CRIV/LexisNexis® Semiannual Call

The CRIV/LexisNexis® semiannual call took place Thursday, June 30th, at 12 p.m. Central. Attendees on the call were:

  • Carolyn Bach, Sr. Manager, Knowledge & Research and Faculty Programs
  • Simon Weierman, Sr. Director, Segment Management
  • Ashley Ahlbrand, CRIV Liaison to LexisNexis®
  • Vani Ungapen, Executive Director of AALL
  • Michelle Hook Dewey, AALL Executive Board Liaison to CRIV

The semiannual vendor calls provide an opportunity for the CRIV vendor liaison to discuss and follow-up on any requests for assistance that have come in from AALL members, related to that particular vendor, as well as an opportunity for the vendor representatives to apprise CRIV, and, by extension, the AALL membership, of any recent product updates since the last call. CRIV has not received any requests for assistance pertaining to LexisNexis® in the last six months, so the call consisted of news and product enhancements, released between January and June 2022.

New Developments

  • First commercial launch of Lexis+® UK to small/mid law customers.
  • Lexis® Create, a new solution designed to surface insights for attorneys while drafting in Microsoft Word, is set for Beta testing in Q3 2022.
  • Acquisition of Contract Lifecycle Management Solution Parley Pro to complement LexisNexis’ industry-leading Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) platform, CounselLink®.
  • API Developer’s Portal a self-service portal that allows law firms and legal departments to integrate unmatched legal data, content and analytics from a variety of LexisNexis® applications and data sources into their existing systems, applications and processes.
  • NetDocuments commercially released “Highlights” powered by LexisNexis® to the small legal market. This is the significant milestone in an 18-month collaboration where LexisNexis enrichments are incorporated directly into NetDocuments’ document management solution.

The Lexis+® Experience

  • Shepard’s History at a Glance: Displays a visual of the cases that impact or are impacted by your shepardized case. Use it to quickly find the cases that tell you whether it is still good law from an appellate history perspective.
  • Ability to filter Shepard’s reports using Motion Type filters on Lexis+.
  • Recommended Secondary articles & resources in association with LexisNexis Headnotes.
  • Hotkeys were enabled in Lexis+ documents for improved accessibility.
  • Codes research: Cited Law Preview to get an advance understanding of cited laws without leaving your current document
  • New Pending Regulations feature to quickly identify and review pending & adopted regulations impacting federal and state administrative codes
  • Merging of ‘sub-content type’ post filter under high level content types to more quickly and easily narrow to results of interest on Lexis+
  • Brief Analysis: new “upload text” feature to get recommendations from cases, practical guidance, treatises or find similar briefs without requiring an entire document. 
  • Access to initiate Brief Analysis directly from a brief, pleading, or motion on Lexis+
  • MLex regulatory news and analysis integrated into Lexis+ Legal News Hub 
  • Support to select and deliver documents the full document page for greater efficiency in the research workflow.
  • Lexis+ Copy with Cite: support for accurate pinpoint citations when a quote is within a footnote.
  • Lexis+ awarded Best AI Enabled Content Solution, 2022 SIIA CODiE Winner
  • Coming soon: Fact & Issue Finder for Lexis+

The Lexis+® and Lexis® Services – Content Additions

  • New caselaw source to US for American Maritime Cases (“AMC”) that includes new AMC cases released by Lexis since the acquisition of the AMC content portfolio in 2020.
  • New caselaw source to Lexis+ for Vaccine Cases in the US Court of Federal Claims.
  • Expanded statute indices with over eight states released and an additional 40 statutory indices targeted for rollout in 2022.
  • 1.4M new trial orders, briefs, pleadings, and motions have been made available year to date.
  • 400K+ state trial documents were added, many from major metropolitan areas in California, Texas, Georgia, and Nevada.
  • Added access to Laws & Regulations for Switzerland & Luxembourg laws, access to Singapore statutes.

