ISYS In Action at The Center for New York City Law
Tapping the spirit of the Internet's collaborative nature, the Center
for New York City Law at New York Law School (www.citylaw.org)
looked to broaden its relationships with local agencies by hosting a searchable
database of administrative decisions. The idea grew from a request from
one agency to post its decisions on the Center's website. Now the site
contains information from a range of agencies such as the Conflicts of
Interest Board, the Loft Board, the Office of Administrative Trials and
Hearings and the Office of Collective Bargaining.
Rather than simply hosting these documents for users to browse, the Center
felt it would be most useful to the public if the agency's decisions were
searchable. Jonathan Rosenbloom, associate director for the Center, went
on a quest to find this functionality, and his search led him to ISYS.
Recognizing ISYS' ample experience in delivering web-based search solutions
for the legal industry, Rosenbloom selected the ISYS:web product to meet
the Center's needs.
More than just end-user benefits
By choosing ISYS:web, the Center immediately benefited from a number
of out-of-the-box features, including hit highlighting, hit-to-hit navigation,
and proximity and Boolean operators for targeted searches. This functionality
proved invaluable to website users constructing advanced queries in search
of information contained in a wide variety of document formats, such as
Word, WordPerfect, HTML and PDF.
Taking advantage of the product's flexible architecture, the Center also
configured ISYS:web to go beyond these user-facing features to also enable
a number of back-end benefits, including scheduling tools, alerts and
For example, although there are separate indexes for each of the site's
supported agencies, the ISYS Scheduler gives Rosenbloom's team the ability
to automatically update all of the indexes at once, rather than having
to maintain each index separately. ISYS also uses alerts three times a
day to notify the team of modifications to documents contained in the
index. This enables them to maintain a set of indexes that are updated
on a daily basis, ensuring that any front-end searches capture up-to-date
With ISYS' site analytics tools, the Center can compile reports on its
users' search habits. These reports include a list of all search terms
entered by users, the Top 10 searches conducted over a specific period
of time or the most common types of documents accessed. This intelligence
gives the Center's administrators an idea of how the search feature is
performing and also provides them with insight into what types of information
are most important to users.
A model for success
The Center's primary goal with creating a searchable database of decisions
was to drive a higher level of traffic to its site in advance of its planned
push for foundation support. By implementing ISYS' search technology and
hosting administrative decisions from a number of NYC agencies, the Center
has given its audience an abundance of valuable information and a tool
designed to help users quickly and easy find the documents that matter
most to their jobs. According to Rosenbloom, the results have been impressive.
"We have achieved excellent results with ISYS," said Rosenbloom.
"Since October 2002, we have experienced a steady incline in traffic
to our site. In addition, since implementing ISYS' reporting tools, we've
been able to track a steady incline of people searching the web site."
The Center quickly grew from hosting one agency's decisions to a total
of eight NYC agencies, with six more on the way in the coming weeks.
What's more, hundreds of decisions are being added to the site each month.
This volume of information is attracting a greater number of visitors
every day. Rosenbloom sees the increase in traffic and usage as the first
step to securing the Center's overriding objective for its website.
"The increased traffic helps our business in several aspects. For
starters, we have become a valuable resource to the City of New York and
its inhabitants. Additionally, we have increased our exposure and the
number of people attending our events. Our aim is to use this exposure
to assist us in seeking foundation support in the fall of 2003."