Friday, March 31, 2006

New Law Librarianship Articles

Two articles in the most recent issue of Law Library Journal (vol. 98 no. 1 Winter 2006) caught my attention:

1) Law Librarians and Library Design, Construction, and Renovation: An Annotated Bibliography and Review of the Literature: "Librarians involved with the challenges of designing and building new or renovated library space are usually instrumental in seeing that the library’s needs are articulated and protected in the design and build process. However, librarians may be at a disadvantage when it comes time to actively participate in the process if they are unprepared to share visions, discuss issues, or properly communicate with administrators or design professionals. Early in the process justifications must be made for new or improved space, answers formulated for questions about technology in the library, and alternatives to building considered. Librarians also must be ready to talk to designers, architects, and builders in a language they can understand to ensure that the design actually serves the needs of the library and the finished product functions as envisioned. To successfully answer these questions and accomplish these tasks, librarians must be—or quickly become—experts on topics ranging from the future of libraries as institutions and the evolving nature of technology to design vocabulary, space planning, and changes in pedagogy."

The bibliography is broken down into sections on:
  • Starting and reference sources
  • Bibliographies and resource guides
  • To Build or Not to Build? The Library as Place, the Information Commons
  • Impact of Technology
  • Recent Library Building or Renovation Projects
  • Web Sites about Specific Projects
  • Space Planning
  • Building Design and Construction
  • Working with Architects
  • Post-Occupancy Evaluation
2) Evidence-Based Librarianship: Opportunity for Law Librarians?: "Librarians have identified many obstacles to using research in decision making: lack of time, information overload, limited access to information resources, poor quality indexing, poor quality of the evidence base itself, difficulties in finding research that addresses practical workplace problems or that is presented in a way that is easy to understand and apply. However, librarians and information professionals in the health-care field have begun to address these obstacles. They are developing an evidence-based approach to making decisions that affect their daily practice. Why should law librarians care about developments in another sector of librarianship?"

The article offers a brief discussion of the current state of library and information science research and its many weaknesses and then outlines how evidence-based librarianship attempts to solve some of the problems identified. It is topped off by an annotated bibliography.

In the conclusion, the author argues that "(evidence-based librarianship) is still in a formative stage and there is no empirical research to date to indicate that its wide implementation would lead to better dissemination and application of research to the practice of library and information science. Nevertheless, law librarians might find that adopting some of the elements of EBL could be useful in improving decision making, increasing credibility among library users and funding bodies, and providing more opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary activities."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:24 pm


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