I read a post several weeks ago from 3 Geeks and Law Blog, bookmarked it and kept going back to it. Several of the speakers mentioned in this Ark Conference review are law librarians I have admired and learned from in the past, and will no doubt continue to learn from into the future.
When I worked on my Next-Generation Corporate Libraries and Information Services book last fall, law firms were a focus. (Note: The book was published by the Ark Group, the producer of the conference reviewed in the 3 Geeks Law Blog.) More significantly, Information Services were the focus of my attention. Knowledge Management, Embedded Services and innovative ways to add value to an organization’s information consumption were a few of the things I discussed.
The portion of the 3 Geeks post that most captured my attention was the need for law libraries to take ownership of Knowledge Management and improve its reputation. I wholeheartedly agree. In a law firm environment, the users of KM are not “managing” knowledge they are consuming knowledge and repurposing it. A rose by any other name will serve the purpose.
Using metrics to sell the use of KM is just one part of expanding the conversation between librarians and management. The application of metrics for other purposes is just as important but I caution against measuring for measurements sake. The metrics must sell the service in which firm librarians want management to invest.
I loved it when I worked at the firm and would hear from users of the KM system: ” I know I saved myself 3 hours of work.” They saved this time because they were able to quickly locate documents that could be updated and used for a current project. Those are the metrics that matter, especially when seeking ways to show value to clients beyond a billable hour.
The Best Practices discussions reviewed can be a constant conversation in law librarianship. We must continuously strive to seek methods of improving service delivery, expanding reach into the firm through those services and tell the story in numbers that matter in order to maintain influence and retain or gain powers of position.