Practical Guidance

  • A new Healthcare practice area was launched.
  • Lexis+® Practical Guidance Video Center released with 180 videos guiding users on legal tasks.
  • Usability improvements to eliminate entry of Client ID when utilizing Practical Guidance on Lexis+ (based upon customer preferences for Cost Recovery).
  • New “suggested documents” for quick access to relevant documents when entering a search.
  • See more of what’s new from Practical Guidance in Q1 2022.

The Lexis® CourtLink Service

  • Launched Alaska court coverage and added coverage for thirty new state courts across five states.

Lex Machina®

  • Approximately 400,000 federal courts of appeals cases added in support of the launch of Legal Analytics for federal courts of appeals (“Appellate Analytics”).
  • Launched multiple industry trend reports (available to non-subscribers)

Intelligize®

  • Released their Climate Change Disclosure Report which examined comment letters issued by the SEC to companies both before and after the agency’s Division of Corporate Finance published a sample comment letter on climate change-related disclosure in September 2021, which updated guidance from 2010.

Nexis Newsdesk

Resources for Legal Information Professionals:

LexisNexis® at AALL 2022

Summer Associate Training Resources

Federal Legislative History Research Guide

LexisNexis® War in Ukraine Resource Page

Coverage of the Dobbs decision from Law360®

Lexis+ Certification Program: available for your law firm’s information professionals. Please contact your LexisNexis Knowledge & Research Consultant to learn more.

{LEGALESE}

LexisNexis, Lexis, Lexis+, Shepard’s, CourtLink, Lex Machina, CounselLink, and the Knowledge Burst logo are registered trademarks and LexisNexis. Law360 is a registered trademark of Portfolio Media, Inc. Intelligize is a registered trademark of Intelligize, Inc. MLex is a registered trademark of MLex Limited. Other products or services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

In Case You Missed It: CRIV Vendor Roundtable Recap

Last Wednesday, CRIV held our annual Vendor Roundtable. Based on a survey we sent out to the AALL membership, we asked our guests to address the question of how their companies are working to ensure a diversity of voices are represented in their collections or products. We had representatives from Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, and Thomson Reuters at this year’s roundtable. This post will briefly summarize the highlights of each vendors’ presentation. If you’d like to see the event in full, a video recording will be made available soon.

Bloomberg Law

Presenters: Lisa Helem & Molly Huie

Screen Grab: DEI Framework Homepage

Representatives from Bloomberg Law focused on two aspects of their company’s products. First, Lisa Helem discussed how their news team is working to engage and feature content focused on the careers of young diverse, women, and first-generation lawyers, their leadership paths, values, and perspectives. You will find many of these stories in their “They’ve Got Next” series. Lisa next discussed Bloomberg Law’s podcasting division, and their 5-part podcast, “Black Lawyers Speak,” which looked at diversity in Big Law and law firm leadership, and “The Black General Counsel Project,” which profiled Black general counsel at Fortune 1000 companies. Molly Huie then shared a project Bloomberg Law has been working on, the DEI Framework, that collects and presents data on diversity, equity, and inclusion in law firms. Begun in 2021 with 36 participating firms, they have over 50 firms participating in 2022. The framework is available on Bloomberg Law now (I found it under the Practitioner Tools tab), and is a helpful tool for benchmarking and comparative purposes.

LexisNexis

Screen Grab: First Slide of LexisNexis CRIV Vendor Roundtable 2022 Presentation

Presenter: Min Xiong

Min began by emphasizing LexisNexis’ commitment to advancing awareness, engagement, and advocacy, both externally and internally, on matters of diversity, and directed the audience to RELX’s Corporate Responsibility highlights for 2021. Addressing product development, Min discussed their efforts to build more inclusive technology, use more inclusive language, and recruit from under- and mis-represented groups when engaging in UX research and design. Part of this inclusivity includes a commitment to accessibility in their products, and Min noted that, if you notice issues or have questions about accessibility in their products, a good source to direct those remarks to is accessibility@lexisnexis.com. She ended by discussing several recent external initiatives LexisNexis has engaged in through the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation, including partnerships with organizations such as the International Bar Association, the Law Society of England & Wales, and Freedom House.

