Outsourcing in UK law firm libraries – opportunity or threat? New management models and future challenges for legal information services

LICKLEY, Donald (2014) Outsourcing in UK law firm libraries – opportunity or threat? New management models and future challenges for legal information services. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 121 - Law Libraries with Parliamentary Libraries, Information Technology and Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE). In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1047
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Outsourcing in UK law firm libraries – opportunity or threat? New management models and future challenges for legal information services

The terms ‘contracting out’, ‘outsourcing’ and ‘offshoring’ have become well-known short-hand for a range of alternative management models for information services in the UK legal sector, which have flourished over the last decade. Prompted by a need to cut costs, reduce headcount, and rationalise ‘non-core’ functions, and fuelled by the transfer of most legal information sources to the digital realm, this trend has enabled the emergence and growth of a significant group of specialist service providers and vendors. Drawing on current research in the field, this paper considers the development of outsourcing of information services in the UK, in particular its adoption by the legal sector and other professional services organisations, and its origins in government libraries. Incorporating first-hand opinions from some key players in the field – both clients and service providers - this paper will reflect on the successes or otherwise of outsourced legal information services, of how the challenges of the outsourcing initiatives are being addressed across the profession. As digital information providers enhance ever more ‘desk-top ready’ products, the question will also be asked, what future trends can be seen in outsourcing services, and what implications do these have on service provision and the information profession?

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