One role of the vendor liaison is to foster knowledge and information sharing between law librarians and legal information vendors. The importance of building and strengthening relationships with those communities cannot be overstated.
Law Librarian Community
I reached out to special interest section chairs and chapter presidents at their leadership training sessions last July, and I encouraged them to keep me informed about issues specific to their groups or to contact me for assistance with vendor relations issues. I am particularly interested in hearing about publishing practices that affect a particular type of law library, issues that can be addressed with the legal publishing community as a whole, and issues on which AALL should develop a position. Chapters often have a unique regional perspective on the industry, and I would like to work more directly with chapters on vendor relations matters.
I have a broad perspective on these issues from my own work and reading, but I welcome the opportunity to talk with groups or individuals at any time.
Legal Information Vendor Community
A year ago I visited five of our major legal information vendors (BNA, Hein, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer) to have frank conversations about issues of importance to law librarians. For the most part, vendors are well-informed about our issues - they read the relevant blogs and listservs - but I also took the opportunity to encourage their participation in the AALL Price Index for Legal Publications and their compliance with the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers. I talked with them about Project Counter and usage statistics generally as being of critical importance to the evaluation and continued use of their products. We discussed ways they could communicate more effectively with their customers, especially their law librarian customers, and I think I helped increase their awareness of the impact that editorial and operational decisions have on libraries.
I continue to have regular contact with these five vendors while also reaching out to new vendors. Last week I visited Bloomberg Law and ALM/LJP, and our conversations included the above topics as well as developments related to the Vendor Colloquium and Action Plan. As new companies come into the law publishing field, I will have an opportunity to build new relationships.
I welcome the chance to talk with librarians and vendors, and I hope to hear from many of you in the coming months.