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Semantic Search – Ready for Prime Time?

E3. Semantic Search – Ready for Prime Time?

Where: Gilbane Boston Conference, Westin Copley
When: Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 2:40pm – 4:00pm

The experience of search that most of us are familiar with is still a “Search 1.0″ experience that continues to rely heavily on the keyword technology developed as long ago as the 60s & 70s. But making a smarter search experience, a new “Search 2.0″ generation, will rely heavily on a keener intelligence about the nature and context of the content being searched and the intentions of the searcher. Analysts have long forecast that semantic search and text analytics would bring about this smarter search, but the reality is that semantics have made few inroads in popular search experience. In this session, you will hear from leading practitioners about how they are engineering content enhancement, semantic search techniques, and user interaction designs to craft the next generation of search.

Moderator: Hadley Reynolds, Research Director, Search & Digital Marketplace Technologies, IDC
Lynda Moulton, Analyst & Consultant, Enterprise Search, Gilbane Group
Jeff Fried, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft
Chris Lamb, Senior VP, Thomson Reuters

Main conference program:

Register today!

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Be one of the first to see, and touch, SharePoint 2010

With the upcoming release of SharePoint 2010 “The business collaboration platform for the Enterprise and the Web”, Microsoft is hoping to accelerate the already dramatic growth of SharePoint. The SharePoint partner ecosystem is clearly excited, and even sceptics agree it is a major release. But how do you decide whether SharePoint is right for you, or which parts of SharePoint could meet your needs, either on their own or in conjunction with other enterprise applications? Should you use it for collaboration? for search? and what about web content management – a major focus of SharePoint 2010?

With SharePoint 2010 just entering public beta and scheduled for release in the first half of the year, it is time to make sure you know what its capabilities are so you can make informed near term or strategic decisions. And, you need to get the full story, and the way to do this is to see it, and play with it, for yourself, and talk to sceptics, evangelists, and people already using SharePoint for applications similar to yours.

Whether you are attending the full Gilbane Boston conference or just visiting the technology demonstrations, you have a unique opportunity to learn what you need to know about SharePoint content management at Gilbane Boston. As part of their rollout, Microsoft will be on-site at the conference with a classroom setup with PCs loaded with SharePoint 2010, and will show you how the new content management capabilities work.

Get the full story on SharePoint 2010 for content management at Gilbane Boston:

Don’t miss your chance to be one of the first see and touch SharePoint 2010!

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Google and Microsoft debate Enterprise Search in keynote at Gilbane San Francisco

Join us on April 11, 8:30am at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco for Gilbane San Francisco 2007

We have expanded our opening keynote to include a special debate between Microsoft and Google on Enterprise Search and Information Access, in addition to our discussion on all content technologies with IBM, Oracle & Adobe.

You still have time to join us for this important and lively debate at the Palace Hotel, April 11. The keynote is open to all attendees, even those only planning to visit the technology showcase. The full keynote runs from 8:30am to 10:15am followed by a coffee break and the opening of the technology showcase, and now includes:

Keynote Panel: Content Technology Industry Update PART 2
Google and Microsoft are competing in many areas on many levels. One area which both are ramping-up quickly is enterprise search. In this part of the opening keynote, we bring the senior product managers face to face to answer our questions about their plans and what this means for enterprise information access and content management strategies.

Moderator: Frank Gilbane, Conference Chair, CEO, Gilbane Group, Inc.
Jared Spataro, Group Product Manager, Enterprise Search, Microsoft
Nitin Mangtani, Lead Product Manager, Google Search Appliance, Google

See the complete keynote description.

Gilbane San Francisco 2007
Content management, enterprise search, localization, collaboration, wikis, publishing …
Complete conference information is at

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Gilbane Boston Keynote Press Release: The Future of Content Management

For Immediate Release:

Gilbane Boston Keynote Panel to Debate the Future of Content Management
Largest Collection of Industry Analysts, Researchers, and Practitioners Gather to Provide Unique Balanced Market Perspective

Jeffrey V. Arcuri

Boston MA, October 10, 2006. The Gilbane Group and Lighthouse Seminars today announced the opening keynote panel for the 3rd Annual Gilbane Boston Conference will take place November 28th – 30th, 8:30am, at The Westin Copley Place in Boston, Massachusetts. The dynamic keynote panel “The Future of Content Management Technologies & Solutionswill be moderated by Frank Gilbane, CEO, Gilbane Group, Inc. panelists include: Jared Spataro, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Office Servers, Information Worker PMG, Microsoft; David Nelson-Gal, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Interwoven; Detlef Kamps, President, RedDot Solutions; Jim Howard, CEO, CrownPeak, and John Newton, Co-founder & CTO, Alfresco.

