XML’s Role in Digital Archives

I have a new post over at EMC’s Community site, "Preserving Electronic Public Records: Lessons from the Washington State Digital Archives." This is part of our ongoing series for EMC on the use of ECM and XML in the public sector.

Do you Have an eBook Strategy Yet?

We have been very pleased with the interest in our new report, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond “eBook.” We have had hundreds of downloads already, the vast majority of which are senior people in the publishing industry. This tells us that the timing for the research is good and that interest is strong, and we are thinking about what to do next with this topic.

One idea we have thought about is helping publishers think through their eBook strategy. If our research (and other recent research) is correct, many larger publishers are jumping in with both feet, but some larger publishers, many medium-sized, and perhaps most smaller publishers are staying on the sidelines or testing the waters with pilots and low-cost and low-impact tests with third parties. Perhaps these efforts are part of developing a strategy? Perhaps some of you think the market is too nascent?

An eBook strategy would necessarily be multi-faceted, and would include input from sales, marketing, editorial, production, fulfillment, and others with a stake in the process. It would need to be informed by good market data, and with good understanding of what technology and channel partners can truly offer publishers. It would also need to be pragmatic, balancing the capabilities of your organization with a realistic assessment of the market opportunities you have.

We’d like to gauge interest in this kind of offering through the following simple poll. Just one question, and no requirement to log in or register. If you would like to talk in more detail about this idea, please email me with any questions.

CMIS Use Cases

If you’re like me and have been thinking about CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services), but need some use cases to help you conceptualize it better, Laurence Hart has put together a very useful presentation. He welcomes comments.

As usual, Robin Cover has a great list of resources here.

Digital Publishing Visionary Profile: Cengage’s Ken Brooks

 


Ken Brooks is senior vice president, global production and manufacturing services at Cengage Learning (formerly Thomson Learning) where his responsibilities include the development, production, and manufacturing of textbooks and reference content in print and digital formats across the Academic and Professional Group, Gale, and International divisions of Cengage Learning. Prior to his position at Cengage Learning, Ken was president and founder of publishing Dimensions, a digital content services company focused in the eBook and digital strategy space. Over the course of his career, Ken founded a Philippines-based text conversion company; a public domain publishing imprint; and a distribution-center based print-on-demand operation and has worked in trade, professional, higher education and K-12 publishing sectors. He has held several senior management positions in publishing, including vice president of digital content at Barnes & Noble, vice president of operations, production, and strategic planning at Bantam Doubleday Dell, and vice president of customer operations at Simon & Schuster. Prior to his entry into publishing, Ken was a senior manager in Andersen Consulting’s logistics strategy practice.

 

This interview is part of our larger study on digital publishing.

 

Read More →

Multilingual Product Content Research: One Analyst’s Perspective

We’ll soon hit the road to talk about the findings revealed in our new research study on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices Into Global Content Value ChainsWhile working on presentations and abstracts, I found myself needing to be conscious of the distinction between objective and subjective perspectives on the state of content globalization.

As analysts, we try to be rigorously objective when reporting and analyzing research results, using subjective perspective sparingly, with solid justification and disclaimer. We focus on the data we gather and on what it tells us about the state of practice. When we wrapped up the multilingual product content study earlier this summer, Leonor, Karl, and I gave ourselves the luxury of concluding the report with a few paragraphs expressing our own personal opinions on the state of content globalization practices. Before we put on our analyst game face and speak from that objective perspective, we thought it would be useful to share our personal perspectives as context for readers who might attend a Gilbane presentation or webinar this fall.

Here are my thoughts on market readiness, as published in the conclusion of Multilingual Product Content:

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Mind the XBRL GAAP

Recently, XBRL US and the FASB released a new taxonomy reference linkbase to enable referencing to the FASB Codification. The FASB Codification is the electronic data base that contains all US GAAP authoritative literature and was designated as official US GAAP as of July 1, 2009.  Minding the GAAP between the existing 2009 US GAAP taxonomy reference linkbase, which contains references to the old GAAP hierarchy (such as FAS 142r or FAS 162) and the new Codification system is an interesting trip indeed.

The good news is that the efforts of the XBRL US people working in co-operation with FASB and the SEC have resulted in direct links from the new XBRL reference database to the Codification.  There are a couple problems, however.

