Monday, March 03, 2003
My print copy of the ABA Journal arrived today, and, in addition to the article on Lawyers Who Blawg discussed here, Jason Krause did another great piece on the Web and legal research (Netting Information: It's Not All We Promised, But the Web Still Has Plenty to Offer). It includes this pithy observation: "Sometimes ambitious (or over-caffeinated) employees take it upon themselves to create a blog, either for the firm's own internal use or as a service accessible to the general public." (I'd add "visionary" to that litany of adjectives, but hey, that's just me.) Steven Cohen's segment goes a long way toward introducing the (ever diminishing) non-blogging segment of the legal profession to the power of RSS:
Cohen is a proponent of RSS feeds, or the Rich Site Summary format [ed.: or as many including Dave Winer put it, Really Simple Syndication]. Most major news sites and a growing number of legal sites have RSS built in, which means that lawyers can sign up to get news from these sites fed to them through free newsreader software that can be installed on any computer.
RSS feeds are available from many major legal Web sites, major news services like CNN and most legal Web logs. Just look on a site for a link or button that says XML.
To use these services, you will need to download a newsreader program. These programs are like a Web browser and e-mail inbox combined. When you launch the program on your computer, it opens a list of articles found on the Web that meet your criteria. Clicking on one of the headlines brings up the article in a browser window.
"I'm not going to tell lawyers to subscribe to 200 news feeds and try to make sense of it all," says Cohen. "But three to four feeds that pertain to them, specifically fed to one aggregator, ought to be a manageable level of information." [Links added]
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