Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Day: June 3, 2008

“Beyond Search” at Gilbane San Francisco

We have a lot of search coverage at our San Francisco conference in a couple of weeks, including a conference keynote, a track keynote, multiple panel sessions, and an in-depth workshop. To complement all of this we are offering a 20% discount to registered attendees who order Beyond Search: What to do When Your Enterprise Search System Doesn’t Work, by Stephen Arnold.

Steve is being interviewed by Lynda Moulton in the Enterprise Search track keynote, so you can pepper him with questions after you read the report. All registered attendees will automatically get an email with the coupon code to use for the discount. If you can’t make it to San Francisco you can still get the report at .

Find out more about what we’ll be covering in our search track on Lynda’s search blog. Though there is some overlap, also see the Search and Semantic Technology category

Acrobat.com…

was announced yesterday, and is available now as a public beta. By all means, check it out. I have been playing with Buzzword, and like it. I did manage to break it trying an Export to Word 2003 XML, but it is a Beta after all.
I do wonder about the export choices, which, apart from Acrobat, zipped XML, and plain text, are all Microsoft–Word 2003, Word 2007, and Word 2003 XML. This makes perfect sense if Adobe sees Buzzword as the Web interface in a Microsoft-centric document workflow. But I can see other use cases, especially ones where the content is destined for a Web CMS (or is already in a Web CMS and is being updated. In these cases, the Web CMS would likely not want the overhead of the complex Microsoft file structures.
I think we are getting a briefing on Acrobat.com shortly. I will see what Adobe has in mind.

What’s in a Name: Information Access Software vs. Search?

This one almost slipped right past me but I see we are in another shoot-out in the naming of search market segments. Probably it is because we have too many offerings in the search industry. When any industry reaches a critical mass, players need to find a way to differentiate what they sell. Products have to be positioned as, well, “something else.”

In my consulting practice “knowledge management” has been hot (1980s and 90s), dead (late ’90s and early 2000s), relevant again (now). In my analyst role for “enterprise search” Gilbane has been told by experts that the term is meaningless and should be replaced with “behind the firewall search,” as if that clarifies everything. Of course, marketing directories might struggle with that as a category heading.

For the record, “search” has two definitions in my book. The first is a verb referring to the activity of looking for anything. The second, newer, definition is a noun referring to technologies that support finding “content.” Both are sufficiently broad to cover a lot of activities, technologies and stuff. “Enterprises” are organizations of any type in which business, for-profit, non-for-profit, or government, is being conducted. Let us quibble no more.

But I digress; Endeca has broadened its self-classification in any number of press releases to referring to its products that were “search” products last year, as “information access software.” This is the major category used by IDC to include “search.” That’s what we called library systems in the 1970s and 80s. New products still aim for accessing content, albeit with richer functions and features but where are we going to put them in our family of software lists? One could argue that Endeca‘s products are really a class of “search,” search on steroids, a specialized form of search. What are the defining differentiators between “search software” and “information access software?” When does a search product become more than it was or narrower, refined in scope? (This is a rhetorical question but I’m sure each vendor in this new category will break-it out for me in their own terms.)

Having just finished reviewing the market for enterprise search, I believe that many of the products are reaching for the broader scope of functionality defined by IDC as being: search and retrieval, text analytics, and BI. But are they really going to claim to be content management and data warehousing software, as well? Those are included in IDC’s definition of “information access software.” May-be we are going back to single-vendor platforms with everything bundled and integrated. Sigh… it makes me tired, trying to keep up with all this categorizing and re-redefining.

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