Thomson Reuters

Screen Grab: First Slide of Thomson Reuters CRIV Vendor Roundtable 2022 Presentation

Presenters: Catherine DiFiglia, Tasha Hutchins & Sharon Sayles Belton

Finally, representatives from Thomson Reuters similarly highlighted both internal and external DEI efforts. They noted their Equity Diversity & Inclusion Customer Advisory Board, launched in 2021, comprised of members of the legal community who have demonstrated active allyship with members of underrepresented communities. The Board’s focus is on promoting diverse recruitment and retention in the legal industry and supporting awareness and best practices on topics such as structural barriers faced by members of underrepresented communities through forums, research, and published content. Speakers then highlighted the DEI resources within Practical Law’s Legal Operations & Professional Development Toolkit, including topics such as increasing law firm diversity, drafting your firm’s diversity statement, Q&As with several law firm diversity and well-being experts, and presentation materials and recordings of webinars related to diversity in law firms and the legal industry. They ended by reviewing several external initiatives, including partnerships with organizations such as the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, Equal Justice Works, Books for Africa, and the Minnesota Justice Research Center.

It was great to hear the many ways these vendors are addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion within their own companies, collections, and products, and how they’re partnering with organizations around the world to advance DEI efforts externally as well. I look forward to hearing how these efforts continue to grow and expand in the future.

For those interested in seeing this roundtable in full, I will post the recording on The CRIV Blog as soon as it’s ready. Thank you to all who attended, and a special thanks to those who presented.

What’s Coming Up from CRIV

I just wanted to send out a quick reminder post of a couple of CRIV activities going on/coming up soon.

CRIV Membership Survey – In case you missed it in the AALL Weekly eNewsletter, we have a CRIV Membership survey going on right now, in which we’re hoping to hear from you about your familiarity with and use of CRIV’s services, programming, and publications, as well as any thoughts you have on how we could improve or change to keep meeting the needs of the AALL membership. Thank you to those who have responded thus far, and if you haven’t had a chance to yet, the survey is open through this Friday, June 17th, at the link above. Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts.

CRIV Vendor Roundtable – The annual CRIV Vendor Roundtable is coming up next week, Wednesday, June 22nd, 1-2 p.m. (US/Central). Representatives from Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, and Thomson Reuters will be presenting on how they ensure a diversity of voices are represented in their collections/products. The free, online event is open to all AALL members. Register here. I hope to see you there!

CRIV-Related Annual Meeting Programming Preview – If you’re starting to set your conference schedule for the Annual Meeting next month, and you’re interested in CRIV-related programming, check out our latest issue of The CRIV Sheet, in which our CRIV Sheet editor, Andrew Christensen, highlights several CRIV-related programs to look forward to.

Thanks, and as always, thank you for your continued readership.

Summer Associate & Intern Guidance from Vendors

The three leading legal research vendors – Bloomberg, LexisNexis, and Thomson Reuters (Westlaw) – each offer free online guidance and resources to help law students and new graduates use their products in the legal workplace.

These resources are current for summer 2022 and may be helpful as a complement to on-the-job training or as a refresher on platform-specific research tools and tactics. Consider sending the links below to your students, associates, or interns for their preparation and reference this summer.

Evidence-Based Acquisitions

Ever wonder how you can leverage usage statistics to select materials for your collection based on what patrons are actually using? Meet Evidence-Based Acquisitions: here is how it works. You agree with a publisher on a “deposit”- essentially, the dollar amount you commit to the publisher. This amount is a negotiated percentage of the value of the collection as a whole, and there is a floor amount required. This “floor” amount is then adjusted, based on the dollar value of the available titles. After 11 months, you look at the usage statistics, and decide which materials you want to purchase. Unlike demand-driven purchasing, there is no automatic trigger- you aren’t forced to buy books accessed “x” amount of times- it is up to you. The money in the deposit is credited toward the list price of what you decide to keep, and those materials are yours to access, download, and loan. If you want additional materials beyond the value of your deposit, some publishers will offer a discount for those, others won’t.  

