Guest post by: Amber Cain, Technology and Research Services Librarian & Assistant Professor, Seton Hall Law is a free legal research database that provides public access to U.S. case law (archival, present, and newly released slip opinions) both at the state and federal level. While other free resources and databases also do this, what makes AnyLaw interesting is that it includes proximity operators in its search engine. Users can also run filtered searches for case law narrowed by topic and/or jurisdiction, save their searches, and download cases. AnyLaw’s post-search features include a search within results function, date range and court filters, and a sort option to sort by relevance, citation count, and date. When accessing cases, users can see hyperlinked cases that are cited by the case they are examining, as well as hyperlinked cases that the case they are examining is cited by.

AnyLaw also includes features such as topic pages (which include topics such as Intellectual Property and Cannabis) and case summaries, and it aggregates news articles and blog posts from various sources. Additionally, it hosts its Law Thoughts, which publishes articles such as: 4 Services Your Law Firm Should Outsource and An 11-Step Guide To Writing A Will At An Early Age.

For more information, visit: . Additionally, an interview with Steven Tover, the CEO of AnyLaw can be found in Forbes.

PDF, the Preferred Digital Format for Ebooks

As we purchase digital textbooks and content, one opportunity for improvement that we hear about is the format of the content. Users tend to want the content in true PDF form so that it is easier to find assigned readings and to match cited pages within a source.

It is common for professors to assign readings based on pagination in the print textbook, but the pages don’t always match the pagination in the digital version.

This post provides examples of what the user finds in some of the more common ebook platforms used for textbooks and study aids in academic law libraries.

Aspen Learning Library

With Aspen textbooks and study aids made available via the Aspen Learning Library platform, there are no page numbers listed in the Table of Contents:

If we want to read page 18 in Contracts: Examples & Explanations, here’s the print image:

The digital image has the print page numbers bolded throughout the body of the text:

Carolina Academic Press via OverDrive

Carolina Academic Press digital textbooks and study aids are accessible via the OverDrive platform. The Table of Contents does not list the page numbers.

If we are looking for page 87 in the print book, Disability Law: Cases, Materials, Problems, we see this:

In the digital version, there is a page navigator but the navigator does not match with the pagination in the print. In this image below, it shows page 87-88 in the navigator but the actual page as found in the print text is listed in brackets and the image below is page 29-30.

To find the actual page 87, you have to scroll through pages to find it in the brackets. Here it is on pages 151-152 of the navigator:

West Academic

With West Academic ebooks made available via the West Academic Online Study Aids platform, the page numbers are not listed in the Table of Contents.

If we’re looking for page 18 in the book, A Short & Happy Guide to the Law of Sales, we see this image in print:

Here is the image in digital format. The print page numbers are listed throughout the body of the text as indicated below:

ProQuest EBook Central

With Aspen textbooks made available via the ProQuest Ebook Central platform, the page numbers are listed in the Table of Contents so at least readers can get an idea of where to start. But the text is not a true PDF of the content.

Print image of p.381 of the book, Trial Techniques and Trials:

Digital image of page 381 in ProQuest: The page numbers are bolded in the digital text so the readers have an idea of where they are within the text.

All Ebsco Ebooks

With Aspen textbooks made available via the Ebsco platform, the page numbers are not listed when looking at the Table of Contents, so the reader has to guess where to start reading based on what the subject matter is. Like the ProQuest platform, the text is not a true PDF of the content, but it does contain page numbers bolded within the text.

The hyperlinked chapters in all platforms makes it easy to jump to the content but for assigned reading purposes, having page numbers that correlate with the print versions in the Table of Contents does help. We’ve suggested faculty include the titles of the book sections and subsections when assigning pages to read and we’ve suggested students use the publisher websites to find the Table of Contents for books so that they can identify sections and pages. Ideally, the digital books would be in true PDF format or include pagination for print and digital in the Table of Contents for the digital versions.

Going “Off-Label” to Prove Library Value

The author is CRIV member Carol Ottolenghi, Director of Research & Library Services, Ohio Attorney General’s Office

            Going “Off-Label” – using products in new or unexpected ways – can provide needed resources, save your organization money, and demonstrate your Library’s value. This post describes recent off-labeling at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (OAGO). If your Library uses an information product in an innovative way, please share it in an email to the CRIV Blog Coordinator, Christy Smith  ( Your responses may appear in future blog posts or CRIV Sheet articles.

            Legal organizations use scores of electronic products. Many of them have little direct Library application. However, our Library staff stays aware of 1) the tools the OAGO has, and; 2) the activities and needs of the various agency sections.

            This awareness is key to “off-label” success because the OAGO is so large that many sections do not know what the others are doing, except in a general sense. By making it a point to regularly query sections about their needs, Library staff can promote information-product sharing. We can help develop procedures that use existing tools in new ways. For example, in 2021, we tested and demonstrated how two of our litigation-support tools could also help our Law Enforcement agents organize cold case files. This:

  • Increased OAGO efficiency
  • Spread the product costs across additional sections
  • Showed the OAGO as an effective steward of public money, which made Administration happy
  • Demonstrated Library value to Administration, the new users, and Finance.

