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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

The Canadian Encyclopedic Digests

The “Great Encyclopedias” of Legal Research – Part III

This is the third of a series of posts that were prepared following a request by Professor Daniel Poulin to explain the nature and purpose of “Halsburys” and the “C.E.D.” to his seminar on legal information at the University of Montreal. The views expressed are the personal opinion of the writer.


The Fourth Western and Ontario Editions of the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest are the newest publications to follow the Halsburys Model in Canada. While essentially simple revisions of Titles published in previous editions, the Fourth Editions . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Never Ending Search for New Markets & Alliances

As the world’s economy heads inexorably for another meltdown it’s instructive to see where the management teams of the larger legal publishers are looking in order to try and keep shareholders and boards happy in the final quarter of 2011.

Two immediate examples come to mind and make us wonder where they can go next.

Option 1 : New International Markets

Now the press releases about China have died down as the publishers (like the rest of us) have realized it’s actually much harder to make money in the PRC than initially thought. Especially so when you have to spend . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Bloomsbury Professional Launches New Online Tax Law Service With Market-Beating Price.

October 21 saw a most interesting and perhaps game-changing development in professional publishing with the launch in the UK of Bloomsbury Professional’s new online tax law service,

What makes the new service worth noting is not rocket science technology or really cutting-edge functionality but price and simplicity, combined with an unashamed resemblance to the book idiom in its presentation – a smart move, it might be suggested, in an e-book era.

The publisher, formerly Tottel Publishing, itself and, by implication, its content having roots and established credibility derived from LexisNexis origins, boasts that the key features of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Creating Authoritative Content

Readers of this column over the past year or so will know that I’m rather preoccupied with the quality of legal material. When I compare free to paid legal resources, I often find the free resources wanting, usually because I don’t believe that enough checks and controls are used when the material is created.

We are proud of the work we’ve done here at CLEBC to create authoritative practice manuals for BC lawyers. But how does that material become authoritative; that is, what do we actually do to ensure that BC lawyers can confidently rely on these resources in their . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Lure of the Other IP, Intellectual Philanthropy

It’s funny how you can work in a field for a good number of years and completely miss an extremely pertinent term for that field. Then, suddenly it strikes you as particularly apt, and leaves you wondering how you had missed it. I have been working on questions of open access to research and scholarship for a little more than a decade, and last week I ran into intellectual philanthropy in a 2011 book by Taylor Walsh entitled Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses. Intellectual philanthropy struck me as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Aids to Searching Caselaw

The development of computers changed and enhanced the searching of caselaw.

In 1971 a study of the application of computers to legal research was undertaken by the Federal Department of Justice and the Canadian Bar Association. The study was completed in April 1972 and the opening paragraphs of the report were as follows:

This study referred to as ‘Operation Compulex’was undertaken at the initiative of the Federal Department of Justice and the Canadian Bar Association. The Bureau of Management Consulting of the Federal Government was engaged to carry out the inquiry which began in June of 1971 and terminated in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

Just Trying to Keep the Customer Satisfied

It begs to be asked, increasingly, who is the customer for professional information publishers. No longer can they think simply about students, teachers, practitioners and librarians. Not when there are KM specialists, procurement managers, IT geeks, consultants and financial managers media buyers and, doubtless, countless others who have a role to play in what is chosen to support the information needs of a firm, corporation or institution.

Nevertheless, decisions need to be made as to what to invent and develop in order to create product and service offerings and, though some will disagree, the focus group, questionnaire and consultancy approaches . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Triple A: August Acquisition Action

While the US government deals with having less A’s these days it’s been AAA (August Acquisition Action) in the world of legal publishing.

We’re not sure though whether we should adding a plus or minus after those three A’s.

Law Librarians News readers will know that we’ve touched upon this subject in our last two editorials

Usually we see acquisition and deal season in the world of legal publishing happen either post Easter or in September to combine with the Partridge hunting season (Sep 1 – Feb 1) in the UK.

But for reasons we haven’t yet deciphered August 2011 . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

I Am Now an App™

[W]e’re writing these things that we can no longer read. And we’ve rendered something illegible. And we’ve lost the sense of what’s actually happening in this world that we’ve made.
Kevin Slavin, How algorithms shape our world, TEDGlobal (July 2011)

I finished my last post speculating that the business of law will be changed by programmers in the same way one might boil a frog. That is, it will happen slowly under the guise of software support for all of the decision making you have to do every day, and you’ll accept that support, incrementally, because you are a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Public-Interest Patent Option

On July 29th, 2011, the U.S. federal appeals court reaffirmed, in effect, the right to patent genes, if in limited cases. The court’s ruling overturned a lower court decision that voided a patent held by Myriad Genetics on BRCA1 and BRCA2, two human genes used in determining the risk that women face with breast and ovarian cancer. Much hinges on the outcome of such patent challenges, given the thousands of genes that have been patented in the United States and elsewhere.

The appeals court accepted that the chemical structure of DNA, once removed from a cell was “markedly different” from . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Professional Information Publishers’ PR, Whatever That Is

PR? What does it mean? I search around and wonder if it’s Public Relations or Press Relations (or rather media relations). But the two, although not unrelated, are not the same and that makes me think if, in that environment, there is more art than science applied; perhaps more faith and belief than evidence. In fairness, those within that trade seek to communicate their purposes and objectives, e.g., at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations website, where, usefully and unsurprisingly, they offer a “jargon buster”.

Mostly, whether it’s one interpretation or another doesn’t bother me. The use of PR . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Rise of the Programmers

I have this dream—a nightmare really—like one of those dreams where you’re trapped in an embarrassing or compromising position. In this dream, I walk into my law firm’s library and the shelves and books are gone. Instead, I see rows of keyboards and gleaming cathode ray tubes. The computers have staged a coup d’état.

Scott Stolley, The Corruption of Legal Research, For the Defense (Apr. 2004).

The promise and scope of Big Data is that within all that data lies the answer to just about everything.

Vivek Ranadivé, Chairman and CEO, Tibco, from Crunching Big Data: more than a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing