When I got my iPad earlier this year, the first app I actually ponied up real money for was a song recognition app called SoundHound. It is no secret to my friends and family that I love punk bands with female lead singers. So, when I run across a new-to-me band that I like, I use the SoundHound app to help me learn more about the band, their music, tour dates, and other information like bands that may sound similar. Now, stay with me here because I’m going to talk about how I use SoundHound, and then I’m going to bring it back to law firms and how Knowledge Management could think about how we deliver content and information back to our clients and even bring in how LexisNexis for Microsoft Office may already be on the right track.

Let’s say I’m listening to The Dollyrot’s awesome remake of Melanie’s 1971 novelty hit “Brand New Key” and I want to learn more. Using SoundHound, I simply tap the “What’s That Song” button, and it magically comes back with the information I need. Actually, it isn’t magic at all, it is called “Sound2Sound” (S2S) technology… it just seems like magic to those of us that benefit from the technology. Without going too deep into the S2S tech, here’s what SoundHound has to say about it:

SoundHound’s breakthrough Sound2Sound technology searches sound against sound, bypassing traditional sound to text conversion techniques even when searching text databases. Sound2Sound has resulted in numerous breakthroughs including the world’s fastest music recognition, the world’s only viable singing and humming search, and instant-response large scale speech recognition systems.

Yes, you read that right, it also allows you to sing or hum a tune and it will use that to attempt to match the song you’re looking for. Okay… putting all the ‘coolness’ of what it does to the side for a moment, let me show you the practical aspects of what I get from the SoundHound results.

  1. Picture of Album Cover
  2. Name of Song
  3. Name of Band
  4. Name of Album
  5. If this song exists on my iPod (it does!)
  6. Ability to bookmark the song
  7. Share this info (via email, twitter, or Facebook)
  8. Buy the song on iTunes
  9. See the lyrics (so I can sing along!!)
  10. See any videos from YouTube of the band
  11. See other songs for sale on iTune from the band
  12. Launch the Pandora Station of this band
  13. View the tour dates
  14. Find similar artists
  15. Find other fans of this band

    In addition to this, you can also get to information such as:

  16. Biography of the band
  17. See other albums by this band
  18. See other songs on this album
This is a lot of information available from my initial search. From a Knowledge Management point of view, this gets me the information that I didn’t know I needed. Such as, The Dollyrots were currently touring Texas with Bowling for Soup. As a result, I bought my tickets and took the whole family to the concert. And we even got to hang out and get autographs from the bands.
[Note to self… next time, leave the girls at home. A three-hour concert is a little too much for pre-teens — and that can cause 40something year old parents to also become exhausted!!]
Hopefully you’ve stuck with me here because I’m about to bring this back to Knowledge Management (KM).
Do any of our KM products give us these kinds of rich information results when we search them? Is it possible to create a “Document2Document” product that emulates what I can do with SoundHound’s Sound2Sound technology? Can I be in a document, or a web page, or an email, click a “What’s This Document?” button and get a list of related content results? Could our compiled knowledge that is stored in Document Management Systems, Internal and External Databases, Client Relationship Management Systems, Intranets, Extranets, etc., etc. give us the rich content results that would help us find useful information? As an end-user, I could benefit from this type of integrated search technology that helps me find similar documents without a lot of effort, and without having to exit the current program to do it.

As I was thinking about this, it does sound like something that LexisNexis is nibbling around with this type of Document2Document technology with their LexisNexis for Microsoft Office (L-MO). Think of L-MO in the way that I used SoundHound above. I’m in a document, I click a button, and I can learn more about what’s in this document as well as related information from external resources (LexisNexis, Martindale-Hubble) and if I have Lexis’ Total Search product, I can also discover related content within the firm’s internal information.

Read through L-MO’s description of what the product does… but think of how it is similar to the SoundHound idea of search and search results.

“Search” – A single search box for one-click access to the vast collection of legal content from LexisNexis, the open Web and the user’s desktop files. Results are displayed in a window next to the active document for easy review and management – virtually eliminating the time and effort to switch between the desktop and search sites to conduct research.

“Background” – This function scans an Outlook message or Word document for “entities” such as people, companies, organizations and cases and provides hyperlinks to relevant documents, full text case law, news and other types of information within internal, LexisNexis and Web resources. Upon clicking a hyperlink, information is displayed in a side pane within the Microsoft Office applications. The Background feature also displays Shepard’s® reports and applies Shepard’s® SignalTM indicators directly to the cases cited within the text of the document. These features benefit users by minimizing the need to go back and forth between multiple databases to collect information – speeding the process and reducing the risk of missing information when transposing it from one place to another.
“Suggest” – By manually highlighting any text in an Outlook or Word file, the user can prompt a search that will pull up relevant information from internal, LexisNexis and Web resources. The content is displayed in a side pane within the application for use and management for more productivity and efficient work.

From a user’s perspective, the “Search”, “Background” and “Suggest” seem to relate to the “What’s That Song?”, Band/Album/Song Information, and the “Similar Artists” results you get from SoundHound.

I think that Toby saw this potential a few months ago (so call me a little slow…). I’m thinking that L-MO or some other player is going to catch on to this type of Document2Document technology searching and help KM help the attorneys discover the information and knowledge that they didn’t know they needed to know.