I think we all suspected that Thomson Reuters had “something big”  in the works … after all, it has been eight years since their last major launch: WestlawNext. Yesterday Thomson Reuters executives gathered in New York for a press event to announce the launch of a new AI enabled platform Westlaw Edge, a new search engine Westlaw Search Plus,  litigation analytics and an exciting new Keycite features. Over the past decade there has been  no shortage of either legal tech start-ups or AI hyperbole to fill the void while TR maintained a stony silence regarding AI and analytics. Well they did not disappoint. Thomson Reuters brought executive “star power” to the event to provide insights into the market context, the technology and of course the drivers. Presenters included Andy Martens, global head of Product and Editorial ;Mike Dahn, senior vice president, Westlaw Product Management; Jeff Arvidson, director, Product Development and Khalid Al-Kofahi, vice president,  Research.

Westlaw Edge is a new version of Westlaw which Dahn described as enabling lawyers to move through routine work much faster and helping even experienced practitioners avoid mistakes on complex matters while offering attorneys new insights they’ve never had access to before. This product represents the fruits of Thomson Reuters largest investment in AI since 2010.

It was developed by attorneys and technologists at the Thomson Reuters Center for Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing in Toronto.  The new platform and features leverage the deep taxonomies, and editorial enhancements developed by Thomson Reuters as well as the Outline of American Law which was developed by the  predecessor West Publishing  Company over 100 years ago.

At a press event today, Martens reviewed the new functionality in the context of the volatile legal market place Dahn repeatedly assured the audience that TR was not launching a “robot lawyer.” He described the launch a new desktop enabled with AI and analytics which would streamline a lawyers’ workflow and drive efficiency. Arvidson explained the analytics and Kofahi provided insights into the AI and machine learning technologies behind the new solutions.

Here are the key features which Thomson Reuters will be showcasing this coming week at the American Association of Law Libraries Conference in Baltimore.

Westlaw Edge Launch Page

Key cite overruling risk   West is introducing a new orange citation warning symbol. Up graded Keycite will offer a new, first of it’s kind “risk analysis” feature for case law which is no longer good but not explicitly overruled. Traditional citators are limited to warning lawyers about  negative case law history where there are explicit citing relationships. In other words lawyers can inadvertently repeat  the mistake of other lawyers lawyers and judges in citing to bad precedent. Machine learning was employed to analyze millions of cases to identify these  “ bad law” cases which are invisible because they have no direct negative history.

 

Westlaw Edge Risk Analytics in Keycite

Westlaw Search Plus. This is a more sophisticated search engine which surpasses Westlaw Next. It uses AI to help lawyers surface answers to questions faster. Machine learning, natural language processing, citation networks, the Thomson Reuters taxonomy of law, the key number system  and the West archive of twenty-seven million headnotes work together to optimize search results. It expands the “Westlaw Answers” feature to provide near instantaneous answers to thousands of new questions. By contrast, Westlaw Answers in Westlaw Next only provides answers for a limited number of issues: Judicially defined terms, Statues of limitation and legal elements.  There is a type ahead  feature which will allow lawyers to automatically populate a question which has been previously asked and answered. But lawyers can ask completely new questions as well.

Integrated litigation analytics. Includes data for almost 8,000,000 federal cases going back as far as 1990 but with full federal coverage starting in the year 2000. State court analytics is more limited but coverage can be determined using a US map on the Westlaw Edge platform.

Westlaw Edge Analtyics

Like it’s competitors West is offering analytics insights into judges, law firms, motions, districts as well as expert challenge analytics which can be used for pitch strategy, litiigaton strategy and venue selection.

  • Motion types will provide data on 13 Main motion types and those motion types are further subcategorized. For example, motion analytics distinguish motions granted with and without prejudice can be distinguished.  Arvidson estimated that there are 30 or 40 motion types in total. These motion types are available for all federal courts and selected state court such as New York and Cook County Illinois.Data can be displayed in the chart or a table.
  • Data can be examined by role and analyzed or compared by plaintiff or defendant.
  • Judges data will provide insights into both appeals of this judge’s decisions and appeals to a specific judge.
  • Westlaw Answers for analytics! One very unique feature is that a lawyer can use  a free text Westlaw Answers type query with the analytics. So you can type in a question about a specific judges motion grant rate and the system will automatically retrieve the analytics.This is the tightest integration between analytics and case law which I have seen, because West search plus functionality is woven into the analytics product.
  • Westlaw Answers for Analytics
  • State court analytics for the most part is limited to enabling a lawyer to determine what kind of cases have been before a judge  and what kind of experience do law firms and attorneys have in various courts or before various judges. Whenever possible they have mapped the federal and OS codes nature of suit codes so that the same terminology will work on federal and state cases.

