Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: June 2005 (Page 1 of 14)

Astoria Software Introduces Astoria Version 4.4

Astoria Software announced Astoria XML Content Management Platform Version 4.4, adding new features for the publishing of large, complex documents that are changed often, such as technical service documents for medical equipment and flight operations manuals for airplanes. Among the new capabilities of Astoria Version 4.4 are expanded wide area network (WAN) capabilities for more robust support of networked and remote users, greater scalability to accommodate the largest XML documents, and expanded support for flight operations and airline maintenance applications in the commercial aerospace market. A new Table of Contents feature has been added that allows for large XML documents and content to be initially displayed as a table of contents, with links to full content. Large documents with numerous graphics or image files can now be managed more easily with a new feature that tracks changes to graphic files regardless of changes made to written content. New reporting capabilities validate cross-references across documents, and XML import features for WAN users can automatically include importing of reference graphics. There is a new SOAP-based dialog for reviewing and navigating Astoria Annotations within the Astoria Web Client and the WAN Bridge for Epic Editor, and new support for Blast Radius XMetaL 4.5 ActiveX for XML editing complementing support for Arbortext XmetaL 4.5 Author, Epic Editor 5.1 and Adobe FrameMaker 7.1. Book Level Administrator, a key component of Astoria for Aerospace, has been enhanced to simplify book updates by using Astoria Workbench, a new user interface based on Eclipse, an open source integrated development environment (IDE). The Astoria Content Management Platform 4.4 now supports the Apache Web Server and Citrix MetaFrame. Astoria Version 4.4 is available immediately from Astoria Software and its Services Partners. http://www.astoriasoftware.com

Factiva Acquires Taxonomy Consultancy Synapse

Factiva announced that it has acquired the business and assets of taxonomy consultancy Synapse, the Knowledge Link Corporation. The acquisition extends the reach and expertise of Factiva’s taxonomy consultancy in corporate taxonomy services. Factiva’s Taxonomy Services Group provides strategic advice on taxonomy development, access to pre-built taxonomies and assistance with content integration to a wide variety of organizations. Synapse adds domain expertise in industry verticals, science, technology, medicine and the arts, and its team includes more than fifty professional taxonomists, lexicographers, indexers and software developers. Factiva has acquired the rights to Synaptica, a suite of software solutions for building and maintaining taxonomies, thesauri and ontologies which integrates with search, categorization and document management technologies. The acquisition also includes the Taxonomy Warehouse web site a directory of more than 500 taxonomies, thesauri, classification schemes and other authority files from around the world, plus information about taxonomy references, resources and events. http://www.factiva.com, www.taxonomywarehouse.com

Informative Graphics Announces Availability of Brava! on EMC Documentum Enterprise Content Management Platform

Informative Graphics Corp. (IGC) announced that its Brava Web visualization software is now available on the EMC Documentum 5.3 platform and has received the EMC “Designed for Documentum” designation. Brava for Documentum 5.3 content visualization server provides unified and universal viewing, annotation and secure publishing for hundreds of document, image and CAD formats. The EMC Documentum Application Logo Program helps ISVs, VSPs and SIs target, design, develop and market with offerings based on the EMC Documentum platform.
http://www.EMC.com, http://www.infograph.com

Idiom Launches WorldServer LSP Advantage Program

Idiom Technologies, Inc. announced the launch of its “WorldServer LSP Advantage Program.” Independent language service providers can take advantage of Idiom WorldServer GMS (Globalization Management System) in an offering that was developed specifically for their business model and customer service needs. This program marks entrance into a new market for Idiom as the company looks to replicate its momentum among large, global organizations. For more information on the WorldServer LSP Advantage Program, visit

