The Legal Case for Web 2.0

A look here by at how Lawyers in the US are using Social Networking tools to market themselves and develop their legal practices. From the introduction to the article:

" elite subset of attorneys has decided to go above and beyond the basics, maximizing use of these new online outlets to build law practices in a substantial way. Sometimes enlisting the help of outside experts, these lawyers have accelerated way past Social Networking and Blogging 101, and have begun to blaze trails into previously uncharted virtual territory"

So what are these "unchartered virtual" territories? Well according to the article Lawyers are using the following:

  • Social Networking sites
  • Blogs
  • Instant Messenger

There are some very interesting quotes in this article, include the following which is near the end of the article:

"Navarre says that one of the major pitfalls for lawyers, and most professionals, in online communication is that they mistakenly think they'll get something for nothing. "Some lawyers think of social networking as a transaction: I'll go there, I'll get something, and then I'll leave." Navarre explains that the secret of Web 2.0 is developing a two-way conversation where both parties benefit, and contribute...

"...the way blogs work best is for attorneys who work within a specific, colorful niche. They can build a practice using social media because they can focus on being found through keywords and keyword strings. If the lawyer can index very high for those keywords, that will help him or her get found."

It's great to see that many Lawyers in the US are actively using Web 2.0 tools to supplement their activities. Hopefully we'll see fee-earners and Partners in the UK begin to embrace these tools more actively. When they do I expect Knowledge/Information Professionals to be involved in one way or another.

Can you tame Twitter?

The Anecdote blog has an interesting post on whether it's possible to tame Twitter and email. From the blog post:

"I think it's useful to have an analogy to explain how to use a technology. I think of Twitter as like my virtual tea room or cafe. It's the place I go to hear the chatter about what's happening. I will tend to sit down with some friends (using Tweetdeck) while also looking forward to meeting someone new. I'll share some ideas and resources and ask people for their help, experiences and opinions.

The problem was that I was in cafe (socializing) mode all day long when I should have enjoyed this social space like I use to when I worked in an organisation, at 10.30am and 3.30pm.

So my new regime has been to only participate in Twitter at 10.30 and 3.30 (for about 30 minutes at a time) and in times when I've decided I'm going to just have some fun (evenings, weekends). This doesn't mean that I'm going full pelt at Twitter in each session. It just means I have a read and participate during these times."

This is both an interesting analogy and an interesting way to limit the amount of time spent on Twitter. Could this also work for email though? according to the Blog post yes. This is a quite interesting strategy, which may work for some people. One of the things I do is not have my email open if I know I need to concentrate on a particular piece of work as it's way too much of a distraction. I also never have Outlook open over my lunch break. If I'm sitting at my desk and see that little envelope appear it's way too easier to just have a look at the new email!

Lexis Nexis does Twitter!

I'm a huge fan of Twitter, but had never thought to use it to keep up to date with what Legal Publishers are doing. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that Lexis Nexis are using Twitter with not one but seven different Twitter Accounts

Of these I'm currently only following LexisNexis2009 however It got me thinking what if anything are the other legal publishers doing on Twitter?

The answer is not much. Westlaw have one account on Twitter. PLC Fastdrafts also have a Twitter account, which actually looks quite interesting.

Of the rest the following Twitter accounts exist:

So not exactly extensive coverage from the UK Legal Publishers. I may of course have missed some if they exist. Do let me know if this is the case and I will add them to this blog post.

Top 10 reasons to become a Librarian

Is a Library the perfect place for you to "shine" according to this article from the Get Degrees Website it certainly is. But what I hear you say are the "Top 10 reasons for becoming a Librarian"

1. You Have a Passion for organization
2. You Never Want to Stop Learning
3. You Enjoy the Silence
4. It’s a Profession With Range
5. It Goes So Well With Your Flawless Sense of Style
6. Your Co-Workers Are Probably Just as Cool as You.
7. You Want to Learn Skills You Can Use
8. You’re Into Books on the Company Dime
9. You Enjoy Getting Time Off
10. You Want a Job with Security

Now these sound fine in principle...but have a look at the explanations around them. These are some of my comments...

1. You Have a Passion for organization - Oh yes I love organising...everything

3. You enjoy the silence - Yep love silence, apart from when I'm listening to music or shushing clients

5. It Goes So Well With Your Flawless Sense of Style - Cardigans and horn rimmed glasses that's me!

Do have a look at the rest of the post and let me know what you think!

The rise of the Knowledge Librarian

An interesting post here from the KM World Blog which looks at how the traditional role of a Corporate Librarian is changing as Libraries come under more and more pressure to cut budgets.

So what are the shifts in responsibilites that a Corporate Librarian must make to become a Knowledge Librarian? From the blog post;

"Role shift #1: A knowledge librarian should be the "content czar" of the enterprise. That role, often ascribed to the CIO or CKO, must be returned to the librarian, where it belongs"

"Role shift #2: A knowledge librarian understands the strategic information needs of the enterprise. Information is the primary raw material of the global knowledge-based economy"

"Role shift #3: A knowledge librarian is a lead agent of change. The librarian of the future must get out from behind the reference desk and become involved with everybody and everything" Pretty scary this one. I know from experience how difficult it can be to get out into the organisation and actually work with people including marketing how important the Library is.

This is quite an interesting article, which is well worth reading for an insight into how our roles could potentially change.

Are you...worth it?

In the Library with the Leadpipe has published an interesting, although US focused post on Return on Investment here. From the Blog post: "Return on investment (ROI) is how much you get back for what you put into something. Strictly speaking, ROI is based on dollars and cents. So, you need to be able to quantify how much money was invested in something and then you need to compare how much money is gained or lost as a result of how the investment was handled. There are two kinds of questions that ROI is good at answering. One is: how much money will be gained by investing in a particular financial asset? The other is: will putting resources into a project or service yield a measurable benefit?"

The blog goes on to look at a number of areas, including Motivations for using ROI in libraries, Strategies for measuring ROI in libraries and finishes with some examples from Libraries. One of my responsibilites within my role is to prepare statistics on usage of the enquiry service by the firm. As such this post was quite interesting and is well worth reading if you're thinking about how you can measure ROI in your Library.

Great Twitter resources

Despite my earlier misgivings...I've become a massive fan of Twitter over the last couple of months moving from the Website to TWhirl to now finally using Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is a great tool for managing your Tweets and replies you receive. I especially like the integration with Facebook although the email/tweet Facebook status updates can be a bit flaky.

There are also a number of tools that will help you search for people and information, the following are a few that I've used recently....

  • Twellow is a great tool that you can use to find information on information on people and also register your own details on.
  • TweepSearch is another tool you can use for finding information on individuals.
  • I'm a regular user of the Twitter Search tool and the Hashtags site

What are other people using?

We’ve got the technology – now give us law e-books

An interesting article here on the Law Society Gazette website which asks if the technology exists why haven't more legal publishers made books available in electronic format? From the blog post;

"...where are the law texts in new, rights-managed PDF formats? We need legal publishers to wake up to technology like this and get the content out there – that will drive the competition in the IT market to make devices that are constantly better. And all lawyers will benefit from that"

A very good question and it would appear one to which the legal publishers currently have no answer!

Twitter in Twenty minutes

Is It Really Free?

Earlier this month I talked at Managing the evolution of legal Libraries and Information Services. Below are the slides from this presentation. Rather embarassingly I had the most slides across the two days so I'm going to write another presentation which has a lot less slides! In the meantime enjoy although it's not the same without me speaking...some might say it's better!