eLucidate Jan/Feb 2007

The most recent issue of eLucidate the journal of the UK Electronic Information Group contains an article on the results of a trial between the alerting services of Lexis Nexis, Thomson and Factiva. It's an interesting article with some quite in depth analysis of search results, items retrieved and the relative benefits of using the different systems.

If you're a member of the UKeig you can read the article online, if not you will have to ask me who won!

Ignore Web 2.0 at your peril

A recent post from the Uk Association of Online Publishers has highlighted research carried out by BoozAllenHamilton (what a great name) this research suggests that there is an "urgent need" for companies to adapt to the Web 2.0 model of consumer interaction and participation.

The report highlights 5 areas where Web 2.0 will be of concern to companies (including online publishers), they are that:

  • Web 2.0 Users Share and Participate, Without Privacy Concerns
  • Web 2.0 Usage Is Prevalent Across all Age Groups and Both Sexes
  • Web 2.0 Users Rely on Recommendations from Anonymous Peers
  • Web 2.0 Creates Both Threats and Opportunities for Existing Business Models
  • Web 2.0 Has Already Reached a Critical Mass – Companies Must Now Adapt to the New Paradigm

According to the report 41 of all internet users access sites like Youtube and Myspace and the figure is set to increase. Of interest for users of online content are the opportunities companies have to move product support and marketing to online communities either via Wikis or Blogs.

Legal Week revamp

Incisive Media have revamped, that's not too strong a word to use, the Legal Week website to the extent that it now has a Wiki this is a list of UK and US Law firm practices which are open to contribution by "insiders" ,it should be interesting watching this develop and a blog written by the editor.

All very interesting I'll definitely be signing up to some of the RSS feeds.

Lexis Nexis to fight open access

I don't believe it I hear you say well according to this post on LexBlog it's true and they have hired a big wig lawyer, to "represent their interests"

Just to clarify, according to the post Reed Elsevier (the ultimate parent company) have been in discussions with this Lawyer not Lexis Nexis directly. I'm a big fan of the open access movement and would expect to see this area of publishing grow steadily, especially with the increase in new publishing tools and projects like Google Digitization.

For more information on Open Access have a look at this article on Wikipedia.

Sweet and Maxell Legal Hub

The latest offering from Sweet and Maxwell is their Legal Hub, thanks to Lo-fi Librarian for spotting this. Now at first glance this appears to be aimed at Solicitors and those practicing law, but there are some excellent free resources including The Bar Directory and the Expert Witness Directory.

Well worth a look although you will need to register to use some of the resources on the site.

Nerds v the Luddites

Now I didn't think I was a nerd or a luddite but according to the estemeed Richard Susskind I must be one of these. I'm going to go with nerdy....hey ho...

YouTube videos

As if to prove YouTube has something for everyone there are a couple of videos Law Librarians should definitely look at.

Westlaw Stress Toy is the heartening story of how abuse of stress toys can be avoided by facing your fears, it's a dark story with a twist at the end. This has been around for a while but is still worth watching.

Legal Research the movie, is a rather bizzare offering from the US, watch and see. *Please note there is one instance of rude language in this video*

Justis sign the BIALL Code of Good Practice for Publishers

Justis publishing have become the ninth publisher to sign up to the BIALL Code of Good Practice for Legal Publishers. The announcement was made on the LIS-LAW and BIALL mailing lists earlier today by the BIALL Legal Information Group.

The BIALL Code of Good Practice "aims to provide guidelines for legal publishers doing business with librarians and other consumers of legal information: it is hoped that it will be mutually beneficial in improving customer relations"

As chair of the BIALL Legal Information Group I'm obviously delighted that Justis have signed up to the code. Working on the Code has at times been exciting, dangerous and occasionally depressing but most of all very worthwhile. I've always felt that building on relationships with publishers and assisting them in the understanding of their markets by working with them is the key remit of this group, hopefully Justis signing up to the code will be the trigger for many more publishers to do the same.


For anyone who uses Wikipedia on a regular basis the sad news that Wikipedia is going to die....sorry fail in 4 years time.

I'm a big fan of Wikipedia, although I probably shouldn't admit it, it's helped me out on the enquiry desk on numerous occasions.

Government refuses to extend legal protection for search engines

There has been some coverage recently of the DTI's Consultation Paper on the question of whether the protection against Copyright actions afforded to Internet Service Providers under Articles 12 to 14 of the Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) should be extended to protect search engines, content aggregators and hyperlinkers.

The government’s conclusion is that “currently there is no substantial evidence to support the case for an extension to be afforded to these service providers. In particular, there has been no significant legal action in the UK since the Directive’s implementation in July 2002.

So what does this all really mean? Well this post on Legal IT might help alternatively you can have my view on it which is that Content Providers (Subscription Agents, Aggregators of third party content like Lexis Nexis, Factiva etc) will want to avoid liability for infringements of copyright so we can expect to see Contract terms tightened up in respect of the forwarding and reuse of content.

