July 24, 2008
Legal Research v. E-Discovery
I am always struck by the similarities between how law librarians discuss online legal research and how judges and commentators discuss e-discovery.
Do lawyers have so insightful a grasp of the words and semantic relationships behind our relevance and privilege decisions that we can distill the "je ne sais quoi" of our well-honed legal minds into quotidian keyword spotting? We'd like to think we do, despite studies showing we possess little ability to frame effective keyword searches. We're shocked when our magic words catch barely 20 percent of responsive documents. We shouldn't be.
Language is deceptively complex, and meaning is an elusive, protean quarry. We depend upon context for meaning, but keyword search ignores context entirely. Boolean search is only marginally better at gleaning context.
Interesting parallels, which continue to make me wonder how librarians, expert researchers that we are, might successfully partner within a firm's e-discovery/litigation department. Quote from Law Tech News. [JJ]
July 24, 2008 | Permalink
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