Halsbury’s Laws of Canada – Paper vs. Electronic

Simon Chester’s post about the new Halsbury’s about to be released has reminded me of a few discussions I had last week with the good people at LexisNexis Canada.

I was concerned when I saw an advertisement that went out from LexisNexis Butterworths about the Halsbury’s being released in paper, since I was sure it had been promoted in the “new Quicklaw roadshow” as coming out in electronic format. Since my library does not have space for 57 volumes of anything new, no matter how good, I was concerned. After a couple of inquiries, they had me speak with Pat McNeill, one of the VPs over at LexisNexis Canada and a fantastic guy who has always tried to be as forthcoming with law librarians as possible.

Pat explained to me that, this month, three volumes of the new Halsbury’s Laws of Canada will be released in paper: immigration, intellectual property, and labour. Three new areas will be released in the new Quicklaw to correspond with these topics at a later date. They will include (among other things) topical summaries, case law, legislation, treatise material, current awareness including “hot cases” and the encyclopedic content of the Halsbury’s Laws of Canada. We should see the first come out about March 2007, and all three will be ready by the end of 2007. These are outside existing subscriptions; they will require an additional purchase price.

At some point, when they have some substantial Halsbury’s content, a distinct Halsbury’s tab will be created, again likely at an additional purchase price. The question is, at what point will they have enough content that people will want a separate tab? If the whole of the service is not finished in paper until about 2010, should they wait until then, or open it up with incomplete content before that time? The company line, of course, is that we all should be purchasing both paper and electronic.

December 11/06 update: I misunderstood Pat’s explanation of the release schedule. I have corrected the explanation in the two paragraphs above. – Connie

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