Tag Archives | content

Will You Miss Paper?

NewspapersThe marketing of a paperless world dates back to the last century. With no further reference to the gag line about a “paperless bathroom,” what has been impacting our worlds is the onrush of digital everything taking over the publishing of magazines, newspapers and books.

Early in 2012, discussions and announcements are raising everyone’s focus towards the rise of digital reading material with a decline in paper based printing. These are indicators that need to be assessed by anyone in the process of either doing research or the process of creating research materials. The world of digital will increase both the volume of researchable material and the accessibility to far distant data that can be located anywhere. Researchers will not have to travel the Library at Alexandria to immerse themselves in knowledge and information. Here are three recent indicators about the move from paper to non-paper:

Apple expands its volume of digital textbooks to be read on the iPad Tablet. WSJ 1/20/12

Exchanging an overweight backpack filled with text books for a Tablet computer will help shoulders, spines, and knees to survive High School, College and Grad Schools. Apple developed a new version of its iBook’s Apps that support textbooks. These digital versions will include quizzes, note-taking, study cards and other interactive features.

Currently, Apple has agreements with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, with titles from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to be announced soon. Textbooks will be sold for $14.99 or less. Eventually, Apple said, it expects textbooks for almost every subject and grade level.

Apple also released a free tool for authors to create interactive titles. Consequently, authors of research material can start to focus on how to re-engineer how a book can be used as flexible learning tools rather than sequential page after page.

Amazon Wants to Burn The Book Business – Bloomberg Business Week – 1/30/2012

Librarian and NPR commentator, Nancy Pearl, is assisting Amazon Publishing to launch a new series called, “Book Lust Rediscoveries.” Pearl will select a handful of out-of-print books each year to be republished by Amazon in both print and digital formats.

The original text of each book will be augmented with an introduction by Pearl, reading group discussion questions and a list of recommended further reading. Books will be available in print and for Kindle: With a modest first budget of only six books per year, Amazon will be very careful with market reaction to this new service. Audio books, eBooks and paper is an ambitious undertaking for literature that may or may not find a readership. The is multi-format opportunity will also impact schools and libraries as to what their users want to obtain.

New York Times has display booth at CES

The legendary newspaper is still publishing its print edition every day. Many New Yorkers cannot make it from to Monday without the Sunday Times. For a while the Times has provided a digital version of the newspaper. With all the flight to digital, here was “The Old Gray Lady” that has been published since 1851, appealing to on-line readers. Currently the newspaper has over 30 million views of their website each month. Print subscribers have declined to one million.

As in all digital selling there was a come-on to get 6 months for 1/2 price. The grandest newspaper recognizes that readership demands access through phones, tables and other computing devices.

Whether the user or the provider, you need to plan how your research will be accomplished and expanded over the next few years. Check in with Unlimited Priorities for a very valuable conversation about the digital publication universe.

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DCL Learning Series Webinar: Crossing the Chasm with DITA

DCL Learning SeriesData Conversion Laboratory and and Dr. JoAnn Hackos, president of Comtech Services Inc. are producing a three part webinar on what DITA is and what it can do for your organization.  The first of this three part event will be Thursday, January 19, 2012 from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST so sign up now.

In this three-part webinar series, Dr. JoAnn Hackos, president of Comtech Services, Inc., will trace the progress of many organizations from the early phases of Exploration, Preparation, and Education through genuine progress through Pilot projects, purchasing of a Component Content Management System to keep everything in line, through the Conversion of legacy content to a new way of structuring and managing information.

via DCLnews Blog.

Sign up links for all threes sessions are on the DCLnews Blog.

The session titles are:

  • Session 1: “Get Ready… Get Set”
  • Session 2: “Now Go”
  • Session 3: “Next, Grow”

About DCL

Since its founding in 1981, Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) remained faithful to its guarantee to construct unparalleled electronic document conversion services based on the rich legacy of superior customization and exceptional quality.