XBRL and The Big Stick

On Wednesday of last week PR Newswire sponsored a set of webcast presentations on XBRL. This was part of PR Newswire’s increasing engagement with XBRL. The company is in the business of publishing earnings releases and would like to see more of them arriving tagged in XBRL. To that end, PR Newswire has entered into a number of agreements with technology firms and others engaged in XBRL. last week’s panel discussion showcased an agreement with Rivet Software, in which PR Newswire offers Rivet’s Dragon Tag tool, which can be used to set up XBRL tagging of documents from Microsoft Excel and Word. The panel included Campbell Pryde, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley, Wayne Harding, VP Business Development at Rivet Software, Daniel Roberts, National Director of Assurance Innovation at Grant Thornton LLP and Vice-Chair US Adoption for XBRL-US, and Liv Watson, Vice President of XBRL at EDGAR Online, Inc.

The presentations would be useful for anyone wanting an update on XBRL issues. They are available in an onlinearchive.

As anyone following my contributions on the Gilbane blogs knows, I think that XBRL is an important early-stage standards initiative. I also find myself wondering about the eventual pace and scope of XBRL adoption. In particular, I have been wondering what will drive adoption. Much of the early XBRL activity has been focused around external financial reporting–rather than internal use of XBRL–and I have been wondering where the payoff would be for a company. If the benefits of these early XBRL initiatives go primarily to external users, what is the motivation for the investment?

One common answer is the “Big Stick” theory of adoption–the SEC is going to MAKE companies use XBRL. Well … maybe. I heard Peter Derby, Managing Executive for Operations and Management at the SEC, talk about the SEC’s XBRL initiative at the 11th International XBRL conference, and he sure didn’t sound like he was ready to make XBRL submissions a requirement. (see my blog entry on Derby’s presentation). But, there certainly could be another story behind the official, public assertion that the market, not agencies, should set standards. Does the SEC have strong motivations of its own to push for faster, more pervasive use of XBRL–or something like it?

Daniel Roberts of Grant Thornton used part of his time during last week’s panel presentation to argue that there is indeed such a motivation. Roberts acknowledged all of the official reasons for the SEC voluntary program–testing technology features, uncovering software available for data tagging, finding out how mature the taxonomies are, discovering how deeply data will be tagged, assessing the amount of effort required to tag the data, and–of course–assessing the utility of the tagging for the SEC. However, in Roberts’ view these official reasons leave out the BIG reason that the SEC needs XBRL. According to Roberts, the SEC needs XBRL so that the agency does not end up buried in a mountain of paper (or PDF or HTML — which are largely the same thing when it comes to analyzing financial reports) and with keeping the SEC out of trouble with Congress.

According to Roberts, the SEC now receives a million pages of newly filed information every day. Given this enormous stream of data, the SEC is currently able to review the financial statements from only about 18% of the companies submitting filings each year. Roberts directed attention to the language of Section 408 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, which reads, “In no event shall an issuer required to file reports under section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 be reviewed under this section less frequently than once every 3 years.” If the SEC is currently doing only 18% of the companies a year, and they are required to review every company no less frequently than every three years, well … do the math.

Further, given the outcry from companies having difficulty meeting SEC deadlines under the Sarbanes Oxley Act, Roberts said that it was highly unlikely that the SEC would want to report back to Congress with the news that the SEC, itself, was not able to meet the requirements of the Act.

In short, Roberts argued that the SEC needs XBRL more than it is letting on and that companies should expect to find that XBRL submissions are required within a matter of years. Given that outlook, companies would be well-advised to get started on the XBRL learning curve now, while submissions are voluntary, while you can use XBRL for a quarter, skip it for a quarter, upgrade your tools and techniques, and try again.

There is no doubt about it: A Big Stick makes an impressive argument. And there can be no doubt that the SEC does have a Big Stick. The question that remains, given the U.S. discomfort with setting technology standards by regulatory decree and the change to a new SEC chairman who is generally expected to be less aggressive in introducing regulations, is whether the SEC will want to use its Big Stick to answer the question of why companies should adopt XBRL. What do you think?

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