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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 December 2010

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Copyright © The British and Irish Association of Law Librarians 2010

The Autumn issue of LIM was over 100 pages long, so in these days of economic restraints, the Winter issue is held at 60 pages so that we do not over-run our budgeted page extent for 2010. We have regrettably had to hold over some of the BIALL Conference 2010 papers, together with a short theme on accessing historical legal records, but both will appear in our Spring 2011 issue.

BIALL Conference Papers

The Brighton Conference was extremely successful, due not only to the interesting and varied papers presented, but also because the various venues were so close together that delegates were not involved in any bus trips to dinners or the Conference Centre. The latter was vast and rather intimidating but provided all the facilities we needed. A selection of the papers is reproduced here, beginning with Anneli Sarkanen's presentation on the successful introduction of wikis within Field Fisher Waterhouse. The Knowledge and Information Services wiki has proven particularly useful, especially in terms of reducing work on re-inventing the wheel when answering enquiries and in bringing together in one place all material on suppliers, orders etc.

John Duffy recounts his experiences in using Web 2.0 technologies for the intranet at the Bar Council of Ireland Library. The latter is an interesting law library in that it serves as a centre for all barristers to work and meet up, but suffers from a chronic lack of space, so a virtual library on the desktop accessible anywhere became a high priority. A bespoke intranet was commissioned as out-of-the-box solutions such as Sharepoint, were not suitable in an organisation consisting of large numbers of sole practitioners. (We will be including an article on Sharepoint in the Spring 2011 issue).

Electronic resource management systems for monitoring online usage are considered by Rory Kingan in his paper and they would appear to have immense possibilities for improving the standard of search on online services, for cost recovery and for providing vital data to information staff on which services are most-used when it comes to fixing budgets.

Our colleagues from Yale Law Library, Femi Cadmus and Blair Kaufmann share with us their experiences in implementing a 15% budget cut across the Law Library service, including reducing headcount and undertaking a ruthless weeding of subscription material. They were saved a mass re-organisation of the library but have managed to retain their reputation for a first class service.

Recruitment is another vital area in a time of recession to make sure you get the best person for the job. Suzanne Wheatley from Sue Hill Recruitment gave practical advice to delegates on how to make sure they become as effective an interviewer as possible. As always, preparation is the key.

Finally, Amanda McKenzie from Olswang gave a paper on the changes that will be affecting the legal profession following the implementation of the Legal Services Act 2007. This is potentially the largest shake up of the profession for many years. Some changes have already come into force but major innovations, including the setting up of alternative business structures, which facilitate outside ownership and investment in law firms, are likely to be brought into effect in October 2011. Amanda concludes her paper by advising our profession on what it will mean for us.

Current Topics

Our Current Topics section is shorter than usual. David Wills, our President, reports on some interesting and varied sessions from the AALL Conference which he attended on our behalf earlier this year.

BIALL/SLS Survey – Peter Clinch

We also publish the latest SLS/BIALL Academic Law Library Survey compiled by Peter Clinch, which we unfortunately had to hold over from our Autumn issue (10(3)). It would have been unforgivable to allow the publication of the Annual Survey to go unnoticed, as this is potentially the last one to be compiled by Peter Clinch of Cardiff University, who retired earlier this year. Peter has almost single-handedly developed a body of carefully well-written and erudite academic analysis and writing about both academic and practical legal information issues, to the enormous benefit of our profession. He is the author of several books and many articles and the compiler of some extremely useful databases. Peter will be seriously missed by us all and the Editorial Board wish him a happy and fulfilling retirement. On a personal note, as Editor of LIM on two separate occasions, and for many years, I am truly grateful to him for supplying so much interesting and useful material. He is certainly LIM's most prolific author.

Subject Resource Guides

Geraldine Morris, who is a solicitor, author and editor specialising in family law has written a useful guide to the nature of family practice and the resources needed for its varied topics.


Helen Dewar was responsible for implementing and maintaining an intranet in a small law firm and she provides a very practical article on do's and dont's for those who may be involved in such a project.

Editorial Board

We are very sorry to bid farewell to Marianne Barber, who has been an extremely committed member of the Board, including Guest Editing our theme on legal research education. Marianne has been with us for too short a time as Deputy Chair, but has been called to pastures new as Chair of the BIALL Web Editorial Board.


Privilege and Property: Essays on the History of Copyright.

In the Autumn issue of LIM 10(3) on page 258 we incorrectly attributed the book review to Lord Drummond Young. It was in fact written by John St. Clair. We send our apologies to all concerned.