LegalTech New York and The Sixth Annual Law Firm Chief Information & Technology Officers Forum are right around the corner – coming up February 1 -3, 2010.  I’m looking forward to participating on a couple of panels:

First: External Knowledge Management: Using Internet Resources to Your Advantage, at LegalTech on Monday, February 1 at 4:15 p.m.   I am joining David Hobbie, Litigation Knowledge Management Attorney at Goodwin Procter LLP (and author of the Caselines blog), and Tom Baldwin, Chief Knowledge Officer at Reed Smith, LLP.   Rob Saccone, Vice President, General Manager, XMLAW at Thomson Reuters is moderating.

Here’s the outline:

  • Explore free and paid-for services and content sources becoming available for firms to support their knowledge management, marketing and practice needs
  • Using search sites and social networks for legal research, competitive intelligence and current awareness about clients and partners
  • Find information that is out there about your firm
  • Going beyond Google
  • Best practices for understanding the messages the marketplace is sharing about you and your firm and how to manage the data

Next: Enterprise Search: How to Mitigate Risk and Drive Productivity, at the CIO – CTO Forum on Wednesday, February 3, at 11:00 a.m.  I am joining Ali Shahidi, Director of Knowledge Management at Bingham McCutchen LLP and Bill Puncer, Search Advantage Evangelist at LexisNexis.

Description from the program: Law firms are increasingly inundated with information.  Join us for a lively presentation on managing that information—making it searchable; actionable and enhancing its value within the enterprise, thus managing your risk exposure and driving productivity.  Discover how an enterprise search platform can power a range of flexible tools your firm can use to integrate, enrich and manage both internal and external information, reducing the risk of making costly mistakes and increasing productivity within the enterprise.

Also of interest is The Business of Law Symposium, Charting a Successful Course in Today’s Brave New World, sponsored by LexisNexis at LegalTech on Monday, February 1, from 1:00 p.m. to  5:00 p.m.  This promises to be very interesting, starting with a Keynote by Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith, Esq. There are three other sessions: Knowledge Management; New Structures for the New World; and Future Strategies.  Other notable speakers include: Ali Shahidi (see above) and Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer at White & Case, and too many others to list.  The program is eligible for up to 4 CLE credits.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

aardvarkThere’s an impressive new website called Aardvark that helps you answer the question: “Does anybody know…?”  by tapping your online networks.  This is not a search engine.  The results are not a list of websites that may or may not get you the answers you need.  The results are from real people in real time.

So, how does it work?  Sign up at the Aardvark site [click here].  It requires that you have a Facebook [my page] account (other networks will be integrated in the future).  From the Aardvark site you can ask a question by simply typing your query into the box.  If you add your instant messaging (like Google Talk, AIM or Windows Live Messenger) and or email account information, you can ask questions via IM and email, too.  According to the site, “Aardvark first looks for a friend or friend-of-friend who can answer your question. If there are only a few people in your network, Aardvark will send your question to your very extended network (friends-of-friends-of-friends-of…) to make sure that you get an answer.”

So, how well does it work?  My first question was: “What’s the best Italian restaurant in midtown Manhattan?”  Within moments, I received an answer from Sara: “Becco is really great, on 46th between 8th and 9th(?). possibly 9th and 10th. it’s a little pricy but if you want to eat in midtown that’s the norm.”  Not bad.

Then I asked, “Where is the best place to see the 2009 Macy’s 4th of July fireworks display in NYC?”  I happen to know that, this year, the barges from which the fireworks are launched will be along the Hudson River (not the East River, as in years past) and according to Macy’s, the best place to view the show is on the west side: 12th Avenue below 59th Street, so this was a bit of a test.   The first answer came from Ling: “bring a chair to sit on the FDR, or watch it from someone’s rooftop.”  That would have been good advice last year, but the FDR is on the east side of Manhattan.  The second answer came from Josh: “Battery Park is a good place, also top of the Empire State Building.”  Again, Battery Park — at the southern tip of Manhattan, was good viewing for last year’s show, but this year?  Not so much.

