Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ABA Blawg Services Updated

On May 28, 2008, I received an email message from the American Bar Association's Journal entitled "You're in the ABA Journal's new blawg search", which explained its upgraded online services regarding the 1,800 law-related "blawgs" in its catalog, which includes this Blog.

I noted the ABA's entrance into legal blog sites & materials previously in a posting "ABA Adds Law Blawgs List & Feeds" (08/03/07). The ABA Journal's online "blawg" facilities are open to the public, not limited to members.

This EE&F Law Blog remains categorized by the ABA Journal under these headings:

Two of the four upgrades appeal to me immediately; and I will investigate the other two.

Blawg Search: We've partnered with Justia, the leading legal information portal, to create a search engine covering all of the 1,800-plus blogs in our directory -- including yours. It's like Google for lawyers, pinpointing in an instant the most sophisticated and up-to-date commentary by legal professionals on any topic. Use the search box at the top of any of our pages (including our homepage), and on the search results page click on the "Blawg Results" tab. Plus you can subscribe to an RSS feed of any search to follow the results in your feed reader.

News Widget: Now you can add continuously updated ABA Journal headlines to your blog or to personalized pages like iGoogle or Netvibes with our news widget. We're posting 25 to 50 fresh stories every business day, so you're sure to deliver the latest breaking legal news to your readers. * * *

Twitter Feed: Are you using Twitter, the most popular microblogging platform? Then you can integrate our headlines into your personal Twitter page. Dozens of lawyers already have.

Facebook Page: If you're a member of Facebook, one of the most popular social networking sites, you can become a fan of the ABA Journal. Our Facebook page features our latest headlines, recent covers, and special announcements. * * * [Some links added.]

I tested the first upgrade that I find useful -- the Blawg Search feature -- by entering the word "aging" into the text box at the top of the ABA Journal's Home Page identified as "Search ABA Journal and blawgs". The results displayed, in the third returned reference, this Blog's posting from yesterday, which used that term frequently.

By default, the results are first compiled for the
ABA Journal's own "Site Results" separately. Only by selecting the button "Blawg Results" will that entered search term(s) be applied to the cataloged blogs.

Results are displayed chronologically, identifying the source, date, link, and related text found. Relevancy is not ranked, however. Such a search function, then, is not the equal of a "Google" search, which does consider relevancy, quality of the site, and other secret, but very effective, search factors to arrive at results more intelligently than a mere text search.

Still, for seeing who used a word in what context recently, the simple text search mechanism is fast & uncluttered.

The other upgrade that I found interesting -- the News Feed -- is the ABA Journal's live feed of its site content in a summary of headlines with links. As an experiment, I added it to the right column of this Blog, and will evaluate its usefulness. Initially, it appears to slow the loading of this site's webpages, which concerns me. If that delay is a burden, I will remove it, and simply add a prominent link to the ABA Journal site instead. Thus, any feedback as to substance or site useability would be appreciated.

As to the two other upgraded features, I'll put them on my "to do" list as "C" items to consider someday.

But clearly, the ABA and the ABA Journal are out in front on these technological advancements to benefit the legal profession and the public.