This past April many of us received notice that a list of Wolters Kluwer (WK) titles1 would no longer be licensed to Thomson Reuters (TR) and would only be available via the WK VitalLaw platform. In August notice was posted to the AlmaLawSIG discussion list that all 157 WK/CCH titles in the Westlaw secondary sources browse list were no longer available full text.2
The final aim of the discussion list post was to notify the appropriate knowledge base vendors to update metadata. However, as a new CRIV member, I was curious about the titles being pulled from Westlaw, and if more WK titles would be pulled from other aggregator platforms. I met with David Bartolone, vice president & general manager of Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S., to discuss the lack of access to these WK/CCH (WK) secondary sources in Westlaw, as well as the reduction in print.
Bartolone stated that WK had a contract with TR to make WK treatises available on Westlaw. This legacy contract was not renewed, but other WK content remains available in Westlaw through another contract. The sunset of the legacy contract was a mutual decision and specific to Westlaw. WK titles will remain available in other aggregator platforms. I have asked for a title list of the WK content licensed through the ongoing contract with TR but did not receive a response before this post was due.
WK is not “pulling the plug” on print. They approach media for titles based on customer demand; and when a threshold is reached of too few customers versus production cost, electronic only access is considered. Bartolone reported that print subscriptions especially decreased during COVID, when some realized they were paying for content twice (print and electronic). Ironically, transitioning from print to electronic is also tempting when the supplies to literally hold the print content are depleted, as Bartolone related during a tale of when they ran out of compression binders for a specific series only to find the compression binders no longer manufactured.
I am grateful to David Bartolone for chatting with me about WK’s content availability in Westlaw and aggregators in general, as well as clarifying WK’s approach to ceasing print for electronic only access. This raised further questions about preservation, including access to former supplementation and editions. I will be meeting with Ken Crutchfield, WK vice president and general manager for legal markets, for a January 2024 post on this topic.