2000 Publishers Open Forum


New Orleans
January 17, 2000
9:30-11:00 AM

Summary of Publishers' Presentations

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee
ALA Midwinter Conference, January 17, 2000
San Antonio, Texas

Lexis-Nexis | CCH, Incorporated | Questions for both


  • Representatives of Lexis-Nexis and CCH Incorporated will make presentations on their respective products and services.
  • Topic: Business Law.


Presenter: Carol S. Johnson, Manager, Marketing and Customer Support (Academic Marketing Manager)

(The following synopsis was created from notes taken during the presentation.)

Lexis-Nexis has three products:

(1) Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe , a web product developed for campus-wide academic settings.

Benefits include:

  • IP authenticated (do not need to maintain passwords);
  • can be used by students, faculty and academic staff; and
  • utilizes an easy-to-use interface so not much training is required.

Coverage includes:

  • business news,
  • company profiles,
  • company financial reports,
  • SEC reports,
  • accounting literature,
  • business directories and
  • reference.

The product has been improved because of library input. L-N set up a task force of librarians, faculty and students from nine universities as a redesign team. An outgrowth of this is the "More Options" feature, which allows searching in selected segments or in full text.

NAARS has not been updated since 1995. There's no more data to be added, but L-N maintains NAARS because people want to research these prior years. SEC Reports can be searched by company and SIC code, but L-N plans to offer full text searching.

(2) Lexis-Nexis Academic Access , their traditional or "classic" service for libraries supporting business and legal needs. As of July 1998, there is a cost. Prior to this it was free if the client migrated to the web product.

  • The academic menu does not include all sources of the commercial version of L-N.
  • Contains more sources, features and functionality than Academic Universe.
  • Uses client software and telnet for high-speed access.
  • Used primarily for graduate student and faculty research.
  • Provides full text search capability.
  • Uses Shepard's for legal citations.
  • Offers both traditional and graphical interfaces.

(3) Lexis-Nexis for Graduate Schools of Business is still supported for schools subscribing as of 8/31/98. It is used primarily in Business Schools with a dedicated library for MBA, Masters of Taxation, and Masters of Accountancy.

What's coming:

  • L-N is moving more onto a web platform. The legal platform is lexis.com.
  • Educational access did not go away but it is restricted to business schools in the program and is heavily subsidized by L-N.
  • L-N does not have a specific product for public libraries, but they are looking into developing this.

Questions and Answers for L-N

Q. What is L-N doing about vendors pulling out of Academic Universe?

A. RDS (Responsive Data Systems) added their sources. These are some of the same publications that had been offered by Bell & Howell and IAC, plus others. L-N is going directly to publishers rather than to aggregators. L-N continuously licenses and tries to get more sources, but some publishers believe that they can eliminate an intermediary and go directly to the users. It has its advantages and disadvantages.

Q. Regarding district courts: L-N lost almost all. L-N does not have beyond the appellate courts. International and legal materials have not made it over, but L-N promised this would be available.

A. Academic Universe is not intended as a comprehensive legal service. Primarily, it's for undergraduates. We are working to get more depth in U.S. and additional international materials. Yes, Academic Universe lost some of the lower courts. Academic Universe does contain the combined United States District case law file. This file contains all case law from United States District Courts for all 50 States from 1789 to current, the District of Columbia, the District Court for Puerto Rico, the District Court for the Virgin Islands, the District Court for Guam, the District Court for the Mariana Islands, the Court of International Trade from November 1980, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation from 1968, the Special Court, Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973. State Case Law includes the Appellate and High Court for each state. At present international law is limited to European Union Law from CELEX. CELEX is the computerized documentation system on EU law, which the EU institutions make available to their officials and the public. EU law includes Legislation, Parliamentary Questions, abstracts of Preparatory Acts and Treaties.

Q. Are Disclosure and S&P the same or are they subsets?

A. They are subsets.

Q. I would like to encourage the development of something for public libraries. Students come into the public library looking for legal information. The biggest increase is in legal questions.

A. Is it primarily a need for legal materials? (The answer was "yes."). I'll take the issue back with me. By putting legal information in a public library, L-N is competing with attorneys, its customers.

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CCH Incorporated

Presenter: Richard Larson, State Tax Marketing Manager

(The following synopsis was created from notes taken during the presentation and amended by Richard Larson.)

Richard Larson was a practicing attorney and taught business law before coming to CCH. CCH, part of Wolters Kluwer, N.V., a multi-billion dollar Dutch publisher, markets about 700 products in the U.S. in tax, business & finance, health & human resources, tax compliance, and home office publications.

CCH's philosophy is to deliver the highest quality content in the most customized manner possible, use technology to develop products that save time and money for customers, and continue to improve customer service and Order Management functions. The focus of this talk will be on what you can expect from CCH in the future, with illustrations drawn from CCH's current portfolio of new products.

Very broadly stated, CCH's direction is to exploit improved technology and content to create more customizable products. When I use the term "customizable" I'm referring to product customization at two different levels. First, CCH accumulates data and organizes it into categories that will fit the specific needs of our different target markets; in other words, we customize the information so users get all the information they want, without information they don't want. Second, CCH provides its customers with the power to customize our information to fit their own, personal preferences.

To facilitate our efforts to customize our content, CCH has:

(1) Divided its products into general divisions, and each division operates as an independent Business Unit so it can respond quickly to market needs;
(2) Adopted a company-wide commitment to the Internet,
(3) Resolved to continue our constant acquisition of new content;
(4) Undertake an increasing integration of research and compliance tools; and
(5) Publish our information through a variety of alternative platforms.

