KM guru Jack Vinson has posted two sets of excellent notes from the recent knowledge management conference put on by the Ark Group. I thoroughly recommend Jack’s posts (and Ron Friedmann’s thoughts from the same conference) to you.
I wanted to discuss one common comment that Jack highlighted. He wrote: “‘Why can’t it work like Google?’ in response to focus groups. This is a familiar refrain everywhere.”
There are a couple of areas of legal technology where I feel like a real contrarian. For example, I not only do not think that WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS was the pinnacle of word processing, but, coming from a Mac environment to WP 5.1, I never did like it. Them’s fightin’ words to some lawyers, but I believe that it’s best for everyone to use the tools that work best for them.
Another area where I am a contrarian is that, unlike most lawyers today, I’m not a huge Google fan. There, I’ve said it.
Over the last weekend, I was using Google to try to find quickly some articles on the ways law firms are using outsourcing. To put it mildly, I did not have a lot of success.
Since I’ve been using search engines since almost before search engine existed, I’m usually reluctant to blame my research skills for the problem. In fact, I knew that Google would have problems finding what I wanted, as it did a while back when I was searching for information on of counsel agreements.
It was shortly after I had my Google troubles that I read Jack’s post.
It’s easy to get all wrapped up in Google and treat it as the only tool in your toolbox. However, there are other tools that make much more sense, at least to me, in the KM context. Lawyers should remember the maxim about every problem looking like a nail when the only tool that you have is a hammer.
There are concept search tools like those from Recommind, pattern search tools like those from DolphinSearch, and visual search tools like those from Attenex that, to me, are infinitely more interesting in the KM context than something that works like Google. In fact, I’m intrigued these days by what you might be able to accomplish by turning some of the state-of-the-art electronic discovery tools to KM work.
If you are in the “why can’t it work like Google?” group, I invite you to extend your search to some of these other search tools and see if you might change your mind.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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