Nearly Legal : Law Search

Nearly Legal has made his Law Search Box available as a downloadable HTML file. The Law Search uses Google Co-op and searches across statutes, case law, government publications reports, commentary and law blogs where the resources are freely available.

As many BIALL members know LORD (Legal Online Resources Database) enables searching across commercial resources so effectively provides the opposite of this search.

Are LNB using LIS-LAW for free marketing?

The short answer is No I don't think so. The reason behind me saying no, this post on Practice Source where Sean Hocking posts that they are.

I've received posts from LIS-LAW for 5 or 6 years now and I can honestly say that I have never seen what I would class as marketing material. In my opinion the recent posts by LNB have been them communicating what is quite a major decision on their part. I believe official communications like this should be encouraged.

What does the future hold for Law Firms?

An article here by Edward Fennell in the Times Online with input from Senior Partners at a number of Law Firms.

Thomson to sell Profound and NewsEdge

Karen Blakeman is reporting the interesting news on her Blog that Thomson are to sell Profound and NewsEdge I'm going to be honest and say I have never heard of either of these products but that may be because they are not heavily used in the legal sector.

I do agree with Karen's comments that Thomson has always lost out to Factiva and Lexis Nexis in terms of news content. Recently I was impressed by one of Westlaw's News products called Westlaw Watch. This is an alerting service that will naturally draw comparisons with Nexis.com.

Teaching Legal Research: The Podcast

An interesting post on Out of the Jungle about a new course one of the contributors (Jim Milles) is running Teaching Legal Research: The Podcast Are any UK academic establishments doing similar things?

500 UK Government websites to close

Lots of reports on the news that the UK Government is planning to close up to 500 websites. Nick Holmes piece on Binary Law is very interesting as is Lore Librarian's Blog entry.

Having reviewed the list of "proposed closures" it seems to me that there are lot of "food" related sites, my favourite has to be Love Pork closely followed by Pork for Butchers no doubt extremely well used resources.

On a more serious note there are a number of sites here which are important to Law Librarians e.g. Crime Statistics, The Criminal Courts Review, The Legal Services Review and the Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman. Ultimately it comes down to what the Government plans to do with these websites, are they going to be archived in their entirety or only partially, as yet there doesn't appear to be any information on which elements of sites are likely to be lost.

Paris Hilton and BIALL

Before anyone asks I haven't got my words mixed up I really did mean to write Paris Hilton rather then the Hilton Paris. Now I've got your attention, have a look at this post on Slaw.ca, it's a bit old but it amused me.

Batgirl was a librarian

I stumbled across this blog yesterday and was amused by one of the more recent posts on her "arch-nemesis" the dreaded looseleaf.

How many librarians have suffered at the hands of looseleafs, missing pages that cause severe anxiety, struggling to close a binder when it is full to bursting point, RSI from removing and adding pages and worst of all paper cuts.

I'm well aware of the inherent dangers of looseleafs and looseleaf filing so can empathise with Batgirl, my suggestion a hammer and a screwdriver, that normally sorts the blighters out.

Statute Law Database is free

Now I don't mean in the sense it has been behind bars for the last 10 years. The DCA has decided that access to the SLD will remain free now and for the forseeable future, good news all round. The SLD was also in the news late last week after a "cock-up" meant they had to revise the copyright notice on the site.

According to Nick Holmes' post on Binary Law the DCA are also looking at the commercial aspects of the SLD. I think the SLD has huge potential but having looked at the site over the past couple of weeks I'm concerned about a couple of things (1) The user interface is quite clunky, this is a personal observation and a colleague sitting next to me might say the opposite, (2) There has obviously been a huge amount of time invested in the SLD but there is still missing content, (3) The consolidation of legislation is patchy in places e.g. If an SI amends an Act the Act and all links on the Act will be amended but if an SI amends an SI it is not consolidated.

This is a difficult area for the DCA because their remit is to provide "primary legislation"

British Company Cases are added to Westlaw

Westlaw have added British Company Cases to the full text transcripts available online. The British Company Cases includes cases heard in The High Court, The Scottish Court of Sesssion, The Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.

According to Westlaw the addition of British Company Cases "adds a further 1,773 cases to Westlaw UK's current archive of over 186,000 cases and transcripts in full text"

TSO sold to Williams Lea

TSO (The Stationery Office) has been sold to Williams Lea, the move which was completed on the 10th of January has been "well received" by by Clients and customers. TSO is the leading document supply company in the public sector, the sector is expected to grow by 24% in 2008.

Rumours about Reed Elsevier

According to the IWR Blog Reed Elsevier are being touted as a takeover target. Information from "inside the industry" has indicated that this isn't likely primarily because of regulatory concerns. Watch this space.