The Text Retrieval Conference Legal Track 2008 has completed a third year of technical research on how to use search technology in litigation. Over the years, TREC Legal Track has become a proving ground to test advanced search technology as applied to e-discovery tasks. In 2008, it also explored a different aspect of the e-discovery problem: the role of human beings.

TREC Legal Track is a litigation-focused research project that explores and exploits the limitations of search technology in litigation. The ultimate goal is to develop objective criteria for comparing methods of searching large collections of documents in civil litigation. “We’ve come a long way in the current state of the art in artificial intelligence, but we’ve just begun to recognize that humans, and not just computing power, are vitally important,” says Bruce Hedin of H5, a legal technology industry researcher and a coordinator for TREC Legal Track.

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