One issue which Thomson Reuters has not yet resolved, is identifying analytics  for cases on issues such as commercial law for which there is no nature of suit code. According to Dahn they will be actively addressing that issue.

Statutes compare

West is also not the first to offer the redlining of statutes, but with this launch they are likely offering the most comprehensive redlining feature of any of its competitors. Lawyers can redline and compare different versions of federal and state codes. A code section can be analyzed year over year or 10 years apart. Sections which of been added or deleted will be graphically displayed. Wolters Kluwer has offered similar redlining for regulatory content such as tax and securities but as far as I can recall they are not offering state law redlining

Statutes Compare

Enhanced User Experience Features

  • Lawyers will no longer have to start scrolling through a case to find the right text. The new search will look within documents to bring lawyer to the responsive text. They will no longer have to tab through every keyword in the document.
  • Westlaw Search Plus will not retrieve case law that has a negative history on the issue you are searching.
  • Integrated litigation analytics
  • Westlaw answers for analytics.
  • The West helpline will augment their reference attorney team with “insights attorneys “who have special expertise on the analytics product.
  • Restore prior filters. Sometimes you just go to far. In Westlaw next when this happens and you want to go back… You can’t you have to start over. Now in the click of a button you can restore your prior search.
  • There will be more information in the results list. For example you can read more of the synopsis of a case instead of just the keywords.
  • Saved searches.  Laywers can now save searches to be run later without having to save them as Westclips which run automatically.
  • Documents will have a table of contents so a researcher will always know where they  are within the document. This will obviously prevent lawyers from Stumbling into a dissent when they think they are reading the main opinion.

A Few More FAQs
There will be a Westlaw Edge iPhone app.

It will be rolled out to law professors on November 1st and to law students on January 1, 2019.

 Is this a game changer?

It is somewhat ironic that although Westlaw was actually the first legal publisher to have a legal analytics product, they are the last to integrate analytics into their legal research platform.

The original TR analytics product Monitor Suite launched about 14 years ago, at a time which it was inconceivable that legal analytics would emerge as a core legal research competency for lawyers. The Monitor Suite was designed for research specialists such as Librarians and Business intelligence staff. The new integrated analytics platform was not built on Monitor Suite– it is a completely new product built from the ground up.  They recoded that data and added  machine learning.

So…did Thomson Reuters wait to long to launch an analytics product for lawyers? Can they catch up to Lexis which got a head start with the with purchase of two of the leading analytics platforms Ravel and Lex Machina.   Bloomberg Law a relative newcomer to the legal research  market launched their Litigation Analytics in October 2016. Even Fastcase acquired the analytics product Docket Alarm while we were all waiting to see when TR would launch an analytics product for lawyers.

Lex Machina still has the most sophisticated dashboard in the market, but they do not offer data for all federal courts on all issues. They have been rolling out new modules at a quickening pace.

Westlaw has a simpler dashboard than Lex Machina but this may work to their advantage.—it may be less intimidating to lawyers who suffer from numerophobia. Nonetheless they offer a robust variety of filters, features and displays which may allow lawyers to “ease in” to interacting with data. The natural language “ Westlaw answers” query feature even dispenses with a lawyer having to select courts or filters.

There is a lot to digest in the new Westlaw Edge product and I can’t possibly do it justice in a single post. I think TR took a big gamble waiting this long to enter the analytics market  and to turbo-charge their search engine with a suite of AI tools… but I am certain that all of these new features will cause firms to take a long hard look at Westlaw Edge. There are some exciting new features such as the “natural language query for analytics “ which are way ahead of the competition – at least for today. The one thing that is certain is that customers do benefit when vendors are competing this hard as they do in this to leapfrog over each other to offer the next “game changing solution.” Congratulations to Thomson Reuters leadership and the 200 plus programmers, scientists and attorneys on the launch of Westlaw Edge.

