SLLG Speed Networking meeting: 3 February, 2016

Wednesday 3 February saw Group members gather for what will be the last mass discussion group for a while.  The event was very well received, so thank you for the positive feedback, and for coming along.

For those who couldn’t make it, here is a summary of the outcome.

  1. Innovation in our information services.

There was a general sense across all discussion groups that innovations don’t need to be big, and in fact many of us just experience them as small process changes.

It was felt that innovation is innate in our culture as we are always seeking to improve and do things differently. Sometimes things have to be done in a certain way, but it is always worth questioning why and if they can be done in a better way, which leads to a slow evolution, rather than something as dramatic as innovation.

It is important to be open to change, be proactive and take on new duties, get involved in new strategies, or embrace new technologies, but it was sometimes difficult to get the support of other people such as IT departments.

It was also a case of adapting in reaction to external changes eg the cessation of print sources and move to born digital sources. Or it could be the incorporation of new technologies into working practices eg use of social media for communication and RRS feeds into intranet systems, or the use of new services/providers such as statistic-collecting service ZoHo creative or a will search service.

Some members are involved in revamping existing services such as wiki site restructuring and migrating data into new systems.

For members of staff in institutional libraries, it was felt that there was little opportunity for large-scale innovation.  It tended to be along the lines of keeping up with trends eg installing new technology.

For commercial firms there is a pressure for information services to be innovative in order to be visible and relevant.  The ideas seem to come from other firms and so it is again a case of copying the trends in order to stay competitive eg sector awareness, horizon scanning etc, but every firm will be inventive in the way it goes about implementing these innovations.

Some libraries have been innovative with their building and one member recently had their library used as concert space and with the event advertised on twitter.

  1. Top tips for a successful service induction.
  • Preparation.
  • Sending an initial letter/email about your services but avoiding overloading it with information.
  • Frequently reviewing and tailoring sessions to individuals and to keep them up to date eg new trainees don’t know how to use books anymore!
  • Sending a follow-up email after induction.
  • One-to-ones are better than groups.
  • Keeping it short.
  • Being generally approachable, accessible after the session etc.
  • Tempting membership/uptake/interaction with offer of lunch or something fun such as a quiz.
  • In person is better as connection problems etc through Webex etc.
  1. Current awareness/horizon scanning services

Updates are usually time-consuming to produce and it was felt that is important to know that people are reading them so we can gauge how useful they are. Some members have taken the approach of ceasing producing them without complaints being received.  Others have found that theirs are surprisingly widely read and so well received.

It was felt it was important to keep them as easy to read as possible in this day and age of too much information so people can see at a quick glance if there’s anything relevant to them.

Sector awareness and horizon scanning were the big thing in commercial law firms, with information services being expected to have access to industry, rather than legal, information, and to monitor industry and regulatory changes which are only distant possibilities which is valued by clients and marketing departments. It can be difficult to source accurate information and find out much detail in some cases, and in others it is hard to managed the flood of information such as from parliaments.

Members recommended products such as Nexis’s Newsdesk, and Linex which monitors sources including RSS feeds and press releases. It covers sectors, companies and business areas.  Email lists, seminars, contacts and social events were felt to be useful sources for future awareness.

One librarian had found it useful to monitor upcoming legal changes in order to plan for the impact of related new books on the budget for budget planning purposes, but this was countered by the usual problems of publication schedule changes.  We all monitored Wildy’s, Avizandum and Green’s lists to try to keep up to date in this area.

What we’re starting to find hard to keep up to date with is the cessation of print resources in favour of electronic only.  Lexis recently issued a new edition on Lexis library only – consequently it doesn’t have an ISBN, and shops didn’t seem to have been notified and still had the old edition for sale as if it was the latest edition.  The publishers don’t seem to be good at communicating these changes to its customers either, eg Lexis is changing 10 looseleaf titles to be electronic only.

  1. Professional Achievements

Most of us were pleased to have got a job, kept their job, or simply turned up to work in 2015!

Some were more ambitious and had increased their working hours, integrated two library collections or chaired the BIALL website Committee.

Others put these achievements to shame by winning a mooting competition or BIALL Supplier of the Year!

One member has embarked on their chartership after being inspired by the article “Closing the gap: the five essential attributes of the modern information professional”.  If you have a Westlaw subscription you can read it here: L.I.M. 2014, 14(4), 258-265.








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