About Dr. JoAnn Hackos

Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices.

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Goodbye to IE6! (In the United States anyway.)

Time to pop open the champagne because, based on the latest data from Net Applications, IE6 usage in the US has now officially dropped below 1%!

Goodbye Internet Explorer 6

Goodbye Internet Explorer 6

IE6 has been the punch line of browser jokes for a while, and we’ve been as eager as anyone to see it go away. In fact, we launched the IE6 Countdown site last March to help accelerate the process. Less than a year later, I’m thrilled to say that the United States has joined the ranks of Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway in dropping below 1% usage of IE6.

via The US Says Goodbye to IE6.

What does this mean for your organization?

This means more developers and IT professionals can officially consider support for IE6 a “low-priority” stop spending time and resources supporting such an outdated browser.

This also means that if your website has been around for a few years it may be limited in its design and functionality in order to ensure that it looked and worked okay with the old Internet Explorer 6 web browser.

This may be a good time to get an unbiased report on your current website along with recommendations on how your online presence can help drive your organization’s goals forward.  Unlimited Priorities provides the website analysis, development,  and social media coaching you need to help your enterprise stand out in the crowded online world.

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Content Needs Digital Distribution

Stack of booksIt is essential that you plan how you will disseminate and share your company content in 2012. The digital evolution includes web sites, blog sites, email newsletters, webcasts, audio casts, podcasts, social media everything, and even face to face. Messages need to be managed, consistent and readable.

For example, start with the Unlimited Priorities pages for initial information about Marketing, Content Licensing, and Social Media.

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Your Voice Matters

Reviewing the last 111 years, it is easy to check off how technology has reduced physical labor:

•    Cars replaced walking and horses
•    Planes went from dirigibles to propeller driven to jet engines
•    Automatic transmissions replaced manual stick shifts
•    Digital photography replaced film
•    Remote control boxes replaced television rotary dials

Use of voice as an input device also has evolved from the early days Speech to text programs have been around since the 1980s. Voice to text software was launched by Covox in 1982 for the growing personal computer industry with the IBM PC in the lead. Another company founded in 1982, Dragon Systems, continues to be the leader in the speech recognition. Scansoft, Inc. now owns and manufactures their well-known product, Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Voice recognition is not just for getting documents created. For example:

•    Cordless and cell phones introduced us to voice activated dialing
•    GPS mapping and directions equipment allow for voice commands
•    Cars have a growing number of voice activated requests
•    Appliances all over the house and the office are emerging for everyone

An article about the voice control evolution appeared in the December 07, 2011 issue of BusinessWeek. The information points to all of the rumors about Apple TV, Microsoft Xbox 360 game console and the growing number of electronics vendors – Samsung, LG, Sharp and Sony, etc., gearing up to move from button and touchpad controls to voice command and control.

One of the current salvos being launched is Apple including interactive voice recognition, SIRI with their new iPhone 4s. Asking about the weather or the stock market or directions is standard stuff. Any actions that one can do with finger touch are potential for SIRI. You can say ‘send a text message’, then say the recipient’s name from the contact list, confirm which phone number, dictate the message and send.

This is pretty basic stuff. By 2013, voice commands will be everywhere. Saying words distinctly helps with today’s voice input. Alabama born and raised speaks very differently than one from Maine. So the advances in technology will enable tone and inflection differences. After all, we can discern when someone is speaking with a “happy voice” or an “angry voice. There is at least one project underway that will detect a person’s mood by verbal cues.
Today’s Siri and Xbox voice control are growing in use. The expectations are that Apple’s TV set will have voice command; New Windows Operating Systems for PCs and Xboxes will have gesture and voice control; and Google will implement voice activated search beyond what is accessible now. It is also clear that Google TV will return.

