Keep Tabs Without RSS Using Google Reader

Since I’ll be discussing External Knowledge Management: Using Internet Resources to Your Advantage at LegalTech next week (see my post about it), I thought I’d share a new Google tool that can help.

Google Reader is not new, but Google just announced a new feature that allows you to follow changes to any website — even those that do not offer RSS feeds.

It’s simple: find the website you’d like to track, copy the URL into the “Add a subscription” field in Google Reader, then click “create a feed.”  I did it for my firm’s website’s articles page:

google-reader-create-feed1

According to Google: “Reader will periodically visit the page and publish any significant changes it finds as items in a custom feed created just for that page.”

Obviously, this is a great tool for keeping up with clients’ websites that don’t offer RSS feeds.  But even if a website has RSS feeds, you may want to set up the Google Reader tracker for parts of websites that the RSS feeds do not cover.  For example, if a company has a web page listing employees, it might not publish changes to that page with an RSS feed.  You can keep tabs on who joins or leaves the company by using this new Google Reader feature.

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

Web 2.0: Driving Innovation in the Law Firm Library

dc_speaking Steven Lastres, Don MacLeod, and I will be speaking at 9 a.m. on Tuesaday, July 28, 2009 at the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

Here is some information on the program from AALL:

Target Audience: Law firm librarians who need to understand how new web technologies can foster collaboration and deliver library services.

Learning Outcomes:

1) Participants will be able to assess the benefits and pitfalls of emerging Web 2.0 technologies from three perspectives: library management, knowledge management and lawyer training.

2) Participants will be able to build a convincing business case for Web 2.0 technologies to firm management and other decision-makers.

The presentation begins with an overview of the benefits of Web 2.0 as part of an overall Knowledge Management strategy. The program will explain what the benefits are to lawyers and clients, how to calculate ROI and demonstrate why law librarians should lead the process.

After a discussion of the underlying theory driving the adoption of Web 2.0 technology, the nuts and bolts of building and deploying Web 2.0 technologies will be reviewed, including showing which technologies pay off the best (comparison of tools) and how to get buy-in from management and adoption by end users. Part of this program will look at how to integrate new technologies with existing infrastructure.

The third perspective of Web 2.0 concerns teaching lawyers how to work in a knowledge-sharing environment. This part of the program will provide guidance on how to set up a training program in the law library to help lawyers master the tools they need for sharing information in their daily practice. The program addresses how librarians can encourage lawyers to rely on them for expertise in identifying and using the right resources.

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

Visual Search Engine >> Searchme.com | Knowledge Management

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):
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZSpjXEvy1I&hl=en]

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

Google Universal Search (What about Vivisimo?)

Google announced yesterday a refinement to its search capabilities.  They are calling it universal search.  Google search guru*, Marissa Mayer, says, “With universal search, we’re attempting to break down the walls that traditionally separated our various search properties and integrate the vast amounts of information available into one simple set of search results.” 

Essentially, a single Google search returns results that are somewhat clustered by various categories, like Web, News, Images, Video, etc.  Links appear above the search results.  Clicking a link will display the type of result indicated by the link.  Marissa gives a few examples in her blog post.  A search for “Steve Jobs” defaults to web results, but offers “News” and “Video” links to — you guessed it — news and videos about the man. 

Another new feature is contextual navigation.  At the very top of the various Google “products” there is a horizontal menu that changes based on which product you are using.  So if you are using Gmail, the menu includes Calendar, Documents, Photos, Groups, Web, and the catch-all “more.”  This is the best part — the “more” menu item is a drop down list of just about all of the Google products, so you can quickly switch to these various products without having to remember the URL or go back to the Google homepage and selecting from the list. 

These are interesting and valuable refinements to Google’s search and products, but are they revolutionary?  Not really.  In fact, there is a search engine, Vivisimo (see also, Clusty), that already does much of what Google’s universal search does.  And maybe better.  The clustering is based, apparently, on key words and categories that are dependent on the search term.  So, a seach for “Steve Jobs” offers more valuable groupings, like CEO, Photos, Mac, Keynote, Interview, etc.  See below. 

Vivissimo

Which is better.  You decide.  They both have their strong points.  And Google is not resting on it’s triple-digit share price.  It will continue to refine and improve.  As Ms. Mayer says, “While today’s releases are big steps in making the world’s information more easily accessible, these are just the beginning steps toward the universal search vision. Stay tuned!”

 * Marissa’s real title is VP Search Products & User Experience

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management for Lawyers

Out of Sight, Out of Knowledge – Will Google Help?

Is knowledge management about technology or people? Sometimes its about people using technology well. I don’t know exactly how much KM (or other business) efforts are compromised when key people are in remote locations, but I think that most would agree that it can be significant. [If you are aware of any please link to studies or statistics in the comments] “Out of sight, out of mind” can often turn into “Out of sight, out of knowledge.”

Google is taking a step to solve this problem with its “Collaboration with Marratech.” And by “collaboration with” we mean “acquisition of” Marratech’s software. Marratech, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, is a maker of videoconferencing software. Google hopes that this effort will “enable from-the-desktop participation for Googlers in videoconference meetings wherever there’s an Internet connection.” Easy desktop videoconferencing isn’t so easy, unless of course, you use an Apple Mac with iChat. And you’re a lawyer, so chances are slim.

If Google does it right, this collaboration with Marratech will result in some slick videoconferencing web application [called “Google Conferences”?] and will integrate with all of their other wonderful (and cheap, if not free) applications. Maybe even the forthcoming Google Presentations a.k.a. “PowerPoint Killer.” And as Google CEO Eric Schmidt has no doubt learned from Steve Jobs by virtue of sitting on Apple, Inc.’s Board of Directors, integration of applications is what will really wow the users.

So even if you can’t get that ultra-experienced employee into the room to unload her high-value intellectual capital into the minds of some sponge-like knowledge workers for a session of tacit knowledge trading, at least you may soon be able to get her face on a computer monitor in real time. Maybe that will get people to drop their BlackBerry devices and pay attention.

Use Citebite to highlight part of a web page

Here is a handy web tool that you can use when you need to direct someone to a particular part of a web page. It is called Citebite.

Here’s how it works: (1) Go to www.citebite.com. (2) Open a second web browser (or tab in Firefox)and navigate to the web page that has the content you want. (3) Copy and paste the URL of that second web page into the “Source URL” field at Citebite. (4) Copy and paste the content from the web page that you want to highlight into the “Quote” field at Citebite. (5) Click the “Make Citebite” button.

In about 20-30 seconds, Citebite will make a Citebite link (a special URL) and will provide a preview of the web page with the text highlighted in yellow. You can copy and paste the Citebite link in an email and send it off. When the recipient clicks on the link, it opens the web page and goes right to the highlighted text. Slick.