Business and Competitive Intelligence: AALL 2013

I am reporting today from a session at the American Association of Law Libraries 106th Annual Meeting. This morning I am attending a session on Business and Competitive Intelligence.

The session is a cooperative effort between AALL and the International Legal Technology Association. The AALL program app shares the intention of the session:


The session started with an overview survey, mainly answered by law librarians, to identify themes of how law libraries in firms supported BI and CI. The five major themes were:


Law Librarians shared stories of their BI and CI efforts. Firm library teams have created interesting business intelligence products for their teams. Examples:

  • Customized Practice Group Newsletters
  • Regular news pushed out from the library that includes information about an area, including information about changes in the firm. Shifting content that moves from highly curated to partially automated.

  • Client facing customized newsletter
  • A story about the library not knowing what year didn’t know about information within their firm.
    Understanding where to procure and how to present internal with external content. Technology was the easy part, and the more challenging part was finding coveted data in the organization.

  • Industry Group Newsletter
  • A newsletter that started as a response to a client for monitoring in their industry. A product that began for one key client that was widened to include a wider collaborative group within the firm. An increased collaboration between the CI team (within marketing), the Library, and other administrative departments.

The message the panel shared was the importance of mashing up internal and external information. Pricing, fee values, client relationships, practice group and project management information, industry information, internal expertise, externally produced data – news, cases, legislation and other text.

It was nice to hear in the case studies that CI/BI products were considered a work in progress and that even when something was rolled out, at doesn’t mean that it is the end of the product development. As I write this post it is clear that the panelists are sharing stories of specialized and customized publishing.

When I pair this session with an eBook session from yesterday I see more opportunities for law librarians to act as in house publishers. A publisher confirmed that there is potential for mashing eBook content with firm data for in house use. This is a similar thought to publishing current and urgent curated publishing like the panelists described with their products.

I encourage you to check it the #AALL2013 twitter stream.