Is the law sector dripping talent?

The latest issue of the Library & Information Gazette has an interesting piece on how the recent outsourcing of Library services by Osborne Clarke, Beachcroft and TLT solicitors may have a profound impact on the way legal information professionals work.

Called "Is the law sector dripping talent?" the article, which contains comments from Kate Stanfield, Victoria Jannetta, Joanna Hudson and Nicola Franklin, argues that although the firms/Integreon haven't had to make redundancies, there will surely be a saturation point where Integreon wont be able to support Information Professionals working at the outsourced company.

I'd absolutely agree with this and sad as it is to say it doesn't take 3 people to negotiate a contract for an electronic subscription that only one "company" is going to use so there will no doubt be a tipping point where those individuals previously employed by the outsourced "company" wont be required. I'm not going to guess when that will be, but you don't have to be a psychic to predict that a London based law firm will sooner or later follow these regional law firms down the outsourcing route.

For those individuals currently working for Integreon as the article says "...working for an outsourced service is better than having no job at all..." but this might change if and when the job market improves and more roles start to appear. The big question is what does this mean for the future of the legal sector? I know at least three individuals who have left the legal sector either because they've been made redundant or because they wanted a change of scene. Is this something we're going to see more of, certainly if more and more firms outsource their library services. Personally I cant think of a better sector to work in and hope to do so for the forseeable future.

Follow changes to any website

We all know how annoying it can be when you're looking for a case or some information that someone has told you is going to be "published soon", you've identified a potential source for the information but heck the site doesn't have an RSS feed or an email alerter.

What to do...visit the site every day in the hope the information is published and you'll notice it? give up? not any more...

Google has announced a development to Google Reader which means you can now follow changes to any website, that's right any website. So how does it work...lets use the European Court of Justice website as example.

Navigate to the page you'd like to check copy the URL and open Google Reader and paste the URL into the Add a Subscription field. If a feed doesn't exist for the site Google will check the page for updates and add them as feed entries.

Brillant stuff!

How powerful are you?

Nina Platt over at the Strategic Librarian blog has written a very interesting post on how ALL librarians need to "re-engage their power", their what you're probably thinking?! Nina's post is essentially a call for librarians to not sit back and accept what might happen during this economic crisis but to stand up for what they believe in and start communicating!

So what can we do to become more powerful, Nina makes a number of suggestions:

  • Learn to communicate
  • Quit accepting what others think instead of what you think
  • Manage your anger
  • Quit feeling sorry for yourself
  • Feel fear but keep going
  • Acknowledge you are right more often than not
  • Speak up!
  • Be assertive
  • Ask questions
  • Create a vision for the future
  • Share your ideas
  • If you are in a business library, learn about the business and think of your self as a business person first, librarian second
  • If you don’t like being thought of as a business person, find another type of library to work at where you fit in – your staying where you will give you a sense of being powerless and helps perpetuate the stereotype
  • Learn the language of other professions to improve communication
  • Keep working at it, you will see changes

Now if you've read that list, you might be thinking blimey that is some list and an imposing looking list as well but I believe Librarians are already doing some of these things, we just need to make sure we ALL do them and stand up for ourselves like we've never done before. If we don't who knows what might happen.

Applying yourself...

It's been a while since I've filled out an application form, my last two job applications were CV and interview based. If you are about to fill in an application form and looking for some tips, then "Apply yourself" on the View from the Hill blog has some very good tips.

My favourite has to be the following; "Use the Person Specification and Job description they have provided to compose the person/supporting statement (the big blank box). Make sure you cover each point on the person specification, and use an example from previous experience to highlight your competence in this area"

This post is well worth a read if you're completing an application form for a job.

7 lessons for better social networking

Mashable have published a very interesting guide which lists 7 lessons for better social networking there are some great tips in this guide, the following are the ones I found most useful to refer to.

  • Find a Person’s Preferred Communication Channel - In other words go where the person you're interested in making contact with prefers to communicate
  • Clarify Early - This could apply to anything, emails, telephone conversations, social networking. If you're contacting someone because you want their help or want to meet them, say it early!
  • Be Open Without Needing - This almost sounds like relationship counselling - this is about not being too needy, definitely important when you're trying to collaborate with someone.

This article is well worth a quick read.

New year running woes

Late last year I decided that I was going to run a lot more races then I did last year, sadly the best laid plans of mice and men went up in smoke when last Tuesday I "stumbled" down a step leaving my office building.

I didn't think anything of it at the time but later that day my ankle started hurting and the following morning it was swollen and tender all the way up from my ankle to my knee. So what is the prognosis...

...well without having my foot/leg x-rayed making a diagnosis is quite hard, but this is what I think it could be...

...what am I doing about it, well right now I have my foot elevated and am using ice to try and reduce the swelling even more. I'm certainly not planning on doing any running in the immediate future, which is a bit frustrating especially as I was planning to run the Dartford 10 mile, the Canterbury 10 mile, the Sidcup 10 mile and the Tunbridge Wells 1/2 Marathon I hope to be fully recovered within 4 or 5 weeks but with these types of injuries you never know!

If anyone has any tips on managing an ankle injury or strength building exercises I'd love to hear from you.

Using Google Wave

Loads of people have written about it, but not that many people might have used it so the question on everybodies lips is, exactly how could you use Google Wave?
Well if you've used it already, you're probably in a better position then me to answer that particular answer. If you haven't used Google Wave then you might want to read "Google Wave: An experimental ride" this blog post ask the question, what could Google Wave be used for and provides some quite surprising anwers.

Knowledge, knowledge everywhere...

Nicola Franklin from the View from the Hill Blog has pointed me in the direction of an article by Larry Prusak in the December 2009 issue of the SLA Information Outlook entitled "You can never have too much Knowledge" In the article, which is summarised by Nicola, Larry argues that "information' is now a commodity which is cheap and easy to find/sell/buy and that therefore information professionals who stick to a gatekeeping role of finding information for users are unlikely to be in demand for long"

I'm not an SLA member so unfortunately I cant read the full article, but Nicola raises an interesting issue in her blog post:

"Are librarians (information professionals, knowledge managers, records managers... etc!) up to the challenge of rising above 'information commoditisation' and able to prove their worth to their users and society?"

My immediate answer to this would be yes...I hope so! But what are we actually talking about here, are we saying that information professionals who have been involved with enquiry work are likely to become obsolete? I cant see this ever happening.
Certainly information has become easier to find, you just have to ask people what their favourite search engine is to understand this, but there are inherent risks with individuals looking for and finding information in this manner. I do agree that there has been a subtle shift in how information is delivered. I would argue that with Web 2.0 tools the focus for Information Professionals has shifted from creating content, to enabling and facilitating the creation of this content and as Nicola says providing "...independant voices to provide validation of trustworthy information sources" what do you think?