So, is Aardvark a failure?  Time will tell as the site matures, but so far, I don’t think so.  The site and integration with Facebook, email, and IM is great.   So, mechanically, it works – I can ask questions and get answers very quickly and efficiently.  The quality of the answers is another matter.  It seems that Aardvark may be better at getting opinion answers (best Italian restaurant?) than facts (where can I see the fireworks?).  Besides, there are some questions that are best left to Google (I could have–and did–easily found the relevant information about the prime fireworks viewing with a quick web search).

The thing that sets Aardvark apart from Internet search engines is the human touch.  Sometimes, that is a good thing, and sometimes, well, it’s not.  Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to asking and answering questions on this interesting new website. And I’m looking forward to exploring how this sort of approach can advance KM efforts. So, in the spirit of the human touch, please let me know what you think of Aardvark (feel free to sign up with this link: http://vark.com/s/hUnq) and leave a comment below.

Photo: Tut99 on Flickr

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

Last October, I wrote about AfterVote – a “social search engine.” AfterVote has been re-branded as “Scour.” It is a “meta” search engine, meaning that it simultaneously searches the three major search engines: Google, Yahoo, and MSN. It still has Web 2.0 features like commenting and voting, and allows sorting results by search engine ranking.

Scour has apparently eliminated the ability to sort by “Diggs,” the voting unit of measure for stories submitted to Digg.com (see “Can You Digg It” for more on Digg.com). Also apparently gone is the setting page, which allows the user to set the weight of search results from the three major search engines. In exchange for losing those features, you gain a reward system. Registered Scour users can earn points for searching. They also earn points for searches performed by people they refer to Scour. Seems a little pyramid scheme-ish. Points are translated in to “cash” in the form of a Visa gift card. There is a handy calculator for projecting the amount of cash you can earn based on the number of searches and referrals.

This is interesting, I guess, but I am more intrigued by the visual search engine, called Searchme, which I wrote about here.

Robert Ambrogi has written more extensively about Search me, including the new “stacks” feature. Check that out here.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

While researching for a blog post, I came across SearchMe.com (still in beta), which is a pretty cool twist on web search engines. It’s a visual search engine.

From the Searchme web site: “Searchme lets you see what you’re searching for. As you start typing, categories appear that relate to your query. Choose a category, and you’ll see pictures of web pages that answer your search. You can review these pages quickly to find just the information you’re looking for, before you click through.”

Check out this video to get the idea (if you are a Mac or iTunes user, you’ll notice that Searchme resembles Coverflow in iTunes and Finder):

This “coverflow” type of visualization would be fantastic in the enterprise. Speed is the key here. Imagine if you could “flip” through documents in a search result from your DMS the way you can flip through documents in a file. Coverflow is one of the best new features in the new Mac OS X Leopard and it really helps you find documents quickly. Interwoven and Open Text should look into this. 

Update: I hadn’t notice before, but Robert Ambrogi wrote about Searchme in his blog last weekCheck it out here.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

Since everyone seems to be so interested in innovation at Google, here is a YouTube video that I found entitled (you guessed it) “Innovation at Google.” It’s a presentation by Google CIO Douglas Merrill.

Enjoy.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

Google’s Universal Search for Law Firms & Interwoven  

Presentation on March 12, 2008, Vijay Koduri, Marketing Manager, Google Enterprise and Gautam Malkamekar of Persistent Systems. 

My notes from the presentation:

