutional buyers. Joined by Lexis now, we highlight typical WEXIS responses in the form of three rhetorical questions.
- What if a vendor's response to an on-going format change is to merely indicate that there are a couple of hundred of titles which are candidates for being changed?
- What if a vendor's response is to tell the institutional buying community to contact their individual rep?
- What if a vendor's response is to claim that advance notice is being provided to customers by way of an updated list of titles hosted on their eCommerce site?
Acceptable? Anyone with any print manufacturing experience knows that a vendor does not wake up one morning and says "OK, we are executing and distributing this title's format change today". Scheduling is involved; in some instances print manufacturing scheduling extends out 12-18 months in advance. In some, such as periodicals, perhaps only a couple of months. Anyone with any electronic manufacturing experience also knows that a fair amount of coding work is involved to test and then implement a format change from one eFormat to another eFormat before production is executed.
Why should buyers law libraries with standing orders, subscriptions and/or multi-year "price-discounted" contracts have to contact their reps to find out if and/or when a title will been shifted to a new print or electronic format? Do the reps know? If so, why not just inform customers of the schedule in advance. But publish that information by what means? By way of a growing, updated list of affected titles on the vendor's eCommerce site -- why should customers have to check a vendor's website daily, weekly, monthly?
Based on past practice, it appears to be too much to ask you to consult with institutional buyers about possible format changes, etc. However, it is the 21st century. Since you can and you do flood our email in-boxes with advertising, I'm thinking you can figure out a way to send emails in advance of format changes to invoice-paying law librarians.
Just a thought...
Of course, each and every invoice-paying law librarian is responsible for dealing with vendor issues. Voluntary timely contributions to the law library community by individual librarians such as Michael's LexisNexis eShift or eShaft? can be very helpful. Collective action by AALL, no matter how well-meaning, is too constrained by official AALL policies, procedures and practices to contribute much more than calling attention to the consequences of vendor decisions with the hope that the vendor will provide some useful information.
Should we just assume that WEXIS has little knowledge about internal library operations? If that's the case, then CRIV performs a valuable function. However, I think WEXIS knows what they are doing. Our user populations, not law libraries, are their customers.
My hunch is that if at some vendor meeting, someone mentions "we're going to have to answer to CRIV again," a vendor senior executive's response would be "so what." Under AALL's Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers (2012), "so what" is an acceptable response to law libraries. [JH]