Merry Christmas... everyone who reads this blog, have a very merry Christmas! and as Tess and Bruce on Strictly Come Dancing might say...keep running!

How to manage those "boundaries"

The Fast Forward Blog published a post earlier this month about the blurring of the "boundaries" between personal social networking and work related social networking. Called "How to Manage Fuzzy Boundaries Between Work, Personal Social Networking"

From the blog post "An issue that social networking is bringing to the fore — and has enormous legal implications for organizations — is where the social networking for an employer stops and personal social networking begins. This boundary keeps getting fuzzier and fuzzier all the time"

The blog post provides some advice on how you can manage this issue, the advice which was provided is as follows:

  • Extend traditional boundaries of etiquette and propriety
  • Teach people the boundaries from a good place
  • Think about whether an employee is a company rep 24/7
  • What is secret needs to say secret, but let’s not obsess about it
  • Risk has always been part of doing business

There is a lot more detail on what these issues actually mean on the blog post itself, so I recommend everyone has a look at these. What I will say is that there is some sound advice here.

Keeping an eye out for social media snake oil

Kevin O'Keefe has published an interesting post called Law firms should beware social media snake oil in it he refers to a post from Business Week, called "Beware Social Media snake oil" in the post from Businss Week the author argues that " entire industry of consultants has arisen to help companies navigate the world of social networks, blogs, and wikis. The self-proclaimed experts range from legions of wannabes, many of them refugees from the real estate bust, to industry superstars"

Kevin goes on to say that "Many legal professionals, reporters, conference coordinators, and bloggers are letting these 'experts' get away with it. They're defining social media expertise by the number of Twitter followers, blog mentions, LinkedIn connections, or website hits one has"

So what is the point of these blog posts? Kevin argues that using Social Media successfully doesn't happen overnight, you have to work on it and importantly it isn't a numbers game. The best advice from either of these blog posts come in the last paragraphs of Kevin's where he says "Go with what makes sense from someone who seems like a trusted and reliable source" very sound advice, not just when thinking about Social Media.

Why Law Firms should stop and think about Social Media

The Real Lawyers have Blogs have published an interesting post on the use of Social Media by Law Firms. In Law firms best not to get ahead of themselves on social media they ask whether it's better to learn how to do the basics well, rather then try to do lots of things badly.

From the blog post "Before just using every form of social media as a law firm, why not just master the basics? Rather than use a whole lot stuff badly and embarrass yourself unknowingly in the process, why not use something well?

Blogging is as basic as it gets in social media. And there's not a better way for a lawyer to demonstrate their expertise, establish themselves as thought leader, and get work the old fashioned tasteful way - by word of mouth.

To start a few blogs, do them poorly, and have lawyers struggling to continue to publish to the blogs while starting off on Twitter and Facebook is the height of folly. You've identified the most effective tool offering the highest ROI, a blog. Rather than learning how to use the tool wisely, you do a crummy job, leave the lawyers hanging, experience no success (other than saying we have blogs), and move on to the next great thing. Lunacy."

This seems like a very sensible approach to Social Media for law firms, but is this what happens in reality? Social Media applications are certainly very exciting to use and I think this is part of the problem. People get carried away with the potential benefits associated with using these tools and don't look at the consequences of rolling several out at the same time. A better approach would be as suggested in the blog post, to start small and basic and once the skills associated with this tool have been mastered move on.

The "Tao" of tweeting

In a recent post on Mashable called "The tao of Tweeting" Soren Gordhamer looks at some of the lessons that could be learned from the ancient chinese book the Tao te Ching

The four lessons that Soren has identified are:

  • Show versus tell - or how we should provide good, quality information related to a subject matter, rather then just tell people how great we are.
  • Have a passion for the process - This is really about being passionate about Tweeting, not only about how many followers you have.
  • Finding a balance - This is about knowing when to Tweet and perhaps more importantly when not to!
  • Focus on what you can add, not the technology - This is about remembering that its not the technology that matters, it's what you add to the "What is happening" box

This is a really interesting post, which surprisingly struck a real chord with me!

[Hat tip - the iLibrarian]

Usability testing toolkit

One of the things I'm likely to be doing in the New Year (yes 2010 is that close) is undertaking some usability testing. So a recent post from the iLibrarian called "Usability Testing Toolkit: Resources, Articles, and Techniques" seemed too good to be true.

The iLibrarian's post is actually a reference to a post called Usability Testing Toolkit: Resources, Articles, and Techniques this post contains links to sites, articles and other resources which can assist anyone who is undertaking usability testing. This looks like a real find and I'll definitely be using some of the resources published here.

Could your next event use Social Media?

Chris Brogan has written an excellent post on using social media at events. Called "How events could use Social Media" Chris highlights three areas where event organisers could use Social Media, they are;

  • Social Media Buzzes Up Potential Attendance
  • Social Media Extends Communities
  • Video and Audio Materials Drive Awareness

I think using social media is a great way to encourage people not only to attend your event but also to talk about it before, during and after. Before an event you could encourage people to post a Tweet indicating that they were attending, they might even find discover other people who are attending the event that they could meet up with.

During the event organisers could post updates and encourage others to do the same, this ensures that anybody who wasn't able to attend can see what is happening depsite this. Finally after the event slides and other materials could be posted to the various social media platforms. Something for BIALL to consider maybe?

Outsourcing Library services

The news from Legalweek that two more Law Firms have entered into agreement with Integreon should come as no surprise, but it's still rather depressing especially this close to Christmas.

The law firms and libraries involved are Beachcroft and TLT Solicitors and according to the article Integreon are also in "discussions" with a number of other law firms, that statement alone is enough to make many Law Librarians not look forward to the new year.

What's quite surprising about the Beachcroft announcement is that the firm just posted a 1/2 yearly revenue increase of 15%, that's not bad considering we're in the worst recession since time began.

Sara Batts of Uncooked Data has also posted about this "news"

Google now includes real time results

In case you missed it Google searches now include "real time results" that is results from sites like Twitter so when you run a search as well as the usual suspects in the results lists you should now also see what people are saying at the exact moment in time.

If you're looking for a bit more information on this new search function, then the video below is a good starting point. Real time search comes to Google : Twitter results displayed also has some more information on this search and if you cant see it how you can add it to your results display.

Measuring the ROI of social media and blogging

How does a law firm measure the Return on Investment (ROI) of its Social media or blogging efforts? that's the question asked in this post "How does a law firm measure ROI on its social media and blogging efforts? from the blog Real Lawyers have Blogs

The short answer is that ultimately it's an increase in "legal business" as long as social media and blogging are part of a well run strategic campaign then this should be the outcome. The post goes on to discuss some of the "milestones" that mark whether you're delivering ROI as well as a set of questions that law firms should ask themselves, these include the following:

  • Am I expanding my reach? Are more people within my target audience seeing me? It could be via search engines, but more importantly do they see you quoted in blogs and by reporters? Do they see you speaking at conferences or seminars they attend?
  • Am I engaging my target audience of clients, prospective clients, referral sources, and the influencers of those three (reporters, bloggers, association leaders, conference coordinators, and publishers)?
  • Am I building my influence among this target audience? Measure influence by how often you are cited in other blogs, Twitter, and the like. Citations are a measure of whether you're viewed as a reliable and trusted authority in your niche.
  • Does your target audience request action? Are they asking to talk with you? Do they want to review with you a matter they are working on?

As the post indicates, if you can answer all these questions with good answers then you're definitely heading in the right direction.

What is the future of legal research?

Quite a big question this and not one that "The future of legal research and search tools" answers, nonetheless this is a really interesting article on how search tools are developing. Providing a search tool that every fee-earner "enjoys" using and makes the most of is a very difficult task, fee-earners are not only looking for different things but individuals search in different ways.

The article looks in detail at some of the distinct issues that legal professionals face when it comes to searching for information within their organisation. The biggest of these in my mind is identifying what documents are going to be most valuable for fee-earners.

From the article "Understanding what lawyers want from their search engine is only one part of the puzzle. Conceptual searching - where the search engine will be able to determine what a document is about, rather than just the keywords it contains - is one of the most prized features of existing legal search tools, and it will only become more important in coming years. In fact, according to North, conceptual searching is not only a dramatic shift in search technology, it will change how lawyers traditionally conduct searches."

The other concept the article discusses is Social Search this is essentially the process of mining informal systems like blogs, wikis, social networks and microblogging sites or tapping into the "activity stream" of lawyers' behaviour to try and "provide valuable information that might otherwise be missed"

The problem with this of course is the culture of law firms and the fee-earners that work in them "Culturally, [lawyers are] nervous about putting things out there that aren't properly scrutinised, verified and sanctioned," she says. "While you would think that because they're effectively trading in information and knowledge, it would lend itself to Web 2.0, [but those] underlying cultural issues oppose the freedom and sharing of that information."

This is a really interesting article which not only looks at how search is being used but some of the issues that law firms needs to consider when they're thinking about implementing a search tool.

How much time should you spend on Social Media?

Time, perhaps the most precious commodity we all have, so how much should we be spending on Social Media? This is the question Chris Brogan asks in his blog post How much time should I spend on Social Media?

Chris proposes splitting your day into four chunks as follows:

  • 1/4 for Listening
  • 1/2 for Commenting/Communicating
  • 1/4 for Creating

This sounds a sensible approach although Chris does say the individuals "mileage" will differ, so this shouldn't be taken as a hard and fast approach to how much time you spend on Social Media.

How Web 2.0 is changing the way we work

The McKinsey Quarterly has published a video interview with Andrew McAfee. Andrew is the author Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for your Organization’s Toughest Challenges in the video interview Andrew discusses how Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way companies do business and whether these tools can help them achieve their goals.

Finding what you need when you need Web 2.0 can help

I know it's almost December but I felt duty bound to report on an article published in The September 2009 issue of Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, which I've only just read. The article called "Using Web 2.0 within your organisation"* is written by Penny Edwards of Headshift. Penny recently co-authored the report "Social Networking for the Legal Profession" so has considerable knowledge of how Web 2.0 could and some may say should be used within Law Firms.

The article begins by looking at some of the problems that exist within Law Firms in relation to managing information. "Much of the problem of information overload on projects is really a case of "filter failure". By stemming the flow of emails, making visible activities to people's team and colleagues, and enabling people to better navigate across information irrespective of where or how it is stored will help to ensure people find what the need to work more effectively"

Penny then discusses some of the tools that could be used, these include internal Twitter like messaging applications, Yammer is the tool that immediately comes to mind. Penny explains (and I agree) that these tools when integrated into a wiki or workspace allow people to "signal" to colleagues what they're working on, so that if they want to their colleagues can question them and discuss related ideas.

The article continues with a brief look at how dashboards can be used to provide one place for all activity, the Thoughtfarmer wiki application is an example of this type of tool, although most wiki applications like Confluence will offer some sort of profile page. The article follows up this with a section on how personal information like emails could be managed better by using personal start pages, the Socialtext application is given as an example. Similar to dashboards these tools enable uses to subscribe to recently added or updated content. Finally and this will be of interest to many Law Librarians is the potential for RSS to transform the current awareness services provided by Information Officers. "They distinguish was needs to be opposed to what needs to be read or considered...They also curb email bombardment, giving people the ability to scan the information quickly"

*You will need a subscription to read this article.

Taking social media inside the Enterprise

What are the guidelines that companies should provide employees when they're using Web 2.0 tools inside their organisation? This is the question Bill Ives asks in his blog post More on Taking Social Media Policies Inside Enterprise 2.0 - Eight Issues to Consider this post is a follow up to his post Social Media Policy Outside and Inside the Enterprise in which he looked at some of the social media policies published by companies.

Bill list 10 points, which he believes are crucial for the development of social media policies within an organisation. They are;

  • A clear company philosophy
  • Providing a definition of "social networking/social media"
  • Identifying oneself as an employee of the company
  • Recommending others
  • Referring to clients, customers, or partners
  • Proprietary or confidential information
  • Terms of Service
  • Copyright and other legal issues
  • Productivity impact
  • Disciplinary action

The only points I'm not certain about are "Recommending others" and "Terms of service" in the point on Terms of Service Bill argues that anyone who uses social media tools within the enterprise should be aware of their terms of service. It seems unlikely to me that many employees would read the ToS for any application they use, but maybe I'm wrong?

Developing a Web 2.0 strategy

Nina Platt of the Strategic Librarian blog has written an interesting blog post on the steps you need to take to ensure the development of Web 2.0 within your organisation is strategic. Called Web 2.0 & Marketing: Develop a Strategy from Start to Finish the post takes and interesting look at the Do's and Dont's of developing a strategic plan for the development of Web 2.0/Social media tools.

Nina includes a really useful lists of Do's and Dont's, which I'd encourage everyone involved in the implementation of Web 2.0 tools to have a look at. Some of these might seem obvious but if you're working with these tools on a daily basis there can be a tendency not to see or plan for the obvious.

Nina has also included the following powerpoint presentation in her post this looks at how Web 2.0 tools can be used within Law Firms with a focus on the use of wikis and some of the best practices associated with using this tool.

Is Social Media a drug?

