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West Slow to Distribute WestlawNext Passwords to Academic and Library Users


Professor James Levy reports on the Legal Writing Prof Blog that he's still waiting for a promised password granting him free access to the new and improved Westlaw, officially known as WestlawNext, but still called "Project Cobalt" by some who presumably miss the halcyon days of double secret multi-billion dollar M&A due diligence. My predecessor Bob Ambrogi thoroughly reviewed Next on his Law Sites blog, pre-launch.

Levy's colleague Joe Hodnicki, on the Law Librarian Blog, raises the possibility that this could be, at least in part, the result of fears that the non-paying users will go sharing their passwords willy-nilly with people who should be paying for access. Hodnicki, the director of the Butler County Law Library in Hamilton, Ohio, for one, seems willing to promise not to do so. One would think that West would have the technology in place to detect suspected password sharing and Hodnicki's point, echoed by Betsy McKenzie, director of the Suffolk University Law School Library, is that library and academic users are a key "market" for this kind of technology. Free licenses might not bring in revenue directly, but getting the product in circulation, getting the broader legal community familiar with it, and starting to generate buzz based on actual use, rather than beta tests and rumors, is crucial to Next's success. What's up Westlaw? Was there a delay in delivery of the next batch of engraved iPods?

Hodnicki also opines that LexisNexis for Microsoft Office, also recently debuted, is a pretty bland amuse bouche for the "New Lexis" now apparently pushed back until 2011. Since I'm on the subject of new legal research tools, I should disclose that, until last September, I was employed by Bloomberg, and was involved in the development of their Bloomberg Law product, which Bob Ambrogi recently reviewed in Law Technology News (registration required).

Posted by Eric Lipman on February 10, 2010 at 03:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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