Getting to Know CRIV

Over the next few weeks, the CRIV Blog will focus on … CRIV! We’ll be highlighting our website and the vendor tools and information that have been created for the AALL community.

This week’s post spotlights the AALL “Vendor Relations Policy.” Future posts will highlight “Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers,” “Policies & Procedures for Licensing Electronic Resources,” CRIV’s vendor liaisons and Request for Assistance form, and the CRIV publications, the CRIV Blog and The CRIV Sheet.

Finding CRIV Information Generally

Finding CRIV information is easy from the AALL homepage. Scroll over the Advocacy tab at the top right of the screen. A popup box provides links to the Liaisons to Vendors, The CRIV Sheet, CRIV Tools, CRIV Blog, Policies, and the Request for Assistance form.

Finding the AALL Vendor Relations Policy

Scroll over the Advocacy tab on the AALL homepage and select, “Policies.”

AALL Vendor Relations Policy

The purpose of the Vendor Relations Policy is to direct AALL’s advocacy on issues related to legal publishing and legal publishers. The goal of the policy is to provide the AALL community with information that helps them in their interactions with suppliers to the profession.

The Policy consists of 4 parts: part I, an introduction; part II, issues supported by the AALL Government Relations Policy; part III, other AALL policies that support vendor relations activities; and part IV, issues identified for advocacy with legal publishers.

The Government Relations Policy monitors proposed legislation and regulations, evaluating the impact on members, access to justice, and the legal information industry. In part II, you’ll find a list of issues and principles relating to public policy and the publishing industry that support areas related to vendor relations.

In part III, other AALL policies that support vendor relations, you will find, among others, AALL’s Preservation Policy, which supports standards and guidelines to ensure preservation of legal materials, and AALL’s Sponsorship Policy, which outlines parameters for sponsorship to ensure a mutually beneficial exchange. This part also provides a statement encouraging legal publishers to provide usage statistics in compliance with the COUNTER Code of Practice.

Many publishing and customer service issues are addressed in other CRIV documentation, but part IV identifies 10 additional issues identified for advocacy with legal publishers. Some issues mentioned: more pricing transparency, simplified licensing models, and assignment of customer reps who have knowledge and understanding of all product lines and individual library accounts.

Antitrust Questions

A number of years ago, AALL developed a list of antitrust frequently asked questions, which have been posted on the CRIV website along with the Vendor Relations Policy. In recognition of the need to review the questions, the FAQs have been removed from the website. In the meantime, the AALL Executive Board is moving forward to develop and adopt a full antitrust policy for the community.

For readers who are interested in what other associations state about antitrust, see the American Library Association’s ALA Legal Framework: Twenty Questions (questions 13, 14) and Part 10 of the Special Libraries Association’s 2019 Unit Recommended Practices (page 47).

Up next week — Fair Business Practice for Legal Publishers.


The Other Side of the Coin?

Publishers Weekly has an interesting story about some big publishers and how 2017 treated them.  I admit I have never given much thought to how slow and/or flat sales might impact publishers.  Luckily someone can make me with just a blog post.

Project COUNTER Survey

Project COUNTER is soliciting feedback from libraries via a new survey:

We aim to improve the usage statistics that consortia and libraries receive from publishers and vendors and would like to hear from them about their requirements and priorities.

An online survey is available so that you can tell us your views. The survey will take around half-an-hour to complete. Attached for download is a PDF of the survey to enable data consultation before the online survey is completed.

We realise that we are asking libraries and consortia for some considerable input, but the information provided will enable us to improve the utility of COUNTER usage statistics.

The online survey can be found at

For what it’s worth, I was able to complete the survey in ten minutes.

Thank you to Margie Maes for bringing this to my attention.

COUNTER Articles

The COUNTER Code of Practice for Articles (COUNTER Articles) is now published on the COUNTER website at: . This new Code of Practice responds to the growing demand for article-level metrics and has been developed as a result of the PIRUS (Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) project. COUNTER Articles provides a COUNTER-compliant standard for the recording, consolidation and reporting of usage at the individual article level of journal articles hosted by Publishers, Aggregators, Institutional Repositories and Subject Repositories.

COUNTER Articles builds on the COUNTER Code of Practice for e-Resources and COUNTER will be responsible for its development, ongoing management and implementation. To have usage statistics and reports designated COUNTER-Articles compliant vendors and services will have to provide usage statistics that conform to this Code of Practice. Vendors that are already COUNTER-compliant will find it relatively straightforward to conform to the COUNTER Articles standard. In addition to what is already provided for COUNTER, the key additional metadata requirement for COUNTER Articles- compliance will be the article DOI, which allows usage to be recorded, reported and consolidated unambiguously for each journal article.

COUNTER Articles provides a standard that enables any organization hosting journal articles to report in a credible, consistent and compatible way the usage of these articles to authors, their institutions and their funding organizations. It also enables vendors to consolidate usage of articles on different platforms into a global usage total.

For more information, please contact Peter Shepher, Director – COUNTER,


Margaret K. Maes 
AALL Vendor Liaison

AALL Program Preview: Understanding Vendor Statistics

Over the next couple days, CRIV will be highlighting some of the vendor relations-themed offerings at AALL in Seattle….

A1: Making Sense of the Numbers: Understanding Vendor Statistics
Time: 11:15am – 12:15pm
Location: 4C1-2

Online usage statistics can be deceptively straightforward. Before relying on them to make decisions, you must fully understand what the column headers mean, how data is collected, and how local configurations affect the data. Participants will review statistics tables available from common data providers such as Lexis, Westlaw, Serials Solutions, Gale, HeinOnline, Onelog, and Lookup Precision.

Takeaway 1: Participants will understand the three most common terms found in aggregator- and vendor-supplied statistics.

Takeaway 2: Participants will be able to identify at least two ways in which Internet Protocol (IP) and proxy configurations affect the data in aggregator- and vendor-supplied statistics.

Takeaway 3: Participants will know at least three key elements of the COUNTER statistics reporting standards and protocols.

Who should attend: Library staff who need to track and evaluate statistical data to make better informed collection development, customer use, and funding decisions

Track(s): Information Technology, Reference, Research and Client Services, Collection Development and Cataloging.

Suzanne R. Graham, Cataloging Services Librarian, University of Georgia School of Law Library
Jean P. O’Grady, Director of Research Services, DLA Piper
Jacob Sayward, Head of Electronic Services, Fordham Law Library

Why Aren’t More Legal Information Vendors COUNTER Compliant?

Online usage standards promulgated by Project COUNTER should make it possible for librarians to make more informed acquisitions and retention decisions based on usage data that is reliable and comparable across databases and vendors. But standards are worthless unless they are adopted and adhered to by the appropriate vendors.  To date, while many vendors of science and bio-medical information are COUNTER compliant, most legal information vendors are not.  The Register of COUNTER compliant vendors can be found here. I’d love to hear from a few vendors about why they have or have not become COUNTER compliant. A step-by-step guide for vendors to COUNTER Compliance is here.