Story Timeline

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Introduction to Timeline favicon.ico

The Timeline is a collaborative tool that allows you to categorize and sort the documents within your Story.  In the Timeline view, you can add dates, story labels, and annotations to your documents. You can view your documents sorted by Story date or Bates number.  You can create Events representing real events in your case story, and label your documents according to which events they relate to. Finally, you can use the “Events” view to see a timeline of all the events in your case story, with the documents attached to each event.  We’ll walk through how to set up and use all of these tools in this video.

Each Timeline is associated with a particular Story, and multiple users in that Story can work on that Timeline simultaneously.  You can think of a Timeline as a particular display of the documents within your Story. If you have questions about Stories, you can learn more by reading our "What is Storybuilder" article here.

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Accessing the Timeline

To access the Timeline, first click on the Storybuilder icon in the navigation bar to be taken to the Story dashboard.  Then, simply click on the Timeline tab.

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Timeline Interface favicon.ico

Once you’re in the Timeline, you’ll see a view of all your documents, sorted by Date (new to old). 

Documents are listed by their Bates or Control numbers by default, and by their custom Story names if you have chosen to rename any documents.  Each document entry also includes the document’s type, such as Text or PDF, and the date field chosen when the document was added to the Story. If no date is selected, or you’d like to change the metadata date association, click the date under the document’s title and select a metadata field or enter a custom date. 

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To get a quick preview of your document, click the eye icon on the right-hand side.  To select multiple documents at once, click the checkboxes next to the Bates or Control numbers, or click the “Select All” checkbox above.  You can perform batch actions on selected documents in your Story by clicking on the Batch icon, by bringing up the Batch Actions panel from below, or by hitting the spacebar on your keyboard. For example, you can batch add documents to a Deposition, batch add labels, or set the same date for multiple documents. preview_batchactions.gif

To toggle display of description, relevance, and various metadata fields for each document, click Settings. Then check or uncheck to show and hide. If you click customize metadata, then you can select which fields are visible when you show metadata.

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Sorting and Filtering the Timeline favicon.ico

By default, the Timeline is sorted by date, from newest document to oldest according to the date metadata field you specified when adding your documents to your Story. You can sort by Date, Date Added to the Story, or Bates number. 

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You can also filter document entries by keyword or date. Click the filter icon to the right of the sorting menu. Here, you can enter words or phrases that will search across the document’s description, relevance, title, and metadata values. The search syntax follows the same rules and restrictions as content searching in Everlaw’s query builder. Note that the search will not match document contents. To search by date, simply click on “Filter by date” and enter a date range in the popup. All filtered documents will be selected, and any previously selected documents that were filtered out will be unselected.

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To rename a document in the Story, click on the current name, type in the new name, and press enter.

To add a description or relevance to a document, click the respective green text. If your document already has one of these fields populated, simply click the text to edit it. 

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Creating Labels favicon.ico

Using labels will help you quickly classify and identify documents related to particular events, issues, and people, or documents that have been added to particular Drafts or Depositions.  For instance, you might want to look at documents labeled by the issue Fake Bank Accounts, and related to the person John Smith. Or you might want to look at documents that are included in the draft “Possible case strategies” and that are not related to Fake Bank Accounts.  You can easily do all this and more by labeling the documents in your Story.

Note that you create labels in the Timeline view, but these labels will apply to documents across your entire Story.  You’ll be able to see these labels on the documents you’ve added to a Draft or Deposition.

To the left in the Timeline page is the label panel. Five default label categories are provided: events, issues, people, Depositions, and Drafts.  

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Although categories and labels can be added at any time, we recommend creating all relevant categories and labels at the outset of a case to avoid having to retroactively apply newly-created labels to documents in the Story.  Some things to consider when creating labels are which occurrences, interactions, communications, or entities best reflect the narrative you want to tell about your project.

To add a new label within a category, click the associated plus sign and start typing the label name. Press enter to add the label to the panel.  Note that clicking the plus sign under Depositions or Drafts will create an entirely new Draft or Deposition in your Story.

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If you want to add a new category, click on the gear icon in the upper left of the label panel to enter Edit Mode. Then click “New Category,” and start typing. Press enter to add the new category. 

