Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Early Industry Adopters: Law Firms in the Digital Marketplace

When we look at the advantages we gain by migrating our intellectual properties from the physical paper world to the Digital Marketplace, it is hard to find better cost savings, return-on-investment, and increased business operational and end-user efficiencies, than those realized by early adopters: academic institutions, government agencies and law firms.  

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), there are 1.1 million licensed attorneys, and 191 ABA-approved law schools in the United States. 74% of all attorneys end up working in private practice, or law firms. In 2000, there were 47,563 legal practice groups or law firms in the United States.

By sheer volume alone, it is clear how critical legal research is to these attorneys, firms, and their million clients each year.  Firms spend countless hours accessing, researching, reading, and citing thousands of legal documents and laws on a daily basis, including: Constitutional, contract, trust, criminal, civil, property, administrative and international law. Digitization of our American laws has dramatically reduced research time for law professional and government agencies, resulting in increased service, time, and savings in operational efficiencies to their bottom lines.

According to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), U.S. citizens filed over 1 million new lawsuits in state courts in 2003 (54.7% involving traffic matters, 20.6 involving criminal laws).  This growing need and trend of virtual access to our many laws through the Digital Marketplace is rapidly changing the American legal market for the 1.1 million attorneys, 47,563 firms, and the 213,000,000 Americans who can now conduct online research and due diligence on their own, as well. 

LAC Group partners with more than 80 of the AMLAW 200 firms, as well as firms in Canada and the UK to provide digitization, on-demand research, staffing, outsourcing or managed services and expense reduction services.

"In my work a good library is essential. It enables me to learn the background and previous discussions of the various issues I am called upon to decide. It provides the stability and continuity for the rule of law." - Sandra Day O Connor, the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Blog Reference:
HG.org, Worldwide Legal Directories: Overview of the Legal Market   

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Metadata: the answer to the digital dilemma

For one of our clients (a national broadcast news media organization), we manage 2.2 petabytes of digital assets, which is growing at a rate of roughly 200 terabytes monthly.  At this rate we are eclipsing anything imagined 10 years ago, due to technology advances, high-definition, and the speed at which information is available and shared.  Storage companies like EMC are preparing for even faster growth speculating that we will see 35 trillion additional gigabytes of data added to the world before 2020….or 35 zettabytes (a word that didn't exist prior to 1991…and forward thinking even then). 

Handling trillions of bytes each month, whether creating, meta-tagging, consolidating or replicating, means that we are part of the above digital dilemma – what to do with all the data.  Our archives are bursting at the seams with physical assets that have been digitized, backed up and protected…so now we are paying for not only the digital storage, but the physical storage for an asset to live, just in case the digital asset fails (and its backup fails).

In the physical world we have organized systems, like LC, Dewey, stacks, cards, etc…that all have the meta-data" about the physical asset.  If all else fails, the asset itself has enough information about it to re-create the meta-data; however, in the digital world that isn't always the case.  Date, author, photographer, videographer, producer, actor, etc.  ….these are all things that can be lost forever if the digital asset isn't properly meta-tagged when originally digitized.  Too many skip or skimp on this critical step.  Saving a buck on the metadata can cost you thousands later.  Lost productivity hours are just the tip – if you don't have the right meta-data on the digital asset you risk losing it for good …in the heap of trillions and trillions of bytes that are spread across trillions of DATs loaded in millions of SANs globally.

Even if you are only talking about a single organization, the numbers are staggering.  Unstructured data is likely to become the largest single expense for businesses, even surpassing staff, within the next 10 years.  In 2002 the total amount of information created in the world was 5 exabytes.  By 2006 that number was 160 exabytes.  Today facebook.com is the size of the entire internet in 2004 according to Geohive and Facebook.  Youtube estimates that 35 hours of video are being uploaded to the site every minute.  Pingdom estimates that there are roughly 300 billion emails sent daily!  According to EMC, the world’s information is doubling every two years. In 2011 the world created a staggering 1.8 zettabytes. By 2020 they estimate that the world will generate 50 times the amount of information and 75 times the number of "information containers" while IT staff to manage it will grow less than 1.5 times. This means that properly meta-tagged digital assets will be critical to successfully manage your digital assets.  New "information taming" technologies such as de-duplication, compression, and analysis tools are driving down the cost of creating, capturing, managing, and storing information to one-sixth the cost in 2011 in comparison to 2005; however, even with proper reduplication and "taming" the internet growth is speeding up, not slowing down.  So what's bigger than a zettabyte? A yottabyte, which is 1000 zettabytes.  While it seems as though that's a long way off, it will be here before we know it and we'll be off to add a new word to the dictionary.  