            I emphasize this last point because it is no longer enough for Libraries to do good work. If Libraries are to thrive within our organizations, we must be seen doing good work.

            Our most recent off-labeling adventure involves that quintessential Library product: the catalog. This project is currently underway and will be fully operational early in 2023. It began because the OAGO is moving to a new case management system. Unlike our previous system, the new system doesn’t play nicely with several existing programs. In addition, the new system “silos” information so that each section can see only its own documents.

            While this system may work beautifully for case management, it severely limited access to the Office’s section-based collections of institutional knowledge. It also prohibited the sections from searching our “PDF Library” – our 100,216 digital documents version of the old-school “vertical file.” It created, in short, a knowledge management (KM) problem.

            Great angst ensued when this was recognized.

            Necessity is the mother of innovation, as well as invention. After Librarian-worthy cursing and gnashing of teeth, we realized that a catalog upgrade might resolve some of the agency’s information-access problems. Obviously, catalogs are KM products. But they are not marketed as such. To convince our agency’s powers-that-be that this was a viable answer that deserved funding, we worked with our current catalog vendor to explore product aspects that fit specific OAGO KM needs. Vendors are (very) eager to help you develop new uses for their products, so it’s vital to keep them on task. The grid below is a simplified version of the one we used to keep our discussions focused on the OAGO’s needs, rather than vendor selling points.

NeedWhat would a Successful Solution Look Like?What Product Feature Could Fit the Need & How?
Cost-neutral solutionCost of the solution would be no more than the cost of the now-useless KM productsCost of the catalog upgrade was less than the cost of the KM products
Agency-accessible way to store Library collection recordsA Library catalog open to all members of the OAGOThe catalog could sit on a separate server and be open to all members of the OAGO
Agency-accessible way to store PDF Library records linked to PDFsA Library catalog open to all members of the OAGO that links to documents stored by the LibraryThe upgraded catalog allows linking to documents in the Library’s storage system
Agency-accessible way to store section-specific knowledge linked to section documentsA Library catalog open to all members of the OAGO that links to documents stored by the LibraryThe upgraded catalog allows linking to documents in the Library’s storage system
Way to load existing collection records with minimal Library staff inputExisting catalog entries transferred with minimal Library staff inputExisting catalog entries transferred with minimal Library staff input
Way to load existing PDF Library documents as searchable documents with minimal Library staff inputExisting PDF Library documents transferred as searchable documents with minimal Library staff inputExisting documents are loaded with minimal Library staff input. If the documents have been saved with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) features, then they are searchable.
Way to load existing section-specific documents with minimal Library staff inputExisting section-specific documents transferred with minimal Library staff inputExisting documents are loaded with minimal Library staff input. If the documents have been saved with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) features, then they are searchable.
Way to collect section documents in the futureAutomated process to collect documents curated by the subject matter experts (SMEs)in each sectionA Library query system that allowsOAGO staff to send us documents approved by SMEs. Still requires Library staff to enter materials into the catalog and storage system.
Support for the Library and OAGO IT section during and after implementationScheduled meetings, upload assistance, and check-ins, as well as a “help hotline.”Scheduled meetings, upload assistance, and check-ins, as well as a post-implementation “help hotline.”

            Our Library has two full-time, and one part-time, Librarians. That made vendor assistance in this project’s implementation the key to its success. We emphasized that from the beginning, and the company has proved a worthy partner. Library staff still has a lot of work ahead. But, it’s traditional Librarian work – collecting, organizing, disseminating – work that demonstrates the Library’s value to the OAGO.

This sort of Library-vendor collaboration isn’t unique, or even unusual. Please send your experiences to the CRIV Blog Coordinator, Christy Smith (

Carol Ottolenghi is Director of Research & Library Services at the OAGO, and the author of Intentional Marketing: A Practical Guide for Librarians, published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Survey of Library Services Platforms in U.S. Academic Law Libraries

Having just participated in a demo of a fairly new library services platform, I wanted to identify other ABA-accredited U.S. academic law libraries that are using the system and to see what other systems academic law libraries are using. Having been in the academic law library world for a while, I recall the days when Innovative Interfaces, now part of Clarivate, dominated the academic law library integrated library system landscape. However, there are newer systems and vendors in the landscape.

Our demo was timely because November marks the month that Marshall Breeding, founder of Library Technology Guides, sends out the annual International Library Automation Survey.

Judging by the data found in Library Technology Guides, searches of catalogs of about 35 libraries not included in Library Technology Guides, and a few questions to some individual libraries, it appears that Innovative is still a contender with about 34% of U.S. academic law library users using Sierra (or Millennium) but Ex Libris, also a part of Clarivate, has taken the lead with about 39% of academic law libraries using Alma. OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services (WMS) has about 9% of the market and SirsiDynix has about 7% of the market with Symphony. Other contenders are the open source Folio with about 4% of the market; EOS.Web (a SirsiDynix product), the open source Koha, and Voyager (an Ex Libris product) each comprise about 2% of the market; and Aleph (an Ex Libris product) and Tind, each have about 1% of the market.

There are about 43 U.S. academic law libraries with English language catalogs that are not listed in Library Technology Guides. To see if your library is included, check the directory of U.S. academic law libraries. You can also check out the market share listed in Library Technology Guides, but keep in mind that not all academic law libraries are included.

Digital Casebooks

For law school libraries that provide required textbooks as part of their course reserve services, it is a good time to review various features of digital casebooks. While some vendors sell bundled packages of casebooks, this post is about casebooks purchased as individual ebooks for library patron use.

Libraries can purchase Aspen casebooks individually in digital format from ProQuest LibCentral for library patron use. Carolina Academic Press casebooks can be purchased individually in digital format from Matthew Bender and made available for patrons via the LexisNexis Digital Library in the OverDrive platform. West Academic sells digital casebooks as part of a bundled package with other casebooks; libraries cannot purchase individual digital casebooks for library patron use.

The LibCentral and OverDrive platforms allow users to highlight, annotate, and bookmark. Users can highlight in multiple colors which can help with the IRAC process. Both platforms require extra clicks to get to the pagination and it does not necessarily match the print book so professors may need to assign chapters, sections, and subsections to read rather than pages.

A library’s ProQuest LibCentral administrator can set individual ebooks so that they can only be read online, or the administrator can set limited check-out periods. However, ProQuest does not allow for early return so the ebook will be inaccessible to others until the user returns it. Reading online, rather than checking out, makes the book inaccessible to others until the user closes the browser.

OverDrive only allows check-out options, rather than reading online. The minimum check-out period is longer than most academic law libraries would use for course reserve materials. There is an option to return the ebook early. However, it may not be intuitive for users to figure out how to do this.

During the pandemic, students appreciated digital access and usage statistics appear to be greater than historical print circulation statistics, but we will need more time and usage data to determine if students truly prefer digital casebooks.

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.

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.

Review-it: Yelp for Law Libraries

Have you heard of Review-it? Review-it won the 2021 AALL Innovation Showcase in three categories: government, law firm, and law school.

Lindsey Carpino, Legal Content Services Supervisor at BakerHostetler, and Annie Mentkowski, Agency Librarian with the United States Railroad Retirement Board Library, submitted the idea.

As a person who works in collections, I think this product looks fantastic! It is a crowd-sourced review tool that is similar to Yelp. It allows customers to provide anonymous feedback, both positive and negative.

There is an analytics dashboard that allows users to filter by vendor, constituency size (firm size/law school size), legal area (transactional, litigation, or general), or content type (case law, ebook, news/alert services). Users can rate based on satisfaction, customer service, ease of use, and cost.

At some point, the creators foresee having a subscription service add-on where subscribers would also receive quarterly or year-end reports and access to more data. They would also like to add more search and filter features and are hoping to hire a web developer soon to take the website to the next level.

The product is still being beta-tested but Lindsey and Annie plan to officially launch in the spring. Watch for an email!

To learn more, check out the LawSites blog post by Bob Ambrogi.

AILALink Immigration Resources

For the 75th anniversary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), it’s a good time to check out AILALink. AILALink has been around for several years and is a go-to database for immigration resources. Readers can access key primary and secondary resources such as Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook; AILA’s Immigration Law Practice and Procedure Manual; the USCIS Policy Manual; Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM); court and agency decisions such as BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) and selected cases from BALCA (Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals), United States Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases, and AAO (USCIS Administrative Appeals Office) adopted decisions. Content also includes conference handbooks, government manuals, “toolboxes” such as AILA’s Immigration Litigation Toolbox, AILA’s Immigration Practice and Professionalism Toolbox, AILA’s U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Law Toolbox; and many other AILA publications. Click here to see a list of all content included in AILALink.

AILA editors have added notes to selected statutes and regulations, including the Immigration & Nationality Act. This year, AILA editors also started highlighting Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provisions that were altered by a rule which may be subject to a court order prohibiting its implementation.

Users can search using a variety of methods: citation, keywords, and Boolean. Fastcase Premium is included and contains curated immigration content which allows users to update case law.

Libraries can subscribe to selected numbers of users (e.g., 1-3, 4-8, etc.). Unlike individual subscribers, libraries will not have access to features such as bookmarks, folders, notes, and saved searches.

AILA provides a title list for the library catalog and quarterly newsletters highlighting new books that have been added to AILALink. They can also provide usage data indicating dates of use and number of sessions.

And, for libraries looking to add immigration monographs and literature to collections, AILA has provided title lists!