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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

The Changed and Changing Landscape of Legal and Professional Publishing

Although personally it seems relatively recent, it was as long ago as in the mid-1990s that I was first asked to write on legal and professional publishing, by way of a chapter in a book entitled Book Publishing in Britain, (J. Whitaker & Sons, 1995). Pondering both forward and back around 20 years each way, one has a sense of the scale in which so much has changed, while at the same time there are areas in which things have remained the same. I was amused recently to be told with pride by a seasoned business owner, that their . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Can Big Data Also Be a Public Good?

Big data is big news these days. Whether its consumer and user data from Google, Amazon, and Walmart, or the government’s big-data grab of phone and email records from the companies we trust, like Google and Version, in the latest US, as well as Canadian as it turns out, governments invasion of civil liberties in a war on terror threatening to take citizen’s data points hostage.

There is much to be concerned about with big data, from profiling to privacy issues. When it comes to where I work, in the space of scholarly communication, I can see that my . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Choosing a Career

In the 18th century a man when seeking work usually followed the occupation of his father. Today a young man or woman has more freedom to choose a career. And at a later date a person can change that choice.

From an individual perspective, every man or woman is encouraged to find a job that she enjoys or loves.

Confucius (551-479 BC) said: “Choose a job you love and will never have to work a day in your life”.

Ben S. Bernake at Princeton University on June 2, 2013 said: “A career decision based only on money and not on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Publishing Becomes an Academic Discipline

More back-seat drivers for the major legal publishers.

Robert Mackay’s recent post about how publishing is becoming an academic discipline highlights yet another source of analysis and commentary on the strategies being pursued with varying degrees of success by the legal publishers. To the growing list of blogs such as House of Butter and the Justitia Blawg, to name but two, has been now added the academic community.

This point was brought home to me by one of Robert’s students who recently completed an MA dissertation on corporate branding in the publishing industry. Her research included a survey of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

SE Asia Finally Has Its Home Grown Own Crime Fiction Publishing House

Somewhat off topic again this month as let’s face it legal publishing and talking about it an be rather dull to say the least. So let’s talk about Crime Wave Press Asia who have published 6 online titles since launching September 2012 and we do so love their tag line..”Crime Wave Press – It’s always too late for someone.

In the summer of 2012 two veterans of the publishing industry. Hong Kong based publisher Hans Kemp and Bangkok based writer Tom Vater got together and decided the time was ripe for a new publishing house, dedicated to crime fiction set . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Perfect Storm of Open Access

A colleague writes of what seems like the perfect storm of open access hitting the students with whom she works…

My students and I publish in the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach published by Springer. Great outlet for our work. But, they just went open access (good).The cost to publish for an author now is $1,600 (bad). For grad students, this is prohibitive. I told my dean and she said there is no money to support grad student publications. That wasn’t surprising. Do the math: 60 students times several pubs a year at that cost would be a significant chunk

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

Wake Up! Speak Up! Shake Up!

Jordan Furlong published another great column recently about how the word the word “disruption” is being used to describe many changes in legal practice and technology. He points out that the word is most often used to describe legal process innovation. The comment boards lit up with discussion of what may or may not be disruptive. I agree with Jordan and other commenters that improving legal process or process innovation is not really disruptive. Examples of legal process innovation abound, but they mostly just introduce efficiencies into practice (for example, by standardizing steps in common procedures). On the other hand, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Post-Graduate Degrees for Professional Publishing: A Way Forward?

One of the most stimulating and pleasing roles I have, is to be involved with very small numbers of students on Kingston University’s Publishing Masters’ degree, as a supervisor of dissertations and on the advisory board for the course. There are a number of such courses in the UK, including those at City University and University College, both in London, where I have informal links to academics running the courses. I speak to them frequently about their developments.

Over the past several years, such courses have grown, drawing in students from around the world in order for them . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Plain English Please!

The plain English movement has been going on for a long time. The first law reports in England, The Year Books (1260 to 1535), were all in the French language. Legal texts were published in England in the French language in the 16th century. But French was not the language of the people and it took a long time to get the courts to use English rather than French or Latin.

“After 1704 all reports are in English” – see The Language of the Law by David Mellinkoff, page 130.

David Mellinkoff’s book, published in 1963, is credited with starting . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Odds & Ends

As I’ve been mentioning in Law Librarians News it really is rather dull at the moment in the world of legal publishing — from the outside anyway. 

You will all know Lexis have dumped Matthew Bender and that’s really the only big story of the last month. Both Lexis and Westlaw have done their usual slew of Joint Ventures, Mergers and Buyouts in the world of legal technology to boost ever decreasing revenues and as late as mid March press departments at both companies were in silent mode as the number crunchers and management run around furiously creating end of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Murky Waters of Case Law Databases

CANLII and the Quest for Comprehensive Case Law Databases

CanLII now appears to be wallowing in the murky waters of determining what constitutes a “comprehensive” case law database. This question has plagued commercial legal publishers for more than two decades without anyone offering a clear answer. Welcome to the world of legal publishing.

An independent study

According to its press releases, CanLII has made the comprehensiveness of its court collections a priority. But what does that really mean? In an attempt to figure it out, CanLII’s Board of Directors has “approved the commissioning of an independent study to support its . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Canadian Judgments Need Style

As many colleagues involved in serving Canadian government’s online projects along the years, I too did my fair part of fence-sitting about web accessibility requirements. Those requirements were perceived as a set of obligations to take into account dying browsers, obsolete computers, extra narrow screens, and some other minor annoyances about coding more legible HTML. We at Lexum complied, without enthusiasm if the truth must be said, but we complied as any service provider had to in order to keep the business going.

This feet dragging cannot be continued any longer.

The new situation derives from an application that resulted . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing