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?  

Copyright Resources

Libraries are often impacted by issues of copyright. Copyright can be complicated and requires some research to determine outcomes of using resources that may be under copyright. However, there are freely available resources available that will help anyone to learn more about Copyright.

The United States Copyright Office provides a wealth of information to learn more about copyright. The homepage provides detailed information for anyone who wants to register a copyright or would like to learn more about the rights and responsibilities of a copyright holder. As with most federal agencies, the Copyright Office provides access to the relevant laws and regulations directly from their homepage in the “Law & Policy” tab. This section provides more than just primary law.

One of the useful links in this tab is for Copyright Office Circulars. The circulars provide detailed information about various aspects of copyright. The subjects range from simple topics such as “Copyright Basics” to more complex topics such as “How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work.” Some of these circulars are older but the Copyright office is in the process of refreshing and updating the circulars.

Another link in the “Law & Policy” tab that is extremely useful is the Fair Use Index. The Fair Use index is a database of cases dealing with fair use that have been curated by the US Copyright Office. The database can be sorted by jurisdiction, or category such as “parody/satire,” “music,” or “textual work.” In addition, each case entry has an outcome which indicates if Fair use was found.

The Copyright Office also has a “Research” tab, which provides links to the databases to find information about existing copyrights. In addition, the “Research” tab provides a series of videos known as the “Learning Engine Video Series”. The series provides information about copyright basics as well as links to more detailed information.

The Copyright Office’s “About” page has the History and Education section which provides more detail about history of copyright in the United States as well as resources to learn more about that history. Finally, there is an extensive Frequently Asked Questions page which provides answers to many of the questions that come up related to Copyright.

In addition to the Copyright Office, there are some guides that may help us learn more about copyright. The Stanford Libraries have a Copyright and Fair Use guide which provides detailed information about copyright. In addition to providing information about copyright generally, the page has a “What’s New” section with tabs to track up and coming information on copyright laws and how they may be changing.

CRIV / Wolters Kluwer Bi-Annual Call

The winter bi-annual CRIV / Wolters Kluwer call took place on January 14, 2022, at 9:00 a.m., PST. In attendance were:

  • Jenna Ellis, Wolters-Kluwer Liaison
  • Vani Ungapen, AALL Executive Director
  • Michelle Dewey Hook, AALL CRIV Board Liaison
  • Cynthia Condit, AALL CRIV Wolters Kluwer Liaison

Michelle Dewey Hook was introduced as the new CRIV Board Liaison, replacing Karen Selden. CRIV extends its sincere thanks to Karen for her wonderful service as Board Liaison and attendance at these important vendor calls.

Wolters Kluwer Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to CRIV and/or AALL – Jenna Ellis.

VitalLaw — Wolters Kluwer rebranded Cheetah as VitalLaw in November 2021. To help answer questions from customers and ensure a smooth transition, Wolters Kluwer created an FAQ site, which is updated as additional feedback is received from users. The FAQs include answers about how to log in for the first time, the scope of changes, permalinks, MARC records, and authentication (e.g., Federated SSO, DRM tools, and proxy servers).

Comprehensive Training Site — Wolters Kluwer now offers multiple complimentary training options located all in one place. It provides a one-stop shop for videos, quick-start cards, and registration for training sessions. Types of training include:

  • Self-paced Tutorials: Short videos designed as an introduction to basic functionality that helps users get started quickly and improves research or workflow efficiency.
  • Feature Courses: LIVE instructor-led sessions. Designed to highlight trending issues these short and fact paced courses are open to registration from multiple organizations and typically include a Q&A component at the end to ensure users can locate the right answers on these topics fast.
  • Customized Training Courses: Also, LIVE instructor-led sessions. Often hands-on, customized training courses are designed for one or more users from a single firm, company, or organization. Wolters Kluwer Legal Training Consultants and professional training teams customize the session to specific subscription content, research needs, and time frame.