The consumer electronics companies will promote interactive TV talk through voice-enabled apps for smartphones and tablets. Xfinity/Comcast already has a downloadable app that provides for customer programming of the DVR. At the TV, remote control functions can be issued through the smartphone’s internet connection. Comcast is testing the addition of voice-control features. LG, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Samsung and Sharp will all test similar apps.

Each family member will be able to set their own Voice commands to program show recordings, change channels, access the web. OF course, there could be the battle of the voice controls that will have to be managed by some responsible person, such as an adult. Those individuals who are push-button phobic will have a some speaking issues as they learn how to talk what version of CSI the actually want to record. As with all technology advances; it can be anticipated that the transition to the new will be easier for some, harder for others.

Nuance, maker of the popular Dragon dictation software suites is what Apple has used for Siri as well. It appears that many manufacturers have turned to them to help transform remotes instead of eschew them. Nuance’s Thompson says TV, DVD, and set-top box makers are all working on models that look more like iPhones, some with touchscreens rather than that gaggle of unused buttons. Some of the prototypes are designed around a single prominent button that activates a microphone, he says. Cost will be a challenge, since such a device would need a microphone and Wi-Fi antenna instead of the infrared sensors now commonly used.

Nuance has estimated that 5% of TVs could be voice controlled by Christmas 2012. Of course, there are several problems to solve, such as which command takes preference, and how they would distinguish commands from normal conversation. But, there’s hope. SRI International, the company that worked on Siri before spinning it off into a separate company, has been working on solutions. They’ve been working on a project that can discern people’s moods by verbal cues, something that may potentially be used to differentiate commands.

Mike Thompson from Nuance Communications continues to say that interactive remote controls will have touchscreens rather than buttons. This is similar to the Logitech Harmony series of remotes. For Harmony, there are several different screens that change the action of the button that is pressed. 

Vlingo, an App maker, introduced voice Apps for smartphones late last year. They are expected to announce a voice recognition product for TVs at CES 2012.

We have all marveled at Dick Tracy’s wrist radio. The TV series, Knight Rider, was all about a car that could act better than its human star. Robots have been demonstrated that respond to voice commands and conversation. SIRI on the 4s is a real world demonstration of voice interaction. The key is the capability for human to speak and machine to hear the same thing. If you tell your automobile’s GPS mapping device that you want to go to Las Vegas; be sure that the directions take you to Nevada rather than New Mexico.

People are getting used to seeing others walking around talking to the air that surrounds them. These are people with a Bluetooth headset that is synced with a smartphone that is connected to cellular tower that sends the signals out into cyberspace. It is not just messages and conversations. Voice will be used to open the garage door, turn on the house lights and start the oven warming up to 400 degrees. It will be a novelty for upscale users only at the beginning. Prices will drop quickly and more will be in use by the end of this decade.

Video cameras are expanding along every city streets and intersection. As voice technology advances, we will have embedded microphones in our house, office, cars and all ‘smart’ devices. Devices will be listening to jump into action just as Captain Kirk expressed his commands starting with the phrase; “Computer …”

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Cambridge University puts Isaac Newton material online

Cambridge University Library has just released a new website with more than 4,000 pages of its most important Isaac Newton material. The Library plans to upload thousands of additional pages over the next few months until almost all of its Newton collection is available to view and download anywhere in the world.

Isaac Newton’s own annotated copy of his Principia Mathematica is among his notebooks and manuscripts being made available. In addition, the site includes Newton’s Trinity College Notebook acquired while he was an undergraduate at Trinity College and used from about 1661 to 1665. One of the most interesting works is the Newton’s Waste Book a large notebook where he developed much of his important work on calculus which he began using in 1664 when he was away from Cambridge due to the plague.

The Newton collection was photographed over the summer of 2011 at about 200 pages per day. All of the works are presented in high resolution with an interface that allows users to zoom in to each page to explore the text, diagrams and annotations in detail. In addition to the high-resolution facsimiles, the site also links to the Newton Project to provide transcriptions of many of the pages.

