Thursday, September 07, 2006

Project Ideas

Both my user class and KMS class require a major culminating effort, in one case a project (done in a group) and in the other, a research paper. I'm beginning to see how my research paper could really be the basis for another project, and a project that actually works into a backburner project I've been wanting to take on for some time -- the redesign of the Copyright Crash Course into something more interactive, more designed to pass on more of the subtleties of how one practices copyright law. I can see a sort of knowledge management system for lawyers that would aid the process of bringing those new to the practice along by leveraging the knowledge and processes of established practitioners. So it focuses on KMS, but also on designing a service for different kinds of users.

My reading today makes a really great point: that expecting people to peruse repositories of information in their spare time or share with others in their leisure is unrealistic. You have to integrate knowledge management into the work process. It has to just be a part of what you do for every matter you handle. Just dumping answers into a directory on your computer and hoping someone will take the time to read them doesn't pass on anything.

I talked with Carlos Ovalle yesterday and he suggested that the focus at first just needs to be on what the new site would do. Functionality. I don't need to think about software or platforms at this stage -- just what I want people to be able to do with the site and the information on it (both as users of the info and contributors to it). For example, one thing I really want it to be able to do is enable discussions about different outcomes when two attorneys undertake a fair use analysis and come to different conclusions -- not the long-winded rambling esoterica of a law school debate, but rather, a candid look at how one came to one's conclusion, what one assessed, what one didn't assess, what one gave short shrift to, what one assumed away, etc. I've seen conversations go on and on discussing some result when it seemed to me that because of some fact in the scenario they were discussing, none of the points of view were really relevant. There was the one fact, not noticed, that totally undermined each person's analysis. If that kind of thing is discussed, it might go a long way towards helping both lawyers and their clients understand the subtleties and get better results.

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