The folks at Thomson Gale have been busy—no slacking off during the summer for them. The company has just debuted a new Web site that is designed to help visitors find more targeted information by type of library. It is especially helpful for current customers looking to find special offers and support resources. Thomson Gale also announced seven new publishers for its Virtual Reference Library program, which now offers more than 300 e-book titles. And, it has added several new legal products to its library offerings. With all the media focus given to the seemingly continuous news emanating from the Googleplex, it's good to see a buzz of activity at a traditional online provider.
The Gale Virtual Reference Library makes key reference titles available for purchase as e-book databases. Libraries can buy one title at a time. The best part is that users can search across the entire collection instead of just a single resource at a time. New publishers joining the list of program affiliates are Bernan Press, Philip's, M. E. Sharpe, John Harper Publishing, Idea Group Reference, Linworth Publishing, and Thomson Course Technology.
Coming in September is a new e-book-only edition of The People's Chronology. With 30 percent more entries than the print version, the new e-book offers a "year-by-year record of human events" from prehistory through 2004. Quite a few other titles are also scheduled to be launched in September. A full list of available and forthcoming titles through the end of 2005 is available at http://www.gale.com/gvrl/index.htm.
In late July, Thomson Gale announced that a number of its InfoTrac products had been moved to its new cross-product search platform, Thomson Gale PowerSearch. The platform allows users to search InfoTrac and Gale Virtual Reference Library databases simultaneously.
Through a just-announced agreement with U.S. Legal Forms, Inc. (http://www.uslegalforms.com), Thomson Gale will now license, market, and distribute the U.S. Legal Forms subscription product line to academic, public, and school libraries in the U.S. The legal forms available include real estate contracts, wills, premarital agreements, divorce papers, landlord tenant forms, and many others. The companies say these are "attorney forms"—officially approved forms actually used at typical law firms and very different from those documents found in "form books." Patrons can also access an attorney state directory and a dictionary of legal definitions explained in layman's language.
Thomson Gale LegalForms will provide library patrons with downloadable, printable forms that are customized to comply with the laws of each state. The number of forms available in each library will vary depending on the location but will typically include from 1,000 to 3,000 documents. Libraries can register for a free trial of Thomson Gale LegalForms at http://www.gale.com/LegalFormsTrial .
Thomson Gale product manager Gerry Sawchuk said: "People need access to a cost-effective, authoritative means for addressing common legal necessities involved with buying a home, making out a standard or living will, or executing a legal bill of sale, for example. This service is designed to empower individuals and allow them to take greater control over their own legal affairs. And just as important, it also provides the public library as a central place within the community to offer these valuable services to their patrons."
Recently I needed a simple bill of sale form, and I had to find one quickly. Digging around on the Web, I found a few promising sites but most charged for printing or downloading. Had the Thomson Gale product been available to me then, I could've logged in to the service from home using my library card number and obtained a reliable form at no cost to me. Libraries that choose to provide this product for customers should publicize it well in their communities. It should prove to be a well-received and useful item.
The new LegalForms augments a previous addition of legal content to the Thomson Gale oeuvre. In July, the company signed a distribution agreement with Internet Business Law Services, Inc. (http://www.ibls.com) to make IBLS I-Law database content accessible through a variety of Thomson Gale channels.
IBLS content consists of easy-to-understand information on Internet and e-commerce laws and regulations around the world. Thomson Gale will make this content available in its business databases and through several of its current distribution partners. IBLS has legal partners in more than 30 countries who submit summaries related to their areas of legal expertise. IBLS supplements this content with summaries written by experts who work in government, private practice, and nonprofit organizations. In addition, IBLS' legal staff supplements the database on certain areas of law. IBLS content is also available through LexisNexis.
Thomson Gale also offers the LegalTrac database, which covers all major law reviews, legal newspapers, specialty law publications, bar association journals, and thousands of law-related articles from general interest publications. It also has legal e-book titles, such as the American Law Yearbook and the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution.