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Live From DC, It’s Information Overload!

Ever since Washington, DC, shut down two months ago, I have been inundated with offers of free Zoom webinars and all sorts of interesting virtual meetings. I will attempt to point out some of the more relevant and interesting information that has come to me, with a focus on legal information sources and a bit of personal enrichment.

My friends at the Law Library of Congress have continued to update and provide legal research support through their Ask a Librarian service. The main Library of Congress webpage leads you to a treasure trove of digital resources including the World . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

“It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure.”

Clay Shirky, way back in 2008, had a hypothesis: that it isn’t a case of too much information; it’s that we haven’t yet got the filters to help us manage that overload.

And we have to assume that the amount of information we’re already getting will continue to grow. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. But, if we are to deal with that firehose aimed at our brains, we need to get smarter; because if we don’t we’re just going to get wetter.

When looking for recommendations of where to eat in a new city, for example, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Shirky on Filters Over Information Overload

Joe Hodnicki over at the Law Librarian Blog shared this Clay Shirky presentation last week. The title of the talk was “It’s Not Information Overload, It’s Filter Failure“.

I’m with Joe here. This kind of thinking works on so many different levels. And perhaps someone, someday, will use a Guinness with Shirky as their contest prize. Would hook me in, anyway. :)


. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Lawyers Beset by Information Overload, Study Finds

A national workplace survey reports that more than seven in ten American white collar workers feel inundated with information at their workplace, while more than two in five feel that they are headed for an information “breaking point.”

Sponsored by our friends in Dayton, OH, the news release states:

Eighty percent of legal professionals feel overloaded with information, and 70 percent say they spend a lot of time sifting through irrelevant information. Nearly half say that research takes up so much of their time that they occasionally omit billing clients for this work.

Other survey findings that demonstrate challenges for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Combating Information Overload

Information overload remains a serious issue for many (information) professionals. At a recent knowledge management (KM) conference in New York sponsored by WestKM and Recommind, I presented a paper on the topic of information overload. I discussed three main aspects:

1) The History of Information Overload

2) The Negative Impact of Information Overload

3) KM Tips and Techniques to Combat Information Overload . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Land of Confusion: Dealing With the Bombardment of AI Information

One of my family’s often-repeated fables is how my great grandfather didn’t believe the moon landing was real. People of his generation witnessed the invention of the automobile, the television and now space travel. For some, it was too much to comprehend, and the response was to deny it was happening. Pre internet, that was a simpler task.

The psychological harm associated with technological change, particularly the exponential change we are experiencing, is well documented. Numerous articles have been written on why people feel overwhelmed by technological change and the effects of technostress, the inability to cope with new computer . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Law Firm Publications: Moving From Marketing Tool to Legal Information Product

The law firm newsletter has long been a mainstay of client engagement and business development at law firms. As firms moved from paper brochures to electronic communications, readership statistics became increasingly accessible, but the news was not always good.

Whenever there is a significant case or legislative amendment, law firms race to send out an update, but we hear an increasingly common lament, “nobody reads our legal updates”. According to Mailchimp benchmarks, the legal industry is slightly above average with a 21.14% open rate and 2.71% click through rate. While not the worst statistics – there are industries which fair . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Marketing

Curation Over Creation: Getting the Most Out of Existing Legal Information

This summer, with the support of a Donner Foundation fellowship, I developed web pages for Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) that connect Ontario nonprofits to existing legal information on incorporation, maintenance, and governance. This article is about the process of creating those pages. My hope is that others will use the process in areas of law where legal information exists online, but is: overwhelming in quantity, difficult to find, and/or scattered.

Pitching the Project: The Pragmatic and Philosophical Justifications of Curation

Before anyone can start the project, somebody needs to be convinced it’s worthy of scarce resources. Why not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing

The Evolving Value of Information Management: Joint Financial Times and SLA Report

Last week a joint report between the Financial Times and SLA was released: The evolving value of information management: and the five essential attributes of the modern information professional (free download with registration).

The report delves into changes in the work of information professionals, change in what executives believe information professionals should be doing, and any gaps between these perceptions. It then provides changes that information professionals should be considering and specific action items to achieve these.

From the introduction:

We encourage information professionals to question how the strategies in this report can assist you in enhancing the value you

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Discussions With Faculty of Information Students in Law Librarianship Course

I had the pleasure again to guest lecture in FIS 2133 – Legal Literature and Librarianship at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, being taught by John Papadopoulos and Sooin Kim. The topic was knowledge management (KM) in law firms.

Two broad themes emerged (albeit slightly unrelated): (i) their concern over the job market for future law librarians / knowledge managers, and (ii) my continued proselytizing for an integrated approach to information in law firms by merging library functions with KM and continued “convergence” with library and KM and other administrative functions in law firms, including training, marketing and . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management

Managing E-Mail Overload – Draw a Line in Your Inbox

I dare say more than a few SLAW readers will have a New Year’s resolution that, in one form or another, has at its core, a goal of getting to an empty inbox. Unfortunately, there is no magic button – it takes a lot of time and effort to get to an empty, especially if you have hundreds (or even thousands of messages) in your Inbox.

I won’t focus on cleaning up older messages in this post. My LAWPRO Magazine article Surviving the E-mail Onslaught has some quick tips. Probably the best collection information on this topic is the Inbox . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Technology