Information is entered into MasterFile's document repository and fact management system using "profiles" which are similar looking to emails. There are three profile types:
- Extracts, and
Document profiles are used to store your client/case's documents and create the document and evidence repository. They are also used for storing new or existing work product, together with translations in other languages related to the case/investigation file.
Extract profiles are used to highlight critical portions of large documents such as depositions, electronic transcripts, contracts, affidavits or authorities and research.
Fact profiles are used set out each fact, or chronological event, can hold supporting arguments for or against, opposing side's counter arguments, exposures and deficiencies, questions raised, and so forth, all substantiated with doc-links to the fact's source, underlying and corroborating evidence or even other facts.
Each document in your case/investigation is attached to a document profile.
Besides static evidence, document profiles also store new or existing documents still under review. These no longer need to be stored elsewhere and can be managed without expensive third party document management systems. Saving a work product document saves it back to its profile.
As shown below, the profile fields are grouped into the following sections:
- Primary Information
- Additional Information
- OCR/Transcript /Full Text of Document.
Profiles describe their document. MasterFile uses profile information to organize evidence so you can quickly locate what you're looking for by browsing or searching the database.
A document profile includes details such as:
- the document's date, type, author and recipient, if any,
- a short description and your own notes,
- draft copies of the document, if any,
- the users permitted to view the document or edit the profile,
- where originals (paper) copies are located,
- links to relevant issues, players or topics such as a location,
- transcript text,
- searchable OCR text of a scanned document or image.
When you open a document profile by double clicking its row on any view, "Primary Information" opens by default.
- Use the grey triangles to collapse and expand sections.
- Left click and hold your mouse over the "?" that precedes any field name to see its pop-up help.
- Press <Esc> to close a profile window or the 'X' on its tab.
Note that in preview mode, the sections "Primary Information", "Security" and "Delivery" are hidden.
Fact profiles let you track and manage the status of each fact or event in your case, investigation or research project. Every fact relevant to your case/investigation is entered into a fact profile where its key characteristics are recorded. These include:
- Status - i.e. is it stipulated or disputed, hypothetical, an assumption or an authority.
- Impact assessment - i.e. does it support or work against you, or a party, or the hypotheses of an investigation.
- The party/hypothesis impacted.
- Relevance to the case/investigation.
- Your argument, the opposing side's counter-arguments and any exposures/deficiencies - plus live links to supporting evidence or facts stored in MasterFile.
- Questions that need to be resolved.
- Links to relevant issues, players or topics.
- Associated dates - if the fact is a chronological event.
Fact profiles appear in a special set of fact management views which group and sort facts by the above characteristics.
Facts are also colour coded by relevance and impact assessment to let you focus at glance on those needing your attention. This lets you track and manage a fact's status so it is neither forgotten nor inadequately addressed.
The view below shows all facts categorized by relevance with the most relevant shown first.
- Facts shaded green are highly relevant and strongly for you, a party, or a hypothesis. Facts shaded red are the opposite. Yellow facts are of medium relevance and may be for or against a party/hypothesis. Grey facts are neutral.
- Within each group, facts are further grouped by a percentage value. The %age value indicates your confidence in your argument to prove your position. Alternatively, the %age value can be used to indicate the completeness of your argument or research for that fact. Facts with the lowest confidence level, or most work outstanding, are shown at the top of each group..
The following table summarizes these relationships.
As for document profiles, you open fact profiles by double clicking on their row. An example is shown below.
Documents and extracts are also colour coded when the document or extract contains evidence that must be added to relevant facts, and that evidence is for (green) or against (red) a party/hypothesis.
To flag a document, select the appropriate choice in "To add to facts and why" in "Things to do" in the "Primary Information" section of document and extract profiles and enter a reason if necessary. Flagged documents appear in the [L+ Things to do/Evidence to add to facts] views along with any reasons you entered.
Facts that have a date assigned appear in the "Chronologies" views in descending date order. as shown below.
Dates prefixed with a "±" are approximate and those prefixed with a "?" are guesses.
You can automatically create and/or add facts to a graphic Timeline by selecting them in a view and clicking on [R+ Intake : Reporting : Send > Add facts to Timeline]. Alternatively, you can use the "Add facts to Timeline" button at the top of an open fact profile. Fact boxes created in Timeline are linked back to MasterFile so if you need to see the supporting evidence for a particular event, simply click on a fact box's "linked files indicator" to open the corresponding MasterFile fact profile
The chronology can also be displayed as a date ordered list or in two-day, weekly and monthly formats as shown below. Events that have a duration, i.e. a start and an end date, are shown as repeating events on each day of their duration. The calendar format view can also be full text searched to limit events to those relevant to a particular issue or player, for example.
Among the most important information about a fact you need to manage is:
- the argument for a party/hypothesis,
- the opposing side's counter-argument, and
- any exposures you face.
As shown below, MasterFile uniquely lets you compose and store, within the fact profile itself, all this information along with any questions raised or further research needed. You can provide as much detail as you require, formatting it for clarity with tables, bullets, numbered lists and text and paragraph formatting.
Hyperlinks (yellow icons we call doc-links) to other profiles are used to reference a fact's underlying substantive material exactly where needed in notes or argument.
Doc-links can be used anywhere in MasterFile and provide instant access to other document, extract and fact profiles. They are not links to files on your computer or server, rather links to other profiles in the case itself or other (external) MasterFile databases - whether documents, reference material, authorities, patents, video segments, etc. They always work, even when you're disconnected from your office network and using a replica of your case(s) on your notebook or tablet.
With doc-links to other facts, you are able to build and substantiate solid arguments which themselves build upon established facts or evidence.
Creating facts linked with source evidence
To create a new fact and automatically insert a doc-link to the source evidence (a document or extract) you are reviewing, simply hi-light the relevant information and click "Make Fact". Complete the few required fields. The fact is created and appears in fact management views ready for the team to review and use.
To add additional or corroborating evidence to a fact, simply select the information and click "Add to Existing Fact". The extract along with a doc-link to the source evidence is automatically inserted at the beginning of the fact's "Sources / Argument / Counter-argument" field.
Generally, only small extracts of documents are important. Keeping track of and managing every one of these is crucial as they contain the most critical evidence.
To manage extracts, MasterFile has a special Extract profile which appears in all MasterFile views. Critical evidence can always be found quickly, and is not forgotten among hundreds of "notes" or "annotations".
MasterFile views display extract profiles in several different ways:
- Under the main document from which the extract was taken, as shown below. Note the document profile row shown has a grey triangle next to it. This indicates it has extracts associated with it. Click the triangle to expand the document profile row to see its associated extracts. The small yellow torn page icon at the beginning of the row indicates the row is an extract and not a document profile.
- On a separate line as in the Documents by Issue/Topic view below.
- In an extract view, which only displays extract profiles as in the Extracts by Doc Type view below.
As for document and fact profiles, you open extract profiles by double clicking on their row. An example is shown below.
The "Segment type and number" is used to identify from where in its main document the extract was taken. Typical types of extracts include a page, paragraph or question, or a combination such as a page and line number, or time index for a video or audio segment. This example shows lines 20 through 25 on page 2.