In Part I of this two-part interview, Jason Wilson, legal blogger and vice president, Jones McClure Publishing, asks Mike Dahn, senior vice president, WestlawNextMarketing & New Initiative Development at Thomson Reuters, to discuss common misconceptions about WestlawNext, including “crowdsourcing” as it relates to the WestlawNext search algorithm.

So does Thomson Reuters “crowdsource” for WestlawNext development? Dahn explained, “We don’t actually ask our customers – or make open calls to the public – to work on WestSearch algorithm improvements. I’m not trying to denounce crowdsourcing as a concept. It’s just not what we do with WestSearch.”

Customer usage patterns are integrated into Westsearch, and Dahn explains: “It’s important to keep three things in mind: customer usage patterns are just a feature of our algorithms – they don’t represent the core of the algorithms; because WestlawNext is a full-featured research application, we have a much richer source of usage information than most search engines, including Google; and since usage information has been used in search engines for well over a decade, the science for dealing with popularity issues is well developed.”

Will WestlawNext deliver the most esoteric on-point documents? Is there still more to be added to the discussion about Boolean and Natural Language search?

Learn more at rethinck.

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