If you are attending the AALL Conference, and would like to share any information or experiences with our readers, send an e-mail message to Sabrina I. Pacifici. This page will be continuously updated as we receive information from our roving reporters at AALL.
(Archived August 15, 1998)
Photos of AALL 91st Annual Meeting
Click on the links below for specific program information and product annoucements.
Editors Note: Don’t miss Betsy Klampert’s Notes from the Technology Trenches, where she gives complete reports on John Perry Barlow and Burgess Allison’s keynote speeches.
From Cindy Chick:
The Convention Center is buzzing with early arrivals. It’s a warm, somewhat smoggy day in Southern California.
I attended the pre-convention workshop, “Building an IntraNet Knowledge Center in the Legal Environment,” presented by Howard McQueen & Jean E. DeMatteo, with McQueen Consulting. They are editors of a new newsletter, Intranet Professional, published by Information Today.
The program included a reprise of Anne Ellis’ and Linda Will’s popular Special Libraries Association. presentation. Both gave us guided tours of their firm’s Intranets. To download Anne’s SLA Powerpoint Presentation, click here. (Warning: This is a very large file. Do not attempt to download without a high-speed connection.)
Anne’s role is as a manager of Intranet content. She was lucky to step into a position at a firm that is making a significant investment in their Intranet, both with money and people resources.
Their Intranet uses Verity as the search engine, along with Cold Fusion to serve as a back-end database. Both these products seem to be very popular applications for providing Intranet content. They use HTML Transit to convert existing documents into html. Microsoft Access is also used for some of the database applications, and CMS Open is their Accounting/Adversary/Fileroom program. Still, many of the functions were programmed in-house.
Anne provides Internet research links, and checks to make sure that her links are valid using a product called Linkbot. Their Intranet users can use a form to request that a Web site be added to the internal list. Anne then reviews the request, and either grants the request, upon which the link is automatically added to the sytem, or denies. it. They also provide links to WESTLAW.com, including Daily Law Highlights, and direct links to subject-specific databases, using the new West Group Legal Tools.
Linda Will has highly developed Library Intranet pages, and in fact, was first on the Intranet scene in her firm. She started with the usual library Web pages consisting of links to Internet resources, and has greatly expanded the content since then. She also uses the tools provided by WESTLAW to link directly into WESTLAW.com, has their online catalog available, and links directly into their CD-ROM resources from their Intranet page as well as from their online catalog. She has a page including Frequently Asked Library questions, such as how to get on the routing list for a publication, how do order a book, and costs associated with LEXIS and WESTLAW.
Linda tries to empower her secretaries and attorneys to do things on their own, when necessary, such as document ordering, by providing information on the web page such as links to the Boalt Express web page.
Their GLAS (Eosi International) catalog is also provided on their Intranet, using an interface developed internally.
Howard & Jean spoke for the remainder of the day. Some information of particular interest:
- The IS people in most firms are too overloaded to make the library’s technology needs a priority. The library may very well need a technical staff person of their own in order to ge anything done. This can be a full-time person, or perhaps a part-time moonlighter.
- Users are finding that full-text searching on Intranets frequently doesn’t yield them what their looking for. Metadata, another word for adding fields and index terms, is becoming very important. There is definitely a role for librarians in this area, as that is our area of expertise.
- Dublin Core indentifies 15 elements or fields, such as publisher, subject, title that can be used to index the content of a Web page. This enables fielded searcing on metadata.
- There are some tools out there for collaboration that allow you to set-up your own listserv or Web-based discussion group, such as Hypermail. (See demo site at http://www.sci-syscom.com/lists) However, you may need what Howard calls “softpush” in order to draw people to the Web discussion. For example, you may want to add discussion headers to a departmental Web page, or any other Web page that will be frequented by users who might be interested in the discussion.
- The “Killer Library Intranet Application” according to Howard may be Web-based research requests systems. An example of such a product has been developed by U.S. West. For screen captures of U.S. West’s Web-Based Research Request system, see http://www.mcq.com/IP/. A recent issue of Intranet Professional discusses this system in more detail.
This was a great cutting-edge program, with way too much content to even attempt to summarize. Lucky for you, it was also taped. No doubt the AALL Web page will have the list of available tapes. This session is highly recommended.
From Sue Taylor:
Kathryn Downing gave a great presentation in the program, “New Horizons Above the Glass Ceiling: A CEO’s Experience in a Predominantly Male Publishing Industry.” Her philosophy is that life is not a dress rehearsal. There is no second chance, you have one chance to do the day as well as it can be done. She shared with us the following: 1) learn everything you can from every position you have; 2) people need to know that you care – the little things mean a lot, don’t be completely task focused; 3) actions speak louder than words; 4) find an organization that has the values you share; 5) institutionalize what you learn, and learn something every day, so that you can use it again.
