Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.


5 Practical Thoughts on Rightsizing the Law Firm Library – Budgeting for 2016

The days of budgeting by determining what was spent last year and adding a percentage of that amount to each line item are long gone in the law firm library world.  We’ve all heard about the many law firms who have decided to downsize (I like to think of it as rightsizing) their physical library in an effort to get control of expense or in a move to using more online resources.  Some of you – no doubt – have experienced one or both of these firsthand.  If you haven’t, it won’t be long.

I’ve also worked on these types of projects as a consultant where I’ve gone through print collections and online subscriptions – making recommendations for cancellations, withdrawals, and at times, even purchases of print material if deemed necessary.  This experience combined with managing collections in law firms in the past has given me some insight into best practices for the task.  I’m guessing that most of what I share below will be steps you are already taken but I also hope you find something new to use as you take on budgeting and collection management in the future.

  1. Don’t go it alone
  2. Think of rightsizing/budget cuts as opportunities.
  3. Consider what you can get from other sources and cancel/withdraw items that get little use
  4. Be resourceful in finding other ways to reduce costs
  5. Create a collection development policy/plan for the future

 

Let’s start!

1. Don’t go it alone 

Having a liaison in each practice group or in each office if they are small, gives you someone who you can communicate with when you need decisions made.  They have more opportunity to speak to their fellow practice group members and will get more attention paid to the issue than most of us “non-lawyers” can.

The liaison should be a partner as an associate may be ignored when making decisions others don’t like.  Once you have buy-in from your management, approach group leadership with the request that they assign someone to the position.  Other ideas to consider:

  • Make sure the group head and liaison understand that they aren’t there to make decisions on their own (especially when it comes to cancellations) – they need to talk to other members of the group to be able to make good decisions.
  • Don’t accept the group head as your liaison if you can do it.  He/she may think this is an easy assignment that they can do along with their other administrative duties.  Disabuse them of this idea as experience has taught me that they will not have the time to do the work or may not be as available as you need them to be.
  • If the individual the practice group selects to work with you is less than effective, try to get the position reassigned.  Getting a partner assigned to this type of work will be a lot easier if you go to the group leadership with an idea of who you think would do the best job.  Have a few names selected as the group’s managing partner may have reasons not to agree with you.   Be prepared.
  • Work to develop a relationship with each of them where they see you as an asset to their group and they have a “we’re in this together view of the assignment.”
  • If you aren’t already doing so, modify your annual budget to allow identification of library purchases by practice group and/or office.  I would suggest the following:
    • Office – Practice Group – Type of acquisition or payment (new purchases, serials, standing orders, electronic subscriptions, etc.)  OR
    • Work within the confines of your firm’s budgeting process and general ledger accounts and your firm’s needs depending on size.  The advantages this type of budget is that it makes the offices and practice groups (or whatever divisions you have) responsible for the library collection the firm has purchased on their behalf.
  • Develop a job description and procedure manual to use when talking to leadership or the individual selected to work with you.  It will also help build some consistency in how this position works from one practice group to another.
  • Following the rightsizing process, meet with the liaisons regularly to review possible cancellations, etc.  At best you would meet quarterly.  At least, conduct an annual review.

2. Think of rightsizing/budget cuts as opportunities.

I think I’ve mentioned this before but it is worth mentioning again.   I worked in a library where the management would ask us to reduce the collection budget by 10-20% every other year.  While this sounds like a problem, I learned to view it as an opportunity as there were always materials that had been purchased for a certain case or looked like they would get use when they were purchased but, in reality, got little use.

To meet the challenge, we would create a report that listed each title in the collection along with the cost (whether we purchased it by subscription or standing order).  In other words, that report had total cost per year for each title and each copy of the title.

For example, if we received four updates for a title that was updated by pocket parts, the report would add up each payment made during the year for that title to create the total cost of that title.

4 updates @ $220 each = $880 total cost for the title

The report included both subscriptions and the titles where the payments were made per receipt of the updates.  You may be able to generate this using your library management system if it allows you to attach payments at a copy level.

