Right now, we’re reworking all of the pages on the website that tell you about what we do. And we’re settling into an approach to this newsletter that makes some assumptions about what you want to know about the LII and what it does. Assumptions are dangerous, of course, and so we thought we’d ask you to tell us what you think.
The result is the very short survey. Go ahead and fill it out right now if you want — the rest of this story just explains it a little. How many of these topics are interesting to you, and which ones are the most interesting?
Information about what we do with your money. We try to be as transparent as possible about our projects and expenses. Oddly, that’s harder for a small organization to do than it is for a larger one. Well over 80% of our expenses are in salaries for our very small staff, all of whom work on multiple projects simultaneously, and many of the projects apply to more than one collection. It’s hard to say exactly which dollar goes where, but we can surely try. What would you like to know?
Information about impact. This is a hard story to tell clearly; there’s a lot that we ourselves don’t know about the 32 million people who come here each year. But (for example) we could tell you that traffic on the site is up more than 25% this calendar year, apparently as the result of public curiosity about controversial areas of Federal law. There’s a lot more hidden in those numbers; what would you most like to know?
Information about technical innovation. We ran a survey a couple of years back and discovered an interesting thing about you folks: almost none of you claim to be interested in innovation in legal information per se. And almost every one of you loves the features that that innovation has produced. We’re trying to figure out how to tell a more interesting story about how one leads to the other, and it would help us to know what you want to know.
Information about the people who work here. LII people tend to be very, very interesting, and very, very shy. On the staff here we have people who have developed nanotechnology-based pathogen detectors, been favorably reviewed in the New York Times for modern-dance performance, been captains on good-sized sailing vessels, staged professional opera productions in Eagle Pass, Texas, flown drug-interdiction missions for the Navy, edited case-study materials for the Harvard Business School, and been production manager for an offset-printing business. Want to know anything more about them?
Information about open access to law worldwide. We regularly work with organizations like ours all over the world. We’ve advised LIIs in Africa, consulted for the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the European Commission, taught courses and given presentations in Australia, and hosted visiting scholars from Spain, Finland, and Serbia among many other places. More than 20 organizations worldwide have “LII” in their names somewhere. What would you like to know about them?
Last and very far from least, information about you. LII donors are varied, interesting, committed and motivated to help us by a very, very wide variety of concerns and interests. It’s a diverse and exciting community; what would you like to know about it?