For large collections of documents, law departments can improve on indices and search tools. If the documents have meta-tags, which capture their higher-level attributes, it is easier to find related documents, manage them such as under retention policies, connect them to other information such as comments, and link them to processes.
All desirable, but to get busy employees to add meta-tags manually becomes very hard, according to KMWorld, April 2011 at S13. Software developers, not surprisingly, offer tools that automate the creation and maintenance of meta-tags.
Metatags can’t be just any old attributes not can terms wander all over. A taxonomy helps assure that information is classified consistently. One person’s “class action” can’t be another person’s “law suit” and a third person’s “litigation.” Matter management systems create taxonomies through fields and drop down selections.
In other posts I have nibbled at taxonomies (See my post of Oct. 20, 2005: knowledge taxonomies; Nov. 28, 2005: Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy of cognition; March 16, 2006: no taxonomy of law-department concepts for managers; April 7, 2006: taxonomic invoice review; April 23, 2006: UTBMS is a taxonomy; Nov. 2, 2006: none for law department processes and initiatives; June 5, 2007: hard to create a structure for corporate policies; March 24, 2008: a proposed taxonomy for law department management concepts; and March 19, 2009: taxonomy of matter types.).
Ontologies, to finish the trio of terms, help employees to understand better the information in a document collection. They are higher level than taxonomies, I gather, and among other benefits create maps that show relationships among documents (See my post of March 6, 2007: ontologies and search methods.).