  • Google Enterprise overview:
    • “mission organize the world’s information…”
    • enterprise information (i.e. info behind the firewall) is 40% world’s information.
  • 600 Google employees dedicated to G Enterprise.
  • 15,000 customers.
  • Google Apps – the suite of apps (now also including Google Sites [see my gripe about Sites here]).
  • 2000 new Apps customers every day!
  • “Search is the starting point to the world’s information.”
  • Knowledge workers (“KWs”) spend 25% of time looking for information.
  • KWs search about 5 repositories looking for information.
  • Expertise location is important 
  • Impact on business is loss of productivity, not optimizing billable hours.
  • What is Universal Search?
    • one search searches multiple repositories
    • the results are delivered without categorizing
    • the results are ranked by relevancy
    • an example of Universal search is Google’s Moma internal knowledge base
  • Universal search allows client access via extranets (security is observed to only give access to allowed material).
  • ROI: increase of billable hours – eliminate some time searching so that billers can spend some of that time doing billable activities (time is money).
  • The Google Search Appliance (GSA) searches pretty much all repositories in the enterprise (file shares, intranets, databases, enterprise apps, content management).
  • “OneBox” – Can make real time queries into various apps (ex. see a snapshot of a regional sales report in the search results – not just a link to the report).
  •  Case Study: Akin Gump (not many details).
    • deployed GSA
    • used it to search intranet pages

Second part of webinar - Persistent Systems & Live demo 

The info here is spare because there were some technical problems)

How Universal Search is “extended” to interwoven

  • Persistent Systems overview
  • Connector Deployment – there is Persistent Systems connector between the Interwoven databases and the GSA (fed via XML)
  • Quick – easy install, simple configuration. 

Live demo of Connector

  • an apparently simple “walk through” set up – it took 5 minutes. 
  • A Google browser is used, allowing to search just public content or public & secure content. 
  • only content to which the user has access appears – demonstrated this feature by signing in as different users with different access credentials. 
  • demonstrated Google OneBox – shows relevant real time information in the search results.
  • They can also connect into other DMS products, like Hummingbird

Q&A:

  • The GSA is a closed box and Google does not share the info with anyone outside of the enterprise
  • GSA can search MS Exchange databases, too.
  • It can search across multiple Worksite servers in different geographical locations.
  • Security is checked
  • The search must originate from the web page, but can be embedded in FileSite, with some custom work.
  • Pricing: based on number of documents in organization.  Starting $30,000 (for two-year license, hardware, software, support) for 500,000 documents.  Can index up to 30 million documents with stacked GSAs.
  • There is a small business version of product “Google Mini” 50,000 documents – $3,000.
  • Application can search Word Perfect, as well as Word and many, many other file types.
  • Information can be compartmentalized so that only certain people can see it.
  • Works with single sign on mechanisms. 
  • OneBox works by doing a real-time query. 
  • Google does not keep your search statistics, but you can keep track of your own search statistics within the enterprise with Google Analytics. 
  • They skipped my question: how many Am Law 100 firms have deployed GSA and how many have deployed the Persistent Systems connector?

Webinar is archived here.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

This was a fantastic webinar from KMWorld and Google:

Innovation @ Google: A Day In The Life

On March 11, 2008, Naveen Viswanatha, Sales Engineer at Google Enterprise gave a really great presentation. 

My notes from the presentation: 

  • Broad background of Google and Google Enterprise, touting customer base, etc.
  • Internet Evolution – from information to distribution & communitaction to network & platform.
  • Chronology of how Google evolved with the internet – timeline with their many online products.
  • “Innovation is at the core of Google’s competiveness.” 
  • 70-20-10 Rule – i.e. Google splits its business focus: 70% focus on core business (Search, Ads, Apps); 20% on things with strong potential (blogger, Picassa, News, Pack); 10% Wild and Crazy (offline adds, wifi, transit).   
  • How Google hires people – the hiring process is “painfull.” (See Fast Company article: “Our hiring process is legendary”
  • Google has a relatively flat management structure. 
  • Internal tool called “Snippets” (a nag email: what did you work on last week? – what are you working on this week?) – so you can track your work.  AND it is a knowledge-base tool because everyone else can search all other snippets and get information on what they may be working on. 
  • Google Ideas database – post and review ideas within Google – people can comment on and vet out the ideas.  The ideas might turn into an actual project.  [plus, it records the things that are Google's intellectual property] – it uses the “wisdom of the crowds” philosophy.
  • Innovation is a collaborative process at Google -  ”Innovation = Discovery + Collaboration (+ Fun)” 
  • First day at Google is “like drinking from a firehose”
  • Any questions – go to “Moma” – Google’s internal knowledge base - search of their key knowledge areas. 
  • Can look for experts within the company – Google expert search within Moma - lots of an individual’s information is searchable (including resumes, which they encourage people to keep up to date).   
  • Search results within Moma – you can take notes in the search results (of the things that you are searching) – uses Google Docs [I used Google Docs to take notes for this blog post] – and you can publish the notes — it publishes it out to the people you want (they use gMail, chat, Goolge Calendar – can overlay colleague’s calendars on top of your own so that you can schedule meetings, etc.). 
  • Regarding the notes – others can make changes to your notes (which you created in Google Docs) in real time – you can see the changes on your screen. 
  • It’s all about the “…ability to find and leverage collective wisdom of the organization…” 
  • How are experts are established?  Expert databases are hard to keep upto date.  So they leverage the things that people do already: resumes, blogs, wikis, Snippets, Moma, etc.
  • Are these tools avaiable to the public?  Yes and no.  Search is the key enabler to tap into the repositories that are already in use at your organization (touting Google Search Appliance). 