How do you get it?

Westlaw Next will continue to be available for subscribers who choose not to upgrade. Westlaw Edge is a complete replacement for Westlaw Next  so accounts that upgrade will simply  move to Westlaw Edge and will not find themselves navigating between to platforms in order to get all the content they need. According to the press release  several ALM 100 firms have already signed on: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Shearman  & Sterling and Lock Lord.

 

Here is the press release.

Today I learned that Joe Breda who had been the Executive Vice President, Product has replaced Scott Mozarsky as the President of Bloomberg Law.  Mozarsky has been President since November 2016, replacing David Perla.

The other big news from Bloomberg Law  is the new features and products which are being released  in advance of the American Association  of Law Libraries Conference which starts this Saturday in Baltimore.

New features including interactive practice tools, practical guidance resources and new customizable real times news.

Practical Guidance I have repeatedly noted that the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA- now part of Bloomberg Law) offered practical guidance in their Tax Management Portfolios and Corporate Practice portfolios decades before Practical Law emerged from the UK Practice Support Lawyer market.  Bloomberg law has been quietly building out and expanding their practice guidance resources. Bloomberg Law now has 30 Practical Guidance suites including 3,000 practice tools, checklists, timelines and annotated forms covering more than 200 topics including GDPR, health care, cybersecurity, corporate and commercial transactions, compliance, labor and employment. There is a new launch page which offers access to step by step guidance on specific workflows and  which promise to guide a lawyer from the beginning to the end of a  specific process such as “an  initial coin offering.”

 

According to Breda these  resources offer broader and deeper practice guidance, noting that “We have organized our practical guidance suites to be more task-centered, guided by feedback from our customers.” As efficiency and  consistency have become core client expectations, Breda Continue Reading Bloomberg Law: New Leadership. New Products: SEC Administrative Analytics and Practical Guidance  and “Hot Topic” News

Wolters Kluwer’s Legal & Regulatory Vice President of Legal Market & Innovation, Dean Sonderegger has sent a letter to customers announcing that end of the IntelliConnect platform. In 2015 Wolters Kluwer launched the Cheetah platform which was completely re-engineered research platform which offered the same content as IntelliConnect in a more intuitive and user friendly platform. Although IntelliConnect has its fans, it will not be missed by most research professionals who found the system confusing and difficult to navigate. I applaud Wolters Kluwer’s  strategic decision to sun set the product. This allows WK to continue investing in innovative new products and frees research professionals to focus on training and supporting only one Wolters Kluwer research system. Over the past few years Wolters Kluwer has been offering a steady stream of new research and workflow products which were  developed in house and  through collaborations with other innovative companies such as KM Standards, ktMINE, Propylon and Arbitrator Intelligence.

In recent weeks Wolters Kluwer announced the introduction of near real time alerts from the Federal Regulatory Knowledge Centers. The Knowledge center offers analytics which predict the probability that  specific  legislative and regulatory proposals moving through the legislative enactment or regulatory adoption process and becoming law.

Ten years ago no one would have associated  Wolters Kluwer Legal and Regulatory  with the word “innovation.”   Today Wolters Kluwer not only has a track record on innovation and the adoption of AI and analytics technologies, but it maintains a consistent presence in the Legal Tech world.  I mark Wolters Kluwer transformation from being  a somewhat rigid and tradition bound organization as starting with the appointment of Robert Lemmond as President and CEO in 2013 – a mere 5 years ago. Lemmond announced a “customer first” strategy and  established the first Wolters Kluwer customer advisory  council.  The positive transformation has  continued and accelerated though the tenures of President and CEO  Greg Samios,and VP  Dean Sonderegger. In keeping with this customer focused and “innovation-centric” philosophy Wolters Kluwer will be offering two showcases at the AALL conference in Baltimore July  15th and 16th. The programs will focus on “Monetizing Your Firm’s DMS” and the transformation of law libraries.  Here on the details on the upcoming programs:


Fastcase Announces 2018 “Fastcase 50” Honorees

The Award Honors 50 Innovators, Visionaries, and Leaders in Law

 Washington, DC (July 9, 2018) – Legal publisher Fastcase today announced the company’s annual list of “Fastcase 50” honorees. Selected from online nominations, the award recognizes the year’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the law. Many of the 2018 honorees are pioneers in the areas of access to justice, artificial intelligence, and visualization tools for legal data.

