Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Should Law Libraries Ged Rid of Their Print Reference Collections?

The March 2009 issue of the AALL Spectrum asks whether law libraries should keep their print reference collections.

In an article entitled Reference 2.0, author Paul Hellyer writes:

"Many patrons who are still willing to read a narrative text in print will demand greater convenience and currency when it comes to reference sources, making it harder for print reference sources to compete with their online counterparts. After all, why get up from your desk to check a print reference source when a more current online version is at your fingertips? (...) "

"Although it’s too soon to give up on print reference collections, law libraries can play a constructive role in the transition to online sources by creating online reference collections. An online reference collection is a Web page with links to online equivalents of sources that can be found (or were once found) in print reference collections. Creating an online reference collection can help steer patrons towards reliable sources, while highlighting the strengths of a library’s subscription databases."
The full issue is available on the website of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:47 pm


Blogger Wendy Reynolds said...

So much depends on who you serve, doesn't it? Law libraries which are open to the public will always bump into the licensing issue - how do you purchase a digital copy of a work if your user group is "everyone"? Publishers, if we're headed in this direction (and you know we are) please base your business model on more that law firms and academic libraries.

11:54 am  
Blogger Michel-Adrien said...

That is the big struggle for any library - what happens to the public if you ditch the print?

Another issue, perhaps more relevant to a library like ours that collects material from many countries and in more than one language: not every print source has an electronic equivalent.

So it is hard to drop the print. It may be easier in the U.S. context where Westlaw and Lexis have digitized many of the major legal reference texts.

12:21 pm  

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