Christopher Lewis (clewis@american.edu)
Mon, 20 Oct 2003 08:48:46 -0400

This is an email I was copied on over the weekend.

Dear Fellow Section Chairs -

As the current MOUSS chair in RUSA, I want to let you know about a
recent decision by ALA legal counsel that may affect your conference
program planning as well as the types of files you can post to your
section's web page.

A *very* brief synopsis is that the MOUSS Catalog Use Committee
sponsored a program in Toronto on the utility of metasearch engines
entitled "One-Stop Metasearch Tools: Friendly Time Saver or Confusing
Quagmire?" One of the presenters, Maggie Ressel of University of Nevada
Reno, spoke about her library's experiences trying to implement Ex
Libris' MetaLib product. In short, their experiences weren't very
positive and they decided not to go ahead with MetaLib in that
particular release but were considering future releases of the same
product which might be better suited to their particular situation. Ex
Libris representatives were extremely unhappy with the presentation and
Oren Beit-Arie, President of their Information Services Division, wrote
a letter of complaint to ALA objecting to the fact that the presentation
was going to be posted on the sponsoring committee's web page and asking
for a chance to write a rebuttal to it. After numerous email messages
and frantic phone calls between Cathleen Bourdon, myself, and Cindy
Levine (chair of the CUC), I asked Cathleen to refer the issue to the
ALA legal counsel. Upon review of the situation, their legal counsel
informed RUSA staff that we may not sponsor conference programs or post
presentations on the ALA web site which discuss a specific product or
vendor - either positively or negatively . Consequently, the CUC has
pulled the presentation in question from their web site but we are
hoping to continue the discussion with ALA because we believe there are
other implications for the association and its members, not to mention
other professional library associations.

What do you all think of this decision? What impact might it have on
your section? What, if anything, do you think we should do in response
to this decision and how should we proceed?

All thoughts and comments welcome.


Mary A. Hollerich
Associate Director for Access Services
Pritzker Legal Research Center
Northwestern University Law School
357 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Christopher Lewis
Media Librarian/Humanities Collection Manager
American University Library
AIM: congolene

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