 View the 2018 winners at www.fastcase.com/fastcase50/2018

Since the inaugural awards in 2011, the Fastcase 50 has illuminated entrepreneurs and visionaries who are catapulting law and legal technology into a new era. The Fastcase 50 class of 2018 represents a diverse group of lawyers, legal technologists, policymakers, law librarians, bar association executives, and innovators from all walks of life.

“The Fastcase 50 Award season is exciting for us each year, as we get to honor a collection of smart, driven innovators with a passion to improve our profession,” said Fastcase CEO Ed Walters. “It’s fun for our team each year to draw inspiration from our heroes, many of whom are doing terrific, unsung work at the frontiers of law.”

This is the eighth class of Fastcase 50 honorees, and for the eighth consecutive year, the company received a record number of nominees. Fastcase is happy to introduce the Fastcase 50 Class of 2018. “This year’s class makes 400 honorees,” Walters said, “and if you’d like to see who has done some of the most important work in law, we have compiled all 400 biographies by year on our website. This group is a constant source of inspiration for us.” You can find a list of all past honorees at www.fastcase.com/fastcase50, and a Twitter list of posts by honorees at https://twitter.com/fastcase/lists/fastcase-50.

Congratulations to the 2018 Class of Fastcase 50 recipients:

Shruti Ajitsaria, Counsel and Head of Fuse, Allen & Overy

Kenton Brice, Director of Technology Innovation, The University of Oklahoma College of Law

John Browning, Shareholder, Passman & Jones; Adjunct Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law; Adjunct Professor of Law, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law

Femi Cadmus, Director, J. Michael Goodson Law Library at Duke University School of LAw; Vice-President, American Association of Law Librarians Continue Reading Fastcase Announces 2018 Fastcase 50 Winners Including AALL Executive Director, 3 CKO/Library Directors, Law Firm Partners and Tech Innovators

ALM Legal Intelligence has released the 2018 Survey of Law Firm Knowledge Management, Library and Research Professionals.

It appears that most of the largest firms opted out of this survey or missed the deadline to participate. The median law firm size  of participating firms was down from 500 attorneys in 2017 to 376 in 2018 . And the responses actually suggest that there was a disproportionate number of very small firms responding as evidenced by an average staff size of 1.5.

So…. CKO’s and Law Library Director’s  in the largest ALM 100 firms need to make sure that their Executive Directors and Managing Partners who see the survey understand that the data comes from much smaller firms.

The author of the accompanying article “Law Librarians are Focusing on Business Intelligence Research” — refers to the varying composition of surveyed firms as resulting in large swings in data from year to year. It would be helpful to disclose how many firms in various size tiers responded each year.

The article  focuses on one issue – the growing volume of competitive intelligence research handled by research departments. This isn’t a particularly new trend. In my opinion the most interesting trends involving AI and analytics was buried at the end of the article.

Even though there appears to have been low participation in this survey by the largest ALM 100 firm’s there is an over arching theme that is of value. The largest firms are generally on the cutting edge of adopting new technologies and workflows. This survey shows that the transformation of law libraries  is pretty mature. Information professionals in all size law firms have fully embraced not only business intelligence but also  knowledge management, project management, process improvement and analytics.

 

So while I  am reluctant to cite much of the data reported in this report  especially where it is  skewed by a dramatic change in  size  of the responding firms—I do believe there are some useful insights.

Key findings

  • 65% of the firms said their budgets had increased–29% reported increases of 3 to 5%.
  • There is significant evidence of the transformation of libraries beyond providing traditional resource support functions into supporting a wide range of innovation initiatives enhancing workflow and insights for lawyers.
  • Volume of both business of law research and practice of law research have been increasing.
  • Significant number of respondents are involved in the creation of pitch materials.
  • 29% of the respondents are engaged in developing in house tools for AI and analytics.
  • 47% have staff involved in programming.
  • 29% are involved in custom development of tools using AI and analytics.
  • 87% work closely with IT in setting priorities and strategies.
  • The sole CALR provider trend appears to have faded away. No  firms reported  having selected a sole CALR provider. All firms had Lexis,  Westlaw and Bloomberg – (although there was no indication if  firms were referring to Bloomberg Law or the BloombergBNA products).
  • Westlaw was rated the most valuable product for practice of law. (However I noticed that Lexis was not on the list of 9  products to be evaluted. ALM explained this omission to me as a mistake on their part. Two Lexis owned products Ravel and Lex Machina were on the list – Lexis Advance was not)
  • Bloomberg Law was rated the most valuable product for business of law research.

