Law Librarianship

There are many different types of librarian and information professional roles based in the legal sector, to be found not just in large legal firms, or the Inns of Court, but also within industry, academic libraries and within government. For more information on careers working with legal information, check out the website of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians. 

Government Libraries

This section covers those librarians/ information roles in government departments and agencies, parliamentary and national libraries. Roles have been fairly hard-hit in the financial crisis.

London is still the main centre for this kind of role, but with increased regionalisation of departments and NGOs, this is less the case than in the past. If you are interested in roles in this sector, you might also find it interesting to look at the Network of Government Library and Information Specialists.

Academic- FE, HE

One of the most commonly encountered Librarian/Information roles, Librarians in Further or Higher Education have varied roles with many varying responsibilities. It is still fairly common to have subject specialist librarians, who are responsible for  supporting specific disciplines (eg. Politics, Economics etc…) Sometimes these librarians will have to take on a range of departments. These Librarians are sometimes called liaison librarians, subject librarians or something along these lines.

Their role varies, but usually includes providing training and advice to students, checking reading lists and ordering materials for the library (including online resources), exploring new resources (especially new databases) representing the library at departmental meetings and involvement in stock management decisions.

Other roles in academic libraries include cataloguing new acquisitions (sometimes also done by the subject librarians), ordering and processing stock (some Acquisitions staff have responsibility for multi-million pound budgets), being responsible for services provided to the user (eg. circulation duties- such as checking items in, and dealing with those who owe large amounts of fines).

Why not check out our page to keep up to date with the issues in this sector? Access is free: Higher Education News for Libraries and Librarians

Supporting Practitioners in Health and Social Care.

Supporting Practitioners in Health and Social Care.

ALISS conference 11th February 2015


ALISS Xmas Special: Legal Deposit in the Digital Age, 16th December 2014

ALISS Xmas Special: Legal Deposit in the Digital Age, 16th December 2014

Now available: View the presentations via our new YouTube channel- visit the playlist:

Useful resources for Library inductions/ orientations

Useful Resources for Training and Student Inductions.

International Students

Study Uk – British Council resource 

Complete Guide for International Students on Going to University in the Uk
Covers the application process, course choice, and moving to the Uk in the time of Covid. Consider how covid 19 has effected young people by exploring the links on this page.

 Recommended Information/ literacy skills tutorials

University of Newcastle, Australia
The InfoSkills information literacy and academic integrity tutorial has 5 modules.

1      Planning for research (List strategies for getting started )

2      Finding Information (Use Library catalogues to find resources, select Library databases to find journal articles, Identify effective search techniques, describe the characteristics of Internet search engines)

3      Evaluating Information

4      Writing and Plagiarism (Identify strategies for good academic practice in writing, e.g. note taking, acknowledging sources, techniques for managing and compiling reference lists and bibliographies.)

5      Using information ethically (Use information appropriately without breaching copyright, censorship and freedom of speech issues, use of inclusive language).

University of Leeds, United Kingdom
The general skills section has some useful links relating to academic reading and note taking skills. is also a maths section The researchers section  has sections on planning your research, finding and managing information, publication and impact.

The Final Chapter: the undergraduate research project guide  is designed to help with final-year research projects. Topics covered include “planning and preparing your project”, “doing a literature review” and “critical thinking and evaluation”. The resource contains videos of Leeds staff and students talking about final-year projects, including their top tips for success.

Open University
The Open University Information Literacy Unit has developed a mass of excellent materials  Being Digital  has a self assessment checklist

They also produce the Information Skills for Researchers To support OU postgraduate students. Includes sections with advice on literature searching, writing and referencing.

Writing Resources.
 A series of resources from the Royal Literary fund. They include Essay Writing: a Guide for Undergraduates a comprehensive guide to essay writing, written for students by Dr David Kennedy. Topics covered include understanding the question, literature searching and drafting essays.Mission Possible: the Study Skills Pack is a range of study skills materials developed for students, tutors and teachers by Mario Petrucci. Includes basic study skills techniques, presentation skills, writing skills. Writing Dissertations: a Guide for Graduates gives support and guidance on the process of writing a dissertation or thesis. It was developed by Andrew Ward and Peter Wood. Covers literature reviews, revising editing. Also section  for students where English is a second Language.