Here come the caveats. This system only works well if it is a publisher you will likely buy a lot from, but not everything. If you have a standing order with a publisher, this might be a good deal. Publishers can also decide to exclude some materials- think textbooks and encyclopedias- so it may not be as good as it looks. The “deposit” price is also negotiated annually, and it will increase as new content is added. And, what happens to those books patrons accessed during the trial period that you don’t end up purchasing? Voila- they may reappear during the next trial, and you re-gain temporary access—unless (or until) they are later excluded.

What’s in this for the publishers? They get a guaranteed purchase amount- certainty in this economy is nothing to sniff at- and a chance to create patron-driven demand for materials we may not have thought of buying. What’s in it for us? We get to try out a broad collection and buy what we want, with more information about how popular a title actually is before we commit. Usage statistics can indeed be eye-opening. We are currently using this program with two publishers, and for us, it is a fairly new venture. It takes a lot of time and attention to detail to make it work, so there is a significant degree of librarian effort involved. So far, we like it, but it may not work for every library. We welcome any information on others’ experience with this system. The more we know, the better informed our decisions.  

Trellis for State Trial Court Records

Our library recently started a trial of Trellis. Trellis is a newer resource that provides researchers access to state trial court data and records. Because of the content, we thought our clinic professors might be interested.

In addition to state trial court data and records, Trellis offers search features such as Judge Analytics, Verdicts, and Motions & Issues. Trellis is also adding state statutes, administrative codes, constitutions, and court rules.

If a student in a legal clinic needed to look up a sample complaint or motion, a Trellis search can locate a similar case with a searchable docket containing pleadings that have been filed. Similarly, the same student looking to apply for a clerkship with a specific judge can utilize Judge Analytics to see what types of cases the judge typically has on their dockets, how often a case goes to trial, and what kinds of motions the judge is ruling on. 

Trellis is still building the database and does not have every state available and does not have every feature available for every state that is currently in the database. For the states that are included, searchers can filter cases by judge, county, practice area, dates, and more. You’ll find the dockets and some of the docket documents. You can track the case and receive email alerts when there are changes.

Because the cases are entered into the state filing systems by the clerks, Trellis is dependent on how those cases have been entered and classified in the state systems.

States included so far are AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, MA, NV, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX, WA.

Your Opinion Needed! CRIV Vendor Roundtable

For the third year in a row, we will be hosting the CRIV Vendor Roundtable virtually in late June (a follow-up announcement with more details coming soon!). If you have not attended before, the roundtable traditionally invites four major legal information vendors — Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law, and Wolters Kluwer — to discuss how their companies or products address a given topic. This year’s overarching topic will be diversity, equity, and inclusion, but because that topic itself is quite broad (and the roundtable is only an hour long), we’d like to narrow it down a little further. That’s where you come in!

CRIV is here to serve the membership, so we want the roundtable topic to reflect the membership’s interests. Within the umbrella topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion, what would you like to hear the vendors address about their products? We have put together a very short, two-question survey to help us narrow down this topic. If you could take thirty seconds out of your day to answer it, we would truly be grateful. You can access the survey here (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JHN6TLH). It’ll remain open until May 25th. Thank you for your input!

Islamic Law Resources

April 2nd marked the beginning of the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month on the Muslim Lunar Calendar and lasts 29 to 30 days. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Since we are in the middle of this Holy Month I wanted to share some free resources that provide information about Islamic Law.

There are a few journals which publish articles about Islamic Law.

Harvard Law School Publishes the Journal of Islamic Law. This journal is fairly new and provides a look at Islamic law from a historical, comparative and social context.  Harvard also provides access to Shariasource a resource that provides context about Islamic Law as well as primary sources.

UC Berkeley publishes the Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law. This journal is a little older and provides articles that relate to the Middle East as well as Islamic Legal Traditions. The journal focuses mostly on legal issues but also provides information about the philosophical and sociological issues that underpin the legal issues.

Finally, UCLA Law publishes Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law (JINEL). This journal has been around the longest of the three that I have highlighted. JINEL covers all issues related to Islamic Law. They also cover legal topics that may be unrelated to Islamic Law but affect the Near East.