I recently read an article in the Daily Mail (I don't ordinarily read the Daily Mail) about internet addiction and some of the "symptoms" so it was interesting that I then read a post on the Fast Forward Blog called "Is Social Media the new cigarette?"

This post examines a survey of social media use by individuals in the US. Unsurprisingly Twitter came out at the most "addictive" "For respondents under age 35, 27% of those who use Facebook said they check it more than 10 times a day compared to 39% of Twitter users checking in on Twitter more than 10 times a day. I certainly find twitter more addictive. The activity is very fast and real time so you want to stay connected and it is easy to make a quick check."

Now I wouldn't say I'm addicted to Twitter, I certainly find it a very useful tool for finding out what other people in my area of work are doing and for letting people know what I'm doing. Twitter success is helped in no small part by the fact you can Tweet from practically anywhere!

Microblogging can be intimidating

Anyone considering microblogging in their organisations should read this blog post on the Content Economy blog. In the post the author looks at some of the reasons for microblogging, some of the suggestions include the following:

  • "Asking colleagues to help them find information about something, such as a report, method or customer
  • Asking colleagues to help them with a problem they have with a specific software, their computer, or something else
  • Finding colleagues with a specific skill, experience or knowledge
  • Sharing ideas and finding collegues willing and able to help them develop them further"

There are of course many other reasons for using microblogging to communicate and collaborate with colleagues but this is a very good list if you're trying to encourage your firm to look at microblogging.

However the author then goes on to discuss how microblogging can be intimidating. The main reason cited is transparency, as the author discuss in detail in the blog post.

"It all has to do with our fear of transparency. Micro-blogging is a transparent way to communicate, way more transparent than targetet communication methods like email. When micro-blogging, you just have to be a little more careful about what you say and how you say it than when you email people. Email is perceived as "safer" in this respect because it is much less transparent. It allows you to say more sensitive things, assuming that you trust the people that you communicate with (so they don't forward your conversation to other people)"

I couldn't agree more with the points raised by the author, you do have to be careful about what you say and how you say it, because just like emails microblogging posts, tweets or entries can be misunderstood just like email, but potentially you could have a much larger audience.

Information Overload is the Devil

I love this PowerPoint presentation from the Librarian in Black blog a good introduction to the subject and then some really useful tips on how to deal with Information Overload.

Thnking about Twitter lists

If you're thinking about or are using Twitter lists, you might want to take a look at Chris Brogan's blog post "Twitter lists I'm not down"

In his post Chris' describes how yes Twitter lists are useful but when it comes to using them to list people there is a problem, as Chris explains "In talking with friends about it on Twitter, people immediately started DM-ing me, telling me that they felt left out or even LESS important because they weren’t on any lists. Lists are exclusionary by nature. They’re static. There’s a lot of reasons why they might not be all that pleasant for people"

I have to admit I'd never really thought about Twitter lists in this way. I can see now how they will be exclusionary. So what are other people doing, are you creating Twitter lists?

Should law firms embrace SaaS?

In a guest post on the Orange Rag Blog called SaaS for legal software Dominic Cullis, Chairman of the Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) looks at some of the benefits and drawbacks of using Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies.

This is a very thorough introduction to the concept of SasS and some of the benefits for law firms. The post also provides some good examples of services provided by SaaS suppliers which law firms can take advantage of.

Moving on...yikes!

This time next week I will be working in a new firm with a very different role. Now that the move is only a week away I'm filled with a mix of nervousness and excitement. I'm excited about managing and developing the tools the firm already has...but I'd be lying If I didn't say I was a little bit nervous about leaving and taking on the responsibilities. Having said that I'm absolutely ready for the challenge.

What that does mean is that this blog might be a little quiet for a while. I do hope to continue publishing to my blog, but I want to find my feet first. So apologies if things go quiet for a while.

For anyone interested in my running exploits I haven't run competitively in a long time. I'm hoping that next season will be much more productive, although based on recent training runs I doubt I'll be setting any personal bests!

A potted guide to RSS

Phil Bradley has posted a really useful guide to RSS on his blog, which I think is useful for anyone who is trying to understand what RSS is. Called a "Quick potted guide to RSS" The guide is actually a PowerPoint presentation, which I've embedded below, enjoy!

What Library adminstrators should know about technology

Roy Tennant has published a useful list on his blog called "The Top Ten things Library administrators should know about technology" The list is available in full on his blog, but these are the headlines:

  • Technology isn't as hard as you think it is
  • Technology gets easier all the time
  • Technology gets cheaper all the time
  • Maximize the effectiveness of your most costly technology investment -- your people
  • Iterate, don't perfect
  • Be prepared to fail
  • Be prepared to succeed
  • Never underestimate the power of a prototype
  • A major part of good technology implementation is good project management
  • The single biggest threat to any technology project is political in nature

Roy makes some useful points, which I'm sure I'll be referring to from time to time.

Did you know...4.0

I love this video about the changing media landscape which was developed for the Media Convergence Forum in partnership with The Economist.

[Hat Tip - The iLibrarian]

What is Google Wave?

Everybody is talking about, the next big thing from one of the many development teams at Google is Google Wave. But what on earth is it?

Well, you could watch the extremely loooooong video on the Google Wave website, but if you'd prefer to watch something a bit shorter then you cant go wrong with the following overview from the Google Wave development team.

Then if you manage to bag yourself an invite to Google Wave, you'll want to have a read of the "Google Wave 101" on Lifehacker

If however you want my opinion on what Google Wave is then I'd say this "Google Wave is an application that provides hosted conversations, so you have one copy of a conversation, which everyone can contribute to. Rather then 4,8,10,12 email conversations. Google Wave also uses robots and other tools to add value and more content to "conversations" with other people. It really does look very good!

Using Technology to manage costs

Mary Abraham of the Above and Beyond KM blog has written an interesting post which lists some of the tools law firms could use to "manage costs". The tools I'm obviously interested in are those listed under the heading collaboration so tools like, Blogs, Wikis, RSS.

But there is much more to this post then just these tools. Mary lists a whole slew of tools, which had been identified by a panel at a recent conference in the US, which if you're involved with managing costs within a law firm are well worth reviewing.
The big question is of course, once you've identified a tool, what then?

A great career choice?

I've promised to do this and I've finally sat down and done it, following a meme started by Woodsie Girl ,then Jennie Law and finally Maria Robertson I'm going to describe how and why I ended up as a Librarian.