Once the report was created, we would send it to the practice group liaisons for them to share with their group to make the decision of what to cut.  The report makes it easier to have this discussion because they can see the titles in relation to what they cost and then determine if they use the resources enough to keep them.  Also, if they can’t make the % cut that has been asked for, they will have better information for supporting keeping the materials regardless of the budget cuts the firm is seeking.

3. Consider what you can get from other sources and cancel/withdraw items that get little use

While the process I described above made it easier to manage costs, electronic resources have made it more difficult because of the expectation that firm leaders have that print materials are no longer needed.  We all know that we haven’t reached a point where the electronic only library is a reality.  Until we get there, there are ways to manage the size and cost of your print collection while seeking to meet firm goals of reducing library size.

Start with the type of report that I described above but add a few more columns as follows.

  • Available on Westlaw
  • Available on Lexis
  • Available electronically from Bloomberg BNA
  • Available on HeinOnline
  • Available on Cheetah
  • Available at a local library where the firm has borrowing privileges
  • Available on any other electronic resource you may use

While this list is being worked on – you may be able to get your vendors to work with you by providing you with a report that indicates the various formats the titles come in.

Chances are if the books that are currently updated are always on the shelf when you or your staff file new pages, they are not needed in print if available in another format.  Alternatively review the collection for items that are never on the shelves because of high use.  I’ve asked library clerks to work with me on this since they knew what was on or off the shelf more often than me.

Note what looks like the lack of use on your collection cost report with the pricing, etc. Now you have a list that will tell you and your liaisons what titles cost, whether they (anecdotectally) get used or not, and where they can be located should there be a need.   This gives you good information for making recommendations and the liaisons ideas for discussing the collection with the other lawyers in their groups.

4. Be resourceful in finding other ways to reduce costs

There are many more strategies/techniques librarians have been using for years that can assist you in better managing the cost of your collections through out the year.  Some of them listed briefly, include:

  • Charge the client for the purchase of materials being used for individual matters and not added to the firm’s collection.  Keep records that will assist you in canceling and withdrawing the materials when the research on that matter is completed.
  • Quit routing print materials.  If you have access to the titles through online sources you already subscribe to, route the electronic instead.
  • If you are still routing print subscriptions, ask your users if they still want to receive materials that are routed or distributed to them.   This includes subscriptions and the desk sets that can be so costly.
  • If you continue to have the need to route print, keep track of how many individuals are on each routing list (for routed materials).  If the lists drop below 3-4 individuals, cancel the copies you no longer need.
  • Track usage of electronic subscriptions via vendor reports or by using counters available from vendor tools like Research Monitor, Lookup Precision, OneLog, etc. but remember that lack of use might also be due to a training problem so don’t cancel titles indiscriminately.
  • Purchase all new materials in electronic format if possible but if you are asked to purchase a print title, see if you can borrow the new title before purchasing it to see if it is something that would really be used and to determine how much duplication exists from this new title to others you have in the collection.
  • Use your library management system to reduce the time it takes for staff to order, receive, process, route, pay invoices and other tasks.
  • Analyze how you can reduce overall costs on an annual basis if you have the staff to work on these types of tasks.
  • Remember that making these changes will take time.  Don’t think you can accomplish them all at once but, alternatively, don’t be defeated before you start.

5. Create a collection development policy/plan for the future

You will find that going through the process outlined above will result in a number of decisions you can record that will become, at least, part of your collection development plan for the future.  Following are three examples of those decisions for subscriptions:

  • What format do you use for routing.  For example: It seems to make the most sense to route online resources rather than printbecause routing the print materials has always been fraught with problems.
  • What types of resources are available in online only format.  For example: Depending on the preferences of your firm’s lawyers, you may decide that all practice materials now available in print (think office copies or desk books) will be accessed online rather than paying for a print copy for each lawyer who wants one.  If you’ve added practice materials to your online services contracts, you might find that it is less expensive then you originally thought.
  • How long to keep print materials on the shelf. For example: Each material type will have their own retention guideline.  You may keep subscriptions that are indexed but not available via online collections for a few years.  On the other hand, if a publisher hasn’t indexed articles and the publication hasn’t been picked up by an indexing service, the value is limited and you may decide that those materials get discarded in 6 months or so.

