Ten years ago, organizations looking to improve online access to their legal material were faced with the requirement to either adopt a generic product designed for non-legal documents, or to invest heavily in a bespoke solution. Many such legacy solutions are still in place today, although they have become somewhat outdated. Legal research is more sophisticated than it used to be. Users now expect hyperlinked citations, note up features, full text searching that supports stemming and auto-complete, the capacity to annotate and store relevant material, or getting alerted when updates become available.
If you have recently looked at ways of upgrading access to a database of legal information online, you might have already realized that most publishing solutions available on the market come bundled in suites incorporating corresponding authoring solutions. These solutions require your data be created in a specific format, and that archives be migrated to that format. This can result in a lengthy overhaul of processes throughout your entire organization instead of a simple and effective solution to enhancing your website.
There many reasons why you may want to improve publishing without changing how you draft and operate internally, but a common one is not having control over the authoring process. At Lexum, we have been facing this exact situation for over 25 years. Since we publish legislation, case law, and secondary material produced by hundreds of different sources in varying formats, we have adapted our publishing technology to whatever is submitted.
Our adaptive approach has provided our products with the following characteristics:
Flexible Input File Types
Lexum’s products can be fed from a wide-range of file types generated by word-processors (MS-Word, WordPerfect, OpenOffice), text-based files (.txt, .rtf, .html), structured formats (XML, DITA), and PDF (with OCR or not). In contrast to most CMS requiring a considerable amount of copy/pasting of content, files are updated via a quick and effective drag-and-drop and converted on-the-fly. Bulk updates can also be implemented via APIs.
Recognition of Internal File Structure When Available
Lexum’s products use the structure already available in source files to build navigation features such as table of contents, paragraph anchors, or footnote popups. The structure is extracted from different elements based on the input file type: styles in MS-Word files, bookmarks in PDF files, or tags in XML files. No additional tagging is required. Unstructured files can be published as is.
Automatic Extraction of Metadata Values
Lexum’s Autofill feature parses the body of legal documents and automatically extracts the values of standard metadata fields, such as titles, citations, dates, etc. It enables you to implement advanced field searching without investing the time and effort required to manually extract this information from your documents.
White Label Integration
Our products are not only compatible with your current processes, they are also compatible with any website. Simply create a sub-domain for your legal information database (ex: docs.mydomain.com), direct it to Lexum’s servers, and we take care of blending in your graphical environment. No need to replace your CMS, no custom code required, and no IT security issue involved.
The point is that if you are under the impression that enhancing the portion of your organization’s website or intranet dedicated to legal information is a major project involving dramatic changes in your operations, we would like to show you otherwise. We have become experts at processing tens of thousands of legal documents of varying file types, templates, and formats in only a few weeks. We deliver turn-key systems that are ready for self-publishing. We can even take care of ongoing publishing on your behalf.