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There’s gold in alumni networks. It comes in the form of very real benefits to law firms and other professional services like management consulting and accounting. The following are probably the most desirable advantages:

Recruiting – When you are competing for talent, an active alumni network can be an advantage that helps tip the scale in your firm’s favor. In today’s economy and work environment, employment is not the long-term commitment or guarantee it once was, making alumni networks more attractive.

Staff Referrals – Alumni can be good referral sources to help you fill openings or gaps in skill sets or experience, not to mention the alumnus him/herself return to the firm.

Information Overload is not a new concept or even a recent phenomenon. As far back as the first century AD, Roman philosopher Seneca said that “the abundance of books is distraction” – although he said it much more poetically as “distringit librorum multitude”. The term “information overload” was penned in the 20th century, by American social scientist Bertram Myron Gross in his 1964 book, The Managing of Organizations: The Administrative Struggle. Then futurist Alvin Toffler expounded on the concept and included the phrase in his seminal work of 1970, Future Shock. Once an academic concept, Information Overload is now firmly planted in popular culture, not to mention a growing problem for individuals and organizations alike.

TMI – Too Much Information?

Information growth moves in lockstep with advances in technology. Some technologies, like the printing press and the photocopier, have had a profound impact; yet it’s the twin developments of digitization and the internet that are bringing warp speed to the process. Today, information overload has reached glut proportions, resulting in clever new descriptions like “infobesity” and “infoxication” among others.

I found Romney Whitehead’s recent blog post titled “Curation before Creation” both timely and very relevant for DAM pros across all business sectors. We are all dealing with too much in the way of digital media assets and work loads, and not enough in the way of money, time or other resources. Effective curation is a way to manage this dilemma. While her example was using photographs, effective curation could apply across any asset type. The DAM industry and technologies that support it have evolved from infancy to crawling through standing erect and striding. It’s no longer just about digitizing media assets. And, at the risk of alienating my media archive brethren, it’s clear that not all assets are valuable and not all of them should be treated the same. In a pure archive play with fixed costs, a much longer view, and a historical mandate, it may be a different case. For the commercial / business environment, we have to manage resources and be smart about our time and return on effort and investment.

Once the research is done and the data collected, the next task becomes one of reporting and communicating the findings. For that you need to capture the attention of your audience and be memorable. So increasingly, people are looking at data visualization tools for conveying their results graphically. Whether it’s a humble pie chart or a custom-designed infographic, the options seem to be endless. Chris Belter, one of LAC’s expert librarians working for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), recently gave a presentation titled “Dealing With Data From Research to Visualization” at the Computers in Libraries 2014 conference in Washington D.C. He discussed a select number of applications, websites and other resources that he recommends for data visualizations. I thought it would be helpful to share some of his recommendations. While short, this curated list offers a bit of something for everyone; so if you want to create data visualizations or simply learn more and see examples of what can be done, they're worth a look.

Online legal research servicesWhen it comes to legal research services and databases for Big Law, the two leading providers are Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis. Not too long ago, they were essentially the only players in the legal research game — but that was before the internet and the lure of Fast, Easy and often Free access to information online. Having recently touched on the differences between Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis, I thought it might be helpful to touch on the subject of low-cost and free legal research services and websites. We often get asked about less expensive options for gaining access to legal information, especially as it gets more difficult for law firms to recover the costs of these services. I have compiled a short list of six legal information resources on the internet today. This is by no means an exhaustive list; nor is it a recommendation to replace Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, Bloomberg or any other provider! In fact, those services continue to be a must-have legal information resource for many firms. Nonetheless, it is helpful to stay on top of other information options that are available to lawyers, firms and clients themselves.

When it comes to developing a Knowledge Management strategy, we can’t over-emphasize the importance of understanding your organization’s level of maturity. Since maturity is a key consideration, this article will share three KM maturity models that can help you develop or adapt the most effective strategy for meeting your goals and objectives. Each of them involve five levels that overlap and echo each other, but with different labels and other nuances.

The Knowledge Management (KM) process has been identified and mapped in a variety of nuanced ways, but it can be summarized in three basic steps: Collect, Codify and Share. Rather than offering another article or diagram on these three steps, we’re going to talk about a different set of three. Let's take a step back to look at the top 3 considerations when developing or revising your Knowledge Management strategy and plans. They will set you on the right path to maximize your investments and resources.

Phil Spiegel, Director of Digital Asset Management (DAM) Projects

Phil Spiegel, Director Digital Asset Management ProjectsPhil Spiegel should be on the top of any short list for experienced, objective Digital Asset Management consulting help. It’s why we hired him for the role at LAC Group! Phil delivers insights and advice based on more than 20 years of media archive and asset management experience from companies like National Geographic Television, Corbis Motion and Getty Images. He is one of the experts at LAC Group we thought you would like to know.

While Digital Asset Management database structure is important, other data management considerations are equally critical. Especially as the volume of, and applications for, visual and multimedia data like video, audio and photography continues to grow. The use of these files was once quite limited to experienced creative users working in news, publishing or advertising. These days, many large corporations and other organizations are facing a deluge of digital multimedia files being created and used by novice users of all kinds. Consequently, it’s becoming more of a challenge and a necessity to ensure that the data management is well-controlled and also delivers downstream benefits like automation, reporting and analytics. Whatever features are desired, a wide range of technology options are available, including cloud solutions and “lite” systems for more basic needs. Relational databases like SQL together with transport tools like XML can create powerful systems that make DAM databases really work across an enterprise content ecosystem.

As a niche application, evaluating software for Digital Asset Management (DAM) would seem to be a relatively easy undertaking. Yet a search of Capterra, a website that provides information on software applications across a number of market sectors, came up with nearly 180 results for “top digital asset management software”! So where do you start and how can you begin to reduce the range of choices to a manageable and best-suited few? The right selection will depend on a number of factors above and beyond the merits of any particular application.  Frankly, we would be reluctant to make off-the-cuff software or system recommendations without a clear understanding of the business needs and goals, project scope, technical considerations, user qualifications, distribution and other requirements.