About MasterFile

About PDF files, OCR, Imaging, Scanning and E-discovery

About Lotus Notes

 

 

Which kind of cases files or projects is MasterFile designed for -- large or small?

    Both!

    Although, MasterFile has been specifically designed to allow rapid and cost efficient deployment for small and medium sized litigation or project files between 100 and 50,000 documents, MasterFile's technology scales to handle litigation or project case files with approximately 500,000* pages of documents and multiple users/offices in different geographic areas.

    *Actual number depends on compression of contents.

 

Do I need to switch my whole organization to MasterFile to use it?
What's the best way to incorporate MasterFile into our cases and investigations?

 

What is the CaseMap importer and how does it work?

    The CaseMap® Importer is designed to help CaseMap users quickly move their CaseMap 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 cases to MasterFile's integrated document and fact repository.

    A CaseMap case file is a collection of over a dozen "spreadsheets" such as the following:

    • the fact spreadsheet which holds details about a fact, its event dates, sources, etc.,
    • an issues spreadsheet where issues relevant to the case are set out and summarized,
    • various object spread sheets to hold details about people, organizations, documents, etc., relevant to the case.

    Due to limitations in CaseMap each spreadsheet must be individually exported as  in CPF (CaseMap Portable Format) and CSV (comma separated value) formatted reports using CaseMap's "Export" function.

    The CaseMap Importer, shown below, maps the various exported spreadsheets to MasterFile's simplified and logical organization of Documents, Extracts, Facts, Player and Issue/Topics, as explained in detail in the following Just the Facts article:

 

Can I create my own lists of document types, issues, players, etc?

    Yes.

    MasterFile lets you create your own pick-lists for filling field values with consistent values. You can create pick-lists for:

    • players (complete with comprehensive profiles),
    • document types and categories to group them by,
    • issues as a three level hierarchical outline,
    • etc.

 

Can MasterFile be used over the Internet by remote offices or users?

 

Do you have to be connected to the internet or the office network to use MasterFile?

 

What software do I need to use MasterFile over the Internet?

    MasterFile is not a "browser-based" product. When you're on the road, you use the Lotus Notes workstation software to either connect to the Notes/Domino server just as you do when you're in the office or to work off-line with a replica of the MasterFile database on your notebook computer. Nothing else is needed.

    There are many advantages and reasons why MasterFile only uses the Notes workstation software. For example:

    • You have full, unrestricted MasterFile functionality and access to all your documents, extracts and facts even when you're off-line and not connected to the Internet -- on a plane, in a court room or at a client's office, for example. You don't need to be in a "mission critical" situation as suggested by some solutions.
    • Using MasterFile and Notes costs less than other solutions' SaaS/web based or "Internet" technologies. No extra hardware or software to buy, set-up, train and support. No escalating monthly costs. Hosted MasterFile is another option to consider with clear advantages over SaaS solutions.

      Notes costs $139 per user, in single user quantities, including the server software. Students and faculty at qualified academic institutions may register to use Notes without charge. Click here for more information regarding the IBM Academic Initiative.

      Click here to download a 90 day Notes trial or click here to buy Notes on-line from our website.
    • It takes just a few minutes to give co-counsel, or your clients, secure access to MasterFile or limited portions of the database, keep their own replica copies, and have it all automatically kept up to date with Notes' replication technology. See next question and answer.
    • Notes' robust security mechanisms, private/public key authentication and encryption continue to work transparently - you have nothing new to learn or support.
    • Your technology staff don't have other software, databases and related technology to maintain, support and trouble shoot for Internet access, which keeps your system and support staff costs down.

    For more information about MasterFile's support for mobile users and as compared to other leading litigation support and document management systems see:

 

Can I give limited database access to third parties such as co-counsel or clients?

    Yes.

    You can either give them access to the MasterFile database itself, restricting what documents, extracts and facts they can do or see, or use Notes replication to create a replica which contains a limited set of documents, extracts and facts and just give them that database on CD, provide them limited access to your Domino Server, or use Hosted MasterFile for them.

    To access MasterFile, co-counsel or your clients will need the Lotus Notes workstation software. With over 145,000,000 Notes users its quite likely they may already be using Notes. However, if not, using MasterFile costs less than other solutions' web based or other licenses or "Internet" technologies (see previous FAQ answer). Click here to download a 90 day Notes trial or click here to buy Notes on-line from our website.

