Well perhaps and, if so, apparently only in … wait for it … Spain! As a friend would say, “you can’t make this shit up.”

Thomson Reuters ProView™ has partnered with third-party vendors to offer our customers the ability to manage their eBook libraries. This program allows users to read eBooks using the proprietary ProView platform, while using the library management system they prefer.

Through a library management system setup, librarians have a single view of all eBooks in their library – regardless of source – and will be able to manage eBook acquisitions, cataloging and circulation.  Libraries can purchase an eBook copy that can be accessed by any user – either named or anonymous – with check-in and check-out functionality.

Thomson Reuters Spain has currently partnered with Odilo on library management system development. Additional affiliations with partners in Spain will be available for release later in 2013.  Visit Odilo’s website to learn more about their capabilities.

Quoting from Library Management Systems.

One also cannot make this shit up — No one from Spain was in the audience when a TR rep displayed the above-linked web page to pitch the Company’s “library management systems” for ProView titles at an eBook session during ORALL’s Annual Meeting.

Here in the U.S., law librarians solve the problems created by “legal solutions” vendors like Thomson Reuters. At this point in time, I believe the solution lies in not buying a single TR ProView eBook until the acquired eBook can be loaned out and can be discovered by a vendor agnostic OPAC. Rumor has it that TR was but no longer is discussing the OPAC matter with EOS. — Joe

Intel has acquired Kno, a software provider for interactive textbooks. “[T]he main idea behind Kno is that the books are not only digitised but also include additional features to help students and teachers assess their progress, share information with others and generally get more engaged in the content,” wrote TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden and Rip Empson about the acquisition. They added

Although the pricing of the deal remains unclear, we have learned that the entire Kno team will be joining Intel as a result of the acquisition — with one notable exception. Osman Rashid, the co-founder and CEO (who is also a co-founder of Chegg), will not be joining the company.

In announcing the deal, John Galvin, VP of the Sales and Marketing Group at Intel Corporation and general manager of the World Ahead Program, explained

Intel has acquired Kno, a leading education-software company whose guiding mission is to change the way students learn. Much like Intel, Kno believes engagement is key to student success.

The acquisition of Kno boosts Intel’s global digital content library to more than 225,000 higher education and K-12 titles through existing partnerships with 75 educational publishers. Even more, the Kno platform provides administrators and teachers with the tools they need to easily assign, manage and monitor their digital learning content and assessments.

My hunch is that the demand for more interactive law eBooks, let’s call ’em “2nd gen Law eBooks”, will come from users who have become accustomed to interactive textbooks during the K through college educational experiences, if not sooner than then. — Joe

In The Problem With Discovery Tools and Law Firm Libraries Slaw’s Susannah Tredwell concludes

As the number of electronic resources increase, there is going to be an increasing need for effective ways to search and manage these resources. The ideal would be a “publisher agnostic” platform on which all content could be mounted, regardless of who supplies it, but the realities of the legal publishing world make that unlikely.

Unlikely indeed. Tredwell’s post and the three below listed references which formed the basis for her post are highly recommended. — Joe

“It’s always interesting to see how a lawyer’s oral argument marries up to their briefing, and for me, it helps give greater context to the points,” wrote Jason Wilson at The Annotated Oral Argument: Tucker v. Thomas (#SCOTX). Check out his example of annotating an oral argument  conducted before the Supreme Court of Texas. (NB: the annotation links to open source texts of court opinions and statutory code sections.) He adds, “If y’all like these annotated arguments, I can start posting more here or on Annotations.”

I think Jason is onto something here. While I have little need for Lone Star State annotated oral arguments here in the Buckeye State, I think e-publishing high court annotated oral arguments by an editorial staff that actually knows something (and links to open or opened resources) is a great idea. Hell, that’s why I buy Jones McClure’s annotated federal codes instead of … well, you know.

I would be very interested in annotated US Supreme Court oral arguments, ditto for the Supreme Court of Ohio, if produced by a reliable publisher like Jones McClure. At the SCOTUS level, who might that be? Hint — who is the sponsor of SCOTUSblog and the publisher of USLW?

Joe

Hat tip to Legal Research Plus for calling attention to this interesting NBER working paper:

Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of Platforms for Finding Books by Michael R. Baye, Babur De los Santos, Matthijs R. Wildenbeest

NBER Working Paper No. 19519; Issued in October 2013

Abstract: This paper provides a data-driven overview of the different online platforms that consumers use to search for books and booksellers, and documents how the use of these platforms is shifting over time. Our data suggest that, as a result of digitization, consumers are increasingly conducting searches for books at retailer sites and closed systems (e.g., the Kindle and Nook) rather than at general search engines (e.g., Google or Bing). We also highlight a number of challenges that will make it difficult for researchers to accurately measure internet-based search behavior in the years to come. Finally, we highlight a number of open agenda items related to the pricing of books and other digital media, as well as consumer search behavior.

Joe

Starting at slide 11, Bess Reynolds, Technical Services Manager, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, addresses pain points, budgetary concerns and the failure of vendors to develop library management tools, issues all law libraries, large and small in the private and public sectors, face in acquiring and maintaining today’s digital resources. From her Oct. 4, 2013 presentation at LLNE’s Fall Meeting, “Acquiring and Maintaining Resources for the New Collection” [complete stack below], pain points include:

  • Substituting digital formats for print without proper notice;
  • Digital versions of print serials that circulated to many may come with a prohibitively high single user price tag; and
  • Creating proprietary platforms for eBooks thwarting single silo for discovery

With respect to vendors failing to develop library management tools, Bess notes that busy lawyers don’t have time to register themselves on web sites, manage their passwords and learn new platforms. Internal IT department restrictions designed to protect an institution’s network results in attorneys and librarians not able to install applications or vendor plug-ins. And, of course, any new vendor software scheme requires extensive in-house testing.

