Can law librarians encourage a similar relationship between their law firm libraries and legal information vendors? The librarian-vendor relationship has historically been antagonistic. It often appears to the law librarian that legal information vendors simply dictate terms and change policies without any collaboration. Law librarians then react, often bitterly. They lament the perceived control the vendors exercise over the information world. It appears to be a situation of “big” vendors and “little” law libraries, with little constructive communication between the parties. Rather then lament the situation, would it not be better to take a proactive business approach — where both sides simply seek better product? Where both parties recognize that they share the same goals — such as reasonable profit, excellent service and timely information at a fair price?
Law librarians, by kedging or improving legal information vendors’ product, also kedge themselves. Similar to the kedging sailors on a quiet sea, the legal information world can move forward if it recognizes its common and shared goals. A constructive partnership is a key to success for both law libraries and their vendors.
Law librarians can kedge their vendors, and don’t be surprised if the vendors do the same.
Both law librarians and their legal information vendors share the same goals of reasonable profits, best products and best service.
If law librarians share their ideas and build their relationships with vendors, both parties can partner to create better products and protocols. By partnering, legal information vendors and law librarians can pull themselves together into the future.