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Monday, July 23, 2007

New ABA Journal Site Starts Off Strong, With More To Come

The ABA Journal has itself a brand spanking new Web site as of this morning, and unsurprisingly, given the evident thoughtfulness that went into giving this venerable publication a 21st Century Web presence, the early reviews are glowing. See:

Dennis Kennedy; Bob Ambrogi; Carnegie Lawbeat; Ernie Svenson; Fred Faulkner.

The things I like most about the new site are:

  • It's not the old site, which was, let's face it, as painful as a nitrous-free molar extraction.
  • the mobile edition
  • the Daily News blog, which has Journal staff authors, permalinks, and comments.
  • The across the board plurality of categories approach (not user generated, but very Everything is Miscellaneous nonetheless)
  • the Blawg Directory, which lets users read, subscribe, submit, sort by categories and popularity, etc.
  • all the magazine archives going back to 2005 are online and searchable; no more dead links!

Even better, what's there now is just the tip of the iceberg. I interviewed the Journal's editor and publisher Ed Adams today for Sound Policy, and (not to scoop our show or anything) he says coming attractions include:

  • blawg aggregation by topic, with feeds (i.e. subscribing to the feed for copyright posts will aggregate relevant headlines and excerpts from across their directory)
  • blawg search (Who remembers the only legal blog search that was halfway decent, the long-defunct Detod Blawg Search? Who misses it? Who thinks the ABA can probably do much better?)
  • earlier years of magazine archives

Though we talked about quite a bit on the show (and I'll of course let you know once it's up), the one topic I wish I'd probed more was print vs. online advertising considerations. Maybe some other intrepid blogger or podcaster can pick up that thread with Ed. In the meantime, do kick the tires on the site, there's much to like.

The copyright junkie in me is also curious to know folks' reactions to the reprints permissions page. I gave some feedback on this during the site's beta and it has been tweaked somewhat accordingly. Specifically, the language encourages linking and quoting, but I'm not sure what to make of this license: "You may also quote small portions of our articles without asking our permission, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution." The fact fair use may trump the narrowness of that in some instances is not mentioned, thus making it less Web-savvy than much of the site, and a little confusing, IMO. Wish they'd defined "small." Nice they didn't add a non-commercial use restriction.

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