These few decisions are just the beginning.  In fact, you will be amazed at how many decisions you’ve made that will allow you to create your collection development plan/policy without much further effort.

Conclusion

Take heart and stay as positive as you can be about reduced budgets and a dwindling physical library.  It is much harder to get lawyers to make decisions about canceling materials that aren’t being use when times are good.  A dictum to downsize/rightsize will assist with rightsizing your collections and reducing expense that may no longer be needed.  Better yet, don’t wait for the word from management to start the process.

If we approach managing costs by thinking strategically and being proactive, law firms may very well start to understand the value of spending money on libraries and the staff who keep them relevant for the firm’s practice.

Next Post – Managing Change during the Rightsizing Process


Storytelling: From Analytics to Qualitative Measurement

Businesswoman Holding Bar GraphThe articles in this post were originally highlighted in the Pinhawk Librarian News Digest.

The following articles came together for me this morning and made me think about a memo I wrote early in my career.  It was to a managing partner where – like now – there were troubled financial times with budget cuts and layoffs of associates and staff. I urged the managing partner to consider that the firm’s partners invest in their firm rather than cutting expenses to keep their own salaries at the same level or higher. Oh, I was so naïve.

My point in highlighting these articles isn’t to relive career mistakes but to see where these two article intersect.

  • The Enabling Economy: The Essay – Bruce McEwen, Adam Q Smith, Esq., shares statistics from 3 sources that track how well law firms are doing, determines the numbers to be averages, dismisses the averages for what they are, identifies the issues, and takes firms to task for doing what’s safe or what’s worked before like cutting expenses, associates and staff while bringing in laterals.
  • CASH, LIES, AND ROI: ARE YOUR MARKETING BUDGETS A FLIGHT RISK? – Lisa Nirell, FastCompany – I’m not sure how the last half of the title fits the article but the first half is spot on. Writing about the little value in statistics, Ms. Nirell admonishes CMOs to not depend on analytics to the degree they depend on them today. She states, “In my experience, over-reliance on these analytical instruments is a recipe for too many go arounds—some of which can be extremely costly.” Then she goes on to encourage leaders to take risks and innovate.

Besides telling the story of where law firms (in general) are going wrong, what does this have to do with libraries? How many of you are relying on old statistics to show your value? Books purchased, cataloged, processed and checked out no longer demonstrate value to stake holders. Even the number of reference/research questions asked and answered have the value that they have had in the past. If you are offering the same services and continuing to operate as in the past, your value – no matter how you measure it – has slipped. Are you ready to take some risks?

As I worked on this post, Slaw published a post by  titled Measuring the Performance of Law Firm Libraries where she offers up qualitative measures as the alternative to the statistics we’ve always kept.  While I think she is right in what she suggests, I also want to remind us that the statistics we can get from vendors or collect ourselves by using products like Research Monitor can be very valuable in making a case for a libraries value.

Finally, I would like to suggest that monthly, quarterly, and annual reports to firm leadership or to those you report to are the vehicles for the delivery of both statistics and qualitative measures.  When describing qualitative measures in these reports (you don’t need to generate all three types of reports – just what your management is willing to read), think like a storyteller using techniques that draw the reader or listener in.  What you’re describing isn’t a cold hard fact, but threads in a tapestry that tells the whole story and paints a picture that humans understand.

There are so many risk adverse organizations today that need to quit relying on what worked and take some chances on something new.

For a tutorial on writing an annual report, see Creating Your Annual Report. Formerly titled Creating your 2010 Annual Report.  While written in 2010, the information provided stands the test of time.


