Monday, November 24, 2008

How the Semantic Web Will Change Information Management: Three Predictions from fumsi

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[This post was originally posted on the Synaptica Central team blog]
fumsi is a digital and print publication that provides resources and tools for people who "find, use, manage & share information" . They are part of the FreePint family of resources for professionals in the Information Management field. If you watch or subscribe to the Synaptica Central RSS feeds (right menu) you probably saw the recent pointer to the rich write-ups by James Kelway also published on fumsi on Creating User Centred Taxonomies. Jame's personal Blog User Pathways is also another must read blog if you want to learn about information management from a information architecture, interaction design, and user experience perspective which i believe is extremely important to do in today's user driven information experiences.

This Sunday morning's reading lead me to catching up on my multiple feeds and one that caught my attention was this article in fumsi by Silver Oliver who has a background in Library Science and is currently an Information Architect at the BBC titled How the Semantic Web Will Change Information Management: Three Predictions

Prediction number 1: a move from the pull to the push search paradigm, or more ‘context-aware’ applications

Today's information consumption, still starts mostly with information seeking and retrieval- processes that in today's fast moving, overloaded information companies and cost saving conscience enterprises are simply not sustainable in order to be competitive. If you happened to be a defrag this year and listened to my presentation on Pulling the Threads on User Data you heard me speaking about the need for context aware applications and standards to make data portable- ultimately leading to one of Silver's first predications that "The Semantic Web could assist in this area, by publishing data in a way that smart applications can take advantage of and so improve smart context aware recommendations. The right thing, at the right place and at the right time".

Prediction number 2: the battle of the identifiers or the age of pointing at things

Recently here on Synaptica Central, Christine Connors- Director of Semantic Technologies at Dow Jones, published a post that touched on this subject titled "Taxonomies are a Commodity " in which she ended her post with the following:
"I actually like the fact that taxonomies have become commoditized. Why? Competition drives improvement - in quality, in focus, in security and in usability. These are areas that the semantic web community needs to focus on - in my experience, security and usability need attention NOW. Good fences make good neighbors, and when we've got good fences, we can make more links and learn to trust. Icing on the cake!"

Prediction number 3: the changing role of the information professional

Silver ends this prediction with the following statement: "The skills of information professionals will be essential in populating and managing the Web of data and, to make this happen, we must make the shift from thinking repository-scale to thinking Web-scale."
Back in January 2008, i wrote a post over on my personal blog titled " Sexy Hot Trends for 2008 and Beyond- Librarians" where i highlighted some of the opportunities I saw for people with library science degrees (and no you don't need to be female and wear purple tights!- i just love that Super Librarian image!). So i obviously agree with Silver's prediction- the skill sets and experiences that information professionals can bring to the Semantic Web can be huge and I certainly hope that the Semantic Web community continues to cross-populate even more with the InfoPro communities- here at Dow Jones we are committed to doing our part to make sure that happens. Working with our InfoPro Alliance Group (headed by Anne Caputo the new SLA president ) we are looking to provide some Webinars in the new year to address Semantic Web issues that need to be addressed in Enterprise- by Information Professionals as well as other parts of the organization- so watch this space for more info as we finalize those sessions!

Image|Flickr|Leo Reynolds

Super Librarian Image above is from from the NJ State Library which includes the great Super Librarian Comic Book . You can also buy Super Librarian gear if you are so inclined.

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