PDF conversion, OCR and loading documents or e-mail
It doesn’t get any simpler!
It doesn’t get any simpler!
Documents are at the heart of your work and being able to efficiently load existing documents, and effortlessly manage new documents as you create them, is essential. MasterFile’s unique document repository is designed to manage both evidence which is generally static and work product such as correspondence, pleadings, reports, etc. that is often also revised
As we explain in our post Managing litigation and work-product: Are two systems really needed just to manage my documents?, MasterFile’s unique repository gives it many unique advantages, the most important of which is dramatic simplification and ease of use compared to using two separate document systems.
One area where this is especially apparent is getting any kind of document, or batches of documents, into MasterFile. You don’t need to learn how to use two systems, i.e. how to load documents in a litigation support system and also in a document management system. Whether you have to load new or existing work product, or new or existing evidentiary documents, in MasterFile, the process the same:
In this article we cover:
The Watch Folder Monitor — for loading new documents or work-product
The E-mail Loader — for loading Notes/Outlook e-mail or Notes databases in PDF format
Express Load — for bulk loading documents using one of its three modes — Power Assist (for small batches), Batch Load (for medium batches and rapid loading) or CSV Mode (for large batches, load files or other special situations).
The Watch Folder Monitor is designed to automatically load documents into MasterFile as you create them with your word processor or other applications. However, besides using the watch folder for new documents you create, you’ll also find the Watch Folder Monitor invaluable to quickly load paper documents received and scanned each day into the appropriate MasterFile case file databases.
Simply create your documents as usual and save them to the watch folder (or drag and drop existing or scanned files into it). Every few seconds, MasterFile, monitors the folder for new documents, and if any are found, the “Watch folder alert” dialogue box, shown below, is automatically displayed.
Clicking “OK” will create and open a new document profile pre-loaded with the document file along with a PDF version of the file, if found, and any OCR text. This makes the Watch Folder monitor ideal for quickly loading new mail received into any database after it’s been scanned and processed by MasterFile’s Evidence Cruncher.
Although we’ve explained above how the Watch Folder Monitor works, our short video “Document Management — Real DM you can understand” shows it in action.
With the E-mail Loader, you and your colleagues can load e-mail from your own e-mail boxes thereby all e-mail relevant to a case can be kept and shared with all other case documents already in the MasterFile repository. In addition, the e-mail loader can load e-mail from other e-mail boxes, such as those provided by your client or opposing counsel as part of an e-discovery request, etc.
MasterFile’s E-mail Loader is very similar to Express Load but instead of loading document files it is designed to let you load Outlook or Notes e-mail, individually, selectively or in-bulk (as explained below in this article), into MasterFile databases.
Although primarily used to load e-mails, the E-mail Loader can be used to bulk or selectively load the contents of any Lotus Notes database, such as those provided in response to e-discovery requests. Notes documents are converted to PDF format to preserve the native Notes appearance.
As shown below, the E-mail loader lets you select the specific messages to load from a mail box’s folder. Notice how values for document profile fields such as date, document type, author (from), recipient, CC, etc., are all obtained from the e-mail and filled automatically. The original appearance of the e-mails loaded is preserved by converting it to PDF format and loading the PDF document. For Outlook, an MSG version of the e-mail is also loaded. In addition, the e-mail’s text is loaded into the “OCR/Transcript /Full Text of Document” section of the document profile from where you can create extracts, facts, etc. For each e-mail, meta-data such as delivery information, is also loaded.
E-mail attachments are extracted and stored with the e-mail or in their own profiles with doc-links between the attachments and source document to preserve the e-mail/attachment relationship and also click back and forth between e-mails and attachments.
MasterFile’s Express Load lets you use one easy to use tool to bulk load evidentiary documents or work product/work in progress. We suggest you also read our article, How to load your first case file’s documents into MasterFile, to learn how to organize the work flow around loading your documents.
Express Load processes document files by directory. Simply set defaults for profile fields where appropriate. Complete the few remaining fields as MasterFile processes the directory and MasterFile automatically creates a document profile for each file processed.
Express Load has three modes to load small, medium and large document batches (explained below), depending how you want MasterFile to complete any remaining required profile fields for which you did not pre-set any defaults.
Bulk Loading Mode 1: Power Assist Mode for small batches
Express Load and the E-mail Loader both feature Power Assist Mode and it operates similarly in both cases. Express Load is described here.
In Power Assist mode, you manually complete the remaining required fields as each document is processed. This mode is useful when adding small batches of new documents on a regular basis, such newly arrived mail which is scanned each day.
Shown below, in the grey panel, are Express Load’s Power Assist mode settings. To begin loading, simply select a directory with the documents to be loaded and set a few options to control processing.