Suggestions for next year

Client billing.  The client billing question completely missed the mark. In asking how research time was described on client bills,  it simply combined three different descriptions (librarian, research analyst and library services  in one question)– – – which is pointless. There is nothing to contrast. The issue that is on law library directors’ minds is whether time is more likely to be written off or written down if it is attributed to a librarian rather  research analyst. Evidence seems to suggest that a research analyst will have the highest recovery. They also include a description called “Library service” and I know from my years of discussions with lawyers that this is a total loser. A billing description of library services is interpreted as possibly encompassing administrative activities which would never be billed clients. This is a good question which was poorly framed.

Analytics Add more questions about analytics. There was no specific question regarding the adoption of analytics prop products—- which I would identify as the fastest growing sub set of legal research materials. These products deserve greater analysis.

The Lead That Got Buried. Eve-Marie Nye, director of research services at Pillsbury Winthrop and Charles Frey director of the library at Munger Tolles  & Olson provided important insights into the a trend that I hope will get more attention next year. Both offer insights into the volume of sophisticated new tools offering analytics and AI enabled functionality.  Nye points to the challenge of training lawyers to use these tools effectively. Frey highlights the need to have information professionals screen out the products which are all hype and lack substance. Both highlight the biggest challenges of analytics products –understanding the quality and the limitations of the data. These are serious issues which deserve further examination. and I hope they will  be explored in greater depth in the 2019 survey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I will be highlighting a new group of “first time” exhibitors who will be  at the American Association of Law Libraries Conference at the Baltimore Convention Center, July 14-16th. Yesterday I highlighted the products offering litigation and analytics. If you are a careful reader of this blog you may notice that since yesterday I upped the total number of new Exhibitors from 11 to 13 – my apologies a miscount on my part yesterday!

Several of the vendors highlighted today are focused on some aspect of technology, two focus on training  two others offer analytics or insights.

 

You may not know the name Procertas but many of you now it’s founder,  Casey Flaherty who has been a speaker and provocateur on the legal tech speaking circuit including at AALL conferences. Last year he also received the “Outside Advocate of the Year” award from the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals SIS. So make sure you stop by and say hello to our friend Casey at his inaugural booth.

 Procertas (Professional Certifications and Technology Assessments) is a new kind of company for an evolving legal marketplace. Our mission is better alignment between law firms and law departments, as well as between law departments and the businesses they represent. Our flagship product, the Legal Technology Assessment (LTA), improves quality and increases efficiency by ensuring that legal professionals are properly using the basic technology tools of their trade: Word, Excel, and PDF. The LTA is a first-of-its kind integrated benchmarking and training platform pairing competence-based assessments with synchronous, active learning in a completely live environment. Our clients become COBOT Qualified (Certified Operator of Basic Office Technology).


GOBI® is the leading web-based acquisitions tool for finding, ordering and managing e-books and print books for your library. EBSCO is a familiar name in library acquisitions. They will be showcasing their GOBI platform which offers:

  •  One place to find, order and manage your books
  •  Expertly curated selection lists by subject

 

 

S&P Global Market Intelligence is a familiar name. Capital IQ is one of their well known products, but they offier a variety of other data and intelligence platforms.  I have to say I like the  slogans that appear on their splash page.

  • “There’s intelligence and then there is essential intelligence.”
  • “The difference between knowing and knowing what matters.”

New Generation Research  provides  data and intelligence on corporate bankruptcies and companies in distress. Their products include: Bankruptcy Data (30 years of bankruptcy data); The Turnaround Letter and Distressed Company Alert.

 

Tyler Technologies Offers a wide range of software an data services. Several areas of their work seemed aligned with the intersts of AALL members: court workflow and records management services.

Tind Tind’s slogan is “Reimagining Library  Technology” Tind offers an ILS, Data Set preservation, Digital collection management and digital publication management for publishers.

