People who know me are frequently surprised, and perhaps pleased, to find that my blog so rarely mentions the three-letter acronym with which that they have come to associate me. This acronym is XML which is distilled from Extensible Markup Language. People who have known me for a long time are even more surprised because in the later 1990s and early years of the new millennium I chaired the XML World conferences. In this capacity, I used the stage to pronounce upon the many important things we could use XML to do. Often these pronouncements paid only passing attention to... Read more →

For a number of reasons, I have been thinking recently about the state of the Content Management industry. These ruminations took me back to one of my posts from the summer of 2009 called The Trials and Tribulations of Content Management. In this post, I declared that historically the content management industry, as a whole, has under-performed. I continued with the supposition that one contributing factor to this under-performance was the apparent absence of any shared understanding of what indeed we were trying to manage. We did not, I felt, have a common definition for what we meant by the... Read more →

Within scores of projects scattered over the last twenty years, I have been forced to think long and hard about the challenges that face organizations as they try to make sense of their businesses and to determine how technology might be leveraged to make things better. More recently this has led me to consider how the practice areas of Business Analysis and Technical Communication might be fruitfully coordinated to realize improved project results. In particular, I have been thinking about how the skill set of the effective technical communicator may be an important asset for organizations to tap as they... Read more →

As is clear to see, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the emergence of eBooks and eReaders. As always, this type of excitement is a mixture of hope and fear and it is a natural response to change. This type of excitement is a healthy thing for a publishing industry that, until now, has been without a clear direction while the internet progressively reshaped its landscape. I have touched upon the subject of eBooks before in a post called The eBook Revolution: Blowing Books to Bits. In this earlier post, I looked at the revolution more from the perspective... Read more →

There is a book in my library called The Gutenbery Elegies (by Sven Birkerts; Faber and Faber, 1994). Its title continues with "The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age". Its thirteenth chapter is titled "The Death of Literature". It is not my intention here to comment on this particular book but to hold it up as an example of one way to view the revolution that is happening around us. This is the eBook revolution - the apparent stampede to make our reading material more portable and accessible by taking it online and giving it a local habitation and... Read more →

Word visualization from the text of this blog up to this point in time. From time to time, online discussions turn upon themselves to talk about their own organization and utility. These discussions thus turn into explorations of information and the patterns to which it can incline or perhaps to which it should be guided. As one example, a recent article appeared from Forrester Research on the topic of Information Architecture (IA) and its struggle to gain a foothold of initial credibility amid the main corridors of Information Technology (IT) management, together with the associated sub-specialties of Enterprise Architecture (EA)... Read more →

Why has managing content been such a persistent and irreducible challenge? The reason is that content has many sides and when we set out to manage content we usually find ourselves trying to managing more than just one thing. As we have covered in previous posts, content is potential information, and among other things this means that when we survey the information assets of an enterprise one of the things we are looking for is what information can be reused (what has the potential to play a role in future information transactions). Perhaps another way to define “content” is to... Read more →

One of the more peculiar features of any industry is the “trade show”, which brings together the familiar mix of keynote addresses, smaller sessions (usually arrayed in tracks), an exhibit area and standard set of networking occasions (ranging from coffee breaks, through meals, and onto the ubiquitous reception in the exhibit hall and sometimes additional social events). Sustaining these gatherings will be fees collected from sponsors, exhibitors and attendees. Yours truly about to deliver the Keynote at Content Convergence 2008 (I am the figure standing just off to the right in front of the window) I call these gatherings peculiar... Read more →

My previous posts have been exploring the differences between managing content (potential information) and managing information (communication transactions). My reason for probing what for many will seem like a fruitless distinction is to determine whether, or not, it is indeed fruitless to think about content and information differently or whether there may be merits in viewing these concepts as being distinct. It may come to naught but there is no harm in raising the question. And my early explorations have been encouraging me to continue down this path. Now this post is in some ways a retrospective in that it... Read more →

Well now that I have thrown down the gauntlet in my previous post about the Trials and Tribulations of Content Management, I feel that I should take the next step and posit some core definitions for terms such as content, information, data, publishing and even knowledge. Hopefully, others will contribute superior alternatives or hack these contributions to pieces so as to expose something better. And why not start with the term content. There is an entire industry dedicated to its management so we would hope that it is a term for which we have a ready definition. In reality this... Read more →