The Gilbane Conference opens each of its events with a panel of content technology and market experts that is completely interactive (i.e., no presentations). The experts include industry analysts, consultants, enterprise IT and business senior managers, and technologists. This years Boston conference has a cross section of different categories of content technology vendors, including a large ECM vendor, a mid-tier second generation vendor, a hosted CM vendor, an open source ECM vendor, and an infrastructure supplier. Each of these types of vendor could provide some, or all, of an organizations content and information management needs, but how do you decide which? Which of these approaches point towards the future and which will be legacy approaches? Do they complement each other or compete? What do they have in common? What do each of these technology experts think the future of content management and content-oriented applications will look like? This will prove to be a lively and educational debate!

This annual event brings together thought leaders and practitioners to provide attendees with actionable advice, techniques, best practices, and case studies to help successfully implement content technologies critical to their businesses. The topics to be covered in-depth in the conference program will include:

  • Web Content Management (WCM)
  • Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
  • Collaboration, Enterprise Wikis & Blogs
  • Enterprise Search & Information Access Applications
  • Enterprise Digital Rights Management (eDRM)
  • Automated Publishing

The event includes:

  • 34 sessions and panel discussions
  • 4 pre-conference tutorials
  • Technology demonstration area with more than 50 of the leading vendors
  • Special events
  • Co-located with the Content Management Professionals Association (CM Pros) Fall Summit

We have once again built a program anchored by a cross-section of industry thought leaders that provides independent analysis and balanced market perspectives that cant be found at any other event, said Frank Gilbane, Conference Chair. “We are focused on hosting an educational conference that includes everything IT strategists and project teams need to know in a hype-free environment that offers insights into existing and upcoming technologies necessary to implement content-oriented applications.

Learn more:

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Adobe & Microsoft headed for battle over PDF

The Wall Street Journal reported today that talks between Adobe and Microsoft over the inclusion of PDF creation in the upcoming release of Office have broken down, and they speculate that Adobe will file an antitrust suit as a result. The issue is that MS was planning to include PDF creation for free, which is obviously a direct hit at Adobe’s Acrobat revenue. If you have been following Microsoft’s XPS (XML Paper Specification) development as we reported here, you won’t be too surprised.
It is too early to know exactly how this will play out, but anyone with applications or workflows that depend on heavy use of both Office and PDF needs to keep this on their radar!
UPDATE: Mary Jo Foley has more info on this.

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David Berlind ACT Interview on the Massachusetts ODF Decision Video

Bob Doyle at CMSReview has once again generously devoted his time and resources to record and produce one of the events at our recent Boston conference. David Berlind from ZDNet, who has tracked the controversial Massachusetts decision to standardize on OASIS‘s ODF on Between the Lines (a blog you should subscribe to) in more detail than anyone, interviewed lobbyist Morgan Reed from the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) before a live audience at Gilbane Boston. ACT, who lobbies for small businesses, but also Microsoft, is against the Massachusetts decision – Morgan was gracious enough to submit to David’s penetrating skepticism. Bob Doyle says he keeps this interview on his video iPod! Bob says you should use the QuickTime player. Here is the full interview, or you can choose chapters below:
Frank Gilbane – the Background    
The Debaters – Morgan Reed and David Berlind    
Lobbyist for Microsoft (MS) and Small ISVs    
How Much Money Spent Lobbying Open Formats?    
MS to Mass: Do you respect IP?    
MS Press Release: Mass ODF Plan has failed!    
By 2007 only ODF-compliant applications?    
Does Massachusetts have any leverage with OASIS?    
What if MS OpenOffice was chosen as standard?    
Do MS and Internet Explorer encourage non-standard HTML?    

