Enquête aux Etats-Unis — Les documentalistes juridiques aiment leur travail mais sont mécontents de leurs fournisseurs

Mardi 13 novembre 2007

A signaler sur Law.com un article très bien documenté. Il parle des documentalistes juridiques américains, du marché de l’édition juridique US, des politiques tarifaires des grands éditeurs et des moyens de limiter les dégâts employés par nos collègues américains.

Pourtant, on a vraiment l’impression d’entendre parler de nous autres documentalistes juridiques français. Parce que ça y est, nous sommes passés de l’autre côté : de bibliothécaires, nous sommes devenus ces dernières années des chercheurs-veilleurs-formateurs-acheteurs.

Survey Says Librarians Like Their Jobs but Are Displeased With Vendors / Alan Cohen, LawFirmInc. 10 août 2007

Extraits choisis traduits par nos soins :

« Nichols, the global director of research and information resources at San Francisco’s Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe : "A library doesn’t reflect what we do." »

« Call it what you will, today’s law library is tightly integrated with the rest of the firm. It’s vital not only for finding case law but for finding new business, too. »

« Librarians say they spend just 57 percent of their time on old-line activities — down from 62 percent in last year’s survey. »

« But as the libraries take on more businesslike tasks, they are also facing more businesslike challenges. According to the survey, the average law library budget decreased 3.5 percent in 2007, coming in at $4,251,627 — compared with $4,408,242 in 2006. »

« Perhaps the biggest headaches are coming from the content providers, the vendors who sell access to electronic research tools. They continue to raise licensing fees, introduce new products and market their wares aggressively — often directly to lawyers. »

« So librarians are spending an increasing amount of time vetting products, training lawyers how to use them efficiently (read : without running up the tab) and haggling over contracts. "Every vendor thinks we are a cash cow," says Carolyn Ahearn, director of library services at Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C. "But clients are balking at the costs. »

« A growing number of firms now have at least one staffer whose sole job is to develop business intelligence — to generate analyses of industries that might be ripe for legal representation, the litigation histories of prospective clients and even profiles of in-house counsel — anything that could be helpful to an attorney making a pitch. »

NB : Si cette personne n’est pas toujours un documentaliste, elle donne énormément de travail de veille et de recherche à la Documentation.

« The mounting costs of online research would be bad enough without a further complication : Firms are having a harder time passing the buck, literally, to their clients. Today, most firms are struggling — and failing — to break even in this area. "The [in-house] counsel know that [historically] books were an overhead expense, and they want to know why Westlaw and Lexis are different," says Wiley Rein’s Ahearn. "So the costs are moving from client expense to firm overhead." »

« Librarians are training lawyers, too, on when to hit the books. Incorporating book research with electronic tools can be cost-effective, because books have no usage fees. While many firms have eliminated their print reporters — at least in some offices — paper is hardly an endangered species. The survey found that 76 percent of librarians reported spending more on print products in 2006 than they did in 2005. »

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