Ruth Bird's career started in secondary school teaching before undertaking postgraduate studies in Librarianship, and working for several years as a teacher librarian.
In 1988 she moved into law libraries as the Manager of Information Services at Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks, a leading Australian law firm. In 1994 she became their Practice Development Manager, responsible for marketing services in the firm, which is now part of Allens Arthur Robinson.
In 1993, as the National Convener of the Australian Law Librarians Group, she worked with colleagues in all state divisions to improve professional development for Australian law librarians.
In 1996 she moved to academia, joining the University of Melbourne Library, and Law Faculty, as the Law Librarian. During this time she worked closely with the Faculty in the planning of the Legal Resource Centre in the new Law School Building.
In 2000 she became the Firm Legal Information Manager, responsible for precedents and libraries across all the offices of Australian law firm Phillips Fox.
In 2004 Ruth (with her husband, Ian), relocated to Oxford, where she became the Bodleian Law Librarian at the University of Oxford. There have been numerous projects undertaken in the law library, including a reclassification of the text collection, the creation of a new reading room for graduates, and an increased concentration on research courses for postgraduate students.
Ruth was a member of the Council of BIALL (British and Irish Association of Law Librarians) 2008 - 2011, chaired its Information Literacy Working Group, and co-chairs the Academic Librarians Section. She is a member of the Editorial Board of Legal Information Management. She has been a Board member, and is currently First Vice President of the International Association of Law Libraries. 
In 2008 and again in 2012 she undertook academic exchanges at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and Private International Law in Hamburg, researching, inter alia, the role of print materials in libraries in a digital age. In 2010 she researched legal information literacy during an academic exchange at the University of Melbourne Law School.

In 2010, Ruth was made an Honorary Bencher at Middle Temple.


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  • R Bird and Natasha Choolhun, 'Are you (digitally) competent?' (2015) Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
    The Solicitors Regulation Authority is undergoing a programme of education and training reform, “Training for Tomorrow”, following the Legal and Education Training Review (LETR). As part of the reforms the SRA are developing a competence statement for solicitors to inform consumers, assist legal education providers in developing courses and allow solicitors to reflect on their own professional development throughout the course of their careers.
  • R Bird, 'Trajectories: this Bird's Flight Path on the Good Ship 'Librarianship'' (2015) Australian Law Librarian 148
  • R Bird, Prof. Penny Hazelton and Kyle Brown, 'CTC and International Research and Information Systems' (2014) Cape Town Convention Journal Hart 69
    DOI: 10.5235/204976114814222412
    There is a long history of creating digital libraries of legal materials in general and of international legal materials in particular. This article highlights the history of several noteworthy examples of earlier digital libraries. It then describes the creation of the Cape Town Convention Academic Project digital library. Finally, the article applies lessons learned from the histories of the earlier libraries to analyse issues the Cape Town Convention library may face in the future.
  • R Bird, 'Free European Sources' (2014) Internet Newsletter for Lawyers 11
    Reviews the new version of Eur-Lex, which offers a set of legislative and case law resources that are core for many lawyers in the EU and beyond.
  • R Bird, 'How LawSauce came to be' (2013) Internet Newsletter for Lawyers 9
    The reasons for developing an app, the work involved, and the legal resources included are outlined in this article on the creation of Lawsauce
    ISBN: 2046-9284
  • R Bird, 'Trends in legal education and the legal profession: comparative perspectives' (2013) 13 Legal Information Management 162
    DOI: 10.1017/S1472669613000406
    Legal education in each jurisdiction varies in the requirements of lawyers. It uses tables to outline requirements for local and foreign law graduates to study law, and the bodies which regulate legal education. Covers Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Nthern Ireland,New Zealand and US.
    ISBN: 1472-6696
  • R Bird, 'From Oxford to Williamsburg: Part 1 - the University of Oxford, Faculty of Law and Bodleian Law Library' (2012) 12 Legal Information Management 284
    The Bodleian Law Library has only existed as an entity in its own right for less than 50 years.This paper offers a brief history of the University of Oxford, and then looks at the history of law teaching, before moving on to the evolution of the law library itself, and some links with the US, and its oldest law school, the College of William and Mary.
    ISBN: 1472-6696
  • R Bird, History of the Bodleian Law Library, paper presented at
    Presentation at BIALL Conference, together with James Heller, Professor and Director, Law Library, William and Mary , entitled From Oxford to Williamsburg: the evolution of legal education and law libraries across the pond.
  • R Bird, 'Legal Information Literacy' in Richard Danner & Jules Winteron (ed), IALL International Handbook of Legal Information Management (Ashgate 2011)
  • R Bird, A measured approach. Knowledge Management and Return on Investment, paper presented at Knowledge Management in Law Firms Symposium, Sydney, 8 Sept, 2003
  • R Bird, Knowledge management in theory and practice, paper presented at Australian Legal Aid Managers Annual Conference, Melbourne June 2003
  • R Bird, 'Information management step by step - a law firm case study ' (2002) 2 Professional review
  • R Bird, 'Legal Research and the Legal System in Australia' (2000) 28 International Journal of Legal Information
    paper originally presented at American Association of Law Libraries Conference, Washington DC, July 1999
  • R Bird, 'Planning a Legal Resource Centre for the 21st century" ' (2000) 2 Australian Law Librarian
  • R Bird, Asian Legal Research on the Internet, paper presented at International Association of Law Libraries Annual Course, Melbourne, September  16, 1999
  • R Bird, 'Conference Report - JSI, BIALL, IALL' (1998) 4 Australian Law Librarian
  • R Bird, 'Report of the Law Library Moys Reclassification Project' (1997) 48 Ex Libris (University of Melbourne Library Magazine)
  • R Bird, 'The Law Library' (1997) 3 University of Melbourne Library Journal
  • R Bird, Breadth and Depth of Librarianship - Returning to the Fold, paper presented at Inaugural Law Librarians Symposium, Melbourne, October 4, 1996
    in Australian Law Librarian, December 1996
  • R Bird, 'Strategic Planning in Law Libraries' in Helen Hayes and Angela Bridgland (eds), Charting the Future (1996)
  • R Bird, 'Australian Law Libraries' (1995) The Law Librarian
  • R Bird, Targeting the Promotional Strategy, paper presented at 6th Asian Pacific Specials and Law Librarians Conference
  • R Bird, 'Creating and using databases' in (ed), Creating Our Future - Proceedings of the 5th Asian Pacific Specials and Law Librarians Conference (1993)
  • R Bird, 'Survey of Australian law libraries' computer use in 1992' (1992) ALLG Newsletter
  • R Bird, 'Working within a structure: library databases alongside general computer applications...' (1992) Australian Library Journal
  • R Bird, 'Beyond the computer catalogue: database applications in a law library' in (ed), Achieving  Excellence - Proceedings of the 4th Asian Pacific Special and Law Librarians Conference (1991)
  • R Bird, 'Evaluation, selection and implementation of computer systems' in (ed), Achieving  Excellence - Proceedings of the 4th Asian Pacific Special and Law Librarians Conference (1991)
  • R Bird, 'Getting acquainted with the Indonesian legal system' (1991) ALLG Newsletter
  • R Bird, 'Should online go offline' (1991) ALLG Newsletter


Research programmes

Research Interests

Legal Information Literacy; Legal Research; Knowledge Management; Academic Libraries

Research projects