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Strategy for Survival – What do Librarians Need to do to Stay Relevant – Part One

As technology continues to change, so do the roles librarians play.  We are no different than any other profession in that respect.  If you think about it, we are, like “The Desk Set” staff, expendable – at least in the minds of those who manage companies, firms, and other types of libraries.  We are also very similar to:

  • News reporters and newspaper staff,
  • Magazine writers and staff
  • Publishing managers and staff,
  • Bookstore managers and staff,
  • Video store managers and staff, and
  • Record store managers and staff,

in that we are part of the information chain that has kept our customers, clients, patrons, users – those we serve – educated, informed, and entertained.  Additionally, each of us as groups of employees and/or individuals need to stay relevant in this economy as well as the governmental and business climates.  We are all struggling or have failed to determine our place in the online world.

Let’s think about strategies for a moment.  The economy has hurt many of us in that the organizations we are a part of may not have or had their own strategies to survive or the strategies they were using didn’t work.  Borders provides us with a good example.  Amazon does seem to own the market but there are bookstores that have either aligned themselves with Amazon or set up their own online presence (i.e., Barnes & Noble).  These strategies have worked for some but others have failed or given up in moving online.

Borders has more to do with cash flow and other economic pressures than about technology.  In their case, the strategy of moving online didn’t work.  Whether they got to the party to late, tried to run their business online in the same way they ran their former business, stretched themselves too thin, or just ran out of money, they failed to stay relevant to their customers during the economic downturn.  They can blame technology, but if we were to look closer at the situation, we would find technology to be more of an excuse than the facts they don’t want to face.

Many of the organizations where we work (or worked for), that have survived this economy, have done so in a couple of ways – using the strategy of being conservative throughout their existence, or cutting costs during tough times to please those they serve, whether it be shareholders, the public or other constituencies.  This is a strategy that requires a willingness to set aside what’s good for the organization in the long run, for more immediate rewards now and where little thought is given to the future – by the organization or the constituency served..

The economy and the need to survive in what will soon be an online world, have created a perfect storm and that perfect storm requires new strategies for us to stay relevant.

Building a strategy or set of strategies requires us to do an environmental scan (what are the issues our organizations are facing in the industry or segment they (we) are part of) and the analysis needed to understand the impact those issues have on our own internal function.  Along with looking at the pressures we are facing from the outside, we need to do the research and analysis of what our users need by asking them for input – what are their needs to survive or stay relevant.  Without doing that groundwork, we don’t have the information we need to form a strategy and the strategies we create may fail.

Part II will focus on the strategies we can use to evolve instead of just survive.


An Open Letter to New (and Seasoned) Library Directors or How to Interview for Success

Dear New Library Director,

Congratulations on your new position.  No doubt you’ve worked hard to get where you are.  Your career so far has been in public or technical services or, possibly, working as a solo librarian or information specialist.  In fact, this may be your first job right out of school.  Whatever your path, you are probably wondering, “What next?” or “What strategy could I use in learning how to do my new job?”  If I may, I would love to share some tips with you about using interviews for this purpose.

Marketing 101 – Learning about your client’s needs

Get to know your firm’s, company’s, or community’s needs by getting to know your patrons, clients, customers or whatever they are called in your environment.  For the purposes of this letter, we’ll call them clients.  By this, I don’t mean introducing yourself and talking about your goals for the library.  Instead, take time each day to spend 10-15 or more minutes with individuals asking them:

  • What they do
  • How they use information
  • What information is most important to them
  • What  their pain points are in finding and using information
  • What their goals are for you and your department would be

Sure, you could do a survey but nothing works better than a one-on-one discussion.  Don’t be afraid that they will see your visit as an annoyance or interruption.  The one thing I’ve learned in having these types of meetings is that people love to talk about themselves, their work, and especially, what they think could be done better.

If you can do it, try to talk to everyone.  It may take more time than you want to spend, but it will be well worth it.  My suggestion is to start with department heads with a scheduled meeting and then move on to walking down halls, (any hall) with notepad and pen in hand, knocking on doors. Introduce yourself and ask the individual who answers if they have a few minutes to talk.  Do this for an hour or two each day and eventually you will have walked each hall and talked to all.  You may not get to meet with everyone (especially in an academic or public setting) but do what you can.