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How Intelligent is Your Content?

An interview with Ann Rockley

Written by Richard Oppenheim for
Unlimited Priorities and DCLnews Blog

Intelligence has an increasing list of definitions. There is natural, artificial, computer, along with many variations of intelligent as a descriptor – an intelligent question, comment, reply, etc. With the silos of data overflowing and new silo construction happening every day, the evolution of your data into functional content is a key component of intelligent analysis and results.

People and animals have collected, stored, and preserved items throughout history. On the people side, scrolls, books, art work and all things collectible were brought to a central location for protection or hording or just to allow others to view the items. Storage facilities were constructed way before the invention of electricity and the advent of digital data. Today, content is flowing through the conversion of many things to many things digital. There is no indication a pizza will evolve to something digital. You can order, pay for and request delivery of the pizza. Eating it is a different experience. Digitized content can be made accessible for anyone to view whether it is a book, movie, museum masterpiece or do it yourself images and journals.

Transforming content into intelligent content takes more than a magic wand and a few wishes. The content needs to be accessible. Once accessed, the enterprise must construct a capability to assemble various forms of content into usable information.

To shed a bright light on how content can be stored intelligently; I interviewed Ann Rockley, Founder and President of The Rockley Group. For more than 20 years, Rockley has been helping organizations and publishers of all sizes with a well-planned move to useful and usable content publishing strategies through the the use of tagging schemes, such as XML. The flood of content is exploding from every direction. The volume of content is advancing in a steady and forever increasing speed. This growth places strenuous demands within every enterprise whether for profit, not-for-profit or government agency, to create, manage, distribute all forms of content. Ann Rockley states, “We can do so much more than just full-text searching. We’ve gone from documents which are ‘black boxes’ to content which is structurally rich and semantically aware, and is therefore automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable.”

Intelligent content is not just about bigger, faster computer processing. In the last century, we worried about how to store all the paper that was being created. Large companies would buy or build large warehouses with cabinets and shelves to hold the documents that were being created non-stop. Cries of “paperless office” echoed from Wall Street to Main Street.

The computer did help, by creating even more paper to be stored. Accessibility to content is continuously expanding whether through public search engines or private company search applications. Today, companies of every size need to determine how it will store and access content. The right strategy is not about technology alone, it is about “…defining a content experience for your customer that enables them to achieve their goals anywhere, anytime and on any device,” says Ann.

The first step in this process is to understand overall company requirements. The practical issues include figuring out how to integrate the significant volume of already stored data with new data flowing through the input pipeline every second. Digital data needs to be stored with appropriate identification that it can be accessed. With estimates of data creation being measured in zettabytes, each organization will contribute its share to this volume. The good news about evolving technologies is that huge storage facilities are being strategically located around the world with sufficient power, cooling and security. One content area is linked with one or multiple content areas so that overflow, malfunction and other operating requirements can be shifted among the silos as needed.

The business demand for loads of storage is not just a volume measured in gigabytes or terabytes or some other huge number. The key with today’s digital data is that volume requirements fluctuate between peaks and valleys so that if a flood of new data knocks on the warehouse door, more storage space can be provided. This is called scalability. Retail stores experience this flood of more during the end of year holidays. Accountants have this experience during tax season. Ski resorts, Sunbelt states, summer vacations all have these variable data flows.

Ann Rockley advises everyone to recognize just how important it is to have each company build a detailed content strategy. Whether the company is growing or holding steady, tagging, storage, security and retrieval of content is crucial. She states that, “With today’s web based access technologies, computer use is becoming easy and in many cases, even easy to use. With more people gaining access to content, there are many more opportunities for collaboration throughout the personal or business communities.” As long as the computer platforms are constructed correctly, content can expand to whatever level of intelligence that is needed at the moment.