 

 

Padcaster offers The most complete, all in one  mobile video solution. Presumably these involve iPads and tablets in the educational video context.

 

Welcome to all the new exhibitors. Colleagues – make these new exhibitors feel welcome by stopping by to say hello and learn about their products and services next week in Baltimore.

One of the best places to network at the American Association of Law Libraries Annual meeting is the exhibit hall. Everyone looks forward to the latest releases from the major publishers.  And then there is a swag – sometimes silly often useful but always appreciated.

But I also like to remind readers that every year there are new and unfamiliar companies in the exhibit hall. This year I counted eleven first time exhibitors.  Today I will highlight the products for litigators and  other products which offer  analytics solutions. Tomorrow I will highlight a wide range of software and tech exhibitors.

Please welcome our new exhibitors by stopping by their booths at exhibit hall at the Baltimore Convention Center during the annual AALL Conference July 15-17th.


Justly  although not litigation practice tool, the product  relies heavily on docket analytics to produce  a dashboard with matter scoping tools for pricing and project management.



Clarivate offiers a suite of IP analytics products including some familiar names. Derwent, Mark Monitor and Web of Science.

 

 

EmpowerLegal videos provide realistic, understandable instruction that demystifies litigation events and allows clients to perform at their very best. Our deposition, mediation, and trial videos allow attorneys to spend their valuable time with clients focusing on the specifics of a client’s case, while ensuring that clients receive the information they need to know.  According to the website their  Videos “are co-branded with your firm’s logo, which protects client confidentiality and enhances your firm’s commitment to client education and success.”

 

eDiscovery Assistant is the first curated online legal research and learning center for ediscovery, designed for lawyers and legal professionals who engage in electronic discovery at any level.


Law On TAPP

Offers publications focused on evidence. THE FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE WITH iNTELLiNDEXTM includes the latest version of the Rules and provides practitioners with a detailed, intuitive, topical index that acts as an intellectual filter to the content of the Rules. FEDERAL EVIDENCE LAW BY-THE-RULES is the ideal learning tool for law students and attorneys needing a quick-refresher course on federal evidence practice. It is an ideal library reference. THE FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE, DECONSTRUCTED is a “benchbook” for lawyers. Each of the over 200 A-Z topics covered in this book provides thorough, ready, topical answers to evidentiary issues facing the legal practitioner, inside and outside the courtroom.

 

 IPG Independent Publishers Group  Academic and Professional Publishers.  According to their website IPG is the original independent book sales and distribution company in the United States.

Next week subscribers to the PLI Plus platform will discover that all United States federal and state case law citations are linking to Fastcase documents as the result of a new alliance between the Practicing Law Institute (PLI) and Fastcase.

The Practicing Law Institute which developed the PLI Plus platform, is one of the premier CLE providers in the United States. The  new Fastcase linking feature will be available in all  the PLI course handbooks, treatises  and journals on the platform at no additional cost to PLI Plus subscribers.

In December 2017,  PLI announced that they were not renewing their agreement with Bloomberg Law. That alliance had given PLI Plus subscribers access to primary law such as cases from Bloomberg. Bloomberg was able to offer subscribers access to a  library of  selected secondary source materials  from PLI. At that time I speculated  that it would make sense for PLI to consider an alliance with one of the innovative “upstart” companies which offer primary law such as Fastcase or Casetext.

I spoke to Craig Miller,  the VP of Membership at PLI who provided me with this comment on the alliance.  “We are glad to partner with a progressive, cutting edge company like Fastcase to enhance value to PLI’s members and subscriber with access to primary law.” Miller also noted that during 2019 they will also begin adding “Fastcase enabled” links to statutes and regulations which appear in PLI Plus resources. PLI Plus subscribers will not get full access to all Fastcase resources. Their access will be limited to retrieving the full text documents related to each individual link. Providing direct access to the primary sources streamlines the research experience by allowing researchers to move seamlessly from secondary to primary source content and back again as needed in the research process.

The current PLI/Fastcase alliance will not extend to making PLI secondary source content available on Fastcase —at this time. However, I would not be surprised if  this relationship moved in that direction. I recently wrote a blogpost exploring Fastcase’s evolution from a low cost caselaw service into a “full service” research and workflow platform. An important piece of that development has been the forging of  alliances with Hein Online, Lexblog and Wolters Kluwer to add treatises and commentary as well as developing their own Fastcase imprint “Full Court Press.”

