My latest list of must-read blog postings by and for info pros, comes to you by way of a special Ide(a)s of March dispatch!  Et tu, librarians?  You can catch my latest, while watching your backs, here.

Welcome to 2018! If you are like me, you are eager to see what opportunities this new year has to offer. In keeping with my passion for news, I am once again going to be curating lists of stories designed to prepare us all for what may lie ahead. The first series of “must-reads” is already available.  Give it a look and let’s tackle 2018 together!

As we end the year, legal and tech blogs alike are buzzing with talk of innovation, disruption, and change. Over the last 11 months, we have seen a great deal of evolution in our industry. From the tools we use to the way we approach our jobs, the focus has undoubtedly been on greater efficiency for us and even greater value-for-money to our clients.

The hot news cycle currently is looking both backward at 2017 in review and with great anticipation to what 2018 portends to offer. My own feeling is that the new year is only going to magnify what we saw in this one. The number of big players in the legal technology market has grown as has the velocity with which newer entrants are bringing their ideas to the market. The competition is clearly on. But what will distinguish the so-called winners from the rest of the contenders? I believe efficiency is again going to be the key.

I had the pleasure of working with the folks at PacerPro this year to explore the power and direction of their SaaS model for managing and monitoring federal litigation. To merely  say that efficiency is the core on which their flagship product is constructed would do it a slight disservice.  There is much more to the platform and its potential than that. What resulted from my investigation is a white paper that details what PacerPro brings to the table and what it can do for law firms of all sizes.

I invite you to check out that white paper here and to share your thoughts in the comments below.

LexisNexis has acquired Ravel Law and I’ve been seeing it discussed from every angle in both the general business press as well as my favorite sources for library and legal news. Ravel Law’s data algorithms, predictive analytics and data visualization for case law supported by Lexis’ financial resources and market clout could make for a powerful combination. Continue Reading Legal researchers on LexisNexis – Ravel Law merger

I was recently honored to have been featured in the newsletter of the Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL).  I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the overall future of our profession and the fear that seems to have gripped many within it.  Times are changing, no doubt.  But be that as it may, I am as optimistic about law librarianship today as I was on the day I landed my first firm gig.  Yes, there are some really big challenges ahead.  But they are opportunity-laden.  The highest hurdle is simply seeing the possibilities.   Continue Reading The “box” is dead . . .

Access to the most current and reliable information is a prerequisite to sound decision-making and innovative thinking.

Yet too many knowledge workers are tasked with finding information on their own, on the open internet, and increasingly that includes workers who often are not experienced or trained in doing information research and content discovery.

We all know that content uncovered by popular search engines like Google or Bing is often neither the most current, nor reliable. The “surface web” that search engines have indexed is quite literally the tip of the information iceberg. And internet searches have other downsides:

  • Sifting through pages of search results that are not quite relevant is inefficient, time-consuming and disheartening.
  • It’s the same information available to everyone, so there’s no real advantage.

Read more on my company blog!

Your business may not need a library, but it needs a librarian! For everything from risk management to productivity enhancement, librarians pay for themselves, and then some. Worried about putting a librarian on staff?  How about a virtual librarian, at your service? It’s flexible, affordable, and pays for itself in many different ways. Continue Reading Librarians are a Necessity

In February, I will have the honor of presenting an overview of a white paper on which my team at LibSource has been working.  We have been reviewing various content aggregation platforms and discussing their value within the legal research industry.  Fortuitously, this is happening at the same time that the juggernaut, now dubbed “fake news”, turned the world of social media on its head.  As both a response to the controversy  and a preview of our upcoming webinar, LibSource has published an article looking at the role of the librarian in combating the problem.

It’s clear that information illiteracy has become a problem. Many people are either unwilling or unable to discern what’s true and reliable in the content they view daily on the internet. That includes the so-called digital natives—millennials and young people coming up behind them who grew up with technology in the palm of their hands.

To read the full posting and for more information on February’s webinar, click here.

Visualizations continue to crop up in legal research software. This trend has been occurring for a handful of years now, and has been a topic I’ve spent a lot of time researching and talking about. The question is, can a visualization make a specific area of legal researching easier, faster, better, more relevant, etc? We have seen them in a lot of different arenas: Ravel incorporating visualizations into case law research, Monitor Suite and Bloomberg Law employing visualizations to spot litigation trends for companies, a number of software platforms (PatentIQ, Lex Machina) introducing visualizations into patent and IP research, pretty much every area of law has seen some element of visualizations creep into their researching software. Rank And Filed is one of the latest to move their chips onto the visualization table, and is specifically tailored for SEC filings.

SEC filings might get hedge-fund managers frothing at the mouth with excitement, but for most of us, they are as dry as dirt. It’s really hard to induce excitement with 10-ks, 10-qs, proxy statements, etc., but Rank And Filed is valiantly attempting to do so by displaying a company’s securities filings visually–as per the Apple Inc. visualization below:

RankAndFiled

The filings module does represent a nice way to filter towards specific filings, jump back in the past, and spot filing trends (which can suggest a lot about a company’s activity), but Rank and Filed is also flexing their muscle by creating a few more modules that deliver really unique information. For example, there’s a C-Suite module that displays a timeline of company executives:

CLevelExecs

There’s an Influence module that displays “ownership among the Company’s officers, directors and beneficial owners since 2003”:

Influence

And even a heat map for word frequencies in SEC filings, to visually show you the most frequently-used words:

HeatMap

Long story short, visualizations do help us interpret information that would otherwise be very difficult to discern. And, it is fascinating to see software developers create visualizations to expose very-difficult-to-parse information. Long story short, this trend is going to continue in legal research, and is going to direct what types of information we can deliver to our requestors. And, short story long, I recommend touring around the Rank And Filed site to toy with the free visualization offerings available, and to see if they have succeeded in their mission to deliver “SEC filings for humans”.