It sounds weird to say this but I knew from a fairly early age that I was going to work in Libraries. My mum was a Librarian when she was young, although she worked in public libraries ins some very interesting places in London. She raved about how she enjoyed the work and the people she worked with. I was fascinated by some of the stories she would roll out. So as soon as I started my A-Levels I knew what my choice of degree was going to be Information and Library Management at either the University of Birmingham or Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU)

Unfortunately the grades I achieved meant I couldn't go to Birmingham University but I did get into LJMU where I spent three fantastic years learning everything I need to know about Librarianship including some very interesting tutorials on cataloguing, which I don't think I've ever put into practice since! After graduating I moved back home where I immediately found a job at my local further education college. This wasn't a traditional library role but it developed over the three years I was there to the extent that I could complete my chartership. From there I moved to another further education, this time in Hounslow near Heathrow. This was a completely different experience from my first role. After 18 months I saw a position which was described as a "Serials Librarian". Unfortunately I didn't get this role but the agency who advertised the role registered my details and soon I was being interviewed by current employers.

From there I haven't really looked back and now find myself moving to another role in a different law firm which I'm really excited about. This role is very different from my existing one and will build on all the skills I've been developing over the last few years. As to what the future holds...who knows only good things I hope.

Faversham 10k 2009

Two weeks ago I ran the Faversham 10k this felt like a comeback run as my last race was the Cliffe Woods 10k which took place in July - that seems a long time ago!

This race wasn't described a "flat" but I wasn't expecting it to be as undulating as it was. Anyway the race took in the very lovely kent villages of Brogdale, Whitehill, Painters Forstal and Ospring, not that I noticed as I struggled up one of the many steep hills on the course.

Despite all of that I managed a fairly decent time of 46:10 as I came 97th out of 422 runners. My next race is the Maidstone 1/2 Marathon on the 18th of October.

Libraries and Librarians Using Web 2.0 to Connect, Create, and Collaborate

I love this presentation from Buffy Hamilton which Connie Crosby discovered. Buffy's presentation is both attractive and the points come across very well.

Knowledge Management - More than the sum of its parts

I've just finished reading the ILTA White paper - Knowledge Management - More than the sume of its parts this was published in June of this year but is well worth reading. The following articles were of most interest to me:

  • The ABCs of KM - this looks at the importance of KM and provides a Knowledge Management checklist.
  • Web 2.0 features in a KM World - this article looks at how Web 2.0 features can be incorporate to enhance knowledge management. It includes an interesting discussion on tagging content.
  • Doing more KM for less with Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Creative adoption techniques for Knowledge Management initiatives there are some really interesting suggestions in this article on how to introduce a Knowledge Management initiative.
  • Knowledge Management: An Australian perspective
  • The Top Ten KM Projects of the year

This is a white paper from ILTA that is packed full of really useful content and which I would recommend to anyone interested in this subject.

Web 2.0 - the truth behind the hype

Last night I attended a CLSIG seminar called Web 2.0 - the truth behind they hype. This sounded like it was going to be quite interesting a battle between good and evil...well maybe not quite like that more like someone who isn't a fan of Web 2.0, Phil Duffy from Hammonds vs someone who is Karen Blakeman.

Phil took to the podium first with the argument against Web 2.0. I have to say if I wasn't using Web 2.0 then his arguments would haven't dissuaded me from using the tools that are now available, but perhaps that's because I'm a Web 2.0 evangalist of some description.

One of Phil's major arguments was that the time and effort required to produce content has decreased whilst the amount of content has gone up - as a direct result of the introduction of tools like blogs and wikis. This isn't a new argument it has been raging since these tools became widely available. I would argue that yes these tools do make publishers out of everyone, this can be good and of course it can be really bad, but they're are some really excellent sources of information out there which we all would have missed if these tools hadn't been available.

Phil also talked a lot about collaboration and how if we all collaborated all the time we'd get nothing done. He gave the example of a camel which he described as being designed by a committtee. Now collaboration is massive in Law Firms at the moment and will only become more important rather then less important as people see the benefit of using tools like wikis to replace exising hard copy resources and add value by allowing indviduals to comment and review changes.

Phil also expressed his concerns about the current generation of Information Professionals, his concern was that the current generation are more concerned about blogging and social media then they are about "shelving books" or "answering queries" Why cant the two go hand in hand though? I blog, rave about social media, work on social media projects but I can still shelve a book and answer legal queries. I don't believe there is anything wrong with the current generation of information professionals knowing about and using these tools, isn't it almost expected as the trainees who join our firms in the next 3, 4 or 5 years will all have been using these tools and will expect to be able to use an equivalent in their firm?

Following Phil, Karen Blakeman presented on why we should all be using Web 2.0 tools. She like Phil thought the term Web 2.0 was mis-used and instead asked people to think about what Web 2.0 actually meant, which for audience meant things like semantic tagging, user general content and my web. This wasn't what I'd expected to hear at all and neither had Karen who said that most people say Blogs, Wikis and RSS. I think this is an important to remember when you're talking about these tools it's important not to get hung up on what they're called but how you or your organisation can use them.

Karen's slides are of course available on Slideshare and I recommend everyone have a look at these as they contain some useful information and web 2.0 resources. There is also a very good review of the seminar on the Organising Chaos blog.

100 Best Blogs for Librarians of the Future

Are you studying to become a Librarian or thinking about moving into a new role. Yes - then you'd better start reading the blogs listed on this site "100 Best Blogs for Librarians of the Future"

The list divides the blogs into eight subject areas; Technology & Education, School & Academic Librarians, Library Issue and Advocacy, Research and Reference, Innovation and Information, Reading and Literature Blogs, Media & Communication and Professional Blogs.

This is an interesting list (albeit with a US focus) for anyone who is interested in subscribing to more Library blogs, not just Library students.

Web 2.0 and the productivity paradox

The Knowledge Board blog has an interesting post on the conflict between using Web 2.0 and being productive. The post called the "Web 2.0 and the productivity paradox" From the introduction to the post:

"The loudly trumpeted Web 2.0 business revolution has been frustrated by a powerful paradox. Advocates claim that Web 2.0 platforms, such as wikis, boost staff productivity by harnessing collective intelligence and fostering innovation. The hard reality, however, is that many corporate managers fear that these same tools will actually undermine productivity at the office. So how can the productivity paradox be reconciled?"

So how can the "productivity paradox" be reconciled. Well the post doesn't offer the solutions but it does take an interesting look at the concerns that are raised by IT departments as well as some of the benefits associated with using these tools.

Concerns range from" risks, legal liabilities, and privacy invasion. The most often cited problem with Facebook at the workplace, however, is time-wasting. There is a strong belief in many companies that, if you’re logged onto Facebook, you’re not working"

The post then looks at the many benefits of using Web 2.0 in an organisation. One of the benefits that stood out for me was the following;

"Web 2.0 software knocks down corporate silos, moats and walls by encouraging open communication and information sharing. Expertise and solutions to problems no longer remain “hidden”, they are actively sought out and exploited. Since Web 2.0 tools foster transparent communication visible to all, the collaborative input of any employee, even far down the formal hierarchy, will be known, recognised and perhaps rewarded. Status and prestige incentives are thus built into the collaborative process. When collaboration is a win-win for everybody, buy-in is universal."