To be able to process, search, absorb or synthesize that data you must have exceptional metadata.  Without it, think of your video or image asset as a grain of sand at the bottom of the ocean.  You can describe the shape color and size of that grain of sand all you want (after the fact) but the odds of you coming up with the exact grain you were after, is impossible to comprehend (by 2015 this number is estimated to be 1 in 1.25E+22)…and the odds are stacked against you more and more by the second.  In fact, imagine while you are looking on the beach for that grain of sand, 15.6 million beach volleyball courts worth of sand was being added to that beach.  With the right metadata you are able to instantly search for that grain of sand, dive in and come up with the thousands of possible grains that match the description…and then drill down from there to get to your target.  That's the real power and value of what we offer our clients…our staff, working across the world, enable information, putting the power behind the search and allow trillions of bytes to be reviewed, to find that one specific item.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Early Industry Adopters: Government Agencies in the Digital Marketplace

When we look at the advantages we gain by migrating our intellectual properties from the physical paper world to the Digital Marketplace, it is hard to find better cost savings, return-on-investment, and increased business operational and end-user efficiencies, than those realized by early adopters: academic institutions, government agencies and law firms.

Our Machinery of Government is comprised of federal, national and state agencies, established for the oversight and administration of specific functions to preserve our history, and our way of life. These government agencies include everything from our national security and justice departments, the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Postal Service, Bureau of ATF&E, National Aeronautics and Space Administration to our Library of Congress, where our national history archives are preserved. The assets created and housed within these agencies could easily be considered among our national treasures.

Its worth mentioning, that LAC Group works with all of the government agencies mentioned above, as a business partner in the Digital Marketplace. The Library of Congress specifically is an important relationship for us, not only as a client, but also as a partner in standards for all digital libraries, as all other industries follow suit.    

Some of the primary standards (using the XML schema language of the World Wide Web Consortium) include:

·      MARCXML and MODS – metadata to describe the content of a digital item
·      METS and MIX - metadata formats for media and environment of a digital item
·      PREMIS - metadata format supporting preservation activities for a digital item
·      SRU - protocol for search and retrieval in the digital environment

All of these standards are maintained in the Network Development and MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress, and available online now, for 312,000,000 Americans to access, any time, and virtually from anywhere.

Join me next week as I continue my discussion of digitization benefits and standards.

"A good library is a place, a palace where the lofty spirits of all nations and generations meet."
– Samuel Niger

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Early Industry Adopters: Academic Institutions in the Digital Marketplace

Untitled Document
When we look at the advantages we gain by migrating our intellectual properties from the physical paper world to the Digital Marketplace, it is hard to find better cost savings, return-on-investment, and increased business operational and end-user efficiencies, than those realized by early adopters: academic institutions, government agencies and law firms

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2009, there are 6,632 colleges throughout the United States. Each of these academic institutions generate thousands of new curriculum study books, resources, papers and tests each year, in addition to, growing and maintaining private libraries and art collections. An accredited school can have a core collection of 125,000 volumes and up, in a wide spectrum of different media.

Basic standard metadata content categories provided below for media:
T —Text and illustrated printed material including: books, journals, manuscripts, maps, line art, explanatory tables and drawings.
PR — Visual arts and/or pictorial materials including: prints, photographs, drawings and paintings. 
PT — Photographic negatives and transparencies. 
AR — Specific purpose images produced by reformatting aerial, medical and scientific images, architectural and engineering line drawings and blueprints.
3D — 3-dimensional works of visual art, objects and artifacts located in archives, galleries, and museums

In 2011, an estimated 19.7 million (college) students began their new academic year, creating enormous demand for access to the 816 million books and serial volumes in their libraries, and the 9,221 public libraries, in their communities.
Digital archiving has forever changed the world of education, as we knew it. Millions of books and collections have been converted into digital assets, providing online access, in real-time. Digitization has also allowed us to meet today's changing needs, by offering virtual online classrooms, universities and learning centers, and have expanded students of every age, including Nola Ochs - who is the world's oldest college graduate at 95 years old.  

The digitization that has, and is taking place within our 105,338 academic institutions has exponentially increased our educational service offering in America, by providing virtual access to millions of educational materials only available in the traditional physical libraries of our past, to millions, within seconds. We honestly haven’t begun to realize all of the benefits in education yet, as a country, or world even, simply because there are so many, for so many.    

LAC-Group Success Story, developing and implementing (ILS) integrated library management with a 4-year college client.

Join me next week as I discuss digitization benefits and standards within government agencies.

"I made use of the college library by borrowing books other than scientific books, such as all of the plays by George Bernard Shaw, the writing of Edgar Allan Poe. The college library helped me to develop a broader aspect on life." - Linus Pauling, Scientist