AALL Maryland Authentication Working Group and Maryland Register Print Discontinuation

The Maryland Authentication Working Group and the print discontinuation of the Maryland Register are both discussed in the following e-mail from Joan M Bellistri, a member of the Working Group:

The AALL Maryland Authentication Working Group has been created. Ideally, this working goup would have been formed before there were any issues in Maryland but we now have the immediate issue of the conversion of the Maryland Register to pdf distribution only. The Working Group is composed of librarians from court, academic and firm libraries and consists of Joanne Colvin, President of LLAM, Janet Camillo, Chair CMCLLD, Pat Behles, Carol Mundorf, Andy Zimmerman, Steve Anderson and myself. We hope to be adding members from the public library government docs community and the academic libraries and the Maryland State Bar Association. The ultimate purpose of the group would be to monitor
Maryland’s legal resources in terms of e-life cycle management (authentication, permanent public access and preservation) and work to educate the appropriate officials about the importance of these issues through the creation of a policy paper as a follow up to the
state-by-state report.

However, the Maryland Division of State Documents of the Office of the Secretary of State just announced plans to discontinue the paper publication of the Maryland Register* *because of State budget reductions. In its place, the Division plans an e-Subscription, consisting solely of a biweekly e-mail with an attachment in PDF of that issue of the Register. The planned e-Subscription as stated in the notice contains this limitation (my emphasis is in bold):

“The new e-Subscriptions will be priced by user and sent to one email address per user. *Keep in mind that subscribers may not make copies of the pdf for others, may not send the pdf to others, and may not engage in any commercial or other distribution of the pdf, in whole or in part*.”

The notice is available at the main web page of the Maryland Register: The notice is dated November 2009, and the change will be effective January 4, 2010. There was no public comment period.

This issue of the Maryland Register will be the first work of the group. Steve Anderson, Director of the Maryland State Law Library, is already working on a briefing for the Judiciary. The following are ideas for action from the phone call that we had with Mary Alice Baish
of AALL’s GRO on Friday:

find a way to stop or delay the end of the print create a one page issue brief detailing “why this is a bad idea” contact news outlets, write an op-ed piece form a coalition of library and legal organizations create a base of allies: consumer groups (MARYPIRG?), watch dog
groups, … get testimonials of users who would be affected
We are also working with the LLSDC Government Relations Committee.

Some Excerpts From Comments Received By E-mail Regarding the Discontinuation of the Print Version of the Maryland Register

“This is horrible news! It doesn’t appear that they will offer any kind of library subscription. We need to have copies in the library for historical use. Many times what people are looking for isn’t current news. Yikes! Does anyone know who we need to complain to?”

“I share your concern, but am not certain how serious this is. This is probably an issue that needs to be thought through, and I expect to see more conversions like this given budgetary constraints. The State Government article section cited on the notice says that lawyers may give advice and incorporate portions text into documents without any problem. It also talks about the prohibition on reproducing these materials for commercial purposes. I’d love to hear from somebody involved in the COMAR campaign and/or who has thought about these portions of the code and what they mean for us. I can’t remember who handled the COMAR issue off the top of my head.”

“This is an issue that we should bring to the attention of the AALL Government Affairs Office. They are in the process of creating state working groups on the issue of digital authentication of official online versions of government publications. I will get in touch with them now…..The implications I see for our library would be the use restriction to one user and the prohibition of distribution or making copies, the availability of past/archived issues and the authentication issue.”

“Hello! Division of State Docs [Maryland] just returned our print subscription payment. Contrary to the directive in their letter, they suggest we print the PDF and place it on the shelf. However, this “alternative”
must be confirmed by Gail Klakring, the Administrator. I left Ms.
Klakring a v-message asking for her advice/direction how to handle as this was a library subscription not a personal one. Have you called that office and have you received any direction/advice how to handle for your libraries?”

Gail Klakring’s initial response:

“We are in the process of working out the ‘kinks’ regarding the conversion of the Maryland Register from the print version to the PDF version. As of right now, I have been telling librarians that they may print out the PDF version of the Register and place it on their shelves. Some of them have indicated that they will then delete the email containing the PDF. I am seeking advice from our assistant attorney general regarding this issue, and will let you know if something changes. This is also very new to us, and we appreciate you bearing with us as we work through the conversion.”

Gail S. Klakring
Acting Administrator
Division of State Documents [Maryland]

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