In addition to the Journals above there are a few LibGuides that provide more resources.

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Looking back at vendors and the AALL Annual Meeting

Recently, registration opened for the 2022 AALL Annual Meeting (shameless promotion! Register here) and I began to think about past conferences.

Luckily, and perhaps amazingly, AALL keeps a record online of all past conference locations going back to the first meeting in 1906 (help in Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island). Scrolling through the list I realized that many older locations were in smaller cities, likely due to the to the smaller size of the organization.

Scrolling though the list is a great distraction:

“Hey, it was held in Saratoga Springs! I used to live near there!”

“French Lick, Indiana? Where’s that? To Google maps!”

Needless to say, this list can be a great game!

However, I also realized (and I promise, this is connected to CRIV) that several meetings were held in Rochester, New York (1945 and 1978). A wonderful city, but also (former) home of Lawyer’s Co-Op. I don’t know the details of these meetings, but I have a feeling that the location of a major legal vendor played a role. Of course, this could also be nothing more than a coincidence.

What role should vendors have in supporting the annual meeting? Is it fine to have vendors sponsor events at a meeting?

I realize and recognize the amazing work that the AALL annual meeting planning committee does, and don’t want to second-guess decisions. What if a vendor, say Bloomberg Law offered to sponsor a meeting but wanted it in New York City? Or maybe in the digital age location matters much less than it did in 1945 or 1978.

What makes a “good” vendor?

Deciding the criteria for a “good” vendor is a personalized and complicated question to answer. The needs and priorities of libraries vary tremendously even in the (relatively!) small world of law libraries. While the exact importance of factors may vary, I suggest that these are items we should be reviewing when we review vendors:

  • Product. Does the product fill a need? Does this item (print subscription, database, service) fill the need that still exists? Are there other alternatives? Changes in library staff, leadership, law school program changes, technology, and the marketplace make it useful to re-examine a product’s need in your library.
  • Cost. Sometimes cost will be an absolute number while other times it is best expressed as cost per use.
  • Usage. Is this item used by most of the first year class? By an entire upper-level writing course? By a single faculty member for scholarship? Although these questions may appear to be framed as “good” to “bad”, maybe that resource is key to that single faculty member’s scholarship. How much weight to place on this factor will vary depending on budgetary needs, however even low-use items may be of great importance to key members of the law school community.
  • Vendor commitment to equity and social justice. How committed is the vendor to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Is this surface-level commitment via social media or are there concrete steps taken by the company? See earlier posts on this blogs for some great examples of vendor action in this area.
  • Customer service. What happens when things go wrong? Flexibility can also fall into this category

Finding a balance between these factors can be tricky. What about a great product with poor customer service? An expensive product with low usage? There are many tricky questions we could ponder. However, this small blog post is simply a reminder against not examining any factors and thinking the scariest phrase in all of collection development: “we’ve always done it this way”.

Keeping Up with the Vendors – In Their Own Words

Tracking developments in legal information vendors’ products and policies is an important part of many law librarians’ jobs, and it’s a valuable pursuit for keeping current in the profession.

While the major legal database and content providers all offer a variety of access points and formats for news about changes to their platforms and offerings, being aware of them all, let alone connecting with them regularly, can be a challenge.

To help, the list below brings together resources for staying abreast of announcements and product-related communications from Bloomberg, Fastcase, HeinOnline, LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Wolters Kluwer. Be sure to bookmark, subscribe, follow, etc. whichever are useful to you, and/or save this blog post for future reference. Please email me at christensena@wlu.edu if you know of anything missing; I’ll plan to keep it updated.

Bloomberg Law

Fastcase

HeinOnline

LexisNexis

Thomson Reuters Legal / Westlaw

Wolters Kluwer

Legal Podcasts from Law 360

Podcasts are great entertainment for long commutes, road trips while eating lunch, or just for some much-needed downtime. But what happens when you’re tired of true crime podcasts?

Law360 (Lexis) has podcasts!

