Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.

Webinar: SharePoint Out of the Box – Power Your Intranet Using SharePoint Lists

SharePoint lists allow you to quickly and easily integrate library content into your Intranet portal, making it possible to search, sort and filter without the need for programming or third party software.  Register now to join us in a webinar called SharePoint Out of the Box: Power Your Intranet Using SharePoint Lists, that will be held on Thursday, February 11, 2010 from Noon to 1PM Central. You can learn how to create and manage research portals, virtual libraries, bibliographies, collections of external and internal links, or even use lists to generate update-able navigation within your site. You can transfer Excel or Access data to a SharePoint list in minutes.  We’ll look at examples, examine the uses, benefits and drawbacks of using SharePoint lists, then walk through the basics of creating lists, adding data, and presenting the information on SharePoint sites.

During the session, you will:

  1. Understand the possible benefits and drawbacks to using SharePoint lists
  2. Learn how to create a list, import data to a SharePoint list and incorporate lists into your SharePoint pages

Cost:  $30 per person USD or $60 USD for groups of up to 10 from the same firm


Cindy Chick, Global Manager of Knowledge Systems, Latham & Watkins LLP
Cindy works closely with the library, docket, records and knowledge management groups to help define and implement technology-focused solutions in her current role as Global Manager of Knowledge Systems.   She was co-editor/publisher of for 6 years, and has been published in the American Lawyer, Searcher, PLL Perspectives and Online Magazine  as well as speaking for a number of conferences and programs.   Cindy maintains a blog called, “a conversation on law library technology and knowledge management.” Her most recent project is called, a web site for those who travel with their dogs.


Nina Platt, Principal ConsultantNina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Owner and principal consultant, Nina Platt is a law librarian and former AmLaw 100 firm library director who has worked in law firms since 1986.  Her work in library management has spanned all but 4 of those years.  Nina believes the most effective law firm libraries are critical to both the business and practice of law and that achieving to build a business critical library can only be done through the use of business tools like strategic plans, business plans, business cases, and more.  She has written and delivered numerous articles, presentations, and papers on library and knowledge management topics.   

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The Web CMS Report 2008 Released by CMS Watch

If you are shopping for a new content management system, you might want to spend some money up front to purchase the CMS Watch Web CMS Report 2008 on content management products and best practices.  The Table of Contents lists the following content:

  • Building the business case for a CMS
  • How CMS tools work
  • Product comparisons
  • Advice, pitfalls and best practices
  • Web content governance

If you aren’t ready to spend the money for the report just yet, their article Web CMS Trends for 2008, may provide some insight.  The first trend should provide some confidence for would-be shoppers who might be wondering if they are alone in their needs.  It starts:

“Customers are more willing to consider Web content management systems that couple content production and delivery — or put another way, systems that couple content management with website management. “

Seriously, I do think that today’s intranet/portal needs a robust content management system in place to distribute the work of content management to the content creators keeping content more up to date and relevant.  Some of the products reviewed in this report may be overkill for all but the largest firms, but there should be a solution for everyone.  The vendor list they provide breaks the vendors into various categories, some according to size.

Enterprise 2.0 : What is it and will it find a place in law firms?

I was fortunate to be able to participate as a panelist at the Emerging Technologies breakfast at the SLA conference in Denver in June.  My part of the program was to present on Enterprise 2.0.  I have often seen knowledge management (KM) in law firms as a glass half-empty endeavor but with Enterprise 2.0, there may just be a chance that KM can be successful. 

Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of Web 2.0 technologies and initiatives within the organization.  Andrew McAfee (professor at Harvard who first used Enterprise 2.0 as a concept) defines Web 2.0 as the “digital platforms for generating, sharing and refining information”.  

McAfee defines Enterprise 2.0 as “Platforms that companies can buy or build in order to make visible the practices and outputs of their knowledge workers”.  It could also be said that Enterprise 2.0 takes Web 2.0 a step further using the same digital platforms for generating, sharing and refining knowledge.  The digital platforms are wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, social networking, instant messaging, portals, mashups, and other Web-based collaborative applications.

The attached slides describes both along with a discussion of McAfee’s model for Enterprise 2.0 called SLATES.  It also includes some examples of the use of Enterprise 2.0 in law firms. 

Of course, whether organizations benefit from all this is doubted by some, including a recent debate by Andrew McAfee and Tom Davenport prior to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference held in June 2007 in Boston.  View an on-demand version of the debate.  In a posting on his blog, McAfee states that he sees the difference in their thinking in that he has addressed the topic as if it is something new and Davenport sees the technology mentioned as having been around for some time.  I agree, the technology isn’t new but putting the various apps together in one package puts a new spin on how to engage users.

I may be a bit naive in believing the following but I think we will see a change in the willingness of lawyers to actually participate in KM initiatives.  Lawyers graduating from law school today are experienced in using the digital platforms described in this slideshow.  They are also part of a culture that believes in end-user content generation and sharing.  Unless law school and first year at a law firm changes them profoundly, they will be looking for this type of technologies to use with their practices. 

That leaves my glass half-full.   I’d love to hear what you think.

Bad Strategy for Content Management

I have several blogs and wires I like to keep up with along with email newsletters and services like Google News Alerts.  One such resource is a publication created by Cylogy, Inc.,  a consulting firm, and is called CMS Wire.  The focus is on content management, which if anything, is a process we librarians should be involved in and, therefore, need to stay up to date on. 

As someone who has been involved in intranet redesign, I thought the recent post titled “Web Redesign is Bad Strategy” was interesting.  The author Gerry McGovern tells the story of the Joneses and the problems they have with managing their house (keeping it clean, etc.).  They decide to start a “Clean Sweep” project to make the house more liveable. 

McGovern likens a web site redesign to that type of project and further states that a good website (intranet) is managed as a process not a project and the organizations with web strategies, manage the process – not the project.  I agree on the need to manage web sites/intranets as a process, but I do believe that there are good reasons for doing a redesign including that the infrastructure needs updating.  Here I am talking more of a do over than a redesign.  Starting from the ground up but not without a strategy.

Those of us managing intranets or even slightly involved in the content management of an intranet, need to pay attention.  Developing an intranet strategy is the first step organizations need to take before they embark on changing their intranet.  What is your objective and what strategies will you use to meet that objective.  Heady stuff, but, oh so necessary.