Heads up to all you Westlaw users out there… you’re about to face “change” dead in the face!

ThomsonReuters is rolling out a change in its password system and require everyone to roll over to their “OnePass System” by the end of January 2010. This, in and of itself, is not a big issue, but how they’ve started rolling out the change is. Seems that some of the Westlaw reps knew about this months ago and gave their folks the heads up. While others either didn’t know, or didn’t pass the message along until a mass email went out last Thursday — announcing the change that was rolling out two days later.
Needless to say, there are some folks in the law library world that aren’t happy with the way this was handled.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes we librarians can get a little freaked out on small issues, but I think this is one situation that should have been handled with a little more forethought on the side of West. Librarians tend to be the ones that have to pass along these changes to the attorneys, and in some firms, the librarian to attorney ratio can be 1:100 or more. Although theoretically we have until January 31, 2010 (nearly 3 months) before the roll out is finalized and the Westlaw sign on page goes away forever to be replaced by the OnePass sign on page, the process has already begun and now librarians are having to play catch up.
It would have been a lot better for West to announce this through the local reps at least a month before the OnePass registration process began. This would have given the librarians enough time to ask questions, prepare FAQ’s, and work with other vendors that may be affected by the change (such as those Monitoring Software packages I talked about a few weeks ago.) Now librarians have to deal with many issues all at once rather than how to implement the changes in an orderly fashion.
We’ll all survive this change, and probably be stronger as a result. But, next time, let’s all work together to make sure we don’t have to scramble to achieve the changes just because there is a lack of communication between the vendor and the clients. An ounce of communication can prevent a pound of complaints later!!