So Little Paper to Chase In Law Firm’s New Library about the
transformation of Kaye Scholer law library from print to digital. The law library community was universally outraged
that the author was 1) completely surprised that law libraries were going digital and 2) overlooked the real story. Law libraries have been “going digital” for at least twenty years.
architect who designed a law office without a room designated as a “library,” but the information professional who crafted the complex plan,
re-engineered the workflows and aligned the licenses and resources on which the digital infrastructure rests. In Kay Scholer’s case the true hero of the story was Shabeer Khan. He didn’t get a mention in the Times story.
in place today. Many firms are running parallel digital and print libraries
because they are supporting both the last of the “baby boomer partners” and the “born digital” generation of lawyers. The tipping point from print to digital for most firms will be the relocation to new offices. The phasing out the physical collection will be the last step in a long and carefully laid plan.
AmLaw100 law firm I was asked how soon I could reduce their 12,000 square foot library to a library that was “the size of a phone booth.” I would give the same answer today that I gave 20 years ago. Every law firm has a different mix of needs depending on its practice groups, the number of lawyers, the number of offices and the number of jurisdictions where the lawyers practice. To build a digital library the most fundamental questions to be addressed are:
- Have the resources been digitized?
- Do the digital resources offer format/functionality which the lawyers are willing to us
- Is the resource available at the price the firm is willing to pay?
Answering those questions is just the beginning. This is an analysis that needs to be applied to hundreds and possibly more than a thousand resources. In other words, the dumpster can only be filled when a raft of issues are resolved.
of publishers government agencies,major legal vendors, (LexisNexis, ThomsonReuters, Wolters Kluwer, Bloomberg), Small publishers ( Fastcase, Ravel) regional publishers ( JonesMcClure) and specialty publishers ( Practicing Law Institute, Law Journal Press) .
Traditional catalogs can be transformed in to portals by adding web enabled links which will bring the lawyer directly into the full text resource. Enterprise search also can be used to identify resources and documents.
Information professionals can develop intranet pages and portals where links to digital practice resources such as treatises, statutes and databases can be organized and integrated with internal resources and other workflow tools.
content such as “treatise eLibraries,” cases, and statutes. All the major publishers will work with customers to create “custom user interfaces” and “one click gadgets” such as a “find and print” tool which will retrieve and print cases identified with a citation. Bloomberg Law was developed to serve as a digital library which can be left open and accessed as needed throughout the day.
eBooks. eBooks have the same content as print but offer additional functionality such as highlighting and linking to primary source citations.
existing subscribers who use mobile devices.
strategy. Legal information professionals will map the workflow and determine the size of the licenses which will protect the firm from copyright and licensing violations. Newsletter licensing is so complex that a full explanation of the issues would warrant a separate post.
lawyer, practice group or clients.Tools for curating custom newsletters include Linex, Ozmosys, InfoNgen, Manzama and Attensa.
to provide backup resources or to acquire resources via interlibrary loan. They also provide access to databases or retrieval of digital documents. One very innovative program from the New York Law Institute loans eBooks to member law firms.
administrative activities. This transition increases the time and attention which information professionals have available to focus on higher value and trans-formative client support and business development work.
Scholer Library: New Model for Going Digital?” on December 17th. Information is available at this link
Blawg 100 still open at this link. Dewey B Strategic is nominated in the “Legal
Research and Writing” category.