Steal This Article: It May Be My Last For The ABA: Epilogue

A technology evangelist’s work is never done.

By Erik J. Heels

First published 12/31/2006; erikjheels.com; publisher: GiantPeople

On 08/25/06, I wrote an article entitled “Steal This Article” that first appeared in the ABA’s Law Practice magazine on 10/01/06 and on the ABA website on 10/28/06. Yesterday, 12/30/06, that article disappeared into the ABA archives. It is no longer searchable, findable, or useful. It is as if the article had never been written.

The crux of my article was that this is not a wise publishing model for the ABA. I stated that unless I heard from my readers, I’d stop writing for the ABA. Well, I did hear from you, loudly and clearly, that you do want me continue writing, so I will. (See my post “Are Blogs Dead?” for a continuation of this discussion.) I will also continue to be a technology evangelist in the ABA and elsewhere, despite the ABA’s occasional missteps.

I do note the ABA added a website feedback link at the footer of many of its pages, so that’s progress. Perhaps you could send them some feedback about this experiment.

2 Replies to “Steal This Article: It May Be My Last For The ABA: Epilogue”

  1. Erik,

    I should make clear that there was no intent to eliminate the October article from the archives. To the contrary, it has been live and searchable since October. Because of ABA’s enforcement of new design standards, however, we were in the process of republishing all our web content as rapidly as possible, and the new table-of-contents links for the magazine archives were not live over the weekend. That was corrected this morning, the full issue can be viewed at http://www.lawpractice.org/magazine/articles/v32is7_toc.shtml, and any faulty links should be live by 11:00 a.m. CST.

    A committee of the ABA Law Practice Management Section is considering new models for making more content available online. Because our periodicals are supported by ABA and LPM membership dues, we may continue to restrict some access to members only, but stay tuned for news on changes to this policy.

    Thanks,
    Larry Smith

  2. Greetings Larry,

    Thanks for the comment. I know that the ABA has made – and continues to make – progress in this area. But in many ways, I feel like I’m singing the same song that I sang in 1992 when I joined the ABA. Which is fine, I accept my role as a technology evangelist.

    I did not mean to suggest that the ABA is removing articles from it’s private archives. I do mean to state that by removing content from the public Internet to private archives, the ABA necessarily diminishes its own influence, relevance, and authority in the eyes of the Internet community at large.

    Compare and contrast the Wired model cited in my original piece. For your consideration, here are the number of pages Google reports today for several sources:

    site:www.wired.com – 80,300 pages

    site:www.abanet.org – 60,200 pages

    site:www.rklau.com – 6,060 pages

    site:www.erikjheels.com – 1,540 pages

    site:www.abanet.org/lpm – 1,220 pages

    For the record, a great deal of content has been removed from the ABA website and has not been put into the ABA archives. This includes pre-1999 content (and this was related, I believe, to an earlier round of ABA web publishing standards). The only way to find a lot of this content is on third party sites (like http://www.erikjheels.com) or archive sites (like http://www.archive.org).

    Put another way, if ABA web pages are not in the public Google database, then it is as if they do not exist. And I firmly believe that is a Very Bad Thing.

    Regards,
    Erik

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