This is a really interesting article, which highlights some of the concerns and benefits of using Web 2.0 tools in an organisation.

The unspoken rules of blogging

Gareth Johnson aka llordlama has written an interesting piece in the latest CILIP Gazette in it he looks at how you can make your blog "sing" rather then "sag". So what are Gareth's top tips.

  • Readership - Who is the blog for - ensure you have a targert audience
  • Message - What are you trying to say - you need to stand out because of the number of blogs out there so think carefully about what you're going to say
  • Tone - You need to ensure you keep things light and informative
  • Length - Blog posts are usually shorter then other digital formats
  • Regular - As you build up a readership they will expect you to deliver, so make sure you do!
  • Conversation - Blogging shouldn't be about working in isolation you should be commenting on other people's posts as well to continue conversations and drive traffic to your blog.
  • Linkage - You should link often but only to quality resources
  • Beautify - As Gareth says there is no excuses for blogs to only comprise text
  • Promote, promote, promote - On Facebook, on Twitter on the WWW, wherever and however you can!
  • Reinvent - This is good to do once in a while to "shake things up"

Some really good tips here which if you're currently blogging or are thinking about starting a blog are well worth reviewing in full.

Legal information in a recession

There has been a lot of talk on LIS-LAW and other email lists about this report full title Legal information in a recession: A restructuring opportunity which has been produced by Managing Partner Magazine in association with LexisNexis.

The first thing I would say is read the report before you do anything else - perhaps even before reading this blog post! Still here...well don't say I didn't warn you.

The report is divided into four sections, the first Brave in the new world (written by Andrew Hedley) looks at how Managing partners have an opportunity to "overhaul" their information and knowledge-management functions for long-term growth.

Some highlights from this section include the following:

"Being effective means delivering added value and creating distinct and difficult-to-imitate sources of competitive advantage. Efficience is expected, effectiveness is what is now required"

The section then looks at the assesments Knowledge Management teams will have to make, this makes interesting reading as a lot of the suggestions seem to relate to outsourcing, at least that is the assumption I'm making, for example;

"What elements of the firm's knowledge management and service provision can be done by the in-house professional?"

"What elements of the knowledge mix can be delivered by external knowledge providers more efficiently than by deploying internal resources"

"Does the skill mix and profile of the current knowledge management team map onto that which is required for the future of will some re-shaping be needed" Re-shaping is that a new way to describe redundancies?

The next section looks in detail at how "restructuring their approach to information management" note how the white paper uses the term approach rather then department "presents firms with a key opportunity...for significant costs savings and efficiencies" This section starts by looking at the Osborne Clarke outsourcing deal which took place earlier this year. Then cheeringly the section notes how "98% of senior lawyers think that support staff should be targeted for job cuts, alongside associates" The section then looks in more detail at some of the challenges that Knowledge Management teams face in terms of managing information, in some situations without the information staff they formerly relied upon.

The section includes some quite interesting input from Knowledge & Information Professionals at leading law firms, these include Osborne Clarke, Burges Salmon, Bevan Brittan, FFW, Lewis Silkin, Mills & Reeve and Dyson Bell LLP.

LexisNexis also uses this section as an opportunity to promote some of the tools they currently offer law firms, presumably as a replacement to some of the tasks undertaken by information professionals, these products include LexisPSL and LexisCheck. The final two sections of the report look at the products and services LexisNexis can provide law firms to help them with their approaches to information management and knowledge management.

So is the report just a way for LexisNexis to promote their tools and is there anything legal information professionals need to be worried about. Well yes and no, certainly the report cites a lot of examples where LexisNexis tools are being used effectively by law firms and the fact that a legal publisher is suggesting that information professionals and PSL's can be replaced by applications is certainly worrying. However for some law firms outsourcing simply isn't practical, especially in relation to the value added work information teams now do for example working with clients on pitches, providing legal research services to clients, knowledge audits etc. I would recommend that everyone who has an interest in the provision of legal information reads this report.

Why you should care about Social Media

I've been directed to a very interesting Slideshow on Slideshare which I'm now going to share with you. (There were way too many Slides and shares then)

The presentation called "What the F**K is Social Media: One Year Later" asks a very simple question - "Why you should care about Social Media" and goes on to answer the same question with some quite staggering statistics and slides.

The presentation then looks at how Social Media could be used *note this presentation is aimed at marketing teams but is still appropriate for a wider audience* This is a really interesting presentation, although be warned there is some colourful language, which is a follow up to "What the f**k is Social Media"

Balancing technology & culture doing a social business implementation

"Balancing technology & culture doing a social busines implementation" is a thought provoking albeit long post from the Headshift blog which looks at the balance between technology and culture when implementing a social business project.

The post starts with some slightly over the top examples of organisations that are likely to embrace social media and that are risk averse and set against social media and looks at how you could implement social media in these two very different situations.

For those people who don't want to read the entire post there is a good summary at the end of what is a very interesting post.

Enterprise 2.0 adoption

The Fast Forward Blog have published a really interesting post on Enterprise 2.0 adoption, which I recommend everyone has a look at. The post called "Jakob Nielsen on Enterprise 2.0 adoption" is a summary of a study of the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 at 14 companies.

The post includes some useful suggestions for the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 of which I thought the following were the most interesting.

"...avoid advertising the new tools as new tools. Instead, simply integrate them into the existing intranet, so that users encounter them naturally"

If you have an Intranet that's fine - but what if you don't?

"...avoid burdening users with double work. Don't for example, force users to update their profile photos in both the traditional employee directory and a Facebook like social connection tool"

This one seems like a very sensible suggestion to me. I hate having to do this for all the social networks I'm a member of. Overall this is a very interesting post which summarises a much larger one.

This is why you need a blog...

...a few weeks ago one of my colleagues sent me an email which contained the details of a document I might need to refer to, the document could probably become a wiki but that is another story for another day.

This would be fine but the email also included the line "if you delete this email just search for the document using this search string"

...ermmm okay...but If I've deleted the email how will I (a) find your reminder and (b) know to search using a particular search string.

This seems to me to be one of the best reasons for having a blog instead of relying on finding/not deleting emails!

Izzy wizzy, let's get busy with Enterprise 2.0

Mary Abraham has published an interesting post on the "magic" of Enterprise 2.0. Called There’s No Easy Magic in E2.0 the post looks at how those people who advocate Enterprise 2.0 often become carried away with the possiblities of the tools they're working with and forget how difficult the adoption of these tools by organisations can be.