 

How does MasterFile handle large document sets?

    MasterFile has been designed and priced specifically for small workgroups or the single user with small/medium sized litigation or research projects with 100 to 50,000 documents. It scales easily to handle cases or projects with 500,000* pages of documents and up to 40gb.

    To handle larger document sets you can split bulky digital evidence such as audio/video segments or logical groups into their own databases as explained in:
    Keeping documents or bulky digital data in separate databases

    When data sets involve millions of documents, typically e-mail boxes, the majority of these, often up to 90%, are irrelevant and non-responsive. A specialized tool like Clearwell's E-Discovery Platform, can be used to cull the irrelevant material. The remaining responsives can be simply exported with a CSV load file or, if e-mails, as new PST or Lotus Notes mail boxes and loaded into MasterFile using Express Load for detailed review and case analysis.

    * Actual number depends on compression of contents.

 

What are MasterFile's system requirements?

    Click here for MasterFile system requirements.

    Click here for USB MasterFile system requirements.

    Click here for the Evidence Cruncher requirements.

    Click here for the C-Pen OCR Scanner requirements.

 

How does MasterFile handle native format e-discovery documents?
Can MasterFile convert and standardize all my documents into PDF format?
I do not have Adobe® Acrobat®, can I still make PDF files?
Can MasterFile OCR my image documents so I can search them?
Does MasterFile include imaging software or do I need to buy imaging software?

    MasterFile's Load 'n Go E-Discovery Platform lets you quickly load, cull and review documents and e-mail directly in native format.

    MasterFile's optional Evidence Cruncher lets you convert and OCR evidentiary files of 30 widely used desktop applications, including Word, Excel, scanned document images, etc. into industry standard searchable PDF -- a process we call "crunching". You can then view these "image over text" PDF files in Acrobat. The OCR or PDF text is also loaded directly into MasterFile so you use it to make extracts, for example. For more information on the Evidence Cruncher, loading documents, PDF conversion and OCR generation see our article:

    Note that individual documents or web pages can also be converted to PDF, and their text extracted (not OCRed) using MasterFile's free professional PDF printer driver which allows users to make PDF documents from any application.

    MasterFile does not use proprietary imaging software; instead it lets you standardize your evidence in the widely used PDF standard.

    Scanners come with software that creates TIF or PDF format documents directly. For low volumes (several hundred pages per day), we recommend the Fujitsu ScanSnap (see below). The ScanSnap comes with a free copy of the full Adobe Acrobat product as an added bonus.

 

What is the C-Pen OCR Scanner?

    Think of the C-Pen as a highlighter that lets you scan and OCR sentences and paragraphs directly from paper into MasterFile Document or Extract Profiles without having to scan and OCR entire documents -- a unique capability only available in MasterFile. Once in MasterFile, the extracts can be assigned issues, searched, etc. just like any other document or extract.

    The C-Pen weighs just 1.6oz and is powered by the USB port it plugs into. Scanning/OCR speed is about the same as using a yellow highlighter. The OCR text is fed into the extract or document profile at the cursor location, just as though you typed it in yourself.

 

Isn't MasterFile only for Lotus Notes users?

    No!

    Lotus Notes is just a database technology -- not an e-mail system -- and so it's simply used to store information, like any other database. For example, if you find a software product that uses SQL you don't hear it said "that software is only for SQL users"! Instead, if the product was valuable to your business, you'd simply start using SQL! Notes is no different -- it's just another application or database system you use like Microsoft Word or Access. And Notes is a simple 2 minute install: view our short video tutorial "Installing Lotus Notes" -- it'll take you through an actual installation, step by step.

 

What is Lotus Notes?

    Lotus Notes is a unique collaborative database technology designed for text and other qualitative information common to litigation, investigations and research projects. It is the industry leader in collaboration and knowledge management. One application that uses Notes' database technology is Notes e-mail. However, with over 145,000,000 e-mail users, it's not surprising many people think of Lotus Notes as an e-mail program. MasterFile uses only Notes' database technology and there is no need to change your existing e-mail system.

    The Notes database technology has been used to create thousands of business applications. For example, a human resource system, a transcription systems for the health industry and a system for global chemical manufacturers to monitor regulatory compliance are just three of the many thousands of business applications which use the Notes database technology listed on Lotus' website.