Right now, Law 360 produces three podcasts – Pro Say (not a typo), The Term, and Legalization. Each episode is about 30-40 minutes long and available via traditional podcast apps such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher as well as directly via the website here.

Pro Say is “a weekly podcast from Law360, bringing you a quick recap of both the biggest stories and the hidden gems from the world of law. In each episode, hosts Amber McKinney and Alex Lawson are joined by expert guests to bring you inside the newsroom and break down the stories that had us talking.” There are over 200 episodes available as of February 2022.

The Term “is a podcast for the busy U.S. Supreme Court watcher. Give us about 15 minutes each week and we’ll catch you up on all the big action at the nation’s highest court, along with a list of what to watch in the coming sessions.” Right now, there are almost 100 episodes and understandable this podcast will likely become more relevant as controversial cases appear before the Court.

Legalization “explores some of the murky legal scenarios playing out for cannabis businesses across the country. We share first-hand accounts from the businesses and attorneys grappling with an industry that is often legal at the state level but prohibited at the federal level.” It is just starting a second season.

Black Librarians: In Their Own Voice

A couple years ago, Book Riot posted an article by Katisha Smith titled, “13 Pioneering Black Librarians You Oughta Know.” Among others, Smith introduces us to Edward C. Williams, the first Black Librarian, Dorothy B. Porter, the “Dewey Decimal Decolonizer,” Clara Stanton Jones, the first Black President of the American Library Association, Eliza Atkins Gleason, Library Science Trailblazer, and Sadie Peterson Delaney, “Godmother of Bibliotherapy.” Only one of the thirteen librarians we meet is alive today. And that made me wonder — who are some of today’s pioneers? The list below is a result of entering that rabbit hole that is the internet and following one link after another. Obviously, the list is not exhaustive, and it is a bit eclectic. But what these librarians share is a passion for documenting and telling the Black experience, each in their own voice. If you have not yet met them, I’d like to introduce you to them.

In “Chronicling the Black Experience,” Mark Lawton writes about librarians and archivists who collect and tell their own stories. One is Rodney E. Freeman, Jr. who created the Black Male Archives, an online repository to “capture, curate, and promote positive stories about Black men around the world while inspiring and informing younger generations.” The Blackivists are a collective of six trained Black archivists located in Chicago. As part of their goal of prioritizing Black cultural heritage preservation and memory work, they provide training, project management, best practices, and consultation on analog and digital archives upkeep. Makiba Foster is regional manager of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center at Broward County Library in Florida. With archivist and scholar Bergis Jules, she formed Archiving the Black Web. The project “aims to organize efforts to collect and contextualize social media and other internet content that focus on the Black experience.”

The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance and Reawakening is the latest in the series of “The Black Librarian in America” volumes. Edited entirely by Black women — Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Nichelle M. Hayes, Ana Ndumu, and Shaundra Walker — the book addresses issues pertaining to Black librarians’ intersectional identities, capacities, and contributions. The book is available on pre-order with an expected release date on February 18, 2022.

Alma Dawson, in “Celebrating African-American Librarians and Librarianship,” an article published in Library Trends in 2000, celebrates the achievements of African-American librarians and their contributions to librarianship. Dawson identifies and reviews records of scholarship that are intended to serve as starting points for students and scholars. There is a wealth of detailed information including major studies, organizations, and recurring themes in the literature. Take a minute to read her review of demographics at the time of her writing.

Little Known Black Librarian Facts is a blog published by Michele T. Fenton, a cataloger at the Indiana State Library. Since 2011 she has posted about African American librarians and their library services to African Americans. She highlights African American pioneers and the library profession, and the triumphs and struggles in making library services available to African Americans. There also is a long list of her favorite websites and the blogs that she follows — a veritable collection of rabbit holes to fall into and from which you may never return!

Librarians Glenda Alvin and Tahirah Akbar-Williams, members of the African American Studies Librarians Interest Group (AASLIG) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) created a LibGuide that focuses on the scholarly research and services associated with identifying, preserving, and disseminating resources for the study of African American history, culture, and life. The LibGuide includes information about databases, websites, digital collections, books, periodicals, museums and cultural centers, and archives related to African American studies. They also highlight the SACO African American Subject Funnel Project, a project concentrated on creating new subject headings and changing/updating of old subject headings relating to the African American experience.