The new reference linkbase is unofficial and will not be accepted by the SEC’s EDGAR system. URI links point to the proper places in the COD for FASB publications but require a separate log in and give you access to the public (high level) view only.

Firms and organizations with professional access to the Codification will not find this a problem, but individual practitioners will have to subscribe (at $850 per year) to get any views beyond the bare bones.

SEC literature stops at the top of the page for ALL SEC GAAP citations. For example, any XBRL element that has a regulation SX reference will point to exactly the same place, the top of the document. Not very useful. The SEC should address this.

So it appears we have three levels of accounting material to deal with, 1) the high level public access literature, which is official US GAAP in the Codification; 2) the professional view additional detail and explanations, and 3) and the non-GAAP material the FASB left out of the COD that is in their hard copy literature but didn’t make the COD/US GAAP cut. Ideally, all literature coming from the SEC or the FASB should be, in my opinion, easily accessible via the Internet.

The present plans to fix the GAAP in the US GAAP XBRL taxonomy are to wait until the 2010 taxonomy is issued (Spring 2010).  Although this would give the SEC plenty of time to tweak the EDGAR system into accepting the new linkbase, until then users of XBRL will have to accept workarounds to discover the authoritative literature link from an XBRL element tag and official US GAAP.

Gilbane Boston Preliminary Schedule Posted

We’ll be rolling out the complete program for this year’s Gilbane Boston conference over the next couple of weeks, but the overall conference schedule is now available. Note that it is subject to change, although it seldom changes very much.

The Nexus of Defined Business Process and Ad Hoc Collaboration

My friend Sameer Patel wrote and published a very good blog post last week that examined the relationship of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and enterprise social software. His analysis was astute (as usual) and noted that there was a role for both types of software, because they offer different value propositions. ECM enables controlled, repeatable content publication processes, whereas social software empowers rapid, collaborative creation and sharing of content. There is a place for both in large enterprises. Sameer’s suggestion was that social software be used for authoring, sharing, and collecting feedback on draft documents or content chunks before they are formally published and widely distributed. ECM systems may then be used to publish the final, vetted content and manage it throughout the content lifecycle.

The relationship between ECM and enterprise social software is just one example of an important, higher level interconnection — the nexus of defined business processes and ad hoc collaboration. This is the sweet spot at which organizations will balance employees’ requirements for speed and flexibility with the corporation’s need for control. The following (hypothetical, but typical) scenario in a large company demonstrates this intersection.

A customer account manager receives a phone call from a client asking why an issue with their service has not been resolved and when it will be. The account manager can query a workflow-supported issue management system and learn that the issue has been assigned to a specific employee and that it has been assigned an "in-progress" status. However, that system does not tell the account manager what she really needs to know! She must turn to a communication system to ask the other employee what is the hold up and the current estimate of time to issue resolution. She emails, IM’s, phones, or maybe even tweets the employee to whom the issue has been assigned to get an answer she can give the customer.

The employee to whom the issue was assigned most likely cannot use the issue management system to actually resolve the problem either. He uses a collaboration system to find documented information and individuals possessing knowledge that can help him deal with the issue. Once the problem is solved, the employee submits the solution to the issue management system, which feeds it to a someone who can make the necessary changes for the customer and inform the customer account manager that the issue is resolved. Case closed.

The above scenario illustrates the need for both process and people-centric systems. Without the cludgy, structured issue management system, the customer account manager would not have known to whom the issue had been assigned and, thus, been unable to contact a specific individual to get better information about its status. Furthermore, middle managers would not have been able to assign the case in a systematic way or see the big picture of all cases being worked on for customers without the workflow and reporting capabilities of the issue management system. On the other hand, ad hoc communication and collaboration systems were the tools that drove actual results. The account manager and the employee to whom the issue was assigned would not have been able to do their work if the issue management system was their only support tool. They needed less structured tools that allowed them to communicate and collaborate quickly to actually resolve the issue.

We should not expect that organizations striving to become more people-centric will abandon their ECM, ERP, or other systems that guide or enforce key business processes. There is a need for both legacy management and Enterprise 2.0 philosophies and systems in large enterprises operating in matrixed organizational structures. Each approach can provide value; one quantifiable in hard currency and the other in terms of softer, but important, business metrics (more on this in a future post.) The enterprises that identify, and operate at, the intersection of structured process and ad hoc communication/collaboration will gain short-term competitive advantage.