    In fact even Adobe, the developers of Acrobat, use Lotus Notes for their Support Knoweldgebases. (Click on the link and notice the ".NSF" extension within the URL -- that indicates that the a Notes Domino server is presenting the information to you in your browser from a Lotus Notes NSF database!)

    Domino is a quiet workhorse with over 145,000,000 e-mail users and comparable market share to Microsoft, but rarely gets adverse publicity, unlike regular press alerts about security breaches in other e-mail systems.

 

Will we have to change our e-mail system to Lotus Notes mail to use MasterFile?

    No!

    MasterFile works with Outlook just fine and is not just for "Notes users"! MasterFile only uses Notes' unique database technology just like other applications use SQL or Access -- and they're not for "SQL" users only either! MasterFile does take full advantage of Notes or Outlook e-mail to let litigation or investigative teams using MasterFile collaborate with each other effortlessly and efficiently.

    Domino is a quiet workhorse with over 145,000,000 e-mail users and comparable market share to Microsoft, but rarely gets adverse publicity, unlike regular press alerts about security breaches in other e-mail systems.

    To read more about why MasterFile uses the Lotus Notes database technology see the next question below and also: Why does MasterFile use the Lotus Notes database?

 

Isn't Notes expensive and won't we need a consultant to help us?

    No.

    Domino Collaboration Express, the full Notes product priced specifically for small organizations, costs just $139 per user, in single user quantities, including server software if needed. In fact using MasterFile and Notes costs less than all other competitive solutions. And students and faculty at qualified academic institutions may register to use Notes without charge. Click here and expand the Academic Section for more information regarding IBM's Academic Initiative.

    Notes is designed so a consultant is not required for installation. View our short videos "Installing Lotus Notes" and "Installing Lotus Domino Server" and see how easy it is to install both Notes and its Domino server -- they'll take you through an actual installation of each, step by step.

    Hosted Services (MFHS) is an alternative fast and easy deployment option. MFHS include MasterFile, support, upgrades and mobile access for only $2/day/user (in 5 user packages) ... that's less than a cup of coffee! A low initial investment, no need to acquire hardware and software, -- or buy on-going upgrades, customer support and maintenance, -- plus freed up resources, add up to long term cost savings. No in-house server required!

    In April 2004, Network Computing awarded Domino its Editor's Choice Award, specifically mentioning Domino server's ease of set-up: "Our base installation of Domino server went quickly and smoothly. Pop the CD into the server, answer a few questions and you're on your way." -- Enterprise Groupware Products, Network Computing, 1 April 2004

    Similarly just 2 months earlier, PC Magazine named Lotus Notes and Domino the "clear winner" of their Editor's Choice for e-mail server, stating that Domino set-up was a "far less headache inducing" task than setting up Exchange -- Email Servers, PC Magazine, 2 February 2004

    And in May 2004, Network Computing also gave Lotus Domino it's "Well-Connected Award" stating "And IBM's Lotus Domino 6.5 is our top choice ... because it makes life easier for users and administrators alike." -- 10th Annual Well-Connected Awards: Business Applications, Network Computing, 13 May 2004

 

Why does MasterFile use the Lotus Notes/Domino database?
Do you plan to release MasterFile for Microsoft Exchange or SQL?

    MasterFile's fluid style, unique blend of features and ease of use was only possible with Lotus Notes. Lotus Notes is a unique collaborative database technology designed for text and other qualitative information. One application that uses Notes' database technology is Notes e-mail. However, with over 145,000,000 e-mail users, it's not surprising many people think of Lotus Notes as an e-mail program. Microsoft Exchange on the other hand is just an e-mail system.

    MasterFile uses only Notes' database technology -- there's no need to change your existing e-mail system.

    Domino is a quiet workhorse with over 145,000,000 e-mail users and comparable market share to Microsoft, but rarely gets adverse publicity, unlike regular press alerts about security breaches in other e-mail systems.

    Notes is a robust, secure technology that's inexpensive, easy to install, use and maintain, and proves itself everyday. Notes works, and works brilliantly: It's that simple!

    For more about why MasterFile uses Lotus Notes see the other Notes related questions above in this FAQ and the following:

    For in-depth discussions about why MasterFile does not use Exchange or SQL, see the following articles from our newsletter:

    and learn about the many limitations of "home-grown" mobile or database technologies competing products suffer from, the limitations of SQL and Exchange.