Karla J. Strand, Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, developed a reading list on “Disrupting Whiteness in Libraries and Librarianship.” Most recently updated in June 2021, the extensive bibliography contains citations (and links when available) to resources focused on race, racism, and disrupting whiteness and white supremacy in libraries. Special emphasis is placed on the field of library and information science and librarianship as a profession.

The Rocky Mountain PBS station posted an interview with Janet Damon, library services specialist for Denver Public Schools and who recently received the Rev. Dr. James Peters Humanitarian Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission for her work as a librarian and community organizer. In her position with DPS, Damon provides diversity and equity training for librarians and paraprofessionals within the district’s roughly 200 schools. This includes ensuring libraries have culturally-sustaining collections — or as she states in the interview, “just ensuring that students can see themselves in our libraries and our collections.” Outside of her job, Damon started, with three other Black Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and/or LGBTQ+ librarians, an organization called Afros and Books. In addition to promoting authors from diverse backgrounds and literature to the community, Afros and Books created several sub-groups to promote their work. One is called “Black to Nature Book Club,” which started during the pandemic to help children and families cope with isolation, stress, and anxiety. Damon, upon receiving her award, may have summed up the work Black librarians are doing: “This is my joy. I think it’s important when we feel like we’re walking in our purpose and integrity with what our soul is here to do.”

Want to Choose Your Content? LexisNexis Digital Library Is a Solution

Our library subscribes to LexisNexis Digital Library which uses the OverDrive platform for content.

The best thing about this product is that it allows us to select individual titles that we think our students, faculty, alumni, or guests will actually use! We don’t have to buy a huge, expensive package full of titles that we do not want or that will not be used just to get the titles that we do want.

Because we have a health law focus, we’ve chosen a handful of American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) titles for our faculty who do research in health compliance areas. For our students, we have selected Carolina Academic Press textbook and study aid titles that we formerly purchased in print for our Course Reserve collection. For our alums and guest attorneys, we have added LexisNexis New Jersey practice content. And, for all our users who are interested in social justice and other interdisciplinary and non-legal content, we have purchased various monograph titles from the OverDrive Advantage marketplace. 

Like every program, there are pros and opportunities for improvement.

For our library, here are some pros:

  • We can select textbook and study aid titles of strong interest to our students.
  • We can access the Advantage program which allows us to purchase non-legal and interdisciplinary content that OverDrive sells.
  • We can purchase audiobooks from OverDrive, and this allows us to offer a solution to auditory learners and those who take advantage of learning while commuting or exercising.
  • OverDrive offers various lending models: one user, simultaneous user, metered access, etc.
  • Borrowing the ebooks and audiobooks is easy.
  • Highlighting, bookmarking, and annotating books is easy and intuitive.
  • Running usage reports is easy.
  • We can switch content if usage is low.
  • OverDrive and LexisNexis reps are quick to respond and answer questions.
  • There is now a link to the platform via the product switcher in Lexis+ which will allow faculty and students to quickly access content in LexisNexis Digital Library.
  • Most titles are available in OverDrive knowledge base collections for discovery in library catalogs (although, LexisNexis provides a custom title ID to replace the OverDrive title ID).

I’ve identified some potential opportunities…

  • The program is a little different from other programs because while you can select the titles you want in the plan, you also pay for each title individually regardless of bibliographic format. For the serial and integrating resource content, it seems normal to pay each year since the content is updated; it’s a normal renewal. For monographs that do not get updated, you must also renew each year, but you don’t get an extra copy like you would if you paid for a print monograph or ebook (from ebook vendors such as Ebsco or ProQuest) a second time.

But, going back to a pro listed above, you can switch out content if a title is not being used. So, if our users are not using Understanding and Mastering the Bluebook, we can switch it out for a title that we think might be used more. Monitoring use of individual titles is insightful and challenges the traditional thinking that a certain title is “used all the time.” Monitoring usage allows for more selective collection development. For us, at this time, it is still worth it to renew monograph titles each year given the convenience of access.

