Article: Why law librarians are so important in a data-driven world

Great post on the OUP blog. Best to lap up every word. Hardly any love heads  the way of law librarians these days so it’s rather encouraging to see that OUP see the complexity of the role and the new work that law librarians are doing.

Here’s a snippet….

For well over a century, law librarians have been a force in leading research initiatives, preservation, and access to legal information in academia, private firms, and government. While these traditional skills emerged in a predominantly print era, there has been a perceptible expansion and recent acceleration of technological expertise. The profession has progressively become infused with new digital tools, evidenced by librarians leading strategies in competitive intelligence, knowledge management, artificial intelligence, and legal analytics. It has become clear that skills in research, collections, data curation, retrieval, and accessibility have meshed well in an ever-increasing data-driven world.

Nothing better illustrates this dynamic role of law librarians and the increasing immersion in innovation and entrepreneurship than actual examples from the field. One academic law library at the forefront of innovative explorations and applications is the Library Innovation Lab at Harvard Law, which bills itself as, “a forward-looking group of thinkers and doers working at the intersection of libraries, technology, and law.” One of its better known initiatives is, which prevents link rot by archiving and preserving in perpetuity a digital copy of a source. Another is the Caselaw Access Project, which is making all US case law freely accessible online.

Law librarians are going beyond traditional reference and research services, providing support in data analysis, curation, and visualization. Take for example, the data lab at the Goodson Law Library at Duke, which works to create data-driven projects with an emphasis on open access initiatives to benefit researchers. Similarly, the legal data lab at the University of Virginia Law, one of the first in law school libraries, strives to explain “complex legal phenomena with data science tools.”  One of its projects includes a corporate registry on federal organizational prosecutions in the United States.

Make sure you read the full piece at

Why law librarians are so important in a data-driven world