Before you become overly concerned about the initiative I just mentioned concerning our commitment to the Internet, I want to point out that we haven't' abandoned print. Nearly one-half of the company's revenue still comes from print products. Although you should also know that more and more new revenue is generated from electronic mediums because users recognize that it allows greater manipulation of more current data, and CCH believes it can result in bringing better products to more customers with a savings for both the customer and CCH. But we do continue to publish some of our most important products in print. In contrast, RIA, a CCH competitor in tax, has abandoned print. At CCH, we continue to believe that some products continue to be more suitable in print and we'll do it as long as it's profitable.

To illustrate what CCH has been able to do by making a commitment to the Internet, I want to show you CCH's taxTracker News product, which provides customized daily tax news via e-mail or via a WebPages. Users can select from 35 federal and state tax topics and custom options, and receive updates daily. taxTracker News is included, without additional cost, with CCH Internet Tax Research NetWork subscriptions. taxTracker also illustrates the theme of customization that I previously mentioned. CCH can customize tax information at an initial level for customers, but also allow users to further customize their information by narrowing a search by keyword, type of document, tax type, etc. Stories can also be tagged to be certain nothing slips by, but the user receives only what is needed. . The information that is available in taxTracker is thereafter integrated into the CCH products so that subscribers can review the news in an overall editorial discussion of that tax topic. For example, daily information often becomes the topic for an article in one of the weekly tax newsletters and a part of a tax explanation in a core product.

Other examples of customized content are NILS Web Books and TRInsight Telecommunications Reports.

Mr. Larson proceeded to discuss and illustrate CCH's efforts at acquiring new content from outside sources, helping to make content more practical. He also addressed CCH's development of products that integrate research and compliance functions to save customers time and effort. Finally, he discussed CCH's expanding use of alternative platforms and partnerships to make select information available through sources such as West, Lexis, Compuserv, AOL, and financial institutions like Paine Webber.

Questions and Answers for CCH

Q. Please try to keep print. Are state tax guides available in print?

A. They are. If your referring the state tax guidebooks, yes. CCH is adding four more states in guidebook library. In addition, CCH's main competitor in the tax area, RIA, has discontinued its guidebooks, so CCH will soon be the only major tax publisher with this type of state-by-state guidebooks.

Q. It would be helpful to have online how taxes change state by state, and could this be cumulative, just the numbers?

A. The State Tax Guide and the State Tax Reporter products are current and online, and they both will have current information.... Archival material is available through our State Tax Reporter product line.

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Questions and Answers for L-N and CCH

Q. Publishers drop titles. What process do you use to decide what should be added or taken out?

A. CCH: You might be surprised at how a group can have an influence; however, your best chance is to back up your recommendations with something like a market survey.. To some extent, publishing can be hit or miss, but all decisions need to be based on a reasoned approach.

A. L-N: L-N takes customer input, and increasingly have been creating a customized product and an easier-to-use product. L-N tries to configure information for specific professionals. They look at their history. Regarding how long we keep something before dropping something, we don't drop out; next week it may be a hot topic.

Q. By what process could librarians participate in content of publication? There are titles librarians may question.

A. L-N: The Editorial Review Board gives input on what they want included in the product. If it's a source L-N licenses, another customer might be interested in it, so L-N will continue with it. If the Editorial Review Board suggested to take it out, L-N probably would.

A. CCH: Ultimately, our criteria for determining whether a publication is dropped or not is going to be profitability. We will eventually drop something if it's not making money. Review of publications, from a content and profitability perspective is continuous and includes customer suggestions. The amount of review we get from our customers, on a daily basis, is remarkable. If you have an issue, call us.

Q. This is an appeal to not delete anything, ever. If you do a new Universe product, don't remove anything from Academic Universe--don't take away from the main product.

A. L-N: I will take your comment back with me.

Q. Will L-N do anything for public libraries?

A. There are large obstacles to making L-N available to public libraries. The material would be open to anyone in the community and this could adversely affect our publishers. Law firms are our clients. There are licensing issues. The product would be so popular that it would overwhelm traditional services in the libraries. L-N is looking at the issue though.

Comment: Some states have law schools. If a public library had the resources, they could help customers needing legal information. Otherwise, they have to go to a law school.

Q. What does CCH offer in print versus the Internet? What do you have that describes this?

A. You can go to the specific CCH Business Unit at our website to view product offerings and formats, or you can call customer service.

Comment: With the Internet, there are linking capabilities and no filing needed or worrying about arrival.

Q. Isn't the Academic Universe contract open to walk-in people?

A. The contract language is "occasional" walk-in use will not be cause for canceling the contract. The contract states you're not supposed to publicize it.

Q. Could you further clarify the L-N products available?

A. Academic Universe is a campus-wide web product for academic students, faculty and staff. The Education Program is for Business Schools, not for campus-wide or general library use. Academic Access is the traditional access and is not a web product. You really need to be an Academic Universe subscriber because of the steep price for this product. It is used mainly for graduate and faculty research. There is a difference in its menu from the Education Program's. All of the products are priced separately.

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Doreen Harwood
University of Washington, Bothell

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee

bullet Publishers Open Forum
ALA Midwinter Conference, January 17, 2000

Disclaimer : This publication has been placed on the web for the convenience of BRASS members. Information and links will not be updated. Posted 16 August 2002.