  • The content is not in pdf. However, the Bluebook (Rules 15.9, 16.8, etc.) provides guidance for citing ebooks and content that is not in pdf.
  • While borrowing ebooks is very easy, returning borrowed ebooks is less intuitive. We’ve drafted user instructions to assist.

In looking at the list of pros and potential opportunities, it is clear to see that there are more pros. During this pandemic, access to digital content is most important to our users so we’re happy that LexisNexis allows us to include individual textbook, study aid, and OverDrive Advantage titles in the package.

Whatever happened to. . . ?

A look back at the AALL New Product Award Winners 2000-2009

Almost each year AALL chooses a New Product Award that “honors new commercial information products that enhance or improve existing law library services or procedures or innovative products which improve access to legal information, the legal research process, or procedures for technical processing of library materials. A “new” product is one that has been in the library-related marketplace for two years or less. New products may include, but are not limited to, computer hardware and/or software, educational or bibliographic material, or other products or devices that aid or improve library workflow, research, or intellectual access. Products that have been reintroduced in a new format or with substantial changes are eligible.”

But what is the track record of these awards? For many years the Grammy Awards “best new artist” was derided as a curse that doomed new artists. Do AALL New Product awards follow that track? Let’s have a look!

2009: Subject Compilations of State Laws (HeinOnline)

A good choice! Hein’s database has only expanded since 2009 and” the 2017-2018 volume adds more than 1,000 entries under 310 main subject headings. Researchers now have instantaneous access to more than 27,000 bibliographic records, many with extensive annotations. There is no longer a need to browse the twenty-plus print volumes in the series.

Most importantly, the annotations link directly to articles and other documents residing in HeinOnline. In all, more than 14,000 records link to HeinOnline periodicals, while the majority of other records link to case law or external websites. Additionally, users will find a subcollection within the database called “Other Related Works” which contains links to more than 670 full-text documents within HeinOnline. Database users also enjoy access to the current and all prior volumes in this series.” (full details available here).

2008: Cassidy Cataloging Services (WLX Cataloging Record Service)

Since 2008 Cassidy Cataloging has expanded the number of records available. Many libraries use their products to provide easier access to electronic resources. Although the titles of these collections have changed, a full list is available here.

2007: No award.

At first glance the “no award” years are worrisome. However, upon reflection, this is a good idea! Not every year is going to have an amazing new product and recognizing this fact keeps the high quality of choices. (Unless an amazing product debuted in 2007! Did I miss something?)

2006: No award.

2005: Thomson Gale (The Making of Modern Law)

This database instantly placed thousand of historic legal materials in the collections of many law libraries. Currently this remains a thriving database that is widely adopted by libraries. “Together, the distinct collections that comprise The Making of Modern Law cover nearly every aspect of American and British law and dig deep into the legal traditions of Europe, Latin America, Asia, and other jurisdictions, both classic and contemporary. Encompassing a range of analytical, theoretical, and practical literature, these collections support and complement the traditional study of law by featuring valuable books from the most influential legal writers throughout history.” More information is available here.

2004: Jenkins Law Library & American Lawyer Media (ALM) (palawlibrary.com)

ALM gradually acquired this resource and redistributed the content to other titles in their electronic databases.

2003: No award

2002: No award

2001: William S. Hein & Co., Inc (Hein-On-Line)

Since 2001, HeinOnline (spelled differently now) greatly expanded and is available in almost all law school libraries in the United States.

2000: IndexMaster, Inc (Indexmaster)

I am not familiar with this title, and it apparently ceased around 2010.

Conclusion

So what does all this mean? In brief, most of the resources that win this award have stood the test of time and remain important parts of the law library collection even 20 years later. I recommend keeping track of current New Product winners as the track record is pretty good!

Agree? Disagree? Did AALL miss major products during this time such as in 2002 or 2002? Was your favorite database snubbed in 2000?