Wednesday, 27 May 2009
In the next post in a series of posts which look at some of the session taking place at the BIALL Conference. The BIALL Blog asked Tony Simmonds from the College of Law about his experiences with Web 2.0 and his session at the BIALL Conference.
BB - Tony your session is called KS and Tell : Harnessing Web 2.0 at the College of Law. How important is it for Law Firms and Academic establishments to look at how they can use Web 2.0 to deliver some of the services they provide?
TS - I would say it's very important. Partly this is because Web 2.0 genuinely offers better ways of delivering and sharing information (especially across multiple locations). Partly it's because the tools are fast becoming mainstream in the lives of our users. Forward-thinking are planning for big changes in how we all work, with networked collaboration playing a fast-growing role. I think information professionals are equipped to be in the vanguard.
BB - Without giving too much away, what have some of the barriers been to the adoption of Web 2.0 at the College of Law?
TS - Lawyers are by and large a risk-averse bunch, and we have encountered some cultural resistance. People have been cautious about issues of security and confidentiality of information. This does matter - but we shouldn't let it block innovation. I'll address this more fully in my talk, and suggest some solutions.
BB - There are many misconceptions about how Web 2.0 are/could be used what is the worst one you've heard and what role do you think Law Librarians have in changing individuals attitudes to some of these tools?
TS - In higher education, the worst student misconception has to be that it's OK to use Wikipedia for legal research. I hope librarians will pioneer and advocate Web 2.0 tools, but we must also educate students about appropriate use (to give them a dose of risk-aversion, in fact!)
BB - How much did you know about Web 2.0 before you embarked on these projects?
TS - Very little - it's been a continuous learning curve, and we still haven't got all the answers (not by a long shot!)
BB - What has surprised you most about the projects?
TS - How easy it is to get experiments off the ground. So much of the free software out there on the web is robust, visually appealing and easy to set up.
BB - If you were to recommend one Web 2.0 tool for Law Librarians to use, what would it be and why?
TS - Start an internal blog: inform and consult your users; generate debate; build a community, and build the library's profile.
BB - How do you think BIALL could be harnessing Web 2.0?
TS - It would be great if a Web 2.0 tool emerged that gave Professional Development the means to deliver the Legal Foundations course to members outside London.
BB - Finally what session are you most looking forward to?
TS - Emily Allbon, "Get Out of my Face(book)": if anyone knows how best to connect with students, Emily does!
Many thanks to Tony for answering the BIALL Bloggers questions!