The CRIV Sheet

As our last post of the “Getting to Know CRIV” series, we are highlighting THE CRIV SHEET this week. 

THE CRIV SHEET is the newsletter of the AALL Committee on Relations with Information Vendors. It is published three times a year (November, March, and June) and is available online. Check out the latest issue which contains information about various AALL programs next month, an article by Jacob Nunnally, Getting Ahead of It: “Post-Pandemic” Contracts and Invoices, and an article by Carol Ottolenghi, The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: IP Resources That Support Innovation, Inclusion, and Your Library.

THE CRIV SHEET is always looking for writers! The deadline for articles is the last Thursday two months before the issue is scheduled to publish. Interested writers should contact THE CRIV SHEET editor Ashley Arrington at ashley.arrington@aggienetwork.com.


 

CRIV Blog

As part of the “Getting to Know CRIV” series, we are highlighting the CRIV Blog this week. Members of CRIV, and occasionally guest authors, try to write a couple of posts each month highlighting news, updates, or other information about various vendors, vendor products, or resources. Sometimes we highlight resources in particular subject areas.

The CRIV liaisons for Bloomberg, Lexis, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer post after their semi-annual calls with vendors. We may write about a new product that has hit the market, changes in content, new search features, or more.

If an AALL member submits a request for assistance, we may post about the issue and how it was resolved or handled.

We welcome guest authors! If you would like to write a post, please reach out to the CRIV Blog coordinator, Christy Smith at christy.smith@shu.edu.

Principles & Practices for Licensing E-Resources

May is the month we are highlighting the CRIV website and the tools and information that were created for the AALL community. This week features one of our CRIV Tools: Principles & Practices for Licensing Electronic Resources.

Do you manage e-resources for your library? Are you new to the role or do you need a refresher? CRIV is here to help! Check out the Principles & Practices for Licensing E-Resources.

Finding the AALL CRIV Principles & Practices for Licensing E-Resources

Hover under the Advocacy link on the AALL homepage, click on CRIV Tools, and then Principles & Practices for Licensing Electronic Resources.          

AALL CRIV Principles & Practices for Licensing E-Resources

These principles and practices provide guidance to both librarians and vendors engaged in the licensing process. There are nine sections covered:

  1. Licensing preparedness
  2. License components
  3. Authorized use and authorized users
  4. Copyright and intellectual property
  5. Archiving
  6. Usage tracking and user privacy
  7. Termination/renewal
  8. Dispute resolution
  9. Warranties/quality of service

In addition to the principles, the following materials, intended as a toolkit for anyone involved in library procurement, are supplied:

Appendix A—Checklist for Licensing Electronic Resources

Appendix B—Resources for Licensing Terms and Definitions

Appendix C—Resources for Sample Clauses and Model License Agreements

Appendix D—Bibliography Licensing and Procurement of Electronic Resources

Appendix E—Bibliography: Accessibility of Electronic Resources

Appendix F—Procurement Process Checklist for Law Libraries

Up next week — Liaisons to Vendors & Request for Assistance.

Switch It Up!: Changing IR Workflow

Way back in 2012, I had just graduated from library school in Queens and was toiling away at three (!!!) part-time jobs in the city. Out on Long Island that same year, my future employer Hofstra University School of Law adopted bepress Digital Commons as its institutional repository.

After moving forward with an IR, one of the things to figure out is: what is the workflow going to be? Who is going to do what, when? Some institutions allow faculty to upload their work; others have full-time institutional repository managers who obtain copyright permissions, upload faculty works, and perform other IR tasks. 

In 2012, the individual who preceded me as IR supervisor at Hofstra Law implemented a workflow that centered on union staff performing most of the work. She created a Faculty Publications master spreadsheet and obtained copyright permissions; this constituted the “set up” work. But after these managerial efforts, the staff then began the “nuts and bolts” work – they obtained PDFs, entered metadata, and performed quality control checks both before and after posting faculty publications.

The work the union staff performed was guided by a color-coded Faculty Publications master spreadsheet: one color meant “needs to be quality checked”, another color meant “ready for upload”, still another meant “copyright pending”. Back then, this workflow made sense because there were hundreds of faculty publications that needed to be worked on, and the “color coded spreadsheet” approach allowed everyone to be equally active in his/her IR work. With this workflow, everyone performed his or her task concurrently.

