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The Curious Case of West

West, now part of Thomson Reuters, appears to be having issues in marketing and outreach. Note the plural.

1) The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) rejected West's proposed sponsorship of the 2009 Annual Meeting, in response to West/TR's continued refusal to participate in AALL's Price Index. [Personally ... wow, turning down major dollars in this economic environment? Bravo to AALL for putting its money where its mouth is, as it were.]

2) Both West & LexisNexis expend considerable funds, time and manpower to get law students hooked on their brands (and as a former law student, I am so appreciative ... thanks for the free Nintendo DS, LexisNexis!) For those of you who never been to a law school library, one of the bennies both companies provide are dedicated printers that print WestLaw/LN material for students free of cost. Very convenient, useful, addicting. But West has decided that a very few schools don't get this benefit, and pulled their Westlaw printers from their law libraries. Happily, West printers have been reinstated at the University of Puerto Rico law school.

3) And now there's the email. West sent out an email to attorney clients with a graphic of "librarian" eyeglasses and the following text: "ARE YOU ON A FIRST NAME BASIS WITH THE LIBRARIAN? If so, chances are, you're spending too much time in the library." Needless to say, law librarians aren't pleased.

So, really ... what's going on with West? Is this going on with other types of libraries? Other vendors? And what's the appropriate response from the library community?


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