Having a structure for the content does not imply that every bit of data has the same format or application process. There are accounting data, reports, correspondence, manufacturing process control, inventory management and on and on. Data arrives and can be reshaped, recolored and tagged with appropriate XML style coding to create intelligent content. Developing a content strategy starts with knowing and/or learning a few things:

  • What data is currently being collected and where it is being used
  • What people are accessing the content – customers, employees, researchers, etc
  • How can existing content be merged with new structures being created
  • What is needed to enable scalability of content storage areas
  • As data is collected, does the process know the frequency and purpose of individual use
  • Does the content flow through the company work processes in a logical series of steps
  • How will the company establish and maintain appropriate taxonomy definitions
  • How will the company manage the stored content and its accessibility

Development strategies do not begin with a single ‘Aha’ moment. Strategy takes resources, review, input from multiple sources, and creating a structured blueprint for the years ahead. The strategy must have flexibility so that it can be adapted to the potential changes of business operations going forward. Redoing the strategy every year is not just expensive, it can likely be confusing, extremely difficult to complete the change in 12 months and can very likely undo any intelligence slowed or stopped from too many errors resulting from constant change.

The intelligent content structure has to support the capability for individual data components to be tagged so that data can be transformed to content then transformed to information. In addition, systems and procedures have to be implemented that prevent damage from such events as simultaneous updates to individual records.

There is so much more that intelligent content will provide to the organization. There will be faster response time to content questions, improved use of resources, and an increased satisfaction for all current users and the expanding base of future users. In early search days, we used the phrase data mining to locate and retrieve nuggets of data. Mining has matured and companies can now do content mining that provides a lot more nuggets along with the information that can be determined by viewing all of the collected nuggets as a whole.

As Ann Rockley says:

If we have a structure in our content we can manipulate it. … if it is structurally rich we can perform searches or narrow our search to the particular type of information we are interested in.” The focus of intelligent content is to help us improve decision making, perform better and work with more intelligence.

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Conference Buzz: NFAIS 2011 — Taming the Information Tsunami

Written for Unlimited Priorities and DCLnews Blog.

NFAISThe 53rd annual conference of the National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) was held in Philadelphia on February 28 — March 1. Its theme was “Taming the Information Tsunami: The New World of Discovery.” Here are a few brief highlights of the conference:

In his address, “The Crowd, the Cloud, and the Exaflood: The Future of Collaboration”, Michael Nelson, Visiting Professor, Internet Studies, Georgetown University said that content used to be king, but now the king is connection. He gave us 12 “words that work” in today’s highly connected environment: vision, cloud, game changer, many-to-many, things, exaflood, collaboration, consumerization, people, emotion, predictions, and policy.

Rafael Sidi, an Elsevier Vice President, said that we should not look at our products, but at our platforms. Customers are leveraging social networking platforms; Twitter has changed us. The new “gold rush” area is applications because people are solving problems with them. Openness will lead to creating new things and bring collaboration.

John Blossom, author of Content Nation, said that we must learn to swim naturally in an ocean of content. As long as a system works, many users will not care about the platform. We are now in the era of the “second Web”, and no longer go to data; the data is all around us.

A major event of the conference was the presentation of the Miles Conrad Lecture by Professor Ben Shneiderman, Founding Director of the Human-Computer Instruction Laboratory at the University of Maryland. His lecture was the first one in the series to focus on social media, and echoing other speakers, he said that we have shifted from content to community. Social discovery has become a new media lifestyle, and a significant part of it revolves around apps. He also mentioned the issue of privacy in healthcare, and noted that the PatientsLikeMe service has an openness policy. Users are encouraged to share their experiences and learn from those of others. The site has become widely used and has over 50,000 registered users. Shneiderman was also instrumental in the development of NodeXL, which is a template for Excel that facilitates the display and analysis of social network graphs. The graphs can be clustered to display communities and the connections between them, which increases the understanding of the social media world.

Many of the speakers’ presentations are available on the NFAIS Web site.

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