However, when I was hired at Hofstra Law in 2018 and took over managing the IR, I discovered that the color-coded spreadsheet approach had become confusing – there were so many cooks in the kitchen that staff weren’t sure at what point who needed to do what. It then became easy for staff to shrug off IR work since they weren’t really sure “whose turn it was.” Since so much faculty scholarship had already been uploaded in the preceding 6 years, and since we didn’t need to have everyone working on everything concurrently by that point, I created a new workflow that I call “Batches of Five.”

This new workflow is streamlined, linear, and direct: rather than everyone concurrently working on their assigned IR task, I identify (from the Faculty Pubs spreadsheet) what has not yet been posted and send an email out to the staff: “Please begin working on these 5 articles. Thank you!” The email I send includes the spreadsheet row number, the author name, and the article (or book chapter) title for each of the five items. After the first person in the workflow enters metadata, he replies all to my email saying “Done, QC up next”. Then, the first of two employees who does quality control works on the five and replies all to the email; then the employee who does the second quality control does her work.  After the quality controls, another employee posts the items so they are live on the site. After the five items are live on the site, another employee does a quality control check from the front end.

The switch from “working on everything” to working on the specific “Batch of Five” made sense based on the six years of IR work that had preceded it. The staff appreciated this change: they said they like the new workflow because it’s simpler, more direct, and everyone knows whose turn it is and what is expected of them. This workflow requires that I follow up with the staff (everyone forgets from time to time), but nevertheless this streamlined workflow has simplified things and ensured staff are working productively.

A few years ago, bepress rolled out a new feature of Digital Commons that allows the IR manager to harvest faculty publications from PubMed, Scopus, and other databases. I have not yet been able to explore this relatively new feature, but this could very well constitute the next phase of our evolving IR workflow. 

CRIV / Bloomberg Law Semiannual Call

Jeanne Frazier Price
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Director of the Wiener-Rogers Law Library
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Participants: Jeanne Frazier Price (CRIV Liaison to Bloomberg Law), Lauren Kaplan (Head of Strategy, Bloomberg Law), Michelle Hook Dewey (AALL Executive Board Liaison to CRIV) & Ross Pendley (Customer Experience Manager, Bloomberg Law)

Updates from Bloomberg Law

Mike Bernier, former Director of Library Relations at Bloomberg Law, had long served as Bloomberg’s liaison to CRIV. Mike retired at the end of November 2022. While we very much miss Mike’s helpfulness, good nature, and kindness, we look forward to working with Lauren and Ross.

The update on Bloomberg Law products centered on (1) improvements in findability and accessibility of materials on Bloomberg; (2) enhancements to docket information and the discoverability of information about dockets and the documents in them; (3) additions to practical guidance resources; and (iv) an increased presence on the part of Bloomberg Law in trending issues important to the legal community. Highlights from Bloomberg Law follow.

Improvements in Findability/Accessibility

  • Users can now search by phrase within a document, rather than having to sift through appearances of the individual words that make up the phrase
  • Sorting options have improved
  • Recommendations based on past use are suggested

Docket and Litigation Enhancements

  • New courts added (additional state and local courts; Puerto Rico Court of First Instance) and some progress on lifting access restrictions in other courts
  • New filtering options for search results (e.g., resolution, settlement noted, class action, county court)
  • Patent Trial and Appeal Board cases can now be filtered by inter partes review, covered business method, post-grant review
  • Improved docket search functionality from the initial search option
  • New fields for filtering within docket search results: case outcome, case settlement, potential class action, case status, case length in days
  • Causes of Action field and complaint summaries added to Docket Alerts for federal district court cases

Practical Guidance Improvements

  • Labor & Employment
    • New customized chart-builder functionality for local paid leave and local minimum wage information
    • Enhanced practical guidance on pay equity
    • Updated 8th edition of ABA-jointly published The Developing Labor Law: The Board, the Courts, and the National Labor Relations Act
    • Additions to resources on employee immigration issues, including docket tracking and updated practical guidance on employee hiring
  • Transactional Drafting Tools
    • Additions of different types of agreements to the Draft Analyzer
    • Additions to sample contract clauses to cover trending issues related to, among other things, supply-chain challenges
  • Environmental, Social, and Governance Issues
    • New toolkit for the health industry, including specific information focused on drug retailers, health care delivery and manager care
    • New toolkit for the manufacturing industry, including specialized guidance for companies engaging in mining, oil and gas activities, electronics-related activities, and technology
  • Privacy and Data Security
    • Updated home page and enhanced alert features
    • Enhancements to functionality for building state bill proposal searches for biometric and consumer privacy initiatives
    • Enhanced access to information on Edgar filings and transactional precedents, dockets and court opinions, state privacy resources, international materials, and federal statutes, regulations, and agency materials
    • Enhanced client alerts related to the General Data Protection Regulation, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • Banking and Finance
    • New practice pages on fintech compliance and the UCC
    • Updated practice center features including new state banking and finance regulation and federal banking and finance regulation trackers, each with alerting and filtering functionality
    • Improvements to state and federal securities coverage and enhancements to the functionality of the Rule 506 Form D Filings Chart Builder
  • Emerging Issues
    • Three new In Focus features
      • One that enables discovery of A.I.-related information and documents across practice areas, including an interactive state map linking to a comparison table of A.I.-related legislation and regulations
      • A second focusing on federal and state developments in abortion law arising out of the Dobbs decision
      • And another on pay transparency at state and local levels