Congratulations to PLI and Fastcase. I can already hear the PLI Plus subscribers cheering when they click on their first “live link” to a Fastcase document.

 

 

Anyone who tracks federal legislation is familiar with the CQ brand.  By contrast to cable news –CQ offers old fashioned sober Walter Cronkite style reporting focused on the nuances of federal  legislation, policy and lobbying. I was lucky enough to get an invite to the book launch party which featured a panel of the book’s contributors .

Panelists: Bryan Monroe, Fran Sesno and Ellen Shearer

According to CQ’s “President ‘Paul McHale  “CQ is in the truth business.” Congressional Quarterly was founded in 1945 by Nelson Poynter  who recognized that “the federal government will never set up an adequate agency to check on itself.” CQ  was created to keep government accountable and transparent.

I have never thought that the truth was completely obvious. And certainly the entire legal profession is built on a  search for the truth. Corporations spend millions of dollars and hire the best lawyers to argue for their version of the truth– so truth is not always as apparent as we would like it to be. Twitter has become a heaving sea of partisan and often looney swill. Journalists are no longer the gate keepers and much of what we have come to know as cable “ news” is  a live and unedited free-for-all where guests can get away with false statements without being challenged. One of the “Truth Counts” panelists even pointed out that  cable stations such a CNN confuse their audiences by having panels which combine news reporters an opinion commentators. CNN is blurring the line between fact and opinion!

Truth Counts is a fairly compact book– 167 pages supported by 15 pages of footnotes. Chapters  discuss how changes in technology, the economics of media, the growth of tribalism and algorithms have  exacerbated the challenge of recognizing reliable information. The first chapter of the book starts by deconstructing Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s  now over-used  line “everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not to his own facts.”   The next time you hear it consider the following: people are also “entitled to select their own facts and doing so is a prerequisite of logic and argumentation.”

The Fake News Checklist: The book recommends that consumers develop a news checklist to help them spot fake news.

  • Don’t share or retweet stories unless you know and trust the source. If you don’t know  the  organization which created the content, do research to find out more background, such as who funds the site and who advertises there
  • Use Fact checking sites such as Politifact to see if the organization or site has a reputation for bad reporting
  • Look at the particulars of a story. Is there a date and a byline? These are indicators of legitimate news stories.
  • Pay attention to ads— pop up ads and sensational headlines are a red flag
  • Read laterally. As you read open new tabs and  search for additional sources which validate or dispute the facts in the story.

I would of course add to this list: hire a librarian. we live and breathe content quality. One of the most valuable things I learned in getting my MLS was the series of factors a professional librarian  uses to assess the quality of any resources. What is the track record of the publisher? How often is it updated? Does it provide accurate references to primary sources?……

Truth Counts  will be supplemented with Podcasts and other digital  conversations to assess truth issues ahead of the fall elections.

 

 

If you are at the Special Libraries Association Conference in Baltimore next week, I will be speaking on the following panels sponsored by Lucidea:

SLA Convention Location:

SLA Conference (Baltimore Convention Center) June 11 – 13. Link: https://www.sla.org/attend/sla-2018-annual-conference-2/

  1. Hot Topic Session: Don’t Just be Integrated: Be Integral.  9:00 am – 10:00 am – Room: 330

This panel on embedding and practice alignment of and services moderated by Stephen Abraham.

2) Hot Topic Session follow on

How to Go Beyond Integration to Become Integral:  Lucidea’s Hot Topics Panelists Offer Specifics: 12:30 pm – 1:20 pm, Room: Theater (in the Exhibit Hall)

I will join Stephen Abraham and other panelists

 3) Meet the Authors:

Lucidea Booth #621

Jean O’Grady, author of Dewey B Strategic 2017 Blog-o-zine

Monday, June 11: Book signing (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

Stan Garfield, author of Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program

Monday, June 11: Book signing during the Opening Reception (5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

Tuesday, June 12: Book signing after his presentation (10:00 – 12:30 p.m.)

Stephen Abram, author of Succeeding in the World of Special Librarianship

Tuesday, June 12: Book signing during afternoon networking break (2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, June 13: Book signing (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)