Twenty years ago, most of the users at the University of Oslo’s Faculty of Law Library (UOFLL) were what we would call “Norwegians from Norway”. They came to the library to find Norwegian domestic law to address issues of purely domestic concern. In recent years, bilateral, regional and global agreements have increasingly become an integral part of our domestic legal system.
UOFLL users have become more mobile and hi-tech. They are studying and working abroad, establishing relationships with people from other countries, acquiring foreign properties, to name just a few activities that stress the international in their work.
Our universities have an increasing number of distant students, international students and visiting researchers. Our users are more involved in regional and international education and research programs. Interdisciplinary projects are becoming more common. This means that we need to be able to assist a more diverse group of users in finding not only domestic law, but also foreign law and international agreements pertaining to all aspects of both private and public law. We also need knowledge of non-law resources to support interdisciplinary approaches.
With the searching tools that were available in the past, we could not find as much as we can today; but what we did find, we were usually able to access. We dealt mostly with print materials; circulation and photocopying took place according to quite clearly established rules. Today we can find a wealth of sources, increasingly in digital form, but cannot always get access. What's more: rules for document delivery are unclear and inconsistent.
Globalization has given law libraries not only challenges, but also opportunities. Let us grasp these opportunities to broaden our scope and provide our users with the best possible service.
"The Impact of Globalization on Law Libraries,"
International Journal of Legal Information:
3, Article 8.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/ijli/vol33/iss3/8