Mary writes in her post "Into this state of frustration comes what can appear to be the magic of E2.0. This has led some fervent E2.0 advocates to take an “if you build it they will come” approach or, in E2.0 terms, “if you provide it they will transform” approach. Their operating idea seems to be that social media tools are so easy to use and so viral, that once you introduce them into your organization they will spread like wildfire with little effort on the part of the knowledge manager. Unfortunately, too many of us are discovering that this is not necessarily the case"

Mary provides some sound advice from Lee Bryant of Headshift who recommends adopting the following approach when it comes to the intergration of Enterprise 2.0 tools:

  • Build quickly and iterate rapidly
  • Add a social layer to existing tools
  • Focus on quick wins, but be strategic

You can if you want rely on magic but I wouldn't recommend it!

Dealing with social networking overload

A lot of people talk about Information Overload being a real problem and I agree to a degree inormation oerload is a problem for many. I was recently interviewed by a post-graduate Information Science student who was looking at this very problem and how it affects the work of Information Officers and Professional Support Lawyers. One of the problems I see is that we prepare a huge amount of current awareness material, which we then send out but we never ask our clients, whether what they're receiving is actually useful or whether there could be a better way for us to send it to them. That will be the subject of another post no doubt.

In this post I want to talk about how information overload is becoming a problem in relation to the many social media tools people use. Mashable have written a post on this very subject. Called "How to deal with social networking overload" the article provides four step plan for helping you figure out how to keep up with your social media universe and get over that overloaded feeling. The steps outlined in the plan are:

  • Ask yourself why you're using a particular site? Is it because you heard about it from your friends, who all heard it was cool. Ideally you should have a genuine reason for using each social networking site you use.
  • Consider your purpose - or what value you think each Social Networking site provides you.
  • Creating boundaries - is a very important point - this is about keeping one social networking site for friends and family and one for work. This is actually quite difficult to do and the boundaries are and will continue to be blurred between the two different types of usage.
  • Communicate your plan - or make it clear how you intend to use each site - just because you're on Facebook doesn't mean you have to change your status every two minutes and tweeting 20 million times a day might be fun but your friends might soon stop reading everything you Tweet.

I found this a really interesting article, which I recommend everyone read for some good suggestions on how to manage your Social Networking applications.

Twitter resources

Twitter continues its plan to take over world (very quickly at the current rate of growth) so it's no surprise to see people writing more about Twitter. The three resources below caught my eye. Thanks to the iLibrarian for bringing these to my attention.

  • Twitter 101 for Business is a special guide which includes everything from specific case studies to Twitter terminology and even gives users the option to download a set of slides in order to train others on using Twitter.
  • Why people use Twiter looks at why people use Twitter. The statistics are published by emarketer on their website.
  • The final resource is a really interesting post called "When do you use Twitter versus Facebook" the results are; Twitter for:- Connecting with Someone You Don’t Know- Breaking News- New Learning and Discovery, Facebook for:- Local News/Events- Connecting with Someone You Know- Help on an Issue

VIP report on outsourcing

The latest issue of VIP includes a summary of a report on outsourcing that Freepint and Integreon undertook. The report looked at how information professionals and information centres are approaching the outsourcing of Knowledge and Information Services. The report also looked at what some of the barriers to outsourcing are and how satisfied companies who have outsourced elements on their Knowledge & Information Services teams are.

Now if you're anything like me as soon as you hear the word outsourcing you will grimace, outsourcing to me = job losses. So some of the content of the summary made interesting reading.

  • Out of 71 respondents to the survey that formed the basis of the report 41% are currently outsourcing some element of the Knowledge & Information Services department
  • Of the rest of the respondents 25% were not considering outsouring at all.

So it's not all doom and gloom when it comes to outsourcing. I should say I think there are some elements of Knowledge & Information Services that could potentially be outsourced for instance around document preparation or where the output from research is a profile of a company or organisation/where a template can be used and followed by anyone.

There are also some administrative duties that could certainly be outsourced and there are some good examples of companies like Prenax consolidating and labelling deliveries of journals so that staff time is spent doing this. Legal Research however is altogether very different and I cant see how an outsourcing company would be able to match (in terms of quality) the efforts of an internal team.

KM tips for introvets

Neil Richards of the Knowledge Thoughts Blog has written an interesting piece entitled "Channel your inner George Costanza; KM tips for Introverts" In the post Neil looks at how introversion can effect the work of Library/Information Managers by influencing the networking they do and subsequently the number of people/groups that they're exposed to. This is especially important when it comes to Knowledge Management but I believe their is a much bigger issue, which is around marketing and self promotion.

Before I talk about that I want to say that although I broadly agree with Neil's comments that Librarianship and introversion go hand in hand I by no means believe that all Librarians are introvets. This would follow the widely believed stereotype that we're all bespectacled cardigan wearing women and also because there are many examples of Librarians who are extroverts. Anyone who has ever spoken at a Conference has to be fairly outgoing...or mad...or very brave. Many Librarians are also involved in the organisation and running of committees which does involve networking and talking with individuals outside of your "comfort zone"

In terms of marketing and self promotion Librarians, especially in Law Firms face some major problems. Yes we have pages on the Intranet which tell people what we do but do people actually know who we are? It would be interesting to poll a cross section of fee-earners to find out what they thought Law Libraries did and who worked in them. Effective promotion of ourselves and our resources is especially important in the current financial climate but how to do it? I certainly don' t have the answer, but there are a number of resources, which look useful:

How do Law Librarians promote their services? let me know!

Managing Social Media

Mashable have written an excellent post on "How to manage social media goals and expectations" the post writes about something I have a real problem with. Indivdiuals desire to have a billion followers! From the post:

"People have been setting some strange, unrealistic, and possibly misguided expectations recently in social media. While you might believe that you’re only worth something in social media if you have a huge audience, the simple fact is that it’s not true."

The post is essentially a guide to avoiding some of the "pitfalls" that come with using Social Media and how you can manage your own expectations. Some highlights from the post include:

  • Popularity v Real Value
  • Avoiding some of the pitfalls (like having a meltdown)
  • Setting goals (very important - what do you want to get out of Social Media?)

& finally remembering "it's not a race" that it really isn't about the most followers or who can get to a trillion followers quickest, it's the value you derive from using the tool.

CLSIG events

I haven't been on the CILIP website for a while, essentially because I find it difficult to navigate but had reason to today when Hanna Lewin reminded me that the Commercial Legal and Scientific Group (CLSIG) are running a Web 2.0 event in the autumn.