Platforms offering complimentary training include:

  • VitalLaw Training
  • VitalLaw for Corporate Counsel Training
  • Kluwer Arbitration Training
  • Clarion Training (due diligence and client advisement tool).
  • Corporate Counsel Profiler Training
  • ftwilliam.com Training (cloud-based employment benefit and pension software)
  • RBsourceFilings Training (integrates EDGAR filings, law firm memos, private placements, SEC No-Action letters, SEC comment letters, and includes IPO Vital Signs)
  • Kluwer Intellectual Property Training
  • Kluwer Competition Training
  • ktMINE Training (all-in-one IP analytics)
  • Almanac of the Federal Judiciary Training (judicial profiles)
  • Technical Answer Group Training (ERISA, retirement, and pension planning)

Seamless Integration Solutions Update — Wolters Kluwer provides a short 2-minute updated video on tech solutions it has implemented that allow access to deep domain expertise quickly and efficiently through a more efficient workflow. Practitioners can take advantage of new treatise search solutions, firm sign on authentication that avoids user sign on with ID and password, permanent links to chapters, subchapters, and practical content, access by citation feature, and over 850 customizable title and practice tool widgets.

Direct Email Support – Legal Pro Training Tech Group — If you need tech support, have access issues (e.g., EZproxy, Federated SSO), have questions about a specific training session, or other needs, you can contact the Legal Pro Training Tech Group’s direct email at legalprotraining@wolterskluwer.com. The mailbox is checked daily.

Requests for Assistance – Cynthia Condit, Jenna Ellis.

Since the last bi-annual call, two requests were received. Jenna responded to the requests and currently no request for assistance are pending.

AALL Programs, Activities, or Business of Interest to Wolters Kluwer – Vani Ungapen.

Vani thanked Wolters Kluwer for being an exhibitor at AALL’s annual meeting in 2021.

She provided information about AALL’s upcoming 2022 annual meeting, which will be held in Denver, Colorado July 16-19. Currently, the event is scheduled for in-person attendance. New this year, AALL is working with a conference planner, which will manage both the conference and the exhibit hall event. AALL is working on finalizing sponsorship and will reach out to Wolters Kluwer later this month to further discuss participation.

Adjournment.

As there were no other items for discussion, the meeting adjourned at 10:23 a.m.

PACER Access in 2022

As the Open Courts Act of 2021 progresses along its hopeful path to passage, promising the end of exorbitant PACER fees, many of us in academia are wondering what this will mean for the docket access we currently purchase (or wish we could purchase) through vendors such as Bloomberg, Lexis, Westlaw, and/or Fastcase.  It’s worth it at this point to take a look back at where we’ve been, and forward to where we may be headed, and we are optimistic at the prospects.

PACER fees have been a long-standing headache for academics. The money generated in accessing electronic public court records provides the judiciary with a substantial revenue stream, with predicted PACER revenue for both fiscal years 2021 and 2022 of about 142 million, yet PACER itself lacks the enhancements commercial providers offer, like alerts. For academic institutions, the financial burden incurred by clinics and researchers who need to follow cases can be substantial and often prohibitive. When Bloomberg Law entered the legal research market in 2010, law school libraries breathed a sigh of relief as this new service provided unlimited access to PACER for academic accounts. Unfortunately, years later and in the face of mounting costs, this was walked back with dollar limits, returning many institutions to the dreaded “before” days of limited PACER access and looking for alternatives. Other platforms offer some forms of docket access, but not to the extent Bloomberg once provided, and academia is often charged large additional fees, if our academic accounts have docket access at all.

PACER fees have been the target of both creative solutions and lawsuits, with limited or yet-to be-seen success. Recap offers free access to PACER documents uploaded by users in a crowdsourced database, but access is limited to those documents others have sourced and included. The 2016 lawsuit filed by the National Consumer Law Center and the National Veterans Legal Services accusing the US Government of overcharging and misusing PACER fees achieved preliminary success in the DC Circuit but still churns on, although the end may be in sight. While this action has very recently (and tentatively) settled, we don’t yet know the terms, or what relief may be included for academic institutions. A status report is scheduled for January 20. We’ll see.

In the meantime, Congress is working hard on a legislative fix. In the 116th Congress, the Open Courts Act of 2020 passed the House, and was sent to the Senate where it died in the Judiciary Committee, but not without garnering substantial support. That bill had only two sponsors, and it would have still allowed the charging of fees for “power users,” with the caveat that these fees “may not impair access to justice and the public right of access to court records,” nor “restrain innovation” or “inhibit not for profit research of the business of the Federal courts.” 

So, is relief finally coming? The current Open Courts Act of 2021 was introduced last August in the Senate by Republican Rob Portman with the bi-partisan support of 14 co-sponsors. This version would still allow fees against users who spend more than $25,000 a quarter, along with federal agencies, which will help fund a new case management system.  Although it has been reported favorably out of the Judiciary Committee, and an identical bill was re-introduced in the House last November, GovTrack only gives it a 13% chance of passage, and Lexis+ bill tracking also predicts the chance of passage as low. Perhaps these algorithms don’t read press releases or don’t factor in the bi-partisan support, the lack of any vocal opponents, or the ongoing legal disputes it would resolve, but plenty of us put the odds of passage much greater as this issue has gained wide traction.

