Vendor Liaison Update - October 2011

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It is nearly a year since I started in the position of vendor liaison, and I’m pleased to launch this e-newsletter to provide a regular update on my activities.

AALL’s vendor relations program is a work in progress. I firmly believe that our efforts will make a difference in the way law librarians and legal information providers interact and communicate and that ultimately we will have stronger relationships. But these positive outcomes will develop over time, not overnight, and we will be more effective if we take measured steps and have policies in place to guide our advocacy with legal information vendors. As the work develops, I will use this e-newsletter vehicle to inform you and solicit input.

Please email me directly with questions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Action Plan Implementation

The Association held a Vendor Colloquium on Creating, Disseminating, Using, and Preserving Legal Information in Challenging Times earlier this year. Following the colloquium I chaired a working group of vendors and librarians charged with refining the Shared Principles that were discussed by colloquium participants and with developing an Action Plan to outline next steps and future work.

After a 30-day comment period for membership input, the working group submitted the final draft of the Action Plan to the Executive Board at its July meeting. The board approved all elements of the plan, with some adjustments to the timeline that will allow us to implement the plan over time and thus be able to manage the process more effectively.

The Action Plan contains a set of goals, each of which flows from one or more of the Shared Principles as well as from conversations at the colloquium. The plan is divided into three parts: new project work, areas of current work for continued emphasis, and issues to be developed for future work. While all of the goals will be addressed in time, the board identified two areas of new project work for immediate implementation. AALL President Darcy Kirk recently completed the appointment of two task forces to begin this work.

The AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers Revisions Task Force, chaired by Kay Todd, stems from Action Plan Goal I-A, Reinforce our Commitment to the Fair Business Practices Guide. The task force will review the 2008 edition of the guide in light of the rapidly changing legal publishing environment, with an eye toward updating the principles and adding language to address the electronic publication and delivery of information. The task force began its work this month, and the project timeline calls for a final report to be submitted to the Executive Board at its fall 2012 meeting.

The Library Procurement Process Improvements Task Force, co-chaired by Katherine Lowry and Tracy Thompson-Przylucki, derives from Action Plan Goal I-D, Identify and Endorse Improvements to the Procurement Process that Will Benefit Librarians and Vendors. A significant portion of the discussion during the colloquium revolved around licensing, contract clauses, invoicing, and bundling practices. The task force will review and update the 2004 Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources, among other tools, and will develop a set of best practices to address the issues of invoicing and bundling. The task force will prepare an interim report for the Executive Board’s July 2012 meeting and a final report for the fall 2012 meeting.

Both task forces are charged with soliciting input from AALL members and other entities as appropriate. As a member of both task forces, I will help to provide communication between the groups on areas of common interest and work.