By Tracy L. Thompson, NELLCO Executive Director

BNA Update

On June 27 at NYU, six representatives from NELLCO member libraries met with BNA representatives Charlotte Kuenen (, Robert Fuchs ( and Donna Robinson ( The main focus of our discussion was the current pricing and pricing model in their latest offering. We proposed a true FTE pricing model with no associated discounts on existing print subscriptions. Such a model would allow libraries to make simple decisions about acquiring print and electronic materials without requiring convoluted analyses of existing holdings and associated credits on a title-by-title basis. We expressed our concern with their current model for many reasons, not the least of which is simplified and straightforward pricing. We have all seen the enormous amount of time and effort this new BNA offering has required, with many of us still no closer to answering the question, "How much does it cost?" We don't want to see other publishers adopting a model that demands so much effort. We also emphasized that use of BNA materials in an academic law library is not analogous to their use in law firms. We stressed the pedagogical mission of academic libraries, as well as the role we inadvertently play in marketing their products to future commercial users.

Another focus of our meeting was on the provision of usage statistics for BNA products. BNA's response is that they don't have the technological resources to facilitate this. I have asked them to clarify their response, as the process of authentication should allow them to gather at least some very basic information. I have had no response to my request for clarification yet, but hope it is forthcoming in the wake of the Annual Meeting.

The outcome of the meeting was that BNA has unbundled their core offering. You may now purchase the titles in the core (as well as all other titles) on an a la carte basis. The platform limitations still exist however, and any BNA materials purchased in an a la carte fashion will be available only on BNA Direct, and not through either Lexis or Westlaw. In addition, BNA has added a Law Library Relations Manager.

We believe we have been very clear in stating our needs and our concerns to BNA. We are not satisfied that they have adequately responded to us, and we hope everyone who shares our concerns will make them known to one of the BNA representatives listed above.

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