Engagement in Current Issues

Bloomberg continues its support of both:

  • The Law School Innovation Program which identifies and honors law schools and faculty that implement programming designed to advance new methodologies in teaching
  • The DEI Framework which recognizes law firms that meet standardized and transparent criteria in measuring diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Requests for Assistance

Since the last liaison call, CRIV had received only one request for assistance involving Bloomberg products. That request related to the sometimes unavailability of downloads from particular dockets; users would receive an error message to the effect that the particular document required courier retrieval (which was inaccurate – the document was available for download on PACER). Bloomberg had acknowledged the problem but had shared no timetable for resolution. Similar concerns had been voiced on the law library directors listserv. Mike Bernier was contacted, investigated the problem, and quickly got back in touch with both the CRIV liaison and the librarian who had submitted the request. The problem, which had to do with multi-part pleadings in particular courts, was identified and largely fixed. The requestor described Mike’s responsiveness and help as “fantastic.”

Questions from CRIV

The call concluded with questions raised by the CRIV liaison. First, with respect to print materials, Bloomberg continues to publish only tax materials in print. There are no current plans to change that approach. As to the availability of stand-alone access to the ABA/Bloomberg Law Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, Bloomberg representatives believed that such access is available and intend to follow up with additional information. Some concerns were raised about the difficulty of accessing Bloomberg News / Bloomberg Terminal articles in the Bloomberg Law platform. Lauren and Ross acknowledged that this was a known issue, that improvements were underway, and that, in the meantime, there were work-arounds. Finally, the Bloomberg representatives were asked about the reception to the changes in access and pricing for Pacer materials for academic customers that were instituted some time ago in order to curb some unexpectedly high use. Lauren and Ross suggested that those changes seem to now be fairly well-accepted among the academic user community.

CRIV / Thomson Reuters Semiannual Call

Elizabeth Outler
eResources Librarian
LAC Group

Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Participants: Elizabeth Outler (CRIV Liaison to Thomson Reuters), Mark Baker (Director of Product Management, Thomson Reuters), Blythe McCoy (Thomson Reuters Information Management Consultant), Michelle Hook Dewey (AALL Executive Board Liaison to CRIV)

Thomson Reuters provided an overview of their new platform, Westlaw Precision.

  • Thomson Reuters developed Westlaw Precision because legal research still takes a lot of time and lawyers are often worried they’ve missed something important.
    • Searches inevitably miss relevant documents due to language variation because courts use different terms than your search to refer to the same concept.
    • How to improve research outcomes and time spent for researchers?
    • Addition of new Precision Attributes to improve case law research in Westlaw Precision: legal issues and outcomes, facts, motions and outcomes, causes of action, party types.
    • New and intuitive classification systems to use these attributes for searching, browsing results, and filtering.
  • Added 250 attorneys to editorial staff and trained them to capture the Precision Attributes from cases (in selected topics for the first phase rollout of Westlaw Precision).
    • Machines still can’t do it at the level of quality and reliability needed.
    • Attorney-editor tagging followed by extensive quality control process.
  • New Browse Boxes in search result display help researchers quickly and confidently determine whether to read each case – Browse Box includes legal issue and outcome, material facts from the decision, causes of action and motion types (with outcome) from the decision.
  • Build a Precision Search by selecting issues and facts in the Precision Search template (on the home page), or run a search in the main search box and then use the new Precision filters to limit your result to cases with your issue, facts, and outcome.
    • Can also use Precision filters to assist with issue-spotting (helpful for law students or more junior attorneys).
  • Launched with 8 topics (Antitrust, Commercial Law, Employment Law, Federal Civil Procedure, Federal Class Actions, Federal Discovery and Evidence, Federal Remedies, and Securities Law); post-launch released 3 more: Insurance, Arbitration and Real Estate. State Civil Procedure coming soon.
  • Back to 2010 for all published cases in each topic, plus older leading cases (frequently cited).
  • Results from a large test involving over 100 attorneys showed that Westlaw Precision users were twice as fast at finding relevant cases compared to Westlaw Edge.
  • Significant quality improvements – 90% of participants said Westlaw Precision helped them find cases they might not have found otherwise.
  • Rollout to law schools in January.
  • Developers are very interested in feedback from users.

