CRIV/Thomson Reuters June 2016 Call

The first semi-annual call in 2016 between CRIV and Thomson Reuters was held on June 15, 2016.  In attendance were Lori Hedstrom (Thomson Reuters); Jeff McCoy (Thomson Reuters); Kate Hagan (AALL); and Gilda Chiu (CRIV Vendor Liaison).

Many items were discussed during the call.  Here listed are all the topics in the order that they were discussed.

  • Changes in LMA materials terminology, specifically from “Other Items” to “Tangible Personal Property” – The issue of these changes was raised by some member libraries who noticed the changes on their LMA invoices and wanted to know why it was changed and what did “Tangible Personal Property” refer to. Thomson Reuters explained that the terminology in question are Tax Product Code descriptions.  Their Tax Department defined them based on tax law – each description is tied to a tax code and each of their products has an associated tax code.  The Tax team made the change from “Other Items” last year in response to customers’ requests for a more meaningful description.  “Tangible Personal Property” essentially is any product that does not fall within the other Tax Product Code descriptions, which are “Books and Bound Volumes,” “Newsletters,” and “Periodicals.”
  • Errors in published cases on Westlaw and their print volumes – I asked for an update and what has been done to avoid future issues. Thomson Reuters said an internal investigation revealed that approximately one-half of 1 percent of decisions added to their collection during the period in question were impacted.  Once they became aware they corrected them immediately on Westlaw and are still in the process of correcting, printing, and shipping replacement print volumes.  Re-prints have reportedly been completed for 55 of the 217 volumes affected (as of June 2016).  They expect the process to be done by the end of August.  As to the cause of the error in the first place, the problem was traced to a new conversion technology that takes opinions from the courts and puts them in a format that can be published on Westlaw and in print.  The source of the error has been corrected and additional steps have been put in place to increase testing of the system and provide additional oversight.  For additional information such as a list of the affected decisions and a detailed FAQ that includes more about the cause of the issue, librarians are referred to the website, legalsolutions.com/cases.
  • ICLR pulling UK cases from Westlaw­ – Some librarians have asked for more information about what exactly is going on with ICLR claiming they are removing all of their content from Westlaw, especially since there has not been much information about this released by Thomson Reuters. They confirmed that after January 1, 2017, ICLR content will no longer be available as part of their Westlaw International offering for US customers, though it will remain on their UK platform.  They will continue to offer alternatives however for most recent case law as well as an analysis to reference for context and insight.  Here are the specifics on how:
    • “For the last 10 years, 99 percent of the ICLR will be covered with another report or digest. As the supremacy of the ICLR court citation isn’t an issue for American users, the Westlaw UK case analysis document and digest, along with a transcript of the decision and specialist law reports, is still a compelling research offering.  While there are no direct replacements for some ICLR cases, many of the decisions are available through other case reports which will continue to be available on Thomson Reuters Westlaw. Many of the ICLR cases which do not have alternative versions available are more than 10 years old.”
  • Unpredictability of update costs for subscriptions – A member library asked us to talk to Thomson Reuters after seeing a particular set they had on subscription increase exorbitantly in price. After discussing the specifics of the member library’s case, Thomson Reuters said the situation being described was unique and that they would notify the library’s Account Manager and have that person help the member library.  In regards to the unpredictability of their pricing for subscriptions from year-to-year, Thomson Reuters said the following:
    • “Pricing is determined by a number of factors, including subscription versus non-subscription, amount of content updated, value, cost of materials, and number of subscribers. Sometimes there is year-over-year variability in our shipments, depending on updates to portions of sets or other factors.  Each customer’s subscription and pricing structure is unique. Our customers work closely with their sales representatives and account managers to determine subscription arrangements that will best meet their unique needs.

We’ve created a number of programs to help our customers more effectively manage their collections and budgets, including multi-year contracts to provide the assurance that customers will have a predictable monthly invoice. These multi-year contracts not only allow customers to lock in a low year-over-year increase but they also provide the assurance that customers will have a predictable monthly invoice.”

  • Usage statistics – When asked about any future plans to provide libraries with usage statistics, Thomson Reuters said they currently do not provide those to any libraries and that there are no plans for Westlaw to begin offering that information to customers. They also mentioned that they are not a member of the Project COUNTER group.
  • MARC records and working with VRAG – In terms of MARC records, Thomson Reuters said they are continuing to assess MARC records as they talk to more customers and learn more about their needs. They are currently partnering with OCLC on the creation of MARC records for the specific use by one of their law firm customers participating in a ProView pilot project with EOS, which is Thomson Reuters’ partner for LMS integration.  As for VRAG, Thomson Reuters’ interactions were sidelined by Committee concerns over catalog links disappearing with the sunset of Westlaw Classic, so the majority of their time was spent on efforts on behalf of VRAG on Link Translator, which could apply to nearly any Classic Find, database, or search link.
  • Recent changes/developments regarding products or policies – For this topic Thomson Reuters waited until after AALL to offer a summary of what the showcased at the conference.
    • At this year’s AALL Annual Meeting, we showcased our new law firm attorney workflow solution, Practice Point, which provides expert resources organized by practice area and task. Bringing together curated resources from Practical Law and Westlaw, it provides needed guidance and tools, integrated in one place. Our Government attendees were able to view demonstrations on Practical Law and Drafting Assistant, both recently added to Patron Access.  Academic law librarians were interested in Practice Ready, our new curriculum to enable summer associates and new practitioners to better transition into employment, as well as Practical Law for law school uses, TWEN, and the recent Westlaw enhancements.

The next call is set to be scheduled for some time in late Fall/early Winter 2016.

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