Information and knowledge management in support of legal research in a digital information environment
- Authors: Du Plessis, Tanya
- Date: 2009-01-08T13:03:45Z
- Subjects: Knowledge management , Information technology , Information superhighway , Digital libraries , Law libraries , Law librarians , Law firms , Legal research , Management information systems
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:14754 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/1834
- Description: D. Litt. et Phil. , The main research question addressed by this study is whether the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has an effect on the practice of law, and specifically whether information and knowledge management affects the process of legal research. Various issues are considered in this regard, including what the concept of knowledge management (KM) entails in a law firm and what the current KM trends are in South African law firms. To this extent an investigation follows of the global trends in the application of ICTs for legal research purposes and what the specific applications are of KM in support of legal research. Furthermore, this study investigates how information technology applications and KM systems and strategies can support the legal research process and what the benefits of KM are to legal research. This entails a study of the unique characteristics of legal research in a digital information environment and of the challenges legal researchers face in a changing information environment. Subsequently the skills and tools that are required for effective digital legal research are discussed. This research also considers the effect the changing information environment has on the role of the legal information professional, which includes an investigation of the reasons why legal information professionals can and should support lawyers in their legal research activities. Specifically, this study considers the roles, skills and competencies of legal information professionals as knowledge managers, digital librarians and trainers of legal research skills in a changing information environment. Lastly, this study investigates whether current legal research skills training offers useful guidelines to future digital legal researchers.
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Accountability and demonstration of the value of information services in South African law firms
- Authors: Garratt, Olwyn Gail
- Date: 2009-01-12T07:22:06Z
- Subjects: Law libraries
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:14773 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/1851
- Description: M. Inf. , Corporate library and information services were typically created in order to further the operational objectives of a parent organisation. The continued existence of corporate libraries was seen to be subject to management perceptions of value of its services. This study investigated strategies to measure the value of information services in the specialised environment of the South African incorporated law firm. Methodologies were developed to arrive at the unit cost of information and of the information services in an organisation at a particular period. A cost per practitioner value was calculated in order to correlate data relating to the information spending at seven South African law firms. Attempts were made to relate the unit cost of the information services at one law firm to the use that was made of the services. The potential for cost recovery and determination of return on capital employed were also investigated. These strategies were seen to have value as management tools for the information services but they failed to demonstrate the value of the investment. The study thereafter approached the problem of evaluation from the perspective of accountability. Certain accepted business practices were investigated with regard to their relevance to corporate support services. An information services audit was proposed in accordance with a recognised management process.
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