I soon discovered that CLSIG have been very busy running all sort of useful events over the summer and publishing presentations and other material to the CILIP website. These include "Your information service under review: building a persuasive business case with presentations from Sandra Ward (Senior Assoicate at TFPL) called "Spotlight on the information service" and Sarah Fahy (Allen & Overy LLP) called "Pulling teeth: making a business case"

This event was part of a series of seminars organised by CLSIG called the "Professional Development Club" I've been on a couple of events organised by CLSIG and have always found the content interesting and the speakers enthusiastic. The events are always very well organised and importantly very reasonably priced. The next event in this series is a Web 2.0 event tentatively called "Web 2.0 - Pros and Cons" which is scheduled for September. I'm very much looking forward to this.

Are you obsolete or mission critical?

Mary Abraham from the Above and Beyond KM blog has written a very timely post called "Are you obsolete or mission critical" in which Mary points reader to an article from rickmans posterous blog called "Should knowledge managers look for a new job?"

As Mary indicates in her blog post "The message that comes through is that in an Enterprise 2.0 world there won’t be much of a need for knowledge managers who act as gatekeepers (i.e., deciding what information is worthy of collecting or sharing) or archivists (i.e., collecting and organizing information in a central repository in accordance with a strict taxonomy). Rather, knowledge managers who wish to remain employed will need to morph into facilitators who help people work with new collaboration tools, comply with community-derived tagging guidelines, and share information"

I like Mary agree with most of what Rick is saying and Rick has a nice summary of what a Knowledge Manager should be doing in his blog post which I recommend any who currently considers themselves a Knowledge Manager reads.

A Knowledge Manager can "...can help people in how they should work with the new tools, what the common guidelines for tagging should be, how people should rate information, how people can share information. Not by providing them a strict set of rules, but by providing them guidelines on how they could work. The group decides what best for them, if chaos is best for them, than it is chaos"

33 ways to use LinkedIn for business

I love this article from the Web Worker Daily which lists 33 ways in which you can use LinkedIn for business, that is as more then just a place to "connect with people" not that this isn't valuable. Some of the suggestions are quite obvious, like filling out your profile completely but others are quite useful for anyone who is just starting to use LinkedIn or is a regular user.

[Hat Tip - The iLibrarian]

Competitve intelligence in a Web 2.0 world

Greg Lambert over at the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog has written an interesting post on "Competitive intelligence in a Web 2.0 world" the post looks at some of the tools and techniques you can use to find people on Twitter.

In the post Greg uses the example of trying to find Lawyers who work in particular law firms, but there is absolutely no reason why Greg's techniques cant be applied more widely. For example Greg suggests using Tweepsearch to find people who fall within certain "categories" so for instance if you wanted to find all "Law Librarians" who were on Twitter you would run this search.

There is some really good advice in this post which could be applied to both the searches we do when we're looking for colleagues and potentially when we're undertaking legal research.

JPMorgan Chase & Clife Woods 10K 2009

Two runs to report about here. The first the JPMorgan Chase Challenge is an annual race that I have taken part in for the last four years. I'm pleased to say that during that time period my times have always come down and this year was no exception.

My time (25:19) was a whole minute faster then last year was helped by very favourable conditions last week. Slightly overcast with a nice cool breeze. This year for the first time the organisers provided all competitors with a timing chip.

This meant that there was no need to rush to the front of the race (although people still did this) because your time was accurately recorded from the moment you passed over the start line to the moment you crossed the finish line. Unfortunately the race was marred slightly be people cheating, yes unbelievably cheating but ducking under ropes and cutting off some of the course. I find this behaviour unbelievable and not at all in the spirit of the race, which is for charity, at the end of the day they're only cheating themselves as well.

My last race was the Cliffe Woods 10k this is a great little race held in Cliffe no woods involved unfortunately. Like last year the temperatures were high (low 20's) but thankfully the organisers had laid on 3 water stops, which helped slightly.

There was also the option of being hosed down by a very kind old man in a garden that adjoined the course, bliss! Unfortunately instead of hosing me down generally a got a cold blast to my left hand side which was more shocking then helpful! The best thing about this race is that the start is always fast and this year was no exception as I ran a 3:51 for the first KM.

This was of course the only time I ran a sub 4 minute KM on this course as I finished in a time of 45:23 a full two seconds faster then last year. The run was significantly more competitive this year as it was part of the Kent Championships so I finished 147th out of 518 starters.

Twitter for Libraries

I've seen and used a lot of useful Twitter resources recently so I thought it was only fair that I share them with you. The first is Twitter for Libraries a post from the What I learned today blog.

Then there is Twitter search in plain English, which is another great video from the team at Commoncraft. Thanks to the iLibrarian for alerting me to this. The iLibrarian has also posted about the Twitter Guide Book, which looks like a really use resource for anyone thinking about or currently using Twitter.


Volunteering opportunities...

Are you a Law Librarian...who is a member of the British & Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL)...and would like to become involved with the work of BIALL...then I'd love to hear from you!

BIALL relies on its members to volunteer for committees that work on projects like the BIALL Website, The Conference, BIALL Salary Surveys and much much more.

But why would you want to become involved in the work of a committee? Well for one thing committee work is a great way to network with your peers and colleagues (there is normally a social element to any work on a committee) committees also offer the opportunity for you to benchmark the work you're doing with other Law Librarians and for you to share concerns and any issues you may have. Committee work also looks great when it comes to professsional development, just look at me here! and really aren't that onerous, three or maybe four meetings a year at most.

So if you like to become more involved with BIALL, drop me a line here, or on Twitter.

When Librarianship might not be a fit!

When you might think could Librarianship possibly not be a fit? well in the current climate it might be right now. So what if anything could Librarians be doing to keep their options open. Well this article from the FUMSI Website looks at what we should be doing and how "for the health of our careers, it's important to take time on a regular basis to examine whether our current jobs - and our current career paths - are still the right fit, and whether investigating new possibilities might help us move forward"

The article goes on to look at when Librarianship might not be a fit, how you could transfer your skills to a new role and pinpointing your new career path.

Should We Be More Social?

For anyone who wasn't at the BIALL Conference, the slides from my presenation are available below. The session look at how Social Media tools can be used by Law Librarians to become more productive...that's right more productive! Enjoy the slides...

Wildy-BIALL Law Librarian of the year 2009

If you weren't already aware, last night BIALL presented me with the Wildy-BIALL Law Librarian of the year 2009 award. I was honoured to receive this award, especially in the company of so many of my peers. At the time because I had absolutely no idea I was the recipient of this award I hadn't prepared an acceptance speech, so my speech when called upon was quite short and I didn't thank the many people that have encouraged me to become involved with BIALL and to develop my technical skills.