The event is archived: here  

I really encourage people to check this out.  Especially those who are new to KM.  This presentation gave a glimpse into Google as a company and it shows off some great ways that any organization can approach KM. 

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

Reminder: Webinar “Google Search for Law Firms & Interwoven” tomorrow (March 12, 2008).   

See our write up here.

Register here

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

Updated – Registration link added below.

I’ve written (and read quite a bit) about Interwoven Universal Search before, but the more I see, the more I like.  I was impressed with Interwoven’s DeskSite and FileSite products (it looks like they are collectively calling the product WorkSite now?), when I deployed them at my former firm.  I like the matter-centric environment.  But from what I can see, the killer feature is the collaboration with Vivisimo.   To see what it’s all about, check out this self-running demo.  It’s really well done. 

Not to be out done, however, Google Enterprise recently launched universal search for business, and will be putting on a show to demonstrate its Interwoven connector.  There are several shows, but there is one specially for law firms.  I’m looking forward to learning more about this – the demo is on March 12.   Register here.

In fact, Google is doing some very interesting things that might be of value to law firms, like the related web results feature.  I also like the the left (or right) hand search navigation, which is part of Google Experimental Labs project.  Check out a sample search here, and see how the results areclustered on the left (sort of like Vivisimo’s).  The “suggest” feature is not really new–it’s built into the Google search on my Firefox browser–but I like it too.  Try it out here (start typing in a search term). 

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

On February 12, 2008, KMWorld and Vivisimo presented a webcast called Making and Airtight Business Case for Enterprise Search.  The speakers were Jim Murphy of AMR Research and Rebecca Thompson of Vivisimo. 

Murphy discussed: redefining enterprise search, business case challenges, aligning enterprise search with business priorities, and choosing the best approach.  

Not just search, but NSR (navigation, search, and retrieval): Focusing not only on search, Murphy discussed the importance of navigation and how it is used hand in hand with search.  He also cited the importance of the ability of systems to crawl various sources of information and extract it. 

From a business case perspective, both process efficiency and customer loyalty / satisfaction were important to the respondents of his research.  The important business issues within the enterprise were customer service and support, and worker productivity. 

Thompson, of Vivisimo, discussed some case studies in the manufacturing and pharmacuetical industries and for government. 

She focused on increasing employee efficiency through search, enabling collaboration among workers, and giving employees access to the information they need (but don’t necessarily realize that they need). 

Thompson described how Vivisimo’s system can search across all types of data sources, like document management systems, portals (including SharePoint), image documents, file shares and servers, intranets and internet sites.  One of the case studies saw an daily increase in searches from 15 to 2,000.  

There was nice screenshot that showed Vivisimo’s signature clustered results, and a tabbed result list, which gives the user the option to display all results, or grouped results (by people, intranet, internet, the DMS, SharePoint, and the network). 

Finally, there was a discussion of the www.USA.gov website, which is powered by Vivisimo.  The site has noted a decrease in citizen support phone calls. 

The demo will be archived at KMWorld for 90 days.  Check it out here

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