Law library's plan emphasizes digital, social media

A benchmark this year calls for 25 percent of library staff to be using Facebook or Twitter

The Law Library of Congress has published a strategic plan for 2011 to 2016 that calls for substantial reliance on digital and social media and online resources.

“Now, more than ever, lawyers and myriad other professionals affected by legal developments need the assistance of librarians in locating and using the materials from the overwhelming inventory of legal informa­tion available,” the plan states. “Confronted with a changing array of competing informa­tion technologies, legal researchers must rely increasingly on librarians who have an expert’s blend of subject-specific knowledge, research savvy, and technological skills.”

The plan, published April 19, covers four major goals and dozens of strategic objectives intended to carry out those goals, along with benchmarks to be reached this year and in the coming years. The plan is aligned with the Library of Congress’ strategic plan released in January.


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For example, one of the benchmarks calls for involving 25 percent of the law library's employees in Facebook, Twitter or other social networking systems by Sept. 30. The strategies include developing the One World Law Library concept, using digital technologies to make global legal materials accessible via the Internet and developing a Law.gov website for distributing digital legal materials.

The plan emphasizes digital media, with goals of enhancing the law library’s website; adopting new formats such as video, Extensible Markup Language and Resource Description Framework; using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter; and creating an electronic monitoring system to track the use of digital library materials.

“Websites and digital formats have become ever more important as this is the means most people use to access the collection worldwide,” the plan states.

Other benchmarks include:

  • Identifying the criteria for preserving, authenticating and storing digital material by Sept. 30.
  • Establishing Law.Gov as the vehicle for publishing standards for preparing and disseminating digital legal materials, including metadata standards, research and development, and preservation standards, by Jan. 1, 2012.
  • Developing and implementing a plan to digitize and add all U.S. public laws between the 1st and 101st Congresses to the library’s legislative information management system by Sept. 30, 2013.
  • Increasing the amount of law library work product on library websites to 50 percent by Sept. 30, 2013.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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