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A Survey of Major Law Libraries Around the World

  • David Gee


The global development of legal information needs and services has continued to stimulate much professional discussion in recent years. This detailed report, and the comparative assessments and analysis it aims to provide, follow from one of the first global surveys of major law libraries around the world to take account of the present period of challenges and change. The report analyses the results of a comprehensive survey of 124 major law libraries world wide undertaken from April to June 2012 - extending a methodology involving both quantitative and qualitative approaches which has proved successful in my previous research on the activities of law libraries across the UK. It is hoped that this comparative data and analysis (gathered from the activities, ambitions and concerns of law libraries in the real world) will provide a useful snapshot of current research support services, capture emerging trends and new service initiatives and encourage major law libraries to develop their services by providing helpful benchmarking and best practice information.



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1 Gee, David, Society of Legal Scholars / BIALL Academic Law Library Survey 2010/2011, 12 (3) Legal Information Management, 218-232 (2012).

2 Winterton, Jules and Moys, Elizabeth M. (Eds.) Information sources in law. 2nd ed. London: Bowker Saur, 1997.

3 Society of Legal Scholars (2009) A library for the modern law school. A statement of standards for university law library provision in the United Kingdom –2009 revision. Available at

* © Gee 2013. David Gee, BA, MA, DipLib, MCLIP, CMgr MCMI has more than twenty years experience working in academic law libraries and legal information management and is currently Deputy Librarian and Academic Services Manager at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study in the University of London. He is a Chartered Manager of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and academic program organizer for the IALS national training days on “How to get a PhD in law”. He has been a member of the BIALL Council and a number of BIALL committees, a senior member of the Editorial Board of Legal Information Management, a founding Steering Group member of CPD25 (the training organization of the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries), a member-at-large of the IALL Scholarships Committee, a Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg, Germany and has written many articles for UK and international professional journals.

I would like to thank Marci Hoffman (Associate Director, Berkeley Law Library, University of California) and Jules Winterton (Acting Director, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, UK) for their invaluable help and advice in creating the survey questionnaire and to Michael Lindsey at the Berkeley Law Library for his practical help in making the survey questionnaire available on the web. I would also like to thank the IALL Board for their encouragement of this project. Much of the initial work on the shorter report to the IALL Board and this fuller published report was achieved whilst I was a Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg, Germany in September 2012. I would therefore like to thank the Library Director, Professor Dr Holger Knudsen, for providing the ideal research environment and wonderful hospitality during this key time. Finally my job has been made considerably easier by having Laura Griffiths (IALS Academic Services Librarian) calculate many of the statistics for the survey report using SPSS statistical software and I would like to thank her for her valuable assistance.

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A Survey of Major Law Libraries Around the World

  • David Gee


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