Like Law? Revel in Hearings Online

September 25, 2009

I am delighted that I don’t have to wrestle with the bottom-line at Westlaw or LexisNexis. In the gold old days, these companies had few competitors. Now the world is awash with legal information and the river of data surged recently if the report in Ars Technica is accurate. The article “Federal Courts Now Offer Hearings Online as MP3 Files” makes clear that this potentially useful stream of information is now making recordings of hearings available for $0.16. I am pretty sure that the cost will fluctuate over time, but the info is available. Suppose your download some of these audio files. Then what? Are you going to listen to hours of lousy audio? No me, grasshopper. I would turn to one of the tools that convert audio into searchable text. My weapon of choice comes from Exalead in Paris. If you are not familiar with this system, take a look at Voxalead. Audio and video data are searchable. When a hit comes up, a click plays the segment in which the term is recognized. BBN had a system, but with names changes and acquisitions, I have lost track of that technology. I suppose the for fee services will offer a searchable service, but for me the surcharge of these giant outfits is not for me.

Stephen Arnold, September 25, 2009


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