Our Slaw colleague Ruth Bird has recently published a stimulating paper entitled A Moveable Feast – Law Librarianship in the Noughties as part of the Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 52/2006. Ruth’s deck from her moveable speech is also available.
Ruth’s introduction reads:
The purpose of this paper is to review where law librarianship finds itself six years into the new millennium, and what common challenges the profession faces in this new century.
Initially I would like to take a backward glance. When I was undertaking postgraduate studies in librarianship in 1978, lecturers Doug Down and Wes Young said to us: ‘By the turn of the century there will be no books left in libraries’. This was the same year that I undertook some computer programming for the first time, using punch cards.
Both computers and books have come a long way since then, and while some of us have fewer books in our libraries now than a decade ago, the majority of us are still surrounded by some books. But we are also dealing with an onslaught of technology that moves at lightning speed in a constantly changing landscape.
A dozen years ago, I first used this marvellous thing called ftp, with gopher and archie to help me search menus and locate files, and then moved on to the www using a Mosaic browser. Can you imagine what we would have thought then if people had spoken of blogs and wikis and net space and google and a hundred other new terms that are now common parlance? But this is our present reality, and the world will not stop for us, so this paper reviews some themes that I have found to be universal in our profession.