Thanks for the feedback. Well here is some more , …hope the rave helps someone as I have been helped a lot by the mac community on line and DT on line.
There are two preliminary points. First when I refer to metadata I mean all data that is especially useful for searching other than the text in the document. So keywords , comments and tags are included in the definition as well as file names. This may be a slightly enlarged meaning from the term “metadata” used in DTpro menu of search choices. Second , I have used the nested folders system in a larger database but there is a strong argument for a single database on a big job where you need to navigate promptly “real time” as you can open the database alone and use all search tools available that will be singly devoted to searching that database. Again the flexibility here of DTpro come into its own as general spotlight searching cannot achieve this. Incidentally, in this case if you set up a workspace then set it up when the single database is open because if it is open with others when you go to the workspace later with only one database open the “open workspace” function (⌥⌘ x) will seek to re-open the other databases open at the time the workspace was created.
The metadata methodology for a courtroom context is driven by one major feature which is that other participants often only have paper and therefore the electronic referencing in your database must be a mirror of what their hardcopy looks like. So, if there is a bundle of technical documents filed as a bundle called “Common bundle- Technical Reports- vol 1” then a database subfolder needs to be created with the same name. If within each bundle reports are divided by numerically sequenced tabs then again the filename needs to include this. So it might be “tab3-Common Bundle-Technical reports-vol 1 -Roygard et al “Nitrogen cycle and groundwater N leaching” ” or some variation of that. The importance of getting the filename right is also that when you link to another rich text document (and possibly convert it to plain text for distribution) the linking function will reference the whole file name. If you set the file names up correctly you can then just add the page number to the link reference and everyone is using a common language for the source of the information.
In a court proceeding the court documents may be supplied by the party you are acting for or another. In the latter case the courts are (now) receptive to making directions for e-copies to be produced as well. In this case you want to be very specific (in writing) as to the directions you want down to grouping and file nomenclature and all pdfs OCR’d. Without that specificity the product can be next to useless.
Beyond this the metadata used is based on personal workflow. It may be that one file has a lot of sub-components that you want to easily access but are not reflected in the file name. Then tags highlighting these components are very useful when searching later rather than trying to remember where it is located. General text searching doesnt cut it here. As the DTpro pdf viewer doesnt show a “Table of Contents” this is especially important . This is a reason I use Preview sometimes when viewing. I also use comments to quote key extracts from smaller documents.
In an appellate context the “record” is static in that new evidence is not (generally) presented. Hence what you are doing is demonstrating what happened and why the answer gine by the lowere court was correct or valid or not. Hence my emphasis on the discovery of linking and rich text as a key method of using the database and computer to their full capacity rather than using paper.
When I am collating case data for the first time the metadata methodology is even more important as the data is “raw” and input for the first time is for the purpose of creating a repository that will later be collated in a variety of ways. In the past with paper I would put it into folders and read through the material making notes of documents. Then every time I came back to the case I was relying largely on memory and the ordering and management of the material was no more advanced. So I have started to be more systematic only because I can see the benefits with my knowledge of DTpro. That method means having a plan and often communicating that to the person doing the leg work ie scanning and inputting.
Below is the framework for a sheet I put in the front of each hardcopy document to be scanned ( I do not know how to upload the pdf page on to the forum although I have uploaded it as an attachment Im not sure how to embed it but plainly that can be done). It is a work in progress but it tells the inputter what to put into the metadata fields. The date is the date given to the “date created” field in the open metadata system used by macs etc ( see file info(⌥⌃I)). The importance of this is that sorting based on “date created” is easy use the DTpro “sort” function. I use a priority number with say 5 levels, P1 being the highest. This helps when you want to refresh your memory on the key materials. You can use it to create a smart group as well based on meeting certain criteria eg P1 or P2. Same with keywords.
Doc No :
Folder Name :
Date Author Keywords Comments Filename Priority Number
Filename : Doc#-folder name-date-description-P#
Date format : eg 21 July 2012
P# = priority number
Contemporaneously I use a nice timeline program called “Timeline 3D” where I input data into its data fields to get a graphical overview of key events.This software has entry fields including a url linking field. You can later use the DT urls to fill this in once the data enters the database. So when you go to an event on the timeline you can press the link icon and open the pdf viewer in DT. The 3D file is OPML and sits nicely in DTpro. An example of awesome integration that you get on a mac.
All of this takes a little time and I acknowledge is tedious but one organised “sweep” at the start sets you up permanently to work intelligently with the material.Tedious to me is having to rely on memory and paper time and time again.
I use the annotation template a lot to prepare cross examination of a witness as the witness statement and the annotation are linked at the hip allowing seamless to-ing and fro-ing. In addition the annotation template is rich text enabling linking to other documents that I want to put to the witness.
When I was young(er) (1985) I worked in London in a large corporate law firm. I was working with an Australian ( later lifetime friend) on a case involving re-insurance fraud by some Lloyd underwriters on an American insurer. We had a room full of paper to collate and it was frankly time consuming and wasteful of resources. At the time I spoke to the senior partner about software to speed everything up. It went no where. Now almost 30 years late amazingly, I stumble( having years in the wilderness of paper) on macs and DTpro. The latter has all the tools needed to not only manage the data but use it in a courtroom. All for what , US $150? It makes data management available and affordable to the small guy/gal and that can only help to improve the delivery and administration of justice. Having recently done an expensive computer/server upgrade largely to support trust accounting and other windows base software for the commercial side of the office I know value when I see it. And it cant even do this stuff which is part of my core business. My son is at law school in Wellington and DTpro was my gift to him.
Thanks also to the DT business owners for doing lots of upgrades and only charging when there is a major step change in the software as promised in their business values statement.