From the beginning of her career at Lexis in 1977, to her CEO position at the LA Times, she shared many wonderful stories of her experiences.
From Cindy Chick:
The chill of the morning marine layer quickly gave way to another warm day in Anaheim. Though Disneyland beckons, thousands of law librarians file into the Convention Center for another day of programming.
My day started with the program, “Broadening the Horizon: The Use of For-Profit, Web-Based Legal Information Databases.” With all the Web offerings that are now available for case law, this is definitely an area to watch. The speakers reviewed the features of Versuslaw, Lois, LEXIS Xchange, Westlaw.com, as well as a newcomer to the arena, Current Legal Resource. Note that Lois has changed their URL to www.loislaw.com from www.pita.com, which, according to one of the speakers, stood for “pain in the xxx”. The change was probably wise. 🙂
According to Lynn Foster, who worked for LOIS for several months, they try to go into a state, and cover everything from cases to statutes and administrative regulations, though depending upon availability, the coverage will vary. Kyle Parker, founder of LOIS, worked on designing a search engine that even his father could use, figuring if his father could use it, anyone could. They’ve recently introduced a new service called “lawwatch” which takes a search, stores it on the LOIS server, and runs it continuously. The next time you log-on, you will be notified if there is any new material. LOIS will shortly be introducing a cite list that will also show the first paragraph of the case so that it will be easier to identify which cases you would be interested in seeing.
Versuslaw had a whole new look as of last Friday evening. In fact, both Versuslaw and LOIS are changing so fast, it was difficult for the speakers to provide screenshots that reflect their current look and feel! Though Versuslaw doesn’t use a template of fields for searching that LOIS does, they have recently introduced field searching, though its availability is not that obvious from their search screen. They use paragraph numbering on all of the case law to aid in citation. By the way, Versuslaw doesn’t charge for conducting a search. Charges accrue when viewing the results.
Current Legal Resources is a very new Web site provided by a group of former WEST employees. Their focus is on current and up-to-date statutes. They currently have the Tax Code available on their cite, and will soon be coming out with the U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register. They offer an easy to use search screen that will allow you to search by cite, popular name, source and subject.
Product & Personnel Announcements : Andrew Prozes was on hand to announce the release of their Intranet Tool Kit, which provides the capability to insert WESTLAW features, such as FIND, cite-checking, links to specific databases, etc., directly into your Intranet page. You are able to customize the WESTLAW to suit the particular needs of your institution. See http://www.westgroup.com for more information. It was also announced that Anne Ellis is Westlaw’s new Director of Library Relations. By the way, the first question on everyone’s lips seemed to be, will Anne move to Minnesota? The answer is no, she will remain in Denver.
The Opening Luncheon Keynote Speaker, John Perry Barlow, former Grateful Dead Lyricist and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was both controversial and interesting. A few out-of-context quotes:
“The Internet is creating one social space where every human being on the planet can gather regardless of physical constraints and boundaries.”
“We’re now creating the underlying architecture of something that will be around for thousands of years.”
“The real codes of cyberspace are ethical, not legal.”
“Censorship on the Internet is a form of technical malfunction. The Internet just routes around it.”
“It’s not good karma to be mean to a deadhead.”
“Cyberspace is an inherently feminine environment. It’s about relationships. The ranks of women are increasing, and they will do well in that environment.”
“One of my modest ambitions is to eliminate the broadcast medium.”
Highlights include her 7 steps for locating relevant material:
1. Search in house (knowledge management)
2. Look to relevant books using tools such as OCLC
3. Locate periodical or news articles
4. Review what you have and regroup
5. Determine media and cost based upon the patron, client and project
6. Retrieve the needed resources
7. Analyze the retrieved items
Her top Business Resources cover the major business disciplines and include:
Miller GAAP Guide
Miller GAAS Guide
Investext for investment and brokerage reports
Any of the many sources for stock quotes, such as http://www.quote.com
Management Contents, a Dialog file
IOMA Business Pages
News and public filings for business management practices
Standard Directory of Advertisers (available on Lexis)
Marketfull, a database on Dialog
Profound for the Internet
She follows the following steps in compiling company information:
1. Is the company public?
2. Determine the correct name, spelling and location using public records such as Secretary of State filings, Internet phone listings, or an Internet source such as Companies Online.
