TECHNOLOGY IN PRACTICE
RESEARCH DIG WITH GENIE TYBURSKI
Sow the Data, Reap the Knowledge
Research management has a new friend in the utility ClickGarden.
Recently, I spent several hours researching a problem with my home computer. The trouble arose when I tried to load Active Server Pages (ASPs) that reside on my local hard drive. With frustrating consistency, the browser informed me that it was unable to detect my Internet settings.
Because I had a live Internet connection and the browser accessed public ASPs without difficulty, it appeared the problem originated with my local server. Some computer wizards will find this brief description sufficient to hazard an educated guess about the cause of the problem: Namely, the Windows ME operating system does not support ASP. It took me a tad longer, though, to uncover this useful information.
Later, as I related the exacerbating experience to a colleague, he commented, "Yeah, I know." It was time to take a deep breath. Had I thought to ask my co-worker first, I could have saved myself several hours of investigation.
Live and learn. The educational value of this incident lies not in the knowledge obtained. Rather, it serves to underscore the significance of information sharing and management in the workplace. (The files on my home computer definitely related to work.)
Lawyers daily encounter questions that colleagues might readily answer. Yet tapping that knowledge, at the time you need it, isn’t always possible. Moreover, the need for such intelligence may not be urgent, frequent or profit-driven enough to warrant creating a sophisticated knowledge management system.
Capturing and Organizing in ClickGarden
Fortunately, technology offers alternatives. I have worked recently with ClickGarden, a utility that enables capturing, organizing, securing and sharing Web-enabled documents ( www.clickgarden.com). It also serves as a browser and document viewer.
Lawyers can use ClickGarden, for example, to capture and organize information pertaining to a research assignment or to issues they frequently confront. Perhaps you advise clients on Web site matters and want to maintain ready access to certain online documents. Rather than connecting to them live on the Web or via an online database, ClickGarden lets you store and display them locally.
In this scenario, you first create a Group. Call it Internet Law. The Internet Law Group, then, would hold several Collections. Keeping it simple, create three to start: (1) Privacy, (2) First Amendment and (3) Domain Names. Each collection can also contain Folders. Under Privacy, for example, you might have a folder labeled Foreign Law and another called Case Law.
The next step involves gathering frequently needed documents. Use ClickGarden’s browser to connect to Lexis, Westlaw or a free Web source and begin capturing relevant federal statutes. In Westlaw, for instance, you might use the Find command to retrieve the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. If you do not know the citation (15 U.S.C. § 6501 et seq.), you can save money by looking it up at one of the free United States Code Web sites.
Once Westlaw displays the statute, you click on the Full Screen View icon to expand the viewing window. Then in ClickGarden, you click on the Organizer button and highlight the collection or folder in which you wish to place the document. Next, click the Browser button to return to the statute.
Click Get Page in the lower right-hand tray to capture the document. Since the Westlaw window contains two frames, a pop-up box appears prompting you to select the appropriate frame. Click on OK, and then the Viewer button to confirm that ClickGarden captured the page.
While in Westlaw, drop a copy of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq.) in the Domain Names collection, and put a copy of the Child Online Protection Act (47 U.S.C. § 231 et seq.) in the First Amendment collection.
Now, when you want to refer to these statutes, you simply open the appropriate ClickGarden collection. Of course, remember to update them as needed.
Working with Other Document Types
In addition to documents like those just discussed, which reside in Web-enabled databases, ClickGarden also captures Adobe PDF and Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and Web forms, including any entered data the forms contain.
Returning to the Internet Law scenario, suppose that you want to store a copy of the original public law containing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. It’s Public Law 105-277. Connect to Thomas ( thomas.loc.gov) and use its Public Laws Index to locate the act. Display and capture it.
Since the law as originally enacted resides within a larger omnibus act, you may want to add a note that indicates where within the 920-page document you can find the relevant portion. To do this with PDF or other proprietary file formats, locate the document within the Organizer. Then click the right mouse button over the document. From the pop-up menu, select Annotate Item. Now type or voice record a message. For instance, "The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act begins with Section 1303 and the Child Online Protection Act begins with Section 1401."
Annotating Web documents is easier. You can also highlight important words, sentences or sections of a Web page. Load the page in the ClickGarden browser. Select the relevant text and then click the Annotate button.
Using the Scratchpad
Another useful research feature is the Scratchpad. Simply click on the Scratchpad button in ClickGarden, and the Scratchpad appears as a tab within the browser window, just like any opened Web page.
Rather than storing full-text copies of all relevant court decisions pertaining to each of your Internet law subtopics, say that you decide to gather only a few important ones. In addition, you want a briefly annotated citation list of as much relevant case law as you can find. Fortunately, Web sites like GigaLaw.com and Internet Case Digest offer such information.
You connect to GigaLaw, enter the Law Library and select Free Speech cases. Make sure you highlight the First Amendment collection in the Organizer. Then use your cursor to select the list of annotated cases. Drag the selection to the Scratchpad tab. Click Get Page to capture it. Now the annotations, as well as a link back to the source, appear as a saved document without other items unnecessary to the research, like advertising, logos or other graphics.
Sharing the Collected Information
Now imagine that you want to share the information you gathered with a client or fellow lawyer. Imagine, too, that you want your collection to contain private documents that reside on your network or hard drive. I have a PowerPoint presentation, for example, that outlines the basics of Internet technology.
To load private documents into the Internet Law Group, first enter the Organizer and highlight the group. Then pull down the File menu and select Import Files to Current Collection. Browse the network or local drive to locate the document and click on Open to import it. Even if your client or co-worker doesn’t have the proprietary software necessary to open the document, that person can display the document with the free downloadable ClickGarden Viewer.
Once all the documents you want appear in your Collection, export and save it. Then attach it to an e-mail message and send it off.
If you want to share sensitive documents, ClickGarden lets you password -protect and encrypt your collection. At the time you created the Internet Law Group, ClickGarden asked if you wanted to password-protect it. If you said yes and selected a password, ClickGarden automatically encrypted the collection. You can see the difference between an encrypted and unprotected collection because the file cabinet-like icon that appears next to the collection name is either opened or closed.
If you forgot to protect your collection when you created it, simply create another, remembering to password it. Then drag and drop the documents you want from the unprotected collection into the encrypted one.
ClickGarden won’t get in your face and shout, "Hey, Tyburski, ask a co-worker before spending hours researching this issue!" But if you think to consult a ClickGarden collection, you might find an answer within minutes. Better yet, your associate doesn’t have to know that you had to ask.
GENIE TYBURSKI ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is Web Research Applications Specialist for Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, in Philadelphia and Web manager of The Virtual Chase.
LINKSAnd remember, when you don’t know a statute citation, you can find it for free at one of these U.S. Codes sites:
Annotated Citation Lists. Find annotated citation lists at:
To learn about the problem with the Windows ME operating system and Active Server Pages support, see article Q297943, titled "Getting Started with Active Server Pages," in the Microsoft support knowledge base.