Management 101 – Learning about your staff

Get to know your staff if you have one.  Depending on the size of the firm, you don’t need to learn their job (in smaller organizations, you may be their backup and need to know the job).  What I mean by getting to know them is to do the same type of interview as you’ve done with your clients.  You will really be looking to learn:

  • What they do
  • What their routine is
  • How they use information
  • What frustrates them
  • What their ideas are for improvement

Whether they are librarians, technicians or clerks, your staff has experience in the organization you’ve now joined or the library where you were promoted.  You can learn so much from them.  If you got the job as director through promotion,  it is important to know that you and your former co-workers have very different perspectives.  You did when you were colleagues and you certainly do now.  Don’t think you know what they are thinking.

Procurement 101 – Learning about your vendors

Get to know your vendor representatives.  First, don’t make this an adversarial relationship – they can help you if you let them.  Meeting with these folks won’t be difficult.  They will want to meet with you as soon as you have time.  When you do meet, treat it like the interviews you’ve done with your clients and staff.  Your goal will be to get to know them but also to learn what they know and how they can help you.  They may see it as a sales opportunity but don’t let them take you there.  You will want to learn:

  • What their background is
  • What their goals are in working with the firm (the answer should be more than just sales)
  • How they provide training if needed
  • What they know about the firm
  • Who they have interacted with at the firm
  • What your contract is or what they are currently providing to the firm (you may already know this but it is good to hear it from their perspective)
  • What they need from you

If you have this conversation you will come away with their answers but you will also know:

  • What they know about the business your are in
  • How they view your organization
  • How they will support it, and you, when needed

You will have plenty of time to tell them what your expectations are once you know them, so don’t share them in the initial meeting.  If pushed, tell them you are in a learning mode at present and will get back to them.  You may even want to ask them to assist in your learning, if you feel comfortable doing so.

Networking 101 (this is where the seasoned directors may want to listen up)

When I first started out as a director, I was on my own.  No one else at the firm could help me in my work from a library director’s perspective.  What I found was that I really needed that perspective to help in making decisions.  To get it, I started to network with library directors in the community.  Everyone I contacted helped me in one way or another.  If you do this, you may want to ask:

  • How they got to know their firm needs and what they do to keep up that knowledge
  • What you should expect as a new director
  • What are their most pressing issues are or what frustrates them

Starting out with these types of questions will open the discussion for so much more.  You may know them as friends or colleagues but you are now colleagues in managing your libraries.  Don’t be afraid that the questions you ask will be stupid.  No one will treat them that way.  What I’ve found in these relationships is that everyone is very willing to share what they know and to help each other, however they can.

An Aside

To the seasoned directors reading this.  I learned one thing from my experience as a new director.  Even though I knew my counterparts in other organizations, it was still difficult to reach out to them.  I would think this is even more difficult for a new director coming from another location or industry.   I decided to do something about it.

Once a bit more seasoned myself, I started reaching out to new directors in my community with an offer to help them in any way I could.  We had lunch or met in our offices.  We talked about whatever they needed to talk about and, at times, topics where I needed input.  We became friends.  I still meet occasionally with a couple of law firm library directors I am lucky enough to call my friends.  We have lunch and talk about our work.

Please consider reaching out to the new library directors in your community if you aren’t doing so now.  It will enrich you in so many ways.

Communication 101

By now, you’ve probably caught on to the main theme of this letter.  It’s all about communication.  Communication with your clients, staff, vendors, and other library directors.  One group I did not mention is the other directors in your organization.  They can help you in many ways as well.   You may not have taken a communication course as part of getting your degree, but you will find, it is now the most important skill you will need as a director.

If communicating with others is not your strong suit, please know that it isn’t mine either.  With the exception of communicating with library staff, I’ve had to make myself go down those halls, make those meetings, and network whenever I could.  I set goals for myself in how many discussions I would have in one day.  The more communicating I did, the easier it felt.  I’m still a bit nervous when meeting new people but find that every interaction enriches me in one way or another.