Which leads us to ask our vendors, what will you do once PACER fees become free to the public? Will you allow academic institutions to subscribe to all of your docket alert and tracking services? Will the large added fees for docket access be waived, allowing our students to gain practice in researching dockets and thereby draw more customers to your product? Or, will this allow for the development of new and even more user-friendly docket search platforms?  As Bloomberg discovered, docket access can be a great magnet drawing users to your platforms. Once PACER fees are contained, or perhaps in anticipation thereof, we are anxiously awaiting the enhanced docket access the new year may bring.

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.

CRIV/LexisNexis Semiannual Call

Held: December 8, 2021, 12:00 p.m. (Eastern).

In attendance:

  • Carolyn Bach, Sr. Manager, Knowledge & Research and Faculty Programs, LexisNexis
  • Simon Weierman, Sr. Director, Segment Management, LexisNexis
  • Vani Ungapen, Executive Director, AALL
  • Michelle Hook Dewey, AALL Executive Board Liaison to CRIV
  • Ashley Ames Ahlbrand, CRIV Liaison to LexisNexis

This update includes product enhancements released between July and December 2021.

The Lexis+® Experience

  • Improved the search experience on Lexis+ with updates to:
    • Extend the reach of Lexis Answers® to secondary sources
    • Add a new Motion Type filter in briefs, pleadings and motions search results
    • Add support for sorting by TOC order when searching TOC sources
    • Launch the Search Tree for natural language and refine presentation of the Boolean Search Tree
    • Enhance the Search Within Results capability so users can target selected document sections, and add control to include or exclude documents matching the user-provided terms
    • Enhance filtering of Arbitration Decisions by enabling users to filter by a particular arbitrator 
    • Enable the Graphical View of search results (aka Search Term Maps) for an additional nine content types
  • Rolled out multiple enhancements to Shepard’s® Citations Service, including:
    • Shepard’s integration into the Document view for quick access via tabs
    • Shepard’s interactive visualization of the citing decision treatment by jurisdiction or date
    • Additional support for delivery of Shepard’s At Risk indicators with the delivered report
  • Improved upon Brief Analysis through multiple updates, including:
    • Rollout of Judicial Brief Analysis, which enables users to compare up to six documents (three for each side) and receive one comprehensive report of all case law arguments, citations and quotes to help determine accuracy, relevance and argument strength
    • Launch of an integrated Quote Check capability for users to validate that they have quoted primary source materials correctly with the right pin cites for the location of their quotes
    • Integration of expert tips and cases recommended in treatise publications and Practical Guidance through secondary source recommendations
  • Enriched Lexis+ Litigation Analytics coverage through:
    • Addition of new courts from seven new counties in California and Georgia
    • Upgraded existing court coverage to Enhanced level in New York, Florida, Utah, and Wisconsin
    • Updated Practical Guidance interface with a user experience refresh within Lexis+
  • Enhanced the Lexis+ Legal News Hub with smart tabs that customize the experience with user intervention, and added new content sources, including Law360® UK, Law360 Tax Authority, Law360 Employment Authority and Law360 Insurance Authority
  • Launched related secondary source document recommendations based upon the LexisNexis headnote and the case law document the user is viewing
  • Improved the Work Folder experience by enabling users to search within full-text documents saved to folders
  • Enhanced the Negative News feature with LexisNexis Smartindexing Technology™ filters by subject

The Lexis+ and Lexis® Services

  • Extended a multi-year global licensing agreement with The New York Times®, added 300+ publications from Newsbank Inc., and 100+ publications from ProQuest® and the Tribune Content Agency to our news collection
  • Added 1.8M briefs, pleadings, motions, and trial court orders online to expand the leading LexisNexis collection
  • Added new international primary law collections for Syria and Cuba, totaling 27 new countries added in 2021
  • Added Browser Zoom Notification Messages on Lexis and Lexis+ to inform users of the ideal viewing and display experience when utilizing Zoom functions
  • Launched Burton’s Legal Thesaurus on Lexis and Lexis+, giving users access to distillation of  complex legal terms into plain language and offering 14,000 synonyms, legal phrases and associated concepts

