Jan 21 2009

Google vs Interwoven – email send & archive/file

Jason

Google have introduced a “Send and Archive” function in their Gmail (Google Mail) application. This is a labs feature at the moment and so isn’t turned on by default. I caught sight of this from a post on Mashable in my RSS feeds, which in turn refers to the Google Labs blog announcing this feature.

I already posted a link to this via twitter on Monday, but I thought I’d add some thoughts here now that I’ve used the feature in Gmail. And to say that it is very similar to a feature introduced by Interwoven in WorkSite already, their “Send and File” functionality.

sendandfile

On the left is Interwoven’s product integrated with Outlook and on the right is the Google labs feature.

Basically both are designed to get your emails out of your inbox into a long term storage area. In Interwoven’s case this means into a Workspace for the matter you’re working on and in Google’s case into your Archive area within Gmail.

After playing with the Gmail version for a while, two things struck me:

  1. Subsequent replies to your email don’t seem to be auto filed in the archive, I had to chose to archive these (admittedly one click archives the whole email thread). The Interwoven version though will “tag” the outgoing email so it can then file the incoming replies automatically.
  2. There is no structure to the archive (unlike say sub folders or workspaces), it’s just a big “bucket”. Google can handle this either by labelling the emails (from what I can see rather like a categorisation tag) or alternatively by just by relying on their search engine to find your stuff.

It’s this very last point I want to touch on. This to me is the killer feature! When your search engine is as good at returning what you’re after as Google’s, why bother structuring it at all?

After all email is an absolute pain to file in a rigid structure. For example, that email you received from the client may refer to two matters and some personal information just for you, how do you file that in a single folder? But a big bin with a fantastic search capability might just work!

Will the velocity engine from Vivisimo that’s in Interwoven WorkSite 8.3 bring the “Google search” to WorkSite? I’ll let you know when we get it up and running!

And if you’ve already got it up and running why not post a comment? 

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Jan 16 2009

WorkSite workspaces – do they work?

Jason

If you use WorkSite in a matter centric way you will know that you can create an electronic filing cabinet of you matters in an area called My Files (or My Workspaces/My Matters).  Held in this “My Files” are all your matter files (known as workspaces).

I had a query today about another area in WorkSite called Recent Workspaces, this stores the last n matters you’ve worked on. The query went :

X said when they create a new document and save it the workspace it will be added to her recent workspaces but if they save a document that has already been created after making amendments it doesn’t show in their recent workspaces. Is this correct or is it a fault?

Now it’s not a fault, this is what it should do. But the thought I had was why would a lawyer work in recent workspaces and not My Files? After all the purpose of My Files is to create your shortcuts to your matters meaning they’re always to hand.

So why use recent workspaces?

My guess is because it’s automatic, it logs your matters for you. You amend the document and the matter file is there for future use. More akin to the lawyer working with the paper file (the automatic bit here is the secretary!)

So if the system is the secretary it should probably:

  1. ask if you want to add the matter to your My Files for future use when you create or amend a document in a file, say yes and it’s done
  2. better still just know you’re working on that matter and place it in your My Files

If you’re a lawyer, how would you want it to work?

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Jan 15 2009

LexisWeb

Jason

I noticed a flurry of twitter posts over the last few days about LexisWeb beta and didn’t really take much notice, but it was a post from Doug Cornelious’ blog “KM Space” in my RSS reader this morning that got me to look at this site.

Their blurb says:

The Lexis Web product includes important, legal-oriented Web content selected and validated by the LexisNexis editorial staff. You can trust that all content has met LexisNexis criteria for being authoritative and accurate. The current beta version combines content from thousands of Web sites and millions of Web pages, with more being added each day

I suggest you read Doug’s blog for more info on the site itself. But the thing that interests me is whether or not it is actually built on IUS (Interwoven Universal Search) or at least whether on the Velocity engine underneath? 

From an IT point of view if it is based on the velocity engine,  I would love to hear feedback from lawyers and support staff on the LexisWeb site indicating whether it’s results are “good” (by good I mean “Google”, i.e. you get back what you were after!). It would give a good indication on whether IUS could be the answer to the law firm enterprise search.

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Jan 7 2009

Interwoven WorkSite 8.5

Jason

Before Christmas I went along to the Interwoven UK conference and saw a sneak peak of WorkSite v8.5 which is due for release this year. As we weren’t asked to sign a non disclosure agreement I thought I’d jot down some high level notes on some of the proposed new features that I think are great reasons to look at this upgrade.

Enhanced offline ability : There are some great additions here to the OffSite product. Bringing in seamless on to offline switching, background sync, granular selection of content and a new architecture to improve performance.

In fact my only gripe is with the current licencing model for OffSite. Surely it should really now form part of the FileSite licence (as should Email Management), these are core to the product functioning as you’d expect.

Multibyte support: unfortunately not unicode yet, but it’s better than now. This is for the key description, comments etc fields.  (Limitation is the need to have the characters on the same codepages, so unfortunately if you’ve multiple offices whose native language falls on different codepages this may not be what you’re after).

Indexing: there is a start to leverage the new indexers introduced in 8.3. This includes full text indexing of workspaces (meta data and descriptions). I can see two benefits here; the first it removes some load off SQL which can only be a good thing and second they’re providing a Quick Workspace Search bar, and thus as the meta data is indexed it can find matters in a much more “Google like” way.

Email Management:  Server side filing! Anything that takes the load off the desktop is a good thing, should increase performance of large email drag and drops! There are plenty of enhancements to the email management (send and file) piece which should improve things no end. For example, suggestive filing based on filing history and delegated filing (great for secretaries or should that be for fee earners?)

From the latest email I received from Interwoven the release dates are as follows:

Limited Release
Phase I
Core Components with Limited Platform Certifications March 2009

Phase II
Web with Limited Platform Certifications May 2009 
 
General Availability
 
Phase III
Core Components with Additional Platform Certifications June 2009

Phase IV
Desktop & Web Language Releases August 2009

Phase V
Tools & Other Miscellaneous Components September 2009

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