Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Making Law Firm KM Smaller - A Reprise

It's interesting how a message has different meaning to us at different times. When I first read this post by Steve Matthews back in April: Vancouver Law Librarian Blog: Making Law Firm KM Smaller I just found it interesting in a cursory way.

Now I have re-read it, and wonder to myself, "How can I do that?".

What he has suggested is that we must make lawyers feel connected to any content collections we have. One way to do that is to allow them to track the content they find useful. And, I think from his post he is also implying we should be able to see that and use that to guide the use of the collection and future development of it.

Given that I am using InMagic software (DB Textworks and WebPublisher) I wonder what my options to do this are? Wouldn't it be nice for the user to have a flagged area in which they can have a list of books, research memos, websites links, they found most useful? And wouldn't it be nice to have another flagged area showing the communal wisdom on most popular items--papers, memos, websites, books, etc.?

Is this all sounding a little like Amazon to you? Just as I thought our physical libraries could use some inspiration from Starbucks or Chapters/Indigo a while back, I'm now starting to think we need to look at popular online sites for our online inspiration.


Steve Matthews said...

Perhaps as simple as feeding a short list of the most used items on each of your intranet/portal's practice group pages?

My original post was intended to describe the building of content champions or owners, but ultimately, as you are describing, it all comes back to 'marketing', and generating a larger interest that will be reflected in both the 'contribution' and 'usage' of your collections.

Nice post. :-)

Connie Crosby said...

Thanks, Steve. We don't have a full intranet set up. Just some library-based web pages, with some of the content pulled from DB Textworks using WebPublisher (InMagic products).

I don't think we have any way of telling what records are most used in the databases. I had a quick search through the InMagic discussion boards and couldn't see that anyone had a way to track usage via Web Publisher. Once we know usage, then we can probably start generating some of this.

It looks like right now it would have to be code we write ourselves, but I am also going to suggest that as a future feature.


David Hook said...


I use Inmagic products and in the past I've looked at ways to make content collections more interactive. One thing I've considered doing (but have never implemented) for one of my databases was to have a 'OfInterestTo' field in the database. Then, the manager of electrical engineering, say, could check off all the items that would be of interest to his/her department. A flag for 'electrical engineering dept' would then be added to each of the records. Then you could set up canned queries to search for all the items that have a particular flag in the 'OfInterestTo' field.

As I mentioned, I haven't implemented this, and it would take a bit of programming to create the interfaces, but it could also be extended to individuals as well. I'm not sure that this is exactly what you are looking for, but something like this certainly could be done, just not all that easily.

Connie Crosby said...

Hi Dave:

Some interesting ideas! What I have seen others do is have an additional field in the library catalogue with a small number of major subject headings. A canned search looking at this field generates "major resources" checklists on various topics. One could have this canned search run across various databases to compile key resources from a wide range of formats e.g. key textbooks from the catalogue, key memos from the research memos database, key papers from the seminar papers database, key images from a photo database (just an example).

InMagic does have a component that allows for input via the web (currently we only have search via the web using WebPublisher). Perhaps that component would allow you to set up what you want, allowing people to input to one or two selected fields?

Hmmm...maybe you are on to something.