Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: March 2011

e-Spirit Integrates FirstSpirit CMS Into Liferay Portal

e-Spirit AG has added the open source Liferay Portal to their range of possibilities for integration of the FirstSpirit content management system into enterprise portals. The module was developed in cooperation with e-Spirit’s technology partner USU. Integrating FirstSpirit in Liferay will allow organizations to create employee portals that combine Enterprise 2.0 functionality, IT applications, content and collaboration. Organizations will also be able to provide their employees with access to Web 2.0 functions such as forums, blogs and wikis and offering them a platform to efficiently organize collaboration and share information beyond individual departments. The new module will be available in May.

ETL and Building Intelligence Behind Semantic Search

A recent inquiry about a position requiring ETL (Extraction/Transformation/Loading) experience prompted me to survey the job market in this area. It was quite a surprise to see that there are many technical positions seeking this expertise, plus experience with SQL databases, and XML, mostly in healthcare, finance or with data warehouses. I am also observing an uptick in contract positions for metadata and taxonomy development.

My research on Semantic Software Technologies placed me on a path for reporters and bloggers to seek my thoughts on the Watson-Jeopardy story. Much has been written on the story but I wanted to try a fresh take on the meaning of it all. There is a connection to be made between the ETL field and building a knowledgebase with the smarts of Watson. Inspiration for innovation can be drawn from the Watson technology but there is a caveat; it involves the expenditure of serious mental and computing perspiration.

Besides baked-in intelligence for answering human questions using natural language processing (NLP) to search, an answer-platform like Watson requires tons of data. Also, data must be assembled in conceptually and contextually relevant databases for good answers to occur. When documents and other forms of electronic content are fed to a knowledgebase for semantic retrieval, finely crafted metadata (data describing the content) and excellent vocabulary control add enormous value. These two content enhancers, metadata and controlled vocabularies, can transform good search into excellent search.

The irony of current enterprise search is that information is in such abundance that it overwhelms rather than helps findability. Content and knowledge managers can’t possibly contribute the human resources needed to generate high quality metadata for everything in sight. But there are numerous techniques and technologies to supplement their work by explicitly exploiting the mountain of information.

Good content and knowledge managers know where to find top quality content but may not know that, for all common content formats, there are tools to extract key metadata embedded (but hidden) in it. Some of these tools can also text mine and analyze the content for additional intelligent descriptive data. When content collections are very large but too small to justify (under a million documents) the most sophisticated and complex semantic search engines, ETL tools can relieve pressure on metadata managers by automating a lot of mining, extracting entities and concepts needed for good categorization.

The ETL tool array is large and varied. Platform tools from Microsoft (SSIS) and IBM (DataStage) may be employed to extract, transform and load existing metadata. Other independent products such as those from Pervasive and SEAL may contribute value across a variety of platforms or functional areas from which content can be dramatically enhanced for better tagging and indexing. The call for ETL experts is usually expressed in terms of engineering functions who would be selecting, installing and implementing these products. However, it has to be stressed that subject and content experts are required to work with engineers. The role of the latter is to help tune and validate the extraction and transformation outcomes, making sure terminology fits function.

Entity extraction is one major outcome of text mining to support business analytics, but tools can do a lot more to put intelligence into play for semantic applications. Tools that act as filters and statistical analyzers of text data warehouses will help reveal terminology for use in building specialized controlled vocabularies for use in auto-categorization. A few vendors that are currently on my radar to help enterprises understand and leverage their content landscape include EntropySoft Content ETL, Information Extraction Systems, Intelligenx, ISYS Document Filters, RAMP, and XBS, something here for everyone.

The diversity of emerging applications is a leading indicator that there is a lot of innovation to come with all aspects of ETL. While RAMP is making headway with video, another firm with a local connection is Inforbix. I spoke with a co-founder, Oleg Shilovitsky for my semantic technology research last year before they launched. As he then asserted, it is critical to preserve, mine and leverage the data associated with design and manufacturing operations. This area has huge growth potential and Inforbix is now ready to address that market.

Readers who seek to leverage ETL and text mining will gain know-how from the cases presented at the 2011 Text Analytics Summit, May 18-19 in Boston. As well, the exhibits will feature products to consider for making piles of data a valuable knowledge asset. I’ll be interviewing experts who are speaking and exhibiting at that conference for a future piece. I hope readers will attend and seek me out to talk about your metadata management and text mining challenges. This will feed ideas for future posts.

Finally, I’m not the only one thinking along these lines. You will find other ideas and a nudge to action in these articles.

Boeri, Bob. Improving Findability Behind the Firewall, 28 slides. Enterprise Search Summit 2010, NY, 05/2010.
Farrell, Vickie. The Need for Active Metadata Integration: The Hard Boiled Truth. DM Direct Newsletter, 09/09/2005, 3p
McCreary, Dan. Entity Extraction and the Semantic Web, Semantic Universe, 01/01/2009
White, David. BI or bust? KMWorld, 10/28/2009, 3p.

Enterprise Edition of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Now Available

Adobe Systems Incorporated announced the immediate availability of the Enterprise Edition of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, a set of hosted software services and viewer technology to create, distribute, monetize and analyze digital magazines, newspapers and publications. With output aimed at Android tablets, RIM PlayBook, and iOS tablet devices, the Enterprise Edition is designed for large publishers to implement a custom tablet publishing solution without disrupting existing processes and infrastructure. Today’s news follows the announcement that Adobe Digital Publishing Suite will support both Apple App Store Subscriptions and Google One Pass for magazine and newspaper publishers.

Acquia Launches Drupal Gardens 1.0

Acquia announced the general availability release of Drupal Gardens 1.0 with new capabilities and pricing plans. Drupal Gardens is a way to build content-rich dynamic sites. Views provides Drupal Gardens with a collection of tools for site builders with the simplicity of software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery. Without writing any code, Views allows creation of custom mashups or combinations of content, media, user profiles, and more. Site builders can point and click to pull together any information on their site and craft lists, grids, tables, reports, RSS feeds, and navigation. Views can also be configured to display different results based on visitor interactions, such as displaying posts submitted over the past month versus the most popular. With Views, Drupal Gardens sites can be assembled and deployed with dynamic content. Importantly, there is no lock-in for site builders and owners with Drupal Gardens’ OpenSaaS approach. If there is a need to add custom modules, simply export the complete site to Acquia Dev Cloud or your own hosting environment. Drupal Gardens is offering a tiered pricing structure ranging from individuals to large enterprises.

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