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Office Documents and eXtensibility

Jon Udell wrote yesterday that we should really be getting beyond the office document format debate swirling around the Massachusetts decision, because all heavy footprint authoring applications are headed for oblivion in our increasingly net-software-as-service world. (David Berlind also weighs in on the death of fat clients apps.) Tim Bray is skeptical because “… authoring software is hard.” While my view of the ODF debate is much closer to Jon’s than Tim’s, I agree with Tim’s caution here. While my coding skills were never in the league of either of these guys I have spent a lot of time working on authoring software, and more importantly, collecting requirements from users. Admittedly this was well before the Web existed, but what hasn’t changed one bit, is the need for authoring software to meet a staggering array of complex user requirements. Authoring software has to be flexible and extendable to meet the always unanticipated user needs. Authoring software is hard, and differing formatting and integration requirements will keep it that way.
Note that extending software functionality is not unrelated to extending the encoding of the content, which reminds me that…
Ironically, the reason I agree with Tim here is exactly why I disagree with the ODF decision: extensibility should be the first requirement of a government decision on an open document standard, and ODF looks uncomfortably like a limited implementation. From a practical point of view, scope is critical, but as Jon says, “In theory, governments should mandate standards, not implementations.” Perhaps the way to think about it is that governments should mandate standards (XML) but adopt implementations (form OASIS and Microsoft and perhaps others). Realistically there will be multiple versions (implementations) of each anyway, so a single implementation will never be enough.

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Open Document Formats, Religion & Democracy

Two of the topics in the title are things we normally don’t touch in this blog. However, the tempest over Massachusetts’s OpenDocumentFormat decision is inflaming passions almost as much as religious and political issues do. In fact, I am writing about it because I woke up irritated at how ill-informed and irrelevant so much of the discussion about the state’s decision is. (Not a good way to start a blog entry!) I promised myself not to go on for more than the length of a reasonable blog-entry, so rather than dig into all the weeds, here is a short history lesson to bring out the big picture, and hopefully keep the debate focused on the real issue for Massachusetts’s and others contemplating similar decisions.
When we (in the standards community) debated open document standards 20 years ago, there was a religious and political fervor fueling the arguments of both sides. Our side (the SGML side, which included Tim Bray and Jean Paoli, now the chief XML people at Sun and Microsoft respectively), argued that nobody’s content should be held hostage by being stuck in a vendor’s proprietary format, and that the solution was a standard set of rules for describing whatever kind format was necessary that vendors were free to implement. The other side (the ODA “Office Document Architecture” side) agreed with that, however they thought the solution was for a bunch of vendors to get together and agree on a format that, instead of being proprietary to a single vendor, was proprietary to a self-defined group of vendors. This solution was even worse than the status quo for lots of reasons (lowest common denominator functionality, enhancements by slow international committee, unhealthy cabal-like motivations, …). At the time I thought of ODA as the soviet approach, and the SGML approach as the democratic approach. Fortunately, the SGML approach won, and that set in motion the developments that have given us XML today.
You can tell where I am going with this. But there is one more relevant aspect of this history to mention. One of the main arguments behind ODA was that the SGML approach was just too difficult to implement. They had a point, you have to pay for the freedom of flexibility. Their mistake was thinking there was an alternative that could anticipate all reasonable requirements. It can cost even more when you just can’t implement what you need to.
The situation today is a little different, but the need for organizations to be able to do whatever they want with their own content is exactly the same. The imposition of any single schema/format on all documents in any organization simply won’t work. Anybody who has been involved in helping organizations build IT applications knows that exceptions are the rule, and you can’t legislate them out of existence even in authoritarian corporate environments. A good decision for the state would be to simply require all documents to conform to one of a number of publicly documented and freely available XML Schemas – who cares what software did or did not create the content or did or did not design the schema? Certainly there are some complex details to work out, but there is no mystery.
We have had debates on this topic at our Boston conference last year and in San Francisco in the Spring, where there was more agreement than disagreement between Microsoft (Jean) and Sun (Tim) and the issues raised were refreshingly free from politics. It’s too bad we didn’t record it.
There is plenty of coverage on this topic. We have more comments and pointers, but also see Jon Udell and David Berlind.

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Today New Zealand, Tomorrow the World

Microsoft has been awarded a patent for XML word processing.

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