In the green panel, we see details about the current file from the directory — its name, whether it has an associated OCR or PDF file, and how it will be brought into the database. You have the option to view the file or skip it.
Once settings have been specified, simply click on the “Settings” title to collapse them out of the way, as shown below, and begin semi-automated, rapid loading of scanned document images, evidentiary documents, work product, work in progress, etc.
To load a file, simply complete the “Required Information” fields shaded pink and click “OK” (the button is outside the screen area shown). Express Load creates a new document profile, loads the document file and advances to the next file in the directory. Other profile fields, not shown above, are optional and you may complete as many or as few of them as you require.
Notice also in the screen above, all required fields except one are already filled. Express Load allows you to preset default values if you know the batch has similar documents. In the above example, we are loading a batch of scanned correspondence from Alfred Jones (of our firm) to Jim Lipton, with all the hardcopy originals filed in the same paper folder. Therefore, the fields are preset with these default values. Furthermore, whenever a document file name is prefixed with the document date, as shown above, the date field is automatically filled in.
Now, Power Assisted document loading is as fast and easy as it can be: simply complete the summary field and click “OK”. That’s it. Each time you click “OK” the file is loaded and Express Load advances to the next file in the directory, pre-fills the default values and again waits for you to complete the next summary.
Although we’ve explained above how Express and the E-mail loaders’ Power Assist mode works, see our short videos to see them in action.
Express Load’s Power Assist mode: It’s innovative. It’s fast. And only MasterFile has it.
Bulk Loading Mode 2: Batch Load Mode for medium batches and rapid loading
Although we describe below Batch Load Mode in Express Load, both Express Load and the E-mail Loader feature Power Assist Mode and it operates similarly in both cases.
Batch Load mode is useful to rapidly load documents without filling out all required profile information. You’ll find this technique useful to rapidly load existing work-product and work in progress stored on your servers or workstations.
Simply set default values for fields where possible, specify how many files to load and any remaining required profile fields will be filled automatically by MasterFile with standard internal values and the profiles created without any further assistance from you. MasterFile will also complete each profile’s summary description with the original file path and name, so you can locate the document easily, until the profile’s fields are completed.
To get the maximum benefit from Batch File Mode and reduce the amount of clean up try and sort your documents in batches to allow you to set as many default field values before loading. For example, you could group first by case file ID then as correspondence and finally as “from John Smith” and this enable you to specify default values for document type and author fields.
Express Load’s Batch Load Mode: When you’re in a real hurry and need everything loaded into MasterFile — now!
Bulk Loading Mode 3: CSV File Load Mode for large batches
CSV File Load Mode is only available in Express Load, not the E-mail loader.
A CSV file (comma separated value) is simply a plain text load file in which each line has the profile data (document date, type, author, file name, etc.) for one document separated by commas. CSV files can be created by many applications, including Excel. In CSV file mode, MasterFile loads as many files from the CSV file as you specify. This mode is designed for loading large batches of documents with full profile information or documents scanned and indexed by third party service bureaux. It can also be used to revise profile data of documents already loaded in MasterFile (perhaps to correct errors or update production history). Please refer to the MasterFile documentation for the full description of valid formatting of CSV file data.
Below, in the grey panel, are Express Load’s CSV File Load settings. As with Power Assist mode, simply select a document directory, set a few options to control processing and select the CSV file to begin.
MasterFile’s interactive, visual field mapping tool, shown below, lets you quickly map CSV data to document profile fields and verify profile information and the mapping is correct before beginning file processing.
In the screen shot above, we see on the right the data items from the current line in the CSV file. On the left, we see the MasterFile fields the data is mapped to. To make a correction, simply make the correct choice from the pop up field lists.
Before actual loading begins, you can step through the CSV file line by line to see that the mapping is correct, or that the data is as it will appear in document profiles, as shown below. If necessary, simply click “View current file” to double check anything.
As with Power Assist mode, you can skip lines from the CSV file or load just a few files at time.
Although we’ve explained above how Express Load’s CSV File Load mode works, view our short video and see it in action.
Note that in both Batch Load and CSV File Load modes, MasterFile uses standard internal values for required profile fields without values. Profiles missing required field values appear in the “by Issue/Topic” views where they can be selected and missing field values quickly completed using MasterFile’s easy to use, visual, maintenance tools: “Global Replace”, “Global add/remove” and “Power Assisted Revision”.
Express Load’s CSV Mode: Bulk loading documents has never been so painless.
MasterFile makes a collaborative case analysis and evidence management platform for lawyers and litigators. Everything that matters is right at your fingertips in an intelligent system built for simple document management or complex litigation that transforms your practice.