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September 24, 2012

Predictive Coding Vendors Duel for 'Dummies'

E-book_on_shelf400Legal professionals seeking a predictive coding primer have two free competing guides to choose from, both with the same title, "Predictive Coding for Dummies." The dueling "for Dummies" are being distributed by e-discovery vendors Symantec (Clearwell) and Recommind.

So which one's authentic? The answer, it appears, is ... both.

First out of the gates was Symantec, with a short handy volume authored by Matthew D. Nelson, e-discovery counsel at Symantec. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company offers its own predictive coding product, Transparent Predictive Coding. The volume gives a good overview of the basics, with chapters defining the process, acquainting readers with its terminology and workflow, benefits, approaches, and challenges, as well as 10 predictive coding tips. The predictive coding gospel according to Matthew is available as an e-book and in a hard copy version on the vendor floor of e-discovery conferences such as ILTA. It's published by John Wiley & Sons, known for the "For Dummies" series.

Recommind has announced the availability of their "definitive text" in a press release, and would seem to have more to gain in the short run in promulgating the virtues of predictive coding. The San Francisco company's predictive coding is a key component of its Axcelerate platform — its use by the defendants in da Silva Moore has generated a fair amount of controversy. No author is named for the Recommind edition, only "the experts at Recommind." Chapters will cover "Information Explosion and Electronic Discovery," "Putting Predictive Coding to Work," and "The Top Benefits of Predictive Coding." Although the publisher isn't named in the release, the virtual cover sports the familiar "Dummies Man," with triangular face, jagged crew cut, and enlarged eyes. Recommind's text is available only as an e-book for which the company is taking pre-orders through October 4.

So which one should you order, read, skim, ponder? Since both are "free" and offer a simple explanation of predictive coding, you could read both for a proper perspective on the technology. Then you might be free to fashion your own definition and publish your own "For Dummies" book.

Image by Maximillian Schonherr

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