Practical Guidance

  • Expanded Market Standards, our solution for analysis of market trends, to include new deals; it now contains more than 37,000 M&A deals, 4,900 employment agreements and 2,700 credit agreements
  • Released Clause filters, enabling users to find on-point clauses more quickly
  • Rolled out new content including:
    • NY Employee Handbook Supplement, a sizable collection of annotated NY and NYC employee handbook policies for attorneys to use when developing handbooks for employers
    • Key estate planning templates for all U.S. states and territories (290 total templates) in Trusts & Estates
    • A new Civil Litigation Brief Writing Fundamentals video in Practical Guidance, enabling users to get up to speed on the essential elements of successful brief writing in a visually engaging and user-friendly format; includes related content links for deeper guidance on motion practice
  • Launched nine new litigation process maps in the Civil Litigation practice area for federal court litigation, including visualizations orienting users to where in the litigation lifecycle their selected phase fits; this resource curates essential content on a litigation phase or subphase, all in one place, and also helps users anticipate and plan for workflow needs further in the litigation process
  • Refreshed the Practical Guidance Author Center to align the look and feel and add new author search functionality, as well as new links to authors’ law firm webpages.

Lexis® Search Advantage

  • Lexis Search Advantage | Litigation—Enhanced the search experience including support for advanced search, configurable pre-search filters and results page, expanded sources when selecting entities, and support for Single Sign On (SSO)
  • Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional—added support for Single Sign On (SSO)
  • Updated the Dockets & Documents page for easier review of recent downloads and dockets in a table format, including more details for each entry
  • Updated the Courts selection menu, enabling users to select their targeted courts more easily
  • Released new courts (California and Illinois) and reactivated dozens of other individual state courts that were temporarily offline due to changes in the state court system

Lex Machina® Capabilities

  • Released the new False Claims Module (October), which provides Legal Analytics for litigation involving the False Claims Act (FCA), as well as related claims under state law; false claims litigation centers on the allegations of fraud against the government by a person or company

Intelligize® Tools and Content

  • Released two new tools for researching Public Companies’ Performance on ESG Issues:
    • A new Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) application that brings together a wide range of ESG-related content for individual companies or peer groups to help companies, advisors and researchers evaluate legal and regulatory risks, devise disclosure strategies and tell their ESG stories effectively to broad audiences
    • A new ESG tab added to the Company Insights offering to help customers (1) streamline ESG disclosure research by paring down complex topics with a simple point and click and (2) drill deeper into graphical representations of trending ESG topics and customize ESG analytics to compare against selected peer companies

MLex® Regulatory Insights

  • Launched new content called “Future Mobility” to follow major regulatory trends impacting the transport industry
  • Added topic tagging that enables more precise search and alert results

CaseMap Cloud Case Analysis Tools

  • Now available in the cloud for user access from anywhere at any time to collaborate, organize, visualize and analyze case facts, issues and documents

Nexis Newsdesk

  • Released a new, modern interface that aligns with the look and feel of Lexis+ and improves the user navigation and search experience
  • Enhanced the Insights display with features especially helpful for business development—pop-ups with details on spikes in coverage, integration of topic and sentiment visualization, summary cards, geo maps revealing global spread and ability to download Insights PDF
  • Enhanced the Saved Content Panel, including the ability to add an article to a search and ability for admins to add and manage groups of users here
  • Enhanced sharing functionality, providing the ability to share multiple newsletters at once and improvements to clipping options
  • Updated Nexis Newsdesk Mobile App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/nexis-newsdesk-mobile/id1567099763
  • Won SIIA CODiE™ Award for best Content Search & Discovery Solution for the fifth consecutive year

Nexis Diligence

  • Released an updated visual design to improve the product’s ease of use and address customer feedback
  • Launched a new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Custom News Search capability

LexisNexis® Dossier

  • Enhanced to offer comprehensive reports on 350+ million public and private companies as a result of integration of CA.com content

New Resources:

{LEGALESE}

LexisNexis, Lexis, Lexis+, Lexis Answers, Shepard’s, CourtLink, CaseMap, Lex Machina, Intelligize and the Knowledge Burst logo are registered trademarks and LexisNexis Smartindexing Technology is a trademark of RELX Inc. Law360 is a registered trademark of Portfolio Media, Inc. Intelligize is a registered trademark of Intelligize, Inc. MLex is a registered trademark of MLex Limited. Other products or services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Is it an A/B Test?

