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My Sheridan colleague Eric Biggins, Technology Solutions Architect, and I recently hosted a session on Emerging Publishing Technologies at the 59th Annual National Conference of Law Reviews (2013) hosted by Thomas M Cooley School of Law in Lansing, MI.

The national conference was well-attended as were our presentation sessions. I couldn’t help thinking it was a significant event – perhaps marking a pivotal point in the legacy of publishing Law Journals. The “cover to cover” format of a traditional law journal issue published by a law school co-existing in a meaningful relationship with the content aggregation tools available to the legal profession today.

The Sheridan presentations concentrated on the “cover to cover” traditional law journal issue-based format and how to usher it fully and successfully into the realm of emerging technologies such as online versions, eBooks, digital editions, and mobile apps that complement the printed publication. (The first consideration along this path for many law schools is how to move their publications to a digital print environment.)

The law journal publications have entered the world of “dual vehicles” for content dissemination – a print distribution with a companion format of electronic distribution. There are still challenging choices to be made about the electronic format, but the publication readership demographics, rate of publication, subscription models, circulation factors, all contribute to defining a good choice. For instance, if a law journal only publishes twice per year an eBook platform may be a better choice than a mobile app.

The prize is that many emerging publishing technologies provide business modeling opportunities for revenue growth. Sheridan services such as subscription management, eCommerce platforms, eContent Collections, all have a positive impact on diversifying channels of readership access and engagement.

Eric and I enjoyed many stimulating discussions with editors. Hopefully we were able to contribute to action plans that will broaden readership and increase the business opportunities of the law journals. Sheridan is looking forward to next year’s conference and we hope we are invited to present again!