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Home | Seminars and Symposia | Past seminars/symposia: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DTC Leading Edge Seminar Series

Combining Advanced Technology and Human Expertise in Legal Research

by

Khalid Al-Kofahi
VP R&D Thomson Reuters

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
3:30 p.m. reception
4:00 p.m. seminar

401/402 Walter Library

Al-KofahiThe talk summarizes some recent thinking in the field of data-driven vertical search and illustrates it in the context of a new version of Westlaw, called WestlawNext. For many years, legal researchers relied on various links, classifications, synopsis and other annotations provided by legal information providers to aid in the browsing and reading of cases, statutes and other material. In the case of Westlaw, some of this meta-data (e.g., classification) existed for more than 120 years. However, until recently, such meta-data were not used to inform the search algorithms in any interesting fashion. In other words, the editorial enhancements of our in-house editors improved the navigational experience of Westlaw users, but really did nothing to make documents more findable through the normal query process. In developing WestlawNext, we attempted to capture these editorial enhancements and other textual and non-textual clues such as citation networks, query logs, user-system interactions, and analytical content. We explain our method for combining these heterogeneous information sources into the search algorithms and discuss other solution components designed to make content more findable. The talk summarizes some recent thinking in the field of data-driven vertical search and illustrates it in the context of a new version of Westlaw, called WestlawNext. For many years, legal researchers relied on various links, classifications, synopsis and other annotations provided by legal information providers to aid in the browsing and reading of cases, statutes and other material. In the case of Westlaw, some of this meta-data (e.g., classification) existed for more than 120 years. However, until recently, such meta-data were not used to inform the search algorithms in any interesting fashion. In other words, the editorial enhancements of our in-house editors improved the navigational experience of Westlaw users, but really did nothing to make documents more findable through the normal query process. In developing WestlawNext, we attempted to capture these editorial enhancements and other textual and non-textual clues such as citation networks, query logs, user-system interactions, and analytical content. We explain our method for combining these heterogeneous information sources into the search algorithms and discuss other solution components designed to make content more findable.

 

Khalid Al-Kofahi heads corporate research and development for Thomson Reuters, and has been a member of the research team at Thomson Reuters since 1995. Khalid's primary responsibilities include managing the group research portfolio, collaborating with business and technology partners on the development of new products, providing technical consulting on relevant technologies, and the design and development of large-scale information technology solutions for the professional markets. Khalid's research interests include information retrieval, document classification, recommender systems, natural language processing, information extraction and computer vision. Khalid holds a Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, U.S.; a M.S. from Rochester Institute of Technology, U.S., both in Computer Engineering; and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan.