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askSam 6.0

By Kim Plonsky

As reviewed in the July/August 2005 issue.


AskSam 6.0 Professional is one software product that could revolutionize the way you work if you spend a lot of time searching your computer or network for information you know you have but can’t seem to find. AskSam is a free-form database that makes virtually anything on your computer searchable. You can capture information you acquire via e-mail and other documents including attachments, Web pages, spreadsheets, newspaper or magazine clippings, and research documents. You quickly can make databases of telephone call notes, to-do lists and software inventories.

Searches in askSam can be as simple as entering a couple of words, or as complex as any database. Supported searches include full-text, wildcard, Boolean, proximity, numbers, dates, fuzzy, multiple database as well as case-sensitive. AskSam has the unique ability to add notes, comments and keywords to your information sources, which lends functionality to searches.

Included with askSam 6.0 are 42 database templates for collecting common types of data, which easily can be modified and adapted to fit your needs. Predefined templates particularly useful for the legal professional include: case information, citation, clippings, document archive, e-mail, fax and memo, Internet, meeting minutes, phone directory, research and Web research.

The case information template is a great way to share vital information about legal case files. Information can be shared and edited by all users with the network version. Likewise, the citation template allows you to corral all of your legal research. The ability to permanently save Web pages also is a great tool for paralegals.

The “Report Manager” creates beautiful predefined and custom-designable reports that can be sorted alphabetically, numerically or by date, and include totals and subtotals, as well as headers and footers. AskSam 6.0 Professional also allows full-text indexing, word lists (which display every word in an indexed file), and ActiveX control to create customized askSam applications.

Because askSam is such a powerful program, there is quite a learning curve. While basically a user-friendly program, some features take a while to grasp. Unfortunately, from a practical standpoint, it might be hard to persuade the attorneys you work with to invest the time necessary to fully master askSam. Animated Quick Tours available online at www.asksam.com/quicktours.asp, provide information to get started, but there are no online tutorials available for Version 6.0, and the user’s guide is hard to comprehend and follow.

Overall, I find askSam to be a revolutionary and indispensable knowledge management tool. It has limitless possibilities for corralling information. I am hooked.



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