So in no particular order I'd like to thank the following. Chrissy Street of Clifford Chance for encouraging me to start a blog for LIG, if LIGIssues hadn't been born I doubt I'd be where I am now! Hazel Hewison previous BIALL Chair and previous LIG Chair who asked me to
be vice-Chair of LIG, from there so many things have happened.

I'd like to thank all of the members I have worked with on LIG but especially Emily Allbon Academic Law Librarian extraordinaire. Emily and I first met at the BIALL Conference in Edinburgh and since then have worked on a number of projects together. She probably knows this is already but she leads the way in Academic Law Librarianship and could and should win this award at some point. Emily and I have become close friends since Edinburgh. I've also made a lot of other friends through BIALL, they know who they are and I would like to thank them for supporting the work I do and encouraging me to do more!

Thanks ALL!!

BIALL Conference 2009

I hate to bang on about the BIALL Conference, both here and on the BIALL Blog but I'm uber excited about the Conference. Not only am I talking about one of my favourite subjects aka Social Media but the new BIALL website will be launched and I'll be catching up with a couple of friends who I haven't seen in more than 10 years.

I'm especially excited (call me sad if you will) about the launch of the new website. Not just because I have been working on the website, but because of the opportunities this will bring for BIALL to really utilise some of the technologies that have been around for a while but we haven't had the right platform to facilitate their use. I'm talking about tools like RSS, Wikis, Blogs, Photo galleries and some elements of Social Networking.

The website will also finally reflect the forward thinking organisation that we are and will showcase some of the skills that Law Librarians have. I for one cant wait!

Harvel 5 2009

Yesterday I ran the Harvel5, a 5 mile race round the village of Harvel in Kent. I hadn't run this race before so I wasn't sure to expect especially as the running club organising the race has the logo "A drinking club with a running problem"

The race also started at the very strange time of 2pm on a Saturday, if it had been really hot then I'm not sure I would have run as fast as I did. At the end of the race I'd finished with a time of 36:56 and was placed 179th out of 592 runners. This meant that my time for each mile was 7:23. I'm not sure I could keep that pace for 26.2 miles but I might be able to for 10 miles, only time and the North Weald 10 mile race on the 21st of June will tell!

Before then I have the Bluewater 10k and a holiday in France to look forward to!

Navigating the Enterprise 2.0 Highway have published an interesting article on how US Law Firm Hicks Morley implemented Thoughtfarmer as a replacement to their existing intranet.

"A review was recently conducted that included an in-depth analysis of the site and user statistics as well as a feedback survey to determine the frequency of use, value of content, usability of the interface and ease of information retrieval. The results were very informative and are discussed in more detail below.

Approximately 40% of the firm's employees (including partners, associates and support staff) have contributed content to the (new) Intranet. Content updates to the old intranet were previously done by 4 people at the firm who had Dreamweaver installed on their desktop"

There were several things that stood out in this article but the biggest one for me was:

From 4 people to 40% of the firm, that is just mind boggling!

Making connections

David Lee King has written an excellent post on how he deals with the numerous requests he receives to follow people on Twitter, befriend people on Facebook etc etc. From his post "Who to friend? Who to ignore? Who to respond to? And when?"

It can be quite tricky deciding who to friend/befriend and who to ignore especially as the lines between professional and personal become more and more blurred. In terms of quantity David obviously receives a lot of notices from social media sites.

My strategy with these notices is to not receive them. So for instance with Facebook I don't need to know that x has commented on x's photo. If I'm interested in looking at the photo I will access Facebook and have a look at the notifications on the site not from an email I receive. I've also turned off notifications of friend requests. I visit Facebook most days so If someone wants to be my friend I hope I would notice pretty much straightaway.

What do other people do though?

Has the Age of the Legal Knowledgebase Finally Arrived?

An interesting post here from the Technologist the "Findlaw Technology Blog" in which the author argues that "...Web 2.0 technologies can increase the adoption of knowledge management systems, and thus the benefit to law firms, by integrating the systems with attorneys' everyday experiences"

Many law firms have implemented Knowledge Management systems, which have ultimately failed either through lack of use or because the main users are those individuals who are responsible for Knowledge Management systems! So what does Web 2.0 have to offer Law Firms? Well according to the post, quite a lot.

"There are three overarching factors that allow this generation of tools to break with the past:

  • Ease of use
  • Searchability
  • Integration with actual lawyering"

I'm not sure "Lawyering" is actually a word, but there you go! The post goes on to discuss in more detail why these concepts are both essential for a Knowledge Management tool and how Web 2.0 tools provide this functionality.

This is a really interesting post, with a slight health warning that it is written by an employee of PBWorks so PBWorks is mentioned once or twice in the post.

Thinking about a career in Legal Information?

Recently I had the great pleasure to work on a project with Emily Allbon of Lawbore and City University fame. Emily and I did a session ages ago for the CILIP Career Development Group for students who were looking at librarianship as a career.

So we teamed up to produce a "slideshow" which gives people a view of the work that goes on in academic and law firm Libraries. We've also pushed the importance of BIALL to the profession.

Please excuse my dodgy jokes and my "I knew from an early age" line...I really did...honestly!

Second wave adapaters - are you ready!?

Three posts here from of Headshift on Enterprise 2.0 and barriers to the adoption of Enterprise 2.0. The posts are:

Is RSS Dead?

Lee Bryant from Headshift has written a very interesting post about a subject very close to my and many other Law Librarians hearts - RSS. In the post Lee describes how many people within the Social Media/Web 2.0 industry have written RSS off citing Twitter as a replacement.

So the question Lee asks is "Is RSS really dead?" From the blog post:

"I am convinced that enterprise RSS is only just beginning it adoption curve, and it has tremendous value to offer both individuals and groups. Solving the information needs of an individual is pretty easy. Finding better ways to co-ordinate the activities of thousands of people is a lot more difficult, and flocking from new tool to new tool every six months is not an option. Weaning people off the Outlook or Blackberry inbox for actionable information and intelligence is widely recognised as an important need, but it will take time. RSS and similar syndication approaches will be a key part of that solution"

I'm pleased to see the Lee feels enterprise RSS is only just beginning to be adopted by organisations. I can't think of any Law Firm that currently uses RSS across the Enterprises both as a tool to wean people away from Outlook and Blackberries and as tool for providing information. There are certainly some good examples of Law Firms using RSS to provide information to their fee-earners around particular subjects, although this usually happens via an Intranet or Portal. The post goes on to look at how RSS could be used within an Enterprise and some of the problems vendors like Newsgator and Attensa are facing in terms of adoption.