The Federal Practice Digest, 5th And the Big Picture

Law Libraries nationwide have been notified by Thomson Reuters that West is publishing a 5th series of the Federal Practice Digest.  Once considered a fundamental and essential legal research tool, the Federal Practice Digest in the age of Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg Law, and Google Scholar has become considerably less necessary to lawyers and law students.   The cost of updating the Federal Practice Digest, 4th and of purchasing and updating volumes of the 5th as they are produced is considerable.  I don’t wish to use this post to weigh the merits of the Federal Practice Digest but to suggest that we need to be having a broader discussion about how to end the cycle of price increases and cancellations that now seems to characterize the relationship between legal information vendors and law libraries.  Technology should make legal information cheaper for law libraries to purchase and more profitable for legal publishers to produce.  Shouldn’t we begin talking about what a more sustainable legal information economy would look like and how we might get there? 

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