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.

Health Librarianship

In terms of Social Sciences, Health Librarians or Information Professionals may work in the following fields…

For more information, why not check out the following organisations: University Health and Medical Librarians Group, NHS Health Libraries Group, CILIP Health Libraries Group, Association of Mental Health Librarians.

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

  • Sue Jardine, Information Specialist, How SCIE supports the information needs of health and social care professionals
  • Jo Wood, Cafcass –Build it and they will come: developing an in-house service for practitioners.
  • Margaret Anderson, Trials Search Coordinator, Searching systematically: supporting authors of Cochrane reviews.


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

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

  • Legal Deposit in a Digital Age: an overview- Andrew Davis
    Legal Deposit Publisher Relations Manager, The British Library
  • Building a Collection of the Historical UK Web for scholarly use Helen Hockx-Yu
    Head of Web Archiving, The British Library
  • The Digital Documents Harvesting and Processing Tool (Document Harvester)- Jennie Grimshaw, Lead Curator, Social Policy & Official Publications, The British Library
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.

 Recommended Information/ literacy skills tutorials

 East Midlands Research Support Group
Online tutorial designed for early career researchers. Focuses on disseminating research. The units include: journals and journal articles; journal bibliometrics, author bibliometrics; networking. The partners in developing the module were the universities of Loughborough, Nottingham, De Montfort, and Coventry.

University of East London UEL Info skills modules
Award winning site - covers identifying information, finding, evaluating and referencing. good videos featuring students.

 University of Sydney, Australia This has an excellent iResearch tool page which contains fun interactive modules with quizzes and activities that can be played by students online. Alternatively print off the modules. These give the learning objectives plus the information. There is some emphasis upon locating  specifically Australian information. However, there are some good general topics which include: scholarly versus non-scholarly resources, avoiding plagiarism and an entertaining find that cheese game which teaches students to find items on their reading list!

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 Digital and Information Literacy Framework. It identifies five skill areas: Understand and engage in digital practices; Find information; Critically evaluate information, online interactions and online tools; Manage and communicate information; and Collaborate and share digital content. It also looks at these skills across 5 levels of study (0, 1, 2, 3 and Masters). There is a companion website with short activities to address the various skills: Being Digital  This includes a self-assessment checklist

Safari is intended for beginners. It is divided into seven sections, each covering a particular aspect of information skills: Understanding information (helps the user identify different types and what they might need for study); Unpacking information (understanding where information comes from, who disseminates it and different types); Planning a search ; Searching (searching on the web, techniques such as phrase searching) Evaluating research results; Organising information (social bookmarking, compiling bibliographies); Where do I go from here (publishing and disseminating , keeping up to date

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

SMILE is an information literacy and employability skills training package. Developed by Glasgow Caledonian University; Marion Kelt; Imperial College; Loughborough University; Worcester University. It is made up of HTML pages and multimedia content. It is offered free as a zip file via the depository Jorum for downloading and editing to suit local use.  It is generic so can be used to support all subjects. Topics covered include: organising time, finding information, evaluating information and plagiarism.

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.

Guide to Undergraduate Dissertations in the social Sciences
This site was developed in 2005 by the Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics (C-SAP), the Centre for Social Work and Policy (SWAP), and the Learning and Teaching Institute (LTI) at Sheffield Hallam University and updated subsequently. Offers learners general advice on questions relating to exploring what the demands of a dissertation are including ethics, academic writing styles and methodologies.

Copyright Toolkit
Developed by Eduserve it provides practical, pragmatic advice, within an understanding of the legal framework, on how to license copyright works, who to approach, how best to approach them and how to negotiate the best deal. Includes online exercise which teach the legal background to copyright and the structure of the Rights clearance process.

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.

CoPILOT (Community of Practice for Information Literacy Online Teaching) Project - working to establish an international community of practice of librarians sharing their information literacy teaching resources openly.

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.