 

How are documents stored in the Lotus Notes database?
Are documents stored in their native format or converted into a proprietary format?

    MasterFile's unique "document centric" repository was designed and built for native, PDF and image format reviews and production. Not only are  documents automatically stored in their native format, you can use MasterFile's optional Evidence Cruncher, to convert and store documents in PDF format as well; that is, MasterFile can store your documents in both native format and PDF format simultaneously. Documents are loaded or saved from/to Windows directories by simply drag and drop or using MasterFile's bulk loading utilities.

    MasterFile's repository is unique because it stores, organizes and indexes everything related to a case or research project: scanned document images, transcripts, authorities, research, electronic evidence such as photographs, completed work-product documents, work-in-progress documents, extracts, facts, notes, extracts of critical information, document profile information (such as author, date, document type, security information), etc.

    In MasterFile, both the document files and the database profile information is not stored and scattered across, dozens or hundreds of Windows subdirectories that need to be secured. Instead, they are all stored within Lotus Notes databases. Documents and other information for each case or project are stored in their own Notes database using the same technology to attach and store document files to Notes e-mail messages

    By using the Notes database technology to store documents and all other case related information, MasterFile gives you the full benefits of the Notes database technology, such as robust security, the most advanced replication technology available for mobile and disconnected users, simplified backup/recovery (as there's only one file per case to worry about) and scalable client/server technology. And by storing the document files themselves inside the database there are no external file links to break -- one of the biggest headaches with CaseMap, for example, when users go mobile just to work at home.

    Document systems using Windows file shares, SQL, "conventional" or other proprietary "non-SQL" database technologies, do not provide the distinct, unique and necessary benefits of the Notes database and you often only discover their frustrating limitations after you've installed and started using them.

    Please see "Why MasterFile uses the Lotus Notes database" to learn more about why MasterFile uses the Lotus Notes database technology and some of the problems faced by "conventional" or proprietary technologies.

 

Do we need to install a Notes/Domino server?

    Not for one or two users. For small teams, one team member's laptop can even act as a Domino server. For medium sized teams, Notes can run on an existing file server. For large teams, a dedicated server is recommended.

    If you prefer not to run a Domino server in-house, opt for MasterFile Hosted Services - from $1.50/user/day, it costs less than a cup of coffee!

    However, installing and maintaining a Notes/Domino server is straight forward. In April 2004, Network Computing awarded Domino it's Editor's Choice Award, specifically citing Domino server's ease of set-up:

    View our short video tutorial "Installing Lotus Notes/Domino Server" and see how easy it is to install both Notes and the Domino server -- they'll take you through an actual installation of each, step by step.

 

Where do I get Notes?

    Click here to download a 90 day Notes trial.
    Click here to buy Notes on-line from our website.

 

Where can I get help with Notes and Domino?

    With over 145 million users world-wide, extensive help for Notes and Domino is available, including the following:

    • The complete Notes/Domino documentation is available in its on-line help. The Notes workstation software has help on using the Notes client, while Domino Administrator provides help for administering Domino servers.
    • PDF versions of the Domino 6 administration documentation are available here.
    • Click here for our self-service flash tutorials which take you through Lotus Notes/Domino installation and common administration tasks, step by step.
    • Lotus Support Services for Lotus' own support website. You'll find links to:
       
      • downloads for patches,
      • the Notes/Domino knowledge bases and tech-notes
      • the Technical Library -- a comprehensive collection of excellent technical articles,
      • white papers, and
      • IBM Red Books and Red Papers -- in depth guides which supplement Lotus' own documentation in specific areas such as migration from Exchange, security, etc.
         
    • Developerworks and Developerworks Domino Support are Lotus' other support sites and have many excellent technical resources and articles. Although aimed primarily at developers, many resources, tutorials and articles are useful for advanced Domino administration.
    • Forums & Community -- Lotus' official on-line community. You can tap into the knowledge of thousands of Notes/Domino professionals world wide in the very active and excellent Notes/Domino forums. Although Lotus Support Services will not respond to questions posted, it's not uncommon to get one of Lotus' own developers responding to particularly thorny problems.
    • The Business Partner Directory will help you locate trained and certified Lotus Business partners in your area -- there are over 10,000 world-wide.
    • And of course you're welcome to contact technical support at MasterFile.

 

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