Tuesday, January 04, 2011

WestlawNext Printing--April Fools?

We were early adopters of WestlawNext at Pace Law School, and I have only one real quibble. The students have taken to it without a lot of training, and the quality of their searches seems to have improved. I wish the content migration would go more quickly, but materials are available on traditional Westlaw and it's not a huge inconvenience to be directed back to the old platform occasionally.

My quibble is about the printing. Students view free printing to the standalone printers provided by the two database vendors as a right and not a privilege. We could discuss whether that attitude is justified, but in the end, free printing is one way that the vendors get the students "hooked" on online research; it is in the vendors' interest to support free printing. When we chose to adopt WestlawNext, we knew that it could not yet print to the standalone printer, but we were assured that printing would work by early January and we communicated this to the students, who were not happy. We devised some workarounds which worked fairly well, and advised the students to be patient. It is now early January, printing to the standalone Westlaw printer from WestlawNext has not yet been enabled, and we have learned unofficially that printing won't be available until about the first of April. What do we tell students now?

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