Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Day: November 25, 2008

Footnotes, which way is the point?

I always took footnotes for granted. You need them as you’re writing, you insert an indicator at the right place and it points the reader to an amplification, a citation, an off-hand comment, or something — but it’s out of the way, a distraction to the point you’re trying to make.
Some documents don’t need them, but some require them (e.g., scholarly documents, legal documents). In those documents, the footnotes contain such important information that, as Barry Bealer suggests in When footnotes are the content, “the meat [is] in the footnotes.”
The web doesn’t make it easy to represent footnotes. Footnotes on the Web argues that HTML is barely up to the task of presenting footnotes in any effective form.
But if you were to recreate the whole thing from scratch, without static paper as a model, how would you model footnotes?
In a document, a footnote is composed of two pieces of related information. One is the point that you’re trying to make, typically a new point. The other is some pre-existing reference material that presumably supports your point. If it is always the new material that points at the existing, supporting material, then we’re building an information taxonomy bottom up — with the unfortunate property that entering at higher levels will prevent us from seeing lower levels through explicitly-stated links.
To be fair, there are good reasons for connections to be bidirectional. Unidirectional links are forgivable for the paper model, with its inherently temporal life. But the WWW is more malleable, and bidirectional links don’t have to be published at the same time as the first end of the link. In this sense, HTML’s linking mechanism, the ‘<a href=”over_there”>’ construct is fundamentally broken. Google’s founders exploited just this characteristic of the web to build their company on a solution to a problem that needn’t have been.
And people who have lived through the markup revolution from the days of SGML and HyTime know that it shouldn’t have been.
But footnotes still only point bottom up. Fifteen to twenty years on, many of the deeper concepts of the markup revolution are still waiting to flower.

Case Studies and Guidance for Search Implementations

We’ll be covering a chunk of the search landscape at the Gilbane Conference next week. While there are nominally over 100 search solutions that target some aspect of enterprise search, there will be plenty to learn from the dozen or so case studies and tool options described. Commentary and examples include: Attivio, Coveo, Exalead, Google Search Appliance (GSA), IntelliSearch, Lexalytics, Lucene, Oracle Secure Enterprise Search, Thunderstone and references to others. Our speakers will cue us into the current state of the search as it is being implemented. Several exhibitors are also on site to demonstrate their capabilities and they represent some of the best. Check out the program lineup below and try to make it to Boston to hear those with hands-on experience.

EST-1: Plug-and Play: Enterprise Experiences with Search Appliances

  • So you want to implement an enterprise search solution? Speaker: Angela A. Foster, FedEx Services, FedEx.com Development, and Dennis Shirokov, Marketing Manager, FedEx Digital Access Marketing.
  • The Make or Buy Decision at the U.S. General Services Admin. Speaker: Thomas Schaefer, Systems Analyst and Consultant, U.S. General Services Administration
  • Process and Architecture for Implementing GSA at MITRE. Robert Joachim, Info Systems Engr, Lead, The MITRE Corporation.

EST-2: Search in the Enterprise When SharePoint is in the Mix

  • Enterprise Report Management: Bringing High Value Content into the Flow of Business Action. Speaker: Ajay Kapur, VP of Product Development, Apps Associates
  • Content Supply? Meet Knowledge Demand: Coveo SharePoint integration. Speaker: Marc Solomon, Knowledge Planner, PRTM.
  • In Search of the Perfect Search: Google Search on the Intranet. Speaker: June Nugent, Director of Corporate Knowledge Resources, NetScout Systems,

EST-3: Open Source Search Applied in the Enterprise

  • Context for Open Source Implementations. Speaker: Leslie Owen, Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Intelligent Integration: Combining Search and BI Capabilities for Unified Information Access. Speaker: Sid Probstien, CTO, Attivio

EST-4: Search Systems: Care and Feeding for Optimal Results

  • Getting Off to a Strong Start with Your Search Taxonomy. Speaker: Heather Hedden, Principal Hedden Information Management
  • Getting the Puzzle Pieces to Fit; Finding the Right Search Solution(s) Patricia Eagan, Sr. Mgr, Web Communications, The Jackson Laboratory.
  • How Organizations Need to Think About Search. Speaker: Rob Wiesenberg, President & Founder, Contegra Systems

EST-5: Text Analytics/Semantic Search: Parsing the Language

  • Overview and Differentiators: Text Analytics, Text Mining and Semantic Technologies. Jeff Catlin, CEO, Lexalytics
  • Reality and Hype in the Text Retrieval Market. Curt Monash, President, Monash Research.
  • Two Linguistic Approaches to Search: Natural Language Processing and Concept Extraction. Speaker: Win Carus, President and Founder, Information Extraction Systems

Exhibitors with a Search Focus:

Across Systems to Demonstrate Portal Solution and Integration of its Language Server with Content Management at Gilbane Conference

Across Systems, a provider of corporate translation management systems and an independent linguistic supply chain technology, is exhibiting at the 5th annual Gilbane Boston Conference. Across will demonstrate its recently released Language Portal Solution, as well as an integrated solution for website localization. The enterprise-level Language Portal enables implementation of corporate intranet Web portals for all language-related issues for large-scale organizations and multinational corporations in a single environment. In addition, Across has cooperated on an integration of the Across Language Server with the Straker ShadoCMS v8.5 Web content management system, which will also be demonstrated. The CMS integration provides an automated process for Website localization that includes content creation, translation management, publishing and handling of dynamic multilingual Web content. Across offers an independent technology without translation and localization services. Enterprise customers and language service providers interested in meeting with Across to discuss translation management needs are invited to make an appointment through the form on the company’s website.