Additional features available in Westlaw Precision rollout:

  • KeyCite Cited With – what other cases are cited alongside my case?
    • Adjust how closely together the cases are cited.
    • Citing relationship filter – allows you to filter out cases that don’t cite your case or are cited by your case.
  • KeyCite Overruled in Part – attempts to solve the “red flag problem,” where a red flag makes a case look like bad law just because one point was overruled.
    • Helps navigate directly to that point of law and highlights the operative language so you don’t have to hunt for it.
  • Graphical view of research history
    • Helps navigate research history so you can reconstruct your steps.
    • Highlights documents where you spent a lot of time or returned multiple times.
  • Keep list
    • Each item in search result you can bookmark to add to your list (up to 50).
    • Remains across research sessions – move to folders if you want to organize or retain.
  • Hide details
    • Click and it will minimize the info displayed in search results so that you can tell you already looked at the case.
  • Outline builder
    • Create a research outline in Westlaw and drag language from a case or other document into it.
    • Can submit it to Quick Check and find related case law.
    • Can export to Word.

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.

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

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?  

‘Tis the Season (to Volunteer)

It being AALL Committee and Award Jury Volunteer season, I thought I’d share a post on reasons you might consider volunteering for CRIV. Earlier this year, I authored a post where I delved into the work CRIV conducts on behalf of the membership. To learn all about us, I’d encourage you to give that post a read (and view our full charge on AALLnet), but as a short recap, CRIV, the Committee on Relations with Information Vendors, seeks to facilitate communication between information vendors and the members of AALL by establishing open, positive relationships. In an effort to achieve these aims, we serve both an advocacy and an education role, primarily through the following activities:

  • Advocacy
    • Requests for Assistance – AALL members are encouraged to submit formal requests for assistance with any information vendor through this form, to assist us with tracking requests and ensuring follow-through.
    • Formal Vendor Liaison Relationships – CRIV has an established liaison relationship with four of the largest legal information vendors: Wolters Kluwer, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg/BNA. Our vendor liaisons engage in semi-annual calls with our contacts at these organizations to discuss ongoing requests for assistance and to hear the latest product updates and developments.
  • Education
    • Vendor Roundtable – Held in conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting each year, CRIV hosts a Vendor Roundtable at which vendors are invited to discuss a predetermined topic and how their company addresses it. Last year, for example, vendors discussed the tools they use to ensure accessibility in their online products.
    • The CRIV Sheet – This newsletter from CRIV comes out three times a year, containing program highlights and reviews from the Annual Meeting as well as articles on a wide array of vendor and legal information-related topics. (As an aside, while content is largely authored by CRIV members, we encourage outside authors as well. If you are interested in writing for The CRIV Sheet, we are currently accepting articles for our February issue! Copy is due January 12th. If you are interested in writing an article, please email Andrew Christensen, this year’s CRIV Sheet editor.)
    • CRIV Blog – Members of CRIV contribute regular posts to the CRIV blog as well, often highlighting recent news and trends in legal information.

With all that in mind, why might you consider volunteering to serve on CRIV?

Consider volunteering for CRIV if you…

…like being an advocate – If you enjoy the advocacy role of the legal or library profession, CRIV is the committee for you! CRIV is a problem-solving committee that seeks to work on behalf of AALL members to solve problems and answer questions related to legal information vendors.

…want to get to know the vendors on a deeper level – If you are interested in an expanded relationship with legal information vendors, CRIV will offer you that experience. Serving as a vendor liaison, for example, you have the opportunity to engage in semi-annual calls with your assigned vendor, relaying any concerns or questions from the membership and hearing first-hand from the vendor about the latest product updates and enhancements.

…like to write (or want to get started writing) – Between our newsletter and our blog, CRIV members have several opportunities to write throughout the year. Whether you have tons of ideas about legal information or you regularly monitor the latest news from legal information vendors, those topics are right up our alley!

