Westlaw Sings The Blues: Project Cobalt

Never able to let a mystery lie dormant, I spent some time this weekend digging into the dirt to find out about this West-branded next evolution in legal research. It’s code-named Cobalt and I managed to scare up a Thomson Reuters PowerPoint which hints at the features. It is fairly clear that Cobalt will offer a more Web 2.0 experience. Of course, its being billed as the best search engine for law and easy to use. It will promises “high velocity” results and  research workflow optimization. What interests me is a vague reference to “community insights.” Is West going to offer its own social aspects within the research framework?

Although it is not certain, there is a suggestion that the preferred search format will be natural language. Some are opining that this means no more Boolean. I will wait and see on that point before I assume the worst. I am hoping West is smarter than Bing in that regard. There is also a suggestion in the press that it will learn from the community – perhaps this learning hints at a semantic aspect (woohoooo!).

There isn’t a lot more to say at this point, but I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for more info. My inner cynic is moving aside a little to make room for a new hope that West will bring its service up to par.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Bringing Web Search To New Depths

I am always looking for interesting ways to access deep web information – documents that are not necessarily html but are still accessible via the Web. Another player in this game is RefSeek, a search engine providing advanced search capability  and an index of over a billion documents including web pages, books, encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers. There is more than simply document search, though: RefSeek now offers definitions, math calculations, and a reference directory. Definitions show above regular search results with relevant links. Math calculations are natural language for math equations and conversion. And perhaps the coolest feature is the reference directory, which offers a curated list of hundreds of references sites, so you have NO EXCUSE to fall back on Wikipedia.

Hat tip to Pandia Search Engine News

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

My Holiday Wish List – Updated Version

Here we are safely ensconced in 2010, the holidays behind us (although my trees are still up but are coming down THIS WEEKEND). I bet you are all wondering, no burning, about whether I got my wish list items.

Well, I actually did o.k. this year. I got three of my holiday items. No, it wasn’t the Macbook Pro. No, I didn’t get a Droid, but that is o.k. now that all sorts of cool new Android phones are hustling out the door. I am still waiting for my Windows 7 upgrade. I still have to plug in my small electronics to charge them. And now that I found out the price of the Que is going to be upwards of $600, I might be rethinking that gadget purchase.

So what exactly did I get? I got a Sony KDL40s5100 40″ LCD tv, the LG wireless BluRay player and, wait for it, the Rubik’s Cube! The tv and BluRay combo are quite amazing – we have the Star Trek movie and all of the Harry Potter movies and have been pretty much blown away by the difference between conventional dvds on our 32″ tube tv and BluRay on the 40″ Sony LCD. The sound is also amazing. And, if you get bored with your streaming Netflix or the other pay per view services built into the player, you can always surf YouTube via the player’s internet connection. If you are considering whether or not to upgrade, I highly recommend it if movies are your main form of home entertainment.

And the cube? It is so freakin’ cool! More electronic fun to spend time with. My demo video is below, please excuse the graininess and lousy mic pickup!