The latest addition to my collection of tools for gathering and storing information is a product called iCyte. I cannot improve on the maker’s own description as follows:
iCyte is a browser add-on and web service that lets users save any web page that interests them on iCyte’s servers, along with their highlights on important text, plus notes and tags. These saved “Cytes” are organized in projects to form a searchable, shareable knowledge base accessible from any computer. Unlike bookmarks, Cytes are retrievable even if the original web pages have been removed or changed.
There are apparently already thousands of individual iCyte users, attracted by the ability to store anything from academic, legal or corporate research to – well, anything which interests you really. My screen-shot shows the beginnings of a collection of case reports.
From this index I can get to the iCyte View or the Live View of each entry. This fits my working practice very well – I see twenty things a day which might warrant a follow-up story and can only actually run with a handful of them. At present I either bookmark a page when I see it or create an Outlook task with the url. Now I can store the entire page in an iCyte Project and use it as a library for future posts.
I pointed my student son William at it last night. He rang back an hour later, already hooked, with his collection of pages on lighting equipment already in hand.
The latest iteration is iCyte Enterprise which allows corporate users access to the same capabilities in a more controlled way than is possible with individual installations. The Enterprise version has added protection of confidential information and control over user authorisation, and has lost certain functions, such as the ability to share information with Facebook and Twitter, for group security reasons.
Although functionality like this is of obvious use for all kinds of individual and corporate purposes, lawyers are an obvious market, with their need to keep pages for research, for pending litigation and for firm-wide knowledge management. It is doubtless for this reason that Recommind is integrating the iCyte functionality.
iCyte make it clear that this is how their business model is planned to work. This parallels the known or presumed models of Twitter and Spotify – a wide user-base attracted by a free version of an attractive product leading to a paid-for version with extra functionality
I heard about iCyte, as I hear about many things, in a hotel lobby – I was putting together my notes for a LegalTech session in the bar of the Sheraton in New York when I was hailed by Douglas McQuaid of Opus 2 International which distributes iCyte in the UK market. Douglas was, I think, the first person ever to demonstrate litigation software to me, twenty odd years ago. iCyte is interesting in that it has implications at opposite ends of the litigation process – it is not merely an aid to the conduct of litigation but creates yet another type of source which may have to be a disclosed as part of the litigation process. Recommind is involved both in the management of information where it is used for the business and at the litigation end of the process.
There is a YouTube video about the consumer version of iCyte so you can see a demonstration from your desk. I was not able to go to the presentation in London last week and I do not know how many takers there were for iCyte’s free offer of the Enterprise version to the first twenty UK law firms to sign up. Contact Douglas McQuaid to find out.