Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.

When You aren’t Invited to the CRM Table.

Librarians in law firms have a lot to offer as part of the CRM team if and when their firm decides to implement one. As part of a panel during a program at SLA 2007 on CRM in law firms, I was asked to talk about what to do if you aren’t invited to be part of the team. If you haven’t been invited to participate in the your firm’s CRM project, approach the person in charge of the project and ask them a few questions. But remember, be careful what you ask for.

  • Will the system have the capability of adding custom fields for tracking content unique to the firm? No matter what the answer is, you can take the opportunity to talk about how other firms have used CRM (which you can learn from other librarians).
  • Will the system have the capability for field validation or authority lists? Explain how the library system works to demonstrate your knowledge for assuring data integrity.
  • Will the searching function meet the needs of power users (e.g., marketing staff)? Offer to review the search function from an expert searchers point of view. Don’t forget about the importance of results display when reviewing search.
  • Will the system have the capability to use a complex taxonomy? There may or may not have a need for a complex taxonomy, but this will give you an opportunity to show your expertise in how to manage structured data for better output (which is why we implement systems like CRMs).
  • Will the system have the capability to export data that can be used by a third party for data matching where additional content can be obtained through an information vendor and added to the system? One example would be to look at D&B for industry codes, number of employees, etc. They have a service for providing this content.

Library education and experience teaches librarians to understand information, to work within standards that make systems better, and connect people to information.   They have the knowledge and  skills to assist with these questions and more. The can also:

  • Manage the selection, purchase and payment of third party content.
  • Provide direction to data stewards to ensure data integrity.
  • Work with others in the firm to develop the taxonomy needed to accurately describe the data.

As alway’s, your comments are welcome.

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