…like all things legal information – Whether at our regular committee meetings, on calls with information vendors, or through programming like our annual Vendor Roundtable, CRIV members are constantly discussing challenges, developments, and trends in legal information.

…are looking to develop new skills or deepen existing ones – Committee work in general is a great place to challenge yourself and try out new skills or areas of librarianship. For example, I had very little one-on-one interaction with vendor reps (outside of our law school’s Lexis/Westlaw/Bloomberg Law reps) prior to joining CRIV, but my outreach and engagement with a variety of vendors has grown significantly in my three-year term on the committee.

…are interested in a (semi-) long-term commitment – CRIV is somewhat unique in that membership on CRIV is a three-year, rather than a one-year commitment. If you have ever felt like you were just starting to get your feet wet on a committee, right as your one-year term expired, CRIV offers you the chance to engage with its work over three years, which allows you to try your hand at different aspects of CRIV involvement over time. Your first year, you might dabble in writing for the blog and The CRIV Sheet. Your second year, you might get involved with the Vendor Roundtable, or step up into a leadership role by serving as the blog coordinator, CRIV Sheet editor, or Vice Chair; by your third year, you might to decide to get to know the vendors better by serving as a vendor liaison (or chairing CRIV!). A longer commitment lets you better see the impact of your work on a committee over time.

The AALL Committee & Award Jury Volunteer form is due December 15th. If you have yet to submit, I hope you’ll consider CRIV. It offers a little bit of everything. And if you have any questions about CRIV activities, feel free to send me an email. Like the work we do, I’m happy to advocate on CRIV’s behalf!

What is CRIV?

When I was preparing to write my first CRIV blog post for the semester, it occurred to me that there may be some in our profession who are unfamiliar with CRIV and the work that we do (and others who might not mind a refresher!). So for this post, allow me to (re)introduce you to CRIV.

CRIV is AALL’s Committee on Relations with Information Vendors. You can read our formal Purpose and Charge on the committee’s page on AALLnet, but in a nutshell, our mission through CRIV is to foster and maintain positive, open communication between members of AALL and information vendors. We work toward this in two primary ways: First, we monitor AALL chatter for any complaints related to information vendors, whether those complaints have to do with billing practices (not pricing), resource functionality, or general communication issues. Then, in most cases, we will reach out to a contact within that information vendor’s organization to see whether and how that complaint can be addressed and resolved. We have four formal vendor liaison relationships with Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer. Four of our committee members are designated each year as the CRIV vendor liaison to each of these vendors. You can find this year’s vendor liaisons here. Throughout the year, the liaisons will take any complaints or questions received about these vendors to our designated contacts within their organization for resolution or clarification; and twice a year, the liaisons have a conference call with the vendor to discuss any outstanding issues and learn the latest updates to the vendors’ products and services. As you may have seen, the minutes from these calls are then published here on the CRIV blog and in the next issue of The CRIV Sheet.

Does this mean CRIV only takes questions or complaints regarding those four vendors? No — we are happy to assist in communication with other vendors as well, and certainly have in the past. The best way to seek help from CRIV is by using our Request for Assistance page on AALLnet. This helps us keep a record of inquiries. While you are asked to provide contact information when you submit a RFA (so we can reach you to follow up), when we take your complaint or question to the vendor, we keep it anonymous. If the vendor responds that they need more details, we would only provide them with your permission. Our ultimate goal is to serve as an advocate for AALL members in establishing positive working relationships with information vendors, and as such, keeping your confidence as we share your concerns with the vendor is a priority.

While vendor relations is at the heart (and in the name) of CRIV, another significant service we provide is education, including programming, like our Vendor Roundtable at the AALL Annual Meeting each July; this year’s recording can be viewed here (recording will be available through July 2022). In addition, through the CRIV blog and our thrice-annual newsletter, The CRIV Sheet, we endeavor to keep the membership informed about the latest developments and trends from information vendors. If you have an article idea and would like to write for us, e-mail Andrew Christensen, this year’s CRIV Sheet editor. And if you have an idea for a blog post, reach out to Christy Smith, this year’s blog coordinator.

CRIV is always looking for ways to better serve AALL members. Be on the lookout later this year for a survey from CRIV on this very topic, but in the meantime, if you have questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out! As CRIV’s current chair, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Ashley Ahlbrand, CRIV Chair, aaahlbra@indiana.edu