Hey, what do you know? Another poor football analogy! Sarah Glassmeyer had an excellent post about the rock and hard place many law librarians find themselves in. They don’t necessarily like the Wexis hegemony, but they can’t afford not to pay into it. There are groups working on making free alternatives, but they’re not ready for prime time. It’s a sticky wicket. (Did I mention I’ve recently taken to watching cricket?)
The situation the legal information community faces reminds me of the quagmire we have in transportation. Lots of stuff should be accessible, but it’s not. Instead of major vendors like Wexis, we have government agencies and quasi-government groups who aren’t cooperating. It’s frustrating to be sure. One of the major impediments, as I see it, are the players. Everybody wants to tell everybody else what they should be doing differently, but not really helping with the execution. “We need a coordinated research agenda. You need to report all of this to a central repository.” Are you going to fund it? Who’s going to manage it? You can only get so far with free time and good will.
The real obstacle is lack of coordination and competing agendas. This is not unique to law or transportation or even libraries. We all know where we want to go, where we should all end up, but how we get there is a different matter. Who’s in the driver’s seat and who’s responsible for the execution? Nobody. I mean everybody. And that’s the problem. Too often groups that should be complimenting each other are really competing for time and resources and bragging rights. Knock it off!
This is my new tack within the transportation community. I don’t have the time, energy, the political capital, or ego to fight tooth and nail for my way. Instead, I will give my opinion and suggestions, but I know I have to support things I might not agree with 100%. It’s about progress for all, not just my personal agenda. Yeah, I end up being a spokesperson for some things I’m not totally in agreement with, but I do think the overall direction is good. I have no time for people with ultimatums. It’s really part of the shut up or pitch in ethos, which I’m really sticking to this year.
So what’s this have to do with football? Fernando Torres. He’s had the good fortune of being involved with two of the biggest anti-team clubs in the Premiership – Liverpool and Chelsea. Both teams have lots of supposedly great players that cost a lot of money. They have money. They have talent. The problem is, they have too much good stuff and they don’t really work as teams. Not consistently at least. I don’t care if you’ve got the best and brightest people, until you start passing together and playing as a group you’re going to just spin your wheels and suck. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to burn like a lot of the Premiership clubs.