One-Stop Legal Tech Shopping

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Image by vaXzine via Flickr

Ken Strutin at LLRX has collected a list of resources for librarians to assist them in assisting others with employing new technologies in the practice of law. Insert “lawyers” for “librarians” and the list becomes even more worthwhile. There are some old favorites on this list, as well as a few new resources. He breaks the list of resources into categories, such as current awareness (of tech equipment and services), Web Tech 2.0, website monitoring, citation tools, and communication management.

It is by no means exhaustive, but certainly adds a few tips so it is worth a check.

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Social Networking Site “LinkedIn” Is Neither Social Nor A Network: Discuss

 With all due apologies to Linda Richman, I thought I might take a stab at the social networking site LinkedIn, suss out its value to the business professional as source for networking, and ascertain whether it really is “MySpace for Grownups.”

As described in the Wikipedia entry for “LinkedIn”:

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003[1] mainly used for professional networking. As of December 2007, its site traffic was 3.2 million visitors per month, growing at an annual growth rate of about 485%.[2] As of May 2008, it had more than 22 million registered users,[3] spanning 150 industries.

It is described as a business social networking site: you sign up as a member for free, fill out information about yourself relevant to your networking aspirations and seek to make contacts with other LinkedIn members. You can search for other members based on various criteria and invite them to join your own network, building a virtual database of contact details. You also can access second and third degree contacts – persons known to your first level contacts – via your first level contacts. Theoretically, this web of contacts is intended to generate jobs and business opportunities. Employers and corporate members can list jobs and search unconnected members for likely candidates. This is where the site’s profit margin comes from: recruiters or businesses that wish to be able to mine the profiles of members outside the contact network pay for the privilege. For the rest of us, LinkedIn represents a “gated access approach”, intended to provide members with a sense of security regarding their information and the quality of contacts. There is also a forum called LinkedIn Answers which permits members to pose questions to the community for general discussion. LinkedIn Groups allows you to join a group based on your school, your industry or your profession.

For the mobile user, LinkedIn started a stripped down mobile version in February, 2008.

The value of LinkedIn and comparisons to the wildly popular social networking sites MySpace and Facebook are not new topics. Over a year ago, Seamus McCauley wrote in his blog “Virtual Economics” that the problem with LinkedIn is that it doesn’t do anything. “You sign up, you find some colleagues, you link to them and then…nothing.” Umair, in the blog BubbleEdge Generation, claims the real problem with LinkedIn is that there is no meaningful opportunity for interaction: LinkedIn is too clean compared to the “ugly, nasty, digital ghetto” of MySpace. In other words, LinkedIn apparently has sacrificed open dialog for gated security. The commenters on these blogs do not necessarily agree with these conclusions, describing circumstances in which LinkedIn has provided them with real value. Facebook, which also has the “gate” of requiring an email upon sign up, appears to bridge the MySpace and LinkedIn models.

There does appear to be some utility in LinkedIn, however, as its growing popularity attests to. The following chart, from simplyhired.com shows an increase in jobs secured through LinkedIn, although the other sites, which have an overall numbers advantage, have shown a similar increase during the same period.

 

“We Want To Spread The Knowledge For Free Over The Internet”

Have you heard of PreCYdent? If you are a legal researcher and you haven’t, you should take notice. Heck, if you are one of the big Two, you know – Westlaw and Lexus, you probably should take notice too. This Web-based legal research site promises a more internet-like search interface and legal authority for FREE – my favorite word. The site is supported by advertising. It was formed in April, 2006 by Tom Smith in San Diego and Antonio Tomarchio in Milan, Italy. PreCYdent utilizes the same search technology as the major Web search engines. At this time, the database includes U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals cases from 12 states, with all 50 states to follow within the next few months. It even includes a citator service. PreCYdent also offers the Web 2.0 experience of an on-line community where people can share knowledge, experience and assistance. I find the ability to “rate” cases intriguing.

Check out an advertisement / tutorial prepared by Mr. Tomarchio on YouTube:

I learned from the clip that I can install a widget on my website that will point to a PreCYdent search. I think I will add one. Stay tuned to http://advantageadvocates.com for your chance to try PreCydent.

For more, visit http://advantageadvocates.com