Don’t forget your librarian

It was recently pointed out that I neglected to mention the word “library” or “librarian” at all during the content and staffing sections of our recent webinar on intranet design.  Honestly, I can’t believe I did that.  What a slip-up for someone who works daily with librarians!  I guess I just take their involvement as something so central, that I forget that others may not.   Let me attempt to redeem myself…

The firm librarian or library department should be involved in developing and choosing the content of your intranet.  Their interaction with practices, administration and all levels of staff provide them a unique take on how the firm works and how information flows through the firm.  They also have a lot to add around the topics of categorization, taxonomy, and content organization. 

As for interface design and functionality, they work with web sites and services heavily and have skills in the evaluation of web services for content and usability.  Get them involved early and you may be surprised at the benefits they can bring to your project.

Finally, as for intranet staffing and project team membership, librarians can be your allies in many respects.  Part of a law firm librarian’s job is to foster relationships with partners, associates and new lawyers surrounding resources and library services training.  If you also have them heavily involved in your intranet (whether on the governance board, steering committee, project team, or some other way), guess what else they’re going to talk to those associates and new lawyers about?  That’s right – using the intranet!

No matter how you get them involved, your firm library can definitely add a lot to your intranet project.  Don’t make the same mistake as I did in my presentation and leave them out!  You might not realize it right away, but you will probably regret it.

-Amy Witt


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