Closing

If you are a new director, just know that you will do a great job if you keep communication with others a top priority.  Good luck and call me if you need me.  No emails please, just phone calls.  It’s easier to communicate that way.

Warmest regards,

Nina


Staffing Studies are a Crucial Part of Strategic Planning

This is another case study that I recently added to ninaplatt.com.  Again, I am posting here in case there is interest.

Many of you might look at this case study and think, in this economy, the need for a staffing study would be moot or even harmful to a library. After all, doesn’t a staffing study mean a reduction in staff? Not always.

Staffing Studies can be used to identify:

  • How to work more efficiently without adding staff
  • Technology that can be used to improve processes and ultimately service to the firm
  • Gaps in knowledge that need to be filled for the firm to get the services it expects.
  • Training needed to move support staff from responsibilities that are going away to those being added as the needs of the firm change
  • Where new staff is needed to better support firm needs

The Challenge

To demonstrate, let’s walk through the results of a staffing study we did for a large AmLaw 200 firm. That firm had seen rapid growth of attorneys with the library staff taking on new roles while maintaining those they already had. After defining the study with the library director, going through background information, and interviewing staff and key stakeholders, our findings included:

  • The department was well thought of by firm members
  • The workload was unbalanced with some teams having workloads (knowledge management (KM)) that they could not keep up with and other teams (competitive intelligence) feeling comfortable with their workload
  • Some responsibilities were holdovers from the past
  • Some of the entry-level research projects could be handled by others in the firm with training
  • Some research conducted was at an associate level
  • The research staff also did court documents retrieval
  • The library system had never been fully installed and was problematic
  • There were too many cross functional assignments
  • The knowledge management team was supporting all library software
  • The lawyers and staff in the branch offices did not get the same support as those in headquarters
  • The director had too many direct reports keeping her from accomplishing more strategic goals
  • and more…

The Solution

From these findings we created a three-year plan for library staff growth based on the services expected by the department and the firm’s goals for attorney growth. That plan for Year One included:

  • Hire a regional librarian to support the branch offices with that position located in one of the larger branch offices
  • Move the research manager and KM manager from working managers to administrative.
  • Add the CI librarians to the research team (they were direct reports to the director)
  • Move responsibility for cataloging and collection development out of a research librarian position that did those tasks half time and research the other half, making her a full-time researcher
  • Move responsiblity of collection development to the research manager
  • Train legal administrative assistants to do the more simple research tasks and to handle the court document retrieval as is done in other firms
  • Hire a technical services assistant to support the work that was not being done because of workload
  • Outsource cataloging and serials management to outsource with the Technical Services manager handling the relationship and results
  • Replace the library system and move the management of that system to Technical Services
  • and more…

Years two and three included adding additional specialized staff to support the increased workflow while maintaining the attorney/staff ratio.

The Result

The library director made several of the Year One changes right away and reported back that they were successful in balancing workload while providing more focused support. Year’s two and three have been placed on hold because of the change in firm growth because of the economic issues the entire legal industry faces. Still, the library director reports that she is more confident in making decisions about staffing in the future.


Upcoming Webinar: Creating a Strategic Business Plan

Business planning is often overlooked as a tool for library management. At the same time, even libraries that aren’t considered a business entity can benefit from using business planning techniques. Register now to join me for the upcoming FREE webinar, Creating a Strategic Business Plan, on Thursday, March 18th, 2010, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM Central Time. I will cover:

  1. Why business planning is important
  2. What types of plans can be used
  3. What makes up the business plan
  4. What are elements for success

Cost: FREE! (space is limited)

Who should attend? Anyone in firm leadership who is developing business proposals. Participants could come from the following groups:

  • Information Resources/Services Directors
  • Library Directors
  • Library Managers
  • CIO/Firm Administrators and Managers
  • CFO/Finance Directors and Managers
  • COO/Executive Directors and Managers

Speaker:

Nina Platt, Owner and Principal Consultant, Nina 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.  