To delete a category, or specific labels, enter Edit Mode again, then click on the X associated with the category or label you wish to delete. Confirm deletion, then press done to exit Edit Mode.  Note that because the People, Depositions, and Drafts categories are tied to other functionality in your Story, they cannot be deleted.

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Using Labels favicon.ico

To add a label to a document, click the green plus sign in the document entry and select the label. 

To add one or more labels to a batch of documents, select the documents you’d like to apply changes to using the checkboxes. Then, bring up batch actions by clicking the icon in the toolbar, clicking on the up arrow at the bottom of the page, or hitting the spacebar on your keyboard. Click on a label once to add, or twice to remove. Labels will turn green to indicate they will be added to the selected documents and red to indicate they will be removed. You can both add and remove labels within a single batch action. Once you’re done selecting the combination of labels to either add or remove, click apply and a task will begin.

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One benefit to labeling documents by various relevant topics to your case is that you can filter documents by label. Going back to our original example, let’s say you want to find documents labeled by the issue Fake Bank Accounts, and related to the person John Smith. To filter by label, click the respective checkbox in the label panel and the document list will automatically update. You might also want to filter by documents that do not have the issue label Fake Bank Accounts. You can negate a label-based filter by clicking the checkbox again. Note that if you add multiple labels to your filter, the documents you see must meet all of the filter criteria.

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People Profiles favicon.ico

We’ll now talk about two special label categories: Events and People.

People is a special type of label category because creating a People label also creates a corresponding People profile. With people profiles, you can document details such as a person’s contact information, work history, work relationships with other people, and more. You can also associate a person’s profile with a deposition.

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To enter a new profile, add a new People label as if you’re adding any other label, or click the People icon in the toolbar, and select New Person.

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Enter the person’s name and click Submit. With each entry, you can specify a profile image, social media links, emails, notes, and Drafts or Depositions associated with the person.

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You can then add a Job for that person by clicking “New Job” in the left hand panel. Enter the person’s job role at the top and their organization. You can also select a date range of employment and enter email addresses associated with their employment. Then, select various work relationships by clicking the green plus signs. You can type in a new name, or select existing people from your Story.

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To remove a people label, and the details associated with it, click the trash can icon in the top right and confirm deletion. This will remove the label from the category and from any document it’s applied to.

Just like the other labels, the People labels associated with any particular document won’t just show up in your Timeline view.  You’ll be able to see and apply People labels wherever your documents come up throughout your Story, including in Depositions or Drafts.

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Events favicon.ico

Events is a special type of label category because you can view each event date range alongside documents in your Timeline chronologically. Events labels can help you contextualize how documents are related to particular events, and how those events are related to each other. 

In order to use the events view, you must have already created at least one event and you must have already sorted the document entries by date. Creating event labels is the same as any other kind of label, except that you must specify a date range. Once you’ve done this, click the Events button in the toolbar. A light green event marker will appear, which represents the event date range. In this case, we’ve created the event Sales Kick-off, which falls on January 4th and 5th, 2009.  

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Since your documents are in chronological order, you can imagine your list of documents as one long vertical timeline. The horizontal component of the event marker represents the start of the event, as if it’s another row in your timeline.

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If you have an event whose date range does not include any documents, you will only see the horizontal bar.  In this case, the Sales Kick-off does not include any documents.

However, if you have documents that fall within an event’s date range, then the green marker will wrap around all documents that fall within the range. If we change the date of this document, Sales Kick-off Agenda, so that it falls within the event date range, this document is now included in the Sales Kick-off Event. 

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Using this view, you can contextualize the documents in relation to the occurrence and timeframe of major events in your case.

If you have a document that is related to an event but does not fall within the event’s date range, the green marker will not encompass that document.  For instance, let’s say you have an email that references the Sales Kick-off but was created two weeks later. You can add the Sales Kick-off Event label to that document without it being encompassed by the green event in the Timeline.

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To add a description or relevance to an event, navigate to the start of the event and click the green text to edit it. Then click save. 

To remove an event, hover over the start of the event and click the trash can icon. This will remove the label from the category and from any document it’s applied to.

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