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Off the top
Signal vs. Noise
Todd has got a nice mix of enterprise metadata from both theory and practice since he did his dissertation at the same as working at Bell South on real enterprise metadata needs. He has presented at several conferences involving both the more techie stuff at DAMA International as well as Dublin Core and other related conferences. I believe this intesection of the techie/practical world and the theory/academic world gives us a good mix of the challenges we face at managing information systems. He's definitely in the mix of things I'd like to be involved. It will be interesting to see where his blog goes in sharing his experiences. Many of his previous presentations and handouts are also available on his site.
Metadata based on standards such as Dublin Core are a key component of information environments from scientific repositories to corporate intranets and from business and publishing to education and e-government.
DC-2005 to be held in Madrid at University Carlos III (September 2005, 12-15) will examine the practicalities of maintaining and using controlled sets of terms ("vocabularies") in the context of the Web.
DC-2005 aims at bringing together several distinct communities of vocabulary users:
* Users of metadata standards such as Dublin Core and Learning Object Metadata (LOM), with their sets of descriptive "elements" and "properties"
* The W3C Semantic Web Activity, which has formalized the notion of "ontologies"
* Users of Knowledge Organization Systems, which encompass value-space structures such as "thesauri" and "subject classifications"
* The world of corporate intranets, which use "taxonomies"
These diverse communities share common problems, from the the use of identifiers for terms to practices for developing, maintaining, versioning, translating, and adapting standard vocabularies for specific local needs.
Then, let's discuss about in DC-2005 Conference
This full-day workshop focuses on the link between information architecture and content management. Presentations by the industry’s leading experts and relevant case studies will provide attendees with well-grounded knowledge and numerous opportunities to participate. Special emphasis will be placed on the integration of IA knowledge and deliverables into the CM process.
Update: Early registration extended for the workshop and the IA Summit - new deadline January 31st! You'll save $75 on the workshop, and $100 on the conference by registering this week. Also, AIFIA members get in with membership pricing on the Summit.
In the IA community we're fond of findability. It's a simple conceptual hook that lets business grok a key aspect of our work. However, findability also sets some arbitrary boundaries for the practice, and runs into challenges once we move beyond single web sites. Taxonomies and facets just don't scale across the web as a whole, and struggle to be globally relevant in cross-disciplinary enterprises like General Electric.
It makes most IAs cringe to think about automatic categorization tools. However, it's also the inevitable future of large scale findability efforts - no IA superhero can manage billion-document findability from traditional top-down or bottom-up approaches evolved to address site level issues.
Automated classification and semantic analysis is important for people who plan IA careers lasting into the next decade. We don't all need to become Autonomy drones, but it's worth keeping a finger on the pulse. One interesting project that is going to go commercial with Factiva is IBM's WebFountain. WebFountain is also different than many alternatives because the idea is to build a platform for findability - letting other people build modules that tailor the WebFountain base for particular uses. While most of us don't have to deal with enterprise architecture and beyond today, staying relevant in the future will require us to understand the issues at play. Rather than dismissing the advance of machine categorization and semantic analysis, we should be prepared to take advantage of new tools that further findability and ultimately the user experience.
Metalog is a next-generation reasoning system for the Semantic Web. Historically, Metalog has been the first system to introduce reasoning within the Semantic Web infrastructure, by adding the query/logical layer on top of RDF.
Metalog lets you do near-natural language queries on documents, acting as a bridge between the user and the RDF.
The Dublin Core 2003 Conference is currently going on in Seattle this week. A couple of the attendees and I will be sharing our notes(and photos) when we've recovered(it's actually still going on). But until then, enjoy the conference proceedings online.
John Robb summarizes an ROI document produced by PlumTree Software estimating the value of portal software and compares with his estimation of the value of K-Log software. He puts the total ROI of a K-Log system at 1,170% compared to the total ROI of a traditional Portal system at 240%.
Column Two points to Jeff Freund's article on CMS Watch on the topic of Interface scalability in content mangement systems.
Since I blogged the Gassie presentation earlier, I thought I should mention one of the applications she chose for the digital project. Scout Portal Toolkit is an open source (requires PHP and MySQL) application that allows an organization to maintain a library of resources via a web site. The application with the following features: configurable metadata tool with a field set based on Dublin Core; vocabulary control; fielded searching (in advanced search); user annotation; email alerting and the ability save search strategies; and a recommender system. I was impressed with the demo, so I installed on my system and have been evaluating it for the past week. Last year I suggested to some Drupal friends that I would like to develop a libary-type module for that application that would use the DC metadata elements. Of course, life being what it is, I never got to that. I may forgo coding something for myself in favor of just using SPT because it seems pretty robust.
