Over a series of recent posts (since the summer of 2009), I have been blogging a little more consistently about the subject of content. These posts (see for example the post The Truth about Content) have been considering content in the abstract, seeking but not yet finding a satisfying definition for the term.
These discussions should, at some point, descend from the ethereal plane and address more practical concerns. This is where the discussions need to engage topics such as the technologies and standards that are typically, or ideally, deployed to help us create content that can live up to some of the lofty expectations we are setting for it.
Attention thus turns to standards such as XML (Extensible Markup Language) and DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture). I suppose there will be some, and especially those who know me, who will find it funny that my idea of being practical is to talk about these types of foundational standards. While still several steps away from the real world of people, projects and products, these types of open standards are along the path as we journey towards being able to design, create, manage and deploy intelligent content. And we are interested in these standards because they can be understood as tools whereby we can inject increasing levels of intelligence into content and therefore into the information products that are consequently published and the business processes that depend upon those products. Somewhat surprisingly at times, we are not the only people showing interest (we being the small community with a long-standing interest in open standards and intelligent content) and there is a growing receptiveness amid widening circles to some of our arguments and claims.
This post was spawned when I was recently, and accidentally, led back to an interview that I had given with Tom Johnson at a conference in 2008. In re-listening to the interview, I was struck by a number of things. One was that nothing in the last 18 months, since giving the interview, would cause me to modify my answers in any way. Another thing that struck me was that in the span of approximately 15 minutes this interview managed to cover a pretty wide range of topics including XML and DITA and why these standards merit attention. And finally, I was re-acquainted with the fact that Tom Johnson is an excellent interviewer and perhaps because some time has elapsed I was able to appreciate how good his questions were. Good questions, we recall, can lead to good answers. I will leave it to the curious to decide whether or not I did justice to the questions with my answers.
To listen to the podcast interview go to: How XML Enables Information Sharing and Reuse — Interview with Joe Gollner. For more interviews and lots more, see Tom Johnson's blog: I'd Rather be Writing.