It is “important for publishers to hear directly from their customers” because official AALL vendor relations dogma maintains that “we don’t all have the same needs and perspectives.” I believe Bess Reynolds’ presentation underscores that working law librarians are grappling with the same issues regardless of their institutional setting when it comes to acquiring and maintaining resources for the new normal in collection development. — Joe

On Tom Glocer’s blog, former TRI CEO Tom Glocer returned to the day, some 30 years ago, when he and fellow Yale LS classmate, Ron Wright, launched a computer game at YLS that was designed to be a teaching aid for pre-trial discovery. The program apparently was well received at Yale. It even made the New York Times. Glocer republished the article in his 30th Anniversary Post – Can Computers Teach the Law? post. [Glitchy direct link warning; hence the above link to the blog’s front page.] From Computer Gives Yale Law Students a Taste of Court Process (NYT, Dec. 25, 1983):

Professor Fiss, one of Yale’s three professors teaching civil procedure this semester, is replacing what was a written exercise with a computer game created by Mr. Glocer and Mr. Wright. Process of Discovery.

OK, so the NYT article was Christmas Day newspaper fodder. Still, it’s too bad Glocer didn’t bring that sort of innovation to the table at Thomson Reuters. Then again, WEXIS is the cemetery for innovative thinkers. Perhaps he tried.

Dear Tom,

Don’t know about your non-compete clause but … why not start up an Etsy eCommerce site for one-off  e-“legal solutions” like altSEs, apps, etc., handmade by legal technologists? My hunch is many of those creative folks wouldn’t mind giving you a 4% sales commission for the exposure they might get from a legal Etsy site.

Your pal, Joe

Hat tip to Jean O’Grady for calling attention to yesterday’s re-launch of the product now known as “Business Law Center on WestlawNext.” After giving a brief history of Thomson Reuters’ many bungled attempts since acquiring Global Securities Information (GSI) in 2005, Jean provides an overview of Business Law Center and comments on this development.

This relaunch is surely about regaining lost “good will” and reinforcing credibility in the corporate practice space. But I suspect that the Business Center is a beachhead from which a greater initiative will be launched. It is becoming increasingly clear that as content has become commoditized, the large legal publishers will maintain their growth and advantage by providing more integrated content, enhancing context and folding content into tools for process improvement.

In this case, the battleground is for control of the transactional desktop. See Thomson Reuters Re-Launches Westlaw Business (Again): The Business Law Center and the Next Great Battle for the Corporate Lawyer’s Desktop on Dewey B Strategic. Highly recommended.

If interested, see also TR’s press release, Thomson Reuters Introduces Business Law Center on WestlawNext: Next generation of business law research supported by Experts On-Call dedicated research assistance, and its companion podcast discussing Experts On-Call.

Joe

“Now I’m ready to close my eyes. Now I’m ready to close my mind. … Now I wanna be your dog.

Come on!” — The Stooges

After yadda-yadda-ing about AALL’s prodigious generation of a lot of words that have no real world consequences, the e-Board’s hired help writes

Throughout the year I met with legal publishers in person or by phone to discuss our policies and resource guides and to reiterate the importance of compliance with the fair business practices principles.

And yet no news that even one vendor has committed in whole or in part to Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers, 3d ed. Securing commitments was a stated goal, remember? None so far posted. Commitments in whole or in part and outright rejections in the written word authored by AALL’s “vendor partners” is one of those proof-of-concept things.

I continued to expand the list of publishers with whom I am in regular communication, providing them with news about our activities as well as feedback about a wide range of issues of concern to our membership.

Does the list really need to be more extensive than TR Legal Solutions, LexisNexis, BLaw-BNA and Wolters Kluwer. Granted it might be difficult to engage WK in regular communications but … just keeping a feedback loop open with AALL’s so-called major “vendor partners” about a narrow range of issues is hard enough. CRIV Unleashed can handle the rest.

But what really struck me as odd in this year-end review was the following statement from the September 2013 Vendor Liasion Update:

I believe we are in a long period of transition for law libraries and legal publishing as we all struggle to meet the changing demands of legal information users. Law librarians and legal publishers must keep the lines of communication open to ensure affordable and effective delivery of information services. I pledge my support for continuing this dialogue and look forward to working with both groups in the process.

Wait a minute — “working with both groups”! Who the hell pays for this program?! So much for consumer advocacy, the vendor liaison program way. — Joe

Since DLA Piper and Jones Day, we haven’t seen any announcements about BLaw signing up entire BigLaw firm staffs in the news. Perhaps I missed them. However, I’m sure there are plenty of BigLaw firms licensing BLaw under limited seat agreements. No doubt BLaw is putting the squeeze on WEXIS. So is Fastcase.

The New York State Bar Association, the largest voluntary state bar association in the country, is now offering Fastcase to its 76,000 members. Quoting from the Sept. 25, 2013 press release:

This is the new normal, when New York firms are absorbing their legal research costs as overhead, and firms of all sizes are looking to add a nonbillable ‘house account’ for legal research,” said Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal. “This partnership makes the NYSBA and Fastcase a better value than ever for New York firms, because they can reduce the costs of legal research and they can do so with the world’s smartest legal research tools.”

The Fastcase-NYSBA agreement pushes Fastcase’s user population over the 600,000 mark. Unlike Casemaker, Fastcase’s adoption rate extends well beyond the state bar association market.

Joe