3. Locate ticker or CUSIP symbol
4. Locate directory information from sources such as Hoovers or the Thomas Register, both on the Internet.
5. Check SEC filings. The 10K for financial information and the Annual Report for the management spin.
6. Check the company home page.
7. Use investment resources to check stock performance, such as http://www.streetlink.com. Check public records
9. Check mergers and acquisitions. One source is http://www.mergerstat.com, also a file on Lexis
10. Subsidiaries and affiliates. A search through Yahoo can often locate these.
11. If your company is in a regulated industry, check the agency information and regulations on sources such as fedworld.com
12. Company payment and credit history information using Dun & Bradstreet
13. Search business journals
14. Search news databases
From Glen Gustafson
Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section Chair:
New Horizons is a theme well tuned to the program D4, “Admissibility of Hypertext Briefs.” Firm librarians still have a few attorneys who require that some staff member photocopy all of the cases in their table authorities. But, the new horizon is Electronic filing and Web access of docket information is new and spreading. The electronic brief,
demonstrated by Francis Gindhard of Fish & Richardson, is an excellent example of an application of technology to the problem of long tables piled high with documents.
During a break in the activities I caught a sports wrap-up of the Tour de France. The yellow jersey had crashed dramatically and was carried off on a stretcher. Leaders of the pack do not always succeed in achieving all of their goals. As it was pointed out by Mr. Gindhard, the example we were seeing was not accepted by the court as you can see by reading the ruling at 111 Fed. 3d 83. But, with further guidance from the court and necessary rule revisions, what was on the horizon will be arriving at a courtroom near you.
The original electronic version took about a month to produce because the e-brief had to look exactly like the hard copy brief in pagination, fonts, and other court ruled format requirements. The beauty of electronic/hypertext documents is in the ability to link to items that have been filed with the brief. When the brief cites to a deposition, the judge can hypertext link to the pinpoint paragraph, which can be highlighted with underlining or colored text that has the effect of making the text jump off the screen. Click again and the judge can view the portion of the digitized videotape deposition.
Seeing how the deponent responded to the question speaks volumes beyond the printed text of the transcript. This technology works exceedingly well in the Intellectual Property practice areas where technical information that is contained in the patent registration can be demonstrated in a relatively short time.
Holliday Osborne, of Emory University Hugh F. AMac Millan Law Library, who was to take the con side of the subject, found no fault with the e-brief as a demonstrated application. Holliday pointed out that according to recent data, not all practitioners had the technical capacity to produce such briefs. The basic requirements are 1) a computer with 486 or Pentium capacity, 2) a www browser or read/write CD-ROM capacity, 3) a sound card, 4) a scanner, 5) an HTML editor. The percentage of law firms who had the required equipment is below 50%. The cost of producing the multi-media version put deep pocket corporations at an advantage. And when you consider that the loser pays costs of the litigation, use of the new technology may deter some litigants from getting to court. The solution to the problem may be with the courts in the sense that the court will take over the function of producing the electronic record. The Central Dist. Of California Bankruptcy court has begun loading documents in TIFF format on their WebPacer system. Can hypertext linking be far behind?
From Cindy Chick:
It’s the last day of exhibits, so it’s time to do some serious legwork! It seems that there are fewer exhibitors than in the past, which should be no surprise, since there are fewer publishers. However, I found my self spending more time per exhibit. Both LEXIS and WESTLAW had technology rooms where you could see demos of various products. Watch for an announcement of an exciting new enhancement from LEXIS in the coming weeks. They were also showing a new version of LEXIS-NEXIS Office 97 (7.1), which will be available for download the first week in August, and PowerInvoice, which is available now.
West was showing their newly announced Intranet Toolkit, a must for any Intranet webmaster. It allows you to add WESTLAW elements to your Intranet page, for example, you can link directly to WESTLAW databases, or include a box right from your web page to conduct a FIND or cite-check a citation. Cool stuff.
In contrast to the big guys, both LOIS, Versuslaw, and Current Legal Resources were exhibiting their products. It’s encouraging to see the competition is still alive in the guise of these small companies, many started and/or staffed by people previously employed by the large companies. An important announcement came from Versuslaw. They are now charging only $6.95 per month per attorney for access to their web database. See How Much Does V Cost, for more information. For more information on these three products, see the summary of the program on web-based, for fee databases above.
While there were several library automation vendors exhibiting, such as SIRSI, Sydney, and EOS Intl, Horizen was notably absent, not only from the exhibit hall, but apparently also from their planned user group meeting. Perhaps someone missed their plane….
From Cindy Chick:
In a change from previous meetings, where the SIS’ met on Sundays, this year they met on Wednesday. I heard a rumor that this change will not be repeated, and in fact, many people seemed to be leaving Tuesday afternoon/Wednesday morning as a result. It was difficult for me to see the advantage to this schedule.
However, all in all I think this was an exceptionally good program/annual meeting. I very much liked having high-quality keynote speakers each day, and more specific and advanced programming the rest of the day. I hope that this is a trend, and that the AALL annual meeting is even bigger and better next year in Washington, D.C.