For my entire career, people have been suggesting that “the end was near” for librarians.  A  spectacularly absurd notion in a burgeoning knowledge economy. Once again the marketplace is demonstrating the versatility and value librarians  can bring to innovative knowledge organizations even in the 21st Century. Last week Kira the legal tech innovator posted a new job opening for a “Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst.” A complete description and link to the job application can be located at this link.

Here is how the job  posing in introduced:

“There is no question that for every successful law firm there is a talented group of law librarians who manage the flow of information, disseminate legal resources, and strategically support other professionals within their organization. The work that law librarians do has evolved to more than just reviewing and cataloguing resources. Kira Systems recognizes the unique skill set required to excel as a law librarian and is hiring someone with this background to work as Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst.

As a Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst you will assist in acquiring, developing and organizing contracts and related transactional documents used to train our cutting edge machine learning technology. You will report directly to the Director of Legal Knowledge Engineering and be responsible for sourcing documents through research and collaborative relationships, and organizing them into a sophisticated document taxonomy.”

Why  a Librarian ? I asked Anne McNulty, Kira’s Director of Legal Knowledge Engineering to explain why the company  executives decided that they needed the special expertise of a librarian as Machine Learning Knowledge Analyst.

“McNulty provided the following insights into the creation of this new position:

There are actually a number of challenges that led to us creating this position. First, because our software uses machine learning to identify provisions in contracts, we need a large volume of contracts (of all different types) to train it. These contracts must be carefully grouped together for the lawyers who train the system, and we need someone thoughtful and organized to make sure that the “training data” is appropriately diverse and representative of what the software will be used on. If the training data is not carefully put together, the software won’t perform as well when our customers use it.

Second, Kira has a feature that will classify contracts according to their type. We train this in a similar way to the way in which we train Kira to identify provisions – by showing Kira a number of examples. We’d like to grow the number of contract types that Kira can identify, so to do this we need someone who can help us expand on the taxonomy we have built and feed the appropriate contract types into it.

Finally, as we grow, we are starting to need contracts that are not easily available through public sources. We’d like someone to help us develop and manage relationships with partners who would share contracts with us for the purpose of training our system.”

Good luck to Kira and good luck to applicants applying for this exciting new position!