Moderator:

Carrie Long, MLIS – Research Analyst, Nina Platt Consulting, Inc.

Research analyst, Carrie Long, has a Masters of Library and Information Science and over 10 years of experience in law firms and libraries, with her most recent position in an AmLaw 100 firm as Manager of Research Services. Carrie has extensive experience in managing and executing large, complex Competitive Intelligence (CI) and Research projects in the areas of: law firm and practice area analysis; company and industry analysis; product analysis, market share analysis and prospecting. Carrie’s current clients include:  information services vendors; legal vendors; and law firms.

Questions? Contact: Amy Witt


Web 2.0 & Marketing: Develop a Strategy from Start to Finish

web20logosWeb 2.0 excited me from the first time I read about it.  I could see how the various technologies that make up Web 2.0 could be used within an organization to enhance sharing, improve some processes, and more.  Called Intranet 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0, it made sense to me.  What has stalled me a bit in acceptance is how some organizations are using these technologies to market to external web users in an attempt to grab some market share.  In many cases, organizations decide to use blogs, wikis, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. without a strategy or marketing plan. 

Similar to an intranet or web site project, the use of Web 2.0 should be planned carefully to be used strategically.  Hhhmmm… that sounds like a strategic plan is in order or in the very least – a plan.  Here are some suggestions for steps that need to be taken to make your plan strategic:

Do’s Don’ts
Get a cross functional team together and begin defining the goals and/or objectives (We will call them goals) in using Web 2.0.  Ask simple questions like who and why?  Who tells you the market you are trying to reach and the why tells you what problem you are trying to solve. Define goals without tapping the insight of others. 
Reach out to others in the organization to ask them for their thoughts on goals, etc.  This not only improves the goals that are set, but also starts to build buy-in and support for what will be done to meet those goals. Set goals in isolation from others in the organization.  If marketing department sets goals without asking the individuals who have the closest and most direct contact to clients, the result may be very limited.
Interview clients to determine if they are using or are aware of Web 2.0.  Is their hiring practice to purchase services or products based on information from the Internet? Assume if you build it, they will come.
Learn about all the Web 2.0 technologies that you are considering using before starting your project. Use the technologies without having some knowledge about how each works
Consider how each technology supports your defined goals/objectives.  Continue developing answers to questions like what, when, and how. What describes your initiative, when begins the development of a timeline, and how describes the initiative that support each goal. Use Web 2.0 because everyone else is or because someone person in the organization thinks diving into development without considering goals is a good idea.
Develop a project plan for each initiative. Dive in without a plan.
Start with one project (e.g., creating topical blogs) that you have determined to meet the organization’s needs.  When it is complete, move along to the next.  Tackle all the projects at once.  This strategy creates confusion, pulls resources in too many directions, and does not allow those resources to do their best on each initiative.
Use change management techniques to assist those in the organization who will need to change how they think or what they do.  Even if the change creates a better mousetrap, people will need to say goodbye to what they know and how they do things before accepting anything new.  Change management should be used from the point that the goals are developed all the way through to acceptance by the organization. Assume everyone will accept what’s new.
Celebrate your success with all involved. Think ‘another day, another dollar’.
Continuously evaluate if the goals are being reached and, if not, what needs to be changed. Sign off on each initiative and think it is done.

There are plenty of articles and blog posts that describe W 2.0 in one form or another.  Some focus on process while others focus on the specifics on how to use each technology.  The following have some good tips for using W2b 2.0 in marketing.

Seven Strategies for Marketing in a Web 2.0 World by Darlene Fichter, Marketing Library Services, March/April 2007.

The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World by Salvitore Parise, et al, Wall Street Journal Business, December 15, 2008.  The focus is on consumers instead of business to business but it is still worth a read.

For a book on the subject, check out Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide: Business thinking and strategies behind successful Web 2.0 implementations,  O’Reilly Media, April 2008.

Finally, Jaye Lapachet and Camille Reynolds have posted their Internet Librarian presentation with a focus on law libraries on Slideshare.  The embedded slides follow: