The folks at CHL Software know a thing or two about document management. Their product, Doc Moto, is one of the leading document and email management programs for Macs. They published the following article about document tagging, which they have allowed me to share with my readers:
FIND WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR USING ACCURATE DOCUMENT TAGGING — A NEW INNOVATION IN DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT
Remember that U2 hit, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For“? The song isn’t actually about document management in law firms, but read the lyrics and it very well could be.
The inclusion of full-text searching in the Mac and Windows operating systems has actually set document management back. The problem with these tools is that they find too much. Accordingly, purely searching the content of your documents doesn’t help find the specific matter and specific document you’re looking for.
That’s why document tagging is so important. What’s document tagging? Continue reading because it’s a major innovation for legal document management.
Just about a year ago we received a support question from one of our biggest law firm clients that really surprised us. “Does DocMoto support file content searching?” Well of course it does, but the firm didn’t see the feature because of a setting in their system. Shockingly, they had been using DocMoto for over a year and had never noticed they didn’t have content search available. So we asked them why. The answer, “Content searching doesn’t help that much since all our matters are very similar. That’s why we use tagging.”
DOCUMENT TAGGING 101
In DocMoto parlance a tag is a label. Lawyers and their staff apply (or stick) tags to documents to effectively categorize their documents (including email). A document can have as many tags (or labels) as necessary.
The Problem With Simple Keywords
I know what you’re thinking. Mac-based firms have a number of tools that support tagging. Even Apple’s own Finder does in OS X Mavericks. But the problem with almost all of these tools is that the tags are really just lists of keywords. Allowing users to add totally free format lists of keywords might work in a true solo practice (one lawyer), but as soon as more users exist you need much more control.
Give a Tag a Type
The first step to improving the power of a tag is to give it a “type.” DocMoto supports three basic types — “text”, “numbers” and “dates.”
When a tag has a type searching becomes so much more powerful. For example if a tag is a date, and is a “review date” it is a simple task to find “All Contracts for Review This Month,” or “All Contracts Overdue.”
Choose Your Tag Values From a List
The second step to improving the quality of tagging is to make sure users can only choose values from a predefined list. This guarantees that only tags with known values are in DocMoto. It ensures consistency throughout the practice and removes any problems with spelling, abbreviation or other inconsistences.
There Is Still Room for the Free-Format Tag
Of course there are always some tags that really must be free format. A “Comments” tag for example. Naturally DocMoto supports these as well, but they are your last resort for miscellanea, not your sole tool.
Collecting Tag Data From Your Users
It’s one thing to set up some powerful and consistent tags, but how can you ensure your users complete them? DocMoto takes a very simple but powerful approach — it asks users to enter tag information at the point of adding or checking back a document. DocMoto doesn’t want to overburden busy users, so tags can be marked as mandatory or optional, and the tag set required can be varied easily from one folder to another.
NOW YOU CAN FIND YOUR DOCUMENTS
What does your firm get from tagging. Well you can find documents very fast (e.g., while you’re on the phone with a client or in court). For law firms that matters. It improves efficiency and can even help you win a case!
DocMoto is a professional level document management system designed for law firms using Mac or that want to switch to Mac.
Tagging is just one of many features that attracts law firms to DocMoto. You can learn more about the features and benefits of this program at the following links:
- Explore all of DocMoto, which won TechnoLawyer’s TL NewsWire Top 25 Products of 2013 award. http://www.technolawyer.com/r.asp?L35253&M0
- These DocMoto videos show you how all the key features of DocMoto work — watch them on any device, including an iPad or iPhone. No registration is required. http://www.technolawyer.com/r.asp?L35254&M0
- Read case studies about how law firms are using DocMoto. Again, no registration required. http://www.technolawyer.com/r.asp?L35255&M0
- This case study in particular explains how improved searching really helped win a case. http://www.technolawyer.com/r.asp?L35256&M0