We recently got an inadvertent peek behind the curtain of the process for evolving legal research database interfaces. Early this fall, working on research exercises for our incoming 1L students, we found ourselves cross-editing each other’s’ instructions for how to run a simple Lexis+ search. Why tell students to click on “content” when the label says “categories”? And why not just tell students the icon for editing looks like a pencil? Thanks to the screen sharing function on Zoom, we discovered we were simultaneously looking at different versions of the same interface, and after polling our colleagues, about half of us were on “team content” and the other on “team categories.” It turns out, we were unknowingly part of an “A/B” interface test:

This kind of testing is a common way for developers to compare two versions of a design and see how these variations change user behavior. Some companies use A/B testing quietly to see if subtle changes in font size, color, position or wording increase visits, clicks, or purchases. We reached out to Lexis, and learned from the product development team that this is standard practice, intended to test variables and improve user experience:

LexisNexis uses online experimentation or A/B testing to improve our products by evaluating potential changes before rolling those changes out to the entire user population.  For Law Schools we take steps to avoid disruptive testing during times of peak usage during the school year to minimize any challenge to your preparation and teaching of legal research with our products.

Bloomberg law also uses beta testing of its interface:

Bloomberg Law occasionally might engage in beta testing where we enlist specific firm/school accounts. We won’t do it with just random individual users, however. Users who participate in beta testing are enlisted by a Client Service Partner or someone from our Bloomberg Law team. Random users are not selected to participate in our testing.

We reached out to Westlaw, but we received no statement about interface testing by the time of this posting.

As a practical matter, the variations we saw were subtle and unlikely to cause confusion, and as of this afternoon, we are all on “team content.” We were never actually asked which term we preferred, so we can assume website metrics showed “content” must have gotten more clicks than “categories.” Legal researchers are constantly watching for and adjusting to changes in research database interfaces, as each new academic year our vendors seem to roll out yet another new menu of changes. Some changes are significant re-developments, while others, like the ones we discovered, are much more nuanced. A word to the wise for all legal instructors for the spring: even if you are not alerted to a major interface change, be sure to double check your screenshots.

‘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!

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!

Inflation & CRIV

Recently inflation is in the news (see the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and AP). Rising inflation is a hot economic topic as the prices for many common items soar. Even bacon is 20% more expensive from 2020 to 2021. Bacon!

So, what does this have to do with CRIV?

Well, potentially nothing, but it also might be a useful metric in gauging the reasonability of vendor pricing increases during negotiation of renewals.

The Department of Labor created a Consumer Price Index (CPI) Inflation Calculator available here. This calculator allows you to enter in prices for a particular year and month and see the equivalent in other years & months. The calculator lets users compare prices from 1913 to present. Although the calculator is handily displayed on one screen, there are extensive resources to look behind the curtain available.

For example, $10,000 in November 2016 has the same buying power as $11,459.94 in October 2021. Furthermore, that same $10,000 in November 2006 now has a buying power of $13,726.50 today. Needless to say, this calculator can be a great distraction but it does help provide some context for vendor pricing.

Of course, there are drawbacks to this resource. Notable, it is the Consumer Price Index. It is looking at the buying power of “. . . All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) U.S. city average series for all items, not seasonally adjusted”. Needless to say, there are many categories such as food and gasoline, but legal databases and books are not included.

But don’t worry bacon costs are well documented in the CPI.

Is this background useful when negotiating with vendors? Are law library resources too specialized that a general consumer price index is too disconnected to be useful? Should there be a law library inflation index? Let me know in the comments below.

VitalLaw FAQ

Update: As you all know, Wolters Kluwer introduced VitalLaw, formerly Cheetah, the beginning of November this fall. To help you answer any questions you may receive from your staff and to ensure a smooth transition, Wolters Kluwer has prepared an FAQ for you. Wolters Kluwer will continue to update it as they hear additional feedback from customers.

Resources for Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, which is a time to celebrate the diverse cultures of the indigenous peoples on the United States and for all of us to learn more about these cultures.

As part of Native American Heritage Month, CRIV is highlighting some resources that are helpful for learning more about the legal systems that govern Native Americans. This list is not exhaustive.

