Merlin IS Evaluation Program

Meet Sherlock®

We have added a unique, algorithmic search engine into our integrated search and investigations platform. For the first time, investigators, e-discovery professionals and others with large document populations will be able to employ keyword and algorithmic search interchangeably in a single, powerful discovery platform. We call it Search 2.0

Want to Try it Out?

Meet Sherlock Hounds, the first virtual document bloodhound.
Sherlock has a nose for finding relevant documents. Wave a virtual hanky under his nose (or point to one or more relevant documents) and he will come to life, chasing after the scent until he finds what you are looking for, whether you are an investigator, e-discovery specialist or just need to find what you are looking for in a large document population.

Nice Doggie

How can I see Sherlock in action? Simple. Just reach out and we will give you credentials for our new investigations site. You can meet Sherlock in person and send him off to find relevant documents in a collection of about 1,900,000 emails collected from Jeb Bush’s archives during his two terms as Governor of Florida. The emails cover a wide range of topics, all of which are described below. Pick a topic, and give Sherlock a workout yourself. 

Meet Sherlock Hounds
Just waive a virtual hankie in fron of Sherlock’s nose and say “Go get em boy.”

How it Works

Start with a keyword search to find a starter document for Sherlock. Click through the results until you find an example of what you are seeking. When you find one, let Sherlock loose to find more like your starter document. Sherlock will immediately take off, rank all 1.9 million documents and present you the next most relevant document. Tell Sherlock “Good Boy” by clicking on the Thumbs Up symbol and Sherlock will go at it again, instantly ranking all of the documents based on what you have marked before and finding the next candidate for your review. Or if he misses, click thumbs down and he will go at it again. 

What you will see may amaze you. Unlike humans, Sherlock possesses almost supernatural capabilities to find relevant documents once you alert him to what you want to find. Some might even call it Artificial Intelligence but we just say that “Sherlock is pretty smart for a virtual dog.” Either way you look at it, Sherlock will find those relevant documents much faster than you might armed only with keyword search.

Sherlock not only finds relevant documents, he will highlight the top terms he associates with relevant documents. Watch as they change over time. Sherlock keeps learning and will find key terms or names that might be helpful to your investigation. Click on the Key Words link if you want to see more of the terms Sherlock finds important.

A Quick Introduction to Sherlock®

About the Documents

The site contains a collection of about 1.9 million emails taken from Governor Jeb Bush’s archives during his two terms as governor of Florida (1999 to 2007). The emails reflect communications to and from Governor Bush and others in his administration. Not surprisingly, they contain plenty of information about issues that his administration faced during his years in office—for example, a bid for the 2000 Olympics, the Bush v. Gore election, political battles over keeping or sending Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba and a whole lot more.

Feel free to search the demo site for any information that interests you using our unique combination of an initial keyword search and user-directed relevance feedback to the AI engine. Just click thumbs up or thumbs down to let the AI algorithm know how it is doing.

Used at TREC

This same email corpus was used as a basis for testing AI engines for the Total Recall Track during the 2016 TREC (Text Retrieval Conference) program), which is sponsored by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). The program brought together academics, legal and AI professionals from around the world who want to test their algorithms and search techniques in a controlled environment against other algorithms and approaches. The test used a locked down server to record each participant’s progress in finding relevant documents pertaining to any one of 34 separate topics. The goal was to see which methods or algorithms are the most effective at finding all of the relevant documents in the population.

You can read about the participants and their successes in the final report from the 2016 conference here.

Search Exercises (Hypothetical)

Just for fun, imagine you are an associate at a new firm. You are called in for a meeting with a litigation partner who needs help with a case. Specifically, depositions start on Monday and the partner needs your help getting prepared. If you aren’t efficient at this task, you better plan on working this weekend.

The partner advises that opposing counsel just produced 1.9 million emails in the case that need review and analysis. As in most cases, the relevant emails are far outweighed by the number of irrelevant files caught in the discovery net. The partner is counting on you to quickly find documents relating to the following problems. Let’s see if Sherlock can help.

1. Trademark Dispute

Our client, Havana Club Holdings S.A. (a joint venture between Cuba and the French company Pernod) is in a dispute with the Bacardi over the right to use the Havana Club name in the United States. We believe Governor Bush has been illegally putting pressure on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in particular, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to rule in favor of Bacardi in this dispute. You can read more about this dispute here.

We sent out this request for production: “All documents evidencing, reflecting or pertaining to actions taken by Jeb Bush or his administration regarding a trademark dispute between Bacardi and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

We need as many relevant documents to use as exhibits for Governor Bush’s deposition. I need you to search the emails we have received to find what you can. ‘

2. Bottled Water Problem

Our client is a citizens group concerned about how Florida administrators are allowing private companies to extract water from the aquifer and sell it as bottled water. There are concerns that the companies are depleting the aquifer, causing sinkholes to swallow homes and more.

We sent out this request for production: “All documents evidencing, reflecting or pertaining to the extraction of water in Florida for bottling by commercial enterprises.” Depositions are not yet scheduled but we need to know whom to depose from which companies and which government officials are involved in the decision making process. Ideally, we would like to know who is in whose pocket in this business.

You can read more about Florida’s issues concerning water extraction here. This article may be helpful as well.

Did Bacardi steal Cuba's Havana Club trademark?
Should Nestle be pulling water out of the aquifer for its bottled water product?

Other Topics to Consider

In the 2016 TREC program, participants were given 34 different topics to explore, each of which could be treated like a Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 34 request for production (for non-lawyers, that is simply a request to produce documents). Here are each of those topics, any one of which would provide a good search exercise for the demo site. 

  1. Bacardi Trademark Lobbying — Documents related to the Jeb Bush administration’s involvement in a trademark dispute between Bacardi and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. Bottled Water — All documents concerning the extraction of water in Florida for bottling by commercial enterprises.
  3. Summer Olympics — All documents concerning a bid to host the Summer Olympic Games in Florida.
  4. Save the Manatee–All documents about this program but not about Manatee county itself. 
  5. Florida Horse Park–Documents about the establishment of a horse park in Florida and Bush’s veto of the program.
  6. Space — All documents concerning the space industry, the space program, space travel (whether manned or unmanned, public or private), and the study or exploration of space in Florida.
  7. Eminent Domain — All documents concerning the legality or morality of expropriating land in Florida for commercial development.
  8. Newt Gingrich — All documents concerning House Speaker Newt Gingrich or any entities or personnel associated with Newt Gingrich.
  9. Felon Disenfranchisement — All documents concerning the right of felons to vote in Florida, including but not limited to voter purges and reinstatement of voter rights. Individual clemency cases in Florida are not relevant.
  10. Faith-Based Initiatives — All documents concerning grants or other initiatives in Florida to offload social services to so-called faith-based agencies. Services include but are not limited to education, prisons, and emergency relief.
  11. Invasive Species — All documents concerning the problem of invasive species in Florida, that is, non-native plants or animals that threaten the Florida ecosystem.
  12. Climate Change — All documents concerning climate change, global warming, or carbon emissions, whether in Florida or otherwise.
  13. Condominiums — All documents concerning the rules and organizations governing Florida condominium associations and conflicts between owners and managers in Florida. Relevant documents include those concerning the establishment of the Florida office of ombudsman, and issues relating to hiring and firing the ombudsman.
  14. “Stand Your Ground” — All documents concerning a Florida bill permitting the use of deadly force to protect one’s self or one’s property.
  15. 2000 Recount — All documents concerning the contested result of the 2000 presidential election.
  16. James V. Crosby — All documents concerning James V. Crosby, including but not limited to his relationship with Governor Bush before being appointed as Florida Secretary of Corrections, his role as Secretary, his firing, and any criminal allegations against Mr. Crosby.
  17. Medicaid Reform — All documents concerning efforts to reform Medicaid.
  18. George W. Bush — All documents concerning George W. Bush, whether by explicit reference or by his relationship to Governor Bush.
  19. Marketing — All documents concerning advertising or marketing efforts undertaken by the Florida Governor’s office or any other institution of the State of Florida.
  20. Movie Gallery — All documents concerning investments or divestments by the State of Florida in Movie Gallery.
  21. War Preparations — All documents concerning preparations for the Iraq War undertaken in Florida before the March 20, 2003 invasion.
  22. Lost Foster Child Rilya Wilson — All documents concerning the disappearance of lost foster child, Rilya Wilson, and the impact or aftermath in Florida resulting from the loss.
  23. Billboards — All documents concerning rights and control of billboards in Florida. Different legislative efforts should be considered to be separate sub-categories.
  24. Traffic Cameras — All documents involving discussions of the use of unattended cameras to enforce traffic laws in Florida.
  25. Non-Resident Aliens (NRA) — All documents involving discussions of the non-resident alien issue. Documents concerning the National Rifle Association are not relevant.
  26. National Rifle Association (NRA) — All documents concerning the National Rifle Association, its members, and its influences. Documents concerning the non-resident alien issue are not relevant.
  27. Gulf Drilling — All documents involving discussions of off-shore drilling for oil or gas. Drilling of wells for water is not relevant.
  28. Civil Rights Act of 2003 — All documents involving discussions of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 2003.
  29. Jeffrey Goldhagen — All documents related to Jeffrey Goldhagen’s role in the Bush administration, his firing, and reinstatement.
  30. Slot Machines — All documents concerning the definition, legality, and licensing of “slot machines” in Florida.
  31. New Stadiums and Arenas — All documents involving discussions of the construction of new sports stadiums or arenas in Florida.
  32. Cuban Child, Elian Gonzales — All documents involving discussions of the Cuban child, Elian Gonzales, and his whereabouts or status.
  33. Restraints and Helmets — All documents involving discussions of seat belts, child seats, and helmet mandates.
  34. Agency Credit Ratings — All documents involving discussions of credit ratings of Florida institutions, including but not limited to those undertaken by Standard and Poor’s, Fitch’s, and Moody’s.
  35. Gay Adoption — All documents involving discussions of the gay adoption issue in Florida.
  36. Abstinence — All discussions of abstinence and abstinence-only programs in Florida to supplant birth control or sex education.
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