Information Literacy Resources

Use these to keep up to date with what other librarians are doing!

Information Literacy Website
Maintained by information professionals from key UK organisations including CILIP and SCONUL. Aims to support practitioners by offering free access to news, book reviews and case studies of best practice. They include lists of resources. 

Journal of Information Literacy
Open access scholarly journal covering the philosophy, technology and practice of information literacy. Excellent starting point for locating up to date materials.

 Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching
Excellent free resource developed by group of subject librarians at Cardiff University to support their colleagues in Information Services as they developed their information literacy teaching. Chapters include planning lessons, developing teaching aids, evaluating and improving teacher skills. Of great value for those developing their own courses.

Information Literacy resource bank
Originally developed for staff at the University of Cardiff it includes some interesting examples of ‘bite sized’ tutorials on research, internet searching skills. There are also examples of flowcharts and online quizzes.

LOEX: Clearing House for Library Instruction
International membership organisation which supports training and information literacy in libraries. Website has an excellent archive of conference papers, plus a free directory of links to online tutorials, case studies, and other recommended teaching and learning materials for library staff.

LIS-Info-Literacy. Excellent JISC email discussion list useful for keeping up to date with the latest events, research and publications in the field. You can view recent postings and archived messages from the website or sign up to join.

ALISS 12 days of christmas recommendations

Here are recommendations for the 12 days of christmas (for social scientists!)

On the first day of Christmas, My true love sent to me A partridge in a pear tree. Here are some resources for orchards and pear trees.

2.  Turtle Doves – here are some data and mapping resources relating to birds!

3. French hens – hens and eggs data

4. Calling birds – resources on bird songs!

  •  BBC Radio 4 has a collection of bird songs from common Uk birds which you can download.
  • The British Library sound archive has an entry on the language of birds which discusses the purpose of their songs and gives examples.
  • Xeno-Canto is a free website dedicated to sharing bird songs and sounds from around the world.
  • Macaulay Library Sound & Video catalog The Macaulay Library is the world’s largest archive of animal sounds. It contains more than 160,000 recordings of 67 percent of the world’s birds, and it is rapidly increasing its holdings of insects, fish, frogs, and mammals.Search the database for animal sounds and behavior. Visualize sounds using a spectrogram. Speed up or slow down sounds. Create spectrograms from your own sounds. Spectrograms can be customized with a clickable world map or by using an advance or simple Boolean search. Windows 2000 or newer is needed to use the spectrograms.

5. Gold rings

  • The world Bank blog regularly updates on commodity prices.
  • Trade body the World Gold Council provides some free access to issues of its Gold Market trends from 1996 onwards.
  •  Kitco has some free price and commodity news.

6. Geese a laying

7.   Swans a swimming

  • Swans as culinary fare! – From the Institute of Historical research. See the recipe for swan offal:
    • Chawdoun for swannes. Take ðe lyuer and ðe offal of the swannes, & do it to see ð in gode broth; take it vp. Pyke out ðe bonys; take & hewe the flessh smale. Make a lyour of crustes of brede & of ðe blode of ðe swan ysoden, & do ðerto powdour of gynger, of clowes, & of piper, & a litul wyne & salt, & see ð it, & cast ðe flessh ðerto iheweed; & messe it forth with ðe swan irostede. – Hieatt, Constance B. & Butler, Sharon (eds.)  (1985), p. 131. tasty recipe for swan offal and liver. swan pie from the food history blog.
  • Google books also has some interestingpies.
  • Finally a cheesy Christmas swan song from youtube – Gooseneck hill waterfowl sanctuary.

8. Eight maids a-milking,

9. Ladies Dancing

10. Lords a leaping

11. Pipers Piping.

12. Drums drumming.