  • National Indian Law Library – The National Indian Law Library provides legal information in a variety of ways. They publish the Indian Law Bulletin which provides up to date information legal issues related to Native American from both the Federal Courts and Tribal Courts.  In addition, the NILL provides Research Guides on a variety of Indian Law Topics including Indian Child Welfare, Tribal Enrollment, and Jurisdiction among many other topics. Finally, the NILL provides the Tribal Law Gateway, which provides links to find the primary law of various tribes. The NILL is created and operated by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), an organization that seeks to provide legal assistance to Native American Tribes, Organizations and Individuals.
  • Tribal Court Clearinghouse – the Tribal Court Clearinghouse provides resources at the Tribal, State and Federal levels. The resources provided cover both primary law sources and secondary sources. The site also provides background information and guidance related to subject specific legal issues involving drugs, advocacy for children, and violence against women among many other topics. There are also links out to other useful organizations. The Tribal Court Clearinghouse is a project of the Tribal Law and Policy institute, which is an organization that works to promote Tribal Sovereignty and justice within Native American Communities.
  • Indigenous Peoples of the Americas – HeinOnline’s Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: History, Culture & Law provides is a database that gathers the various resources that HeinOnline has related to Native Americans. This database includes Tribal Codes, Indigenous Treaties, and the Indian Law Reporter, as well as the specific federal resources that cover Native Americans.
  • Native American Law. Westlaw provides access to a limited number of Tribal Codes, and cases. They provide specific State, Federal, and Secondary Sources that deal with Native American Law.

Licensing Privacy Project Webinar on Assessing Contracts Nov. 17 1:00 p.m. Central

Licensing Privacy is a Mellon Foundation grant-funded project based at the University of Illinois, the goal of which is to develop model language that would support libraries in advocating for user privacy when contracting for services and content and enable libraries to hold platforms accountable for their data practices. Their upcoming webinar will present a new tool they have designed, called the Vendor Contract and Policy Rubric, and discuss how libraries can use the rubric to evaluate how well vendor platforms follow library privacy guidelines, standards, and best practices. In addition, the webinar will discuss practical ways to use the rubric to advocate for privacy practices during contract negotiation. Speakers will be Becky Yoose of LDH Consulting Services and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the principal investigator for the grant.

Click here for more information and to register for the webinar (or to receive the recording).

Lexis+ “Legal News Hub” Tracks Headlines, Trends from Law360

In case you missed it (like me, admittedly, until a chat with our academic account rep this week), LexisNexis has recently incorporated a valuable feature to Lexis+: Legal News Hub.

Accessible from the tool and task icons at the left of the Lexis+ homepage, the Legal News Hub provides a continuously updated stream of headlines and content from all of Law360’s topical news areas and Law360 Pulse, the specialized news platform that focuses on the business of law.

It is available to all Lexis+ subscribers, and those who additionally subscribe to the Law360 platforms can view entire articles in either the Legal News Hub or Law360 environments.

The Lexis+ Legal News Hub provides access to:

  • Top Stories: The main page shows headlines and concise summaries for the top 20 recent articles across all Law360 and Law360 Pulse areas.
  • Trending: The Trending section lists the articles currently receiving the most views on Law360 and Law360 Pulse.
  • Practice Areas and Industries: News coverage for all 76 topics, industries, and practice and geographical areas provided by Law360 and Law360 Pulse.
  • Searching: Users may search all Legal News Hub content for the most recent 20 stories that match their search terms.

While the Legal News Hub most clearly enhances the Lexis+ platform for those without access to the Law360 and Law360 Pulse products, all users can benefit from this interface in an age when headlines—and a brief summary to boot—are often enough to stay up to speed on developments across the legal landscape.

For more information, see the LexisNexis website, their July press release, or their short YouTube video introduction to the Legal News Hub.

A screenshot of the Legal News Hub, accessible from the icon at the left of the Lexis+ homepage.

AccessLex Announces New Bar Exam Review Product: Helix

AccessLex Institute, the nonprofit company that focuses on supporting law students and legal education with funding programs and research on academic and bar exam success, announced today it has launched its own bar exam review product called Helix.

The goals in designing the new product were both to offer lower-priced bar review courses and to bring a new approach to bar exam preparation courses, using active learning, gamification, and other engaging and interactive adult learning strategies provided by contemporary learning science research.

The company says it will offer more than 4,000 complimentary Helix course packages to nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-accredited law schools over the coming year. The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) course package costs $1,199 for the July 2022 exam, and it can be purchased now (courses open March 7, 2022). The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) course package is also available now, and it costs $279 for the July 2022 exam. A free “sneak peak” of the Helix product is available. They also sell UBE flash cards for $199 and MBE flash cards for $159.

For all of the above information and more, visit https://www.helixbarreview.org/