Lillian Woon Gassie and Greta E. Marlatt's case study presentation at the SLA 2003 conference provided a thorough examination of the process undertaken to build a digital library for the Homeland Security program of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. The presentation gave a good idea of the steps leading to the development of the digital library, which will eventually be partially available to the public, but will mainly serve students in the School and other military and civilian people involved in Homeland Security. The presentation touches on goals and rationale for the project, audience and personas, political and monetary constraints, metadata and classification strategies, technical specifications and and analysis of tools and technologies evaluated and selected for the project.
Lillian has posted afew other presentations that may be of interest as well to information architects. As usual, you won't get all the details communicated in a PowerPoint presentation, but when reading the "Digital from Birth" PPT, be sure to look at the very extensive speaking notes that go with each slide.
Digital from Birth: Information Architecture for Building a Digital Library,
presentation with Greta E. Marlatt at the SLA Annual Conference, New York City, June 9, 2003.
Online Presentation | Download PPT file (2.8 MB)
Taxonomies for Communities of Practice,
presentation at the e-Gov Knowledge Management Conference, Washington, D.C., April 16, 2003.
Metadata Tools, Practices and Ontologies,
presentation at the Monterey Bay Area Workshop on Data Management & Visualization, MBARI, Monterey, April 7, 2003.
From the World Wide Web Consortium home page:
The Web Ontology Working
Group has released XML Presentation Syntax for the OWL Web Ontology Language (OWL) as a W3C Note. The Note suggests one possible XML presentation syntax and includes XML schemas for OWL Lite, OWL DL, and OWL Full.
• Read the XML Presentation Syntax note
• Find out more about Web ontologies
CIO article "Sleuthing out data" by Fred Hapgood features a couple examples of how auto-semiauto categorization enables businesses and reduce costs. There is a company list included if you're interested in this arena.
Just came back from a conference on data management(Wilshire Metadata/DAMA International 2003 Conference. A recurring topic that surfaced about data management was the relevance of their work in relation to unstructured information. A reality check for everyone was that most corporate information actually existed in semi-structured of unstructured information and not in databases. From this thought, I was directed to DM Review and in particular this article. Digging Into the Web: XML, Meta Data and Other Paths to Unstructured Data - By Robert Blumberg and Shaku Atre. I definitely see an opportunity between IA(metadata/ux) type folks cross-pollinating with data modelers and data managers. It will be interesting to see and I look forward to hearing more from here. Thoughts?
From Boxes and Arrows: Building a Metadata-Based Website - The online world has been flooded in recent years with talk of metadata, structured authoring, and cascading style sheets. The idea of a semantic web is gaining momentum. At the confluence of these two broad categories of activity, new models of websites are emerging.
Brett Lider's talk at the Summit was great - now folks who couldn't make it can see the early horizon for next-generation CMS.
Both the SIG-IA list and a CMS list have surfaced an interesting thread today in regards to an article published at At New York, Study: Content Management Tools Fail. It discusses some high level findings from a Jupiter Research report on the dissatisfaction around the implementation and maintenance of Content Management Systems. I don't have access to the report, but very interesting.
Reversible.org is a site that automatically links back to anyone who links to it. There are some implications for this on the Reversible about page.
It has elements of a blog, a directory, a wiki, and more. Definitely an interesting effort in bottom-up categorization, for one thing. And I'm not sure how I can link to a page that I'm interested in, without also being included in that page...this is an issue, since pages act sort of like nodes in a hierarchy, and and so linking to a page implies that my linking page is a member of that node.
We'll see what kind of emergent patterns reveal themselves in a week or two.
From Progressive Information Technolgies (tagline: “Information Architects for Publishing”) comes the Ten Commandments of Content Management:
These will probably be no-brainers for anyone who has worked with content management or CMSs, but there are some useful tips and helpful “Points to look for” for those trying to get their head around the whole idea.
There's plenty of criticism of content management systems (CMS). Discovering what bothers us most can help us start to address these problems constructively. We conducted a survey to identify the biggest obstacles to effective content management systems. View the results.
Mike Lee points to and discusses the Delphi white paper, "Taxonomy & Content Classification" 1.3mb PDF, which is apparently licensed to every vendor mentioned in the paper -- my office mate Dave (the taxonomy guy) has seen three differently branded versions of the paper. It's apparently a good summary of why you should employ a taxonomy in your CMS. Mike says, "sheds some light on the misconceptions on the definition of a taxonomy, describes the benefits of systematic content classifcation, and surveys the currently available technology tools". They apparently also give some kind of seminar, "Proving Ground for Taxonomy & Information Architecture", but when I looked at the
Web Graphics pointed to Macromedia Contribute, Macromedia's new entry in the Content Management space. The application that provides publishing and workflow, templating, versioning, security and permissioning capabilities. Some basic application of keyword metatags is allowed, but there's no mention of support for taxonomies. Windows only for now, but OS X version coming.