Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Semantic Technologies in the Enterprise Roundtable Event- May 22th in Palo Alto

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If i am not planning and organizing some event i am not happy- perhaps i missed my calling as an 'events coordinator' or something.

On May 22nd from 2-6pm in Palo Alto, CA - Christine Connors the Director of Semantic Technology Solutions for Dow Jones and the Business Champion for Synaptica, will be leading a roundtable discussion on the subject of Semantic Technologies in the Enterprise.

Many of our Enterprise Customers have been asking us about semantic technologies and since Christine will be in town to present at the Semantic Technologies Conference in San Jose, i thought it would be a great time to schedule a roundtable discussion on the subject.

Some of our previous roundtable events that i have coordinated have been very successful and have covered subjects such as Social Media Measurement and Folksonomies and Taxonomies in the Enterprise. This event will be at our Palo Alto office that also houses the local printing plant for The Wall Street Journal. This means that afterwards we get to do a special guided tour of the printing plant which is always a highlight for the attendees (and no matter how many times i do it - for me as well!).

The roundtable portion of the event will cover topics such as:

• What can Semantic technologies do for your organization?
• How can the Semantic Web help you in your job role?
• Where do you start and what are best practices?
• How do you “sell” Semantic web investment concepts internally?

I still have a couple of seats left at the table- so if you an individual at a company that is looking at using or are already using semantic technologies in your enterprise and are interested in coming to meet some of your fellow Bay area colleagues that are working on similar projects- please e-mail at If you know of someone that might be interested in the topic please feel free forward this post to them.

Photo Categorization Different Needs for Different Users

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Over the last few days i have come across two separate conversation about taxonomies on Flickr that i thought were interesting. Flickr is a photo (and now video) site that has become increasingly popular yet i still run into people frequently who don't know about flickr (yes, shocks me as well). When i ask what they use to share pictures they mention sites like Snapfish or Kodak Easyshare were the model is still more share and buy then organize. Flickr allows users, especially Pro users who pay $24.95 per year to use a variety of ways to 'organize' their photos by using collections, sets and tags.

John Suler has an interesting project going on using Flickr about The CyberPsychology of Flickr and his recent addition was about Categorizing Images which came with the photo i include in this post. The project is to encourage discussion on how "people in flickr use photographs and images to express themselves, converse with each other, and form relationships as well as groups" and this addition was focused on how flickr users categorize their pictures.

In talking about personal 'taxonomies' he writes: "The categories you start off with may not work well later on. And the way you organize images for your own personal archive may be different than the collections you create for showing your images to others, as in flickr." In my world of taxonomies, we call this audience centric views- different audiences either by user type, location (e.g. US/UK), or usage purpose, etc.. Well built taxonomies allow this and robust taxonomy management tools enable this. Here is a paper on how the National Library Board of Singapore uses Audience-Centric Taxonomy: Using Taxonomies to Support Heterogeneous User Communities'

The other topic was Keywording for biology/taxonomy/nature photographers using Aperture which i have not used but seems to have a more robust keyword management tool allowing a hierarchy to be built. In the thread Stewart Macdonald highlights one of the things that for example content editors benefit from when a hierarchal taxonomy is presented that allows selection when tagging and that can also automatically expand the user-selected terms using related terms from their taxonomy system (and it does not have to exclusive of free text tags either!).

Stewart writes in response to someone who suggests that he just add keywords and then use search to find photos: "The hierarchy is important to me. If I didn't have nested keywords, I'd have to assign the following keywords individually to any pics of crocodiles:





Crocodylus porosus

Being able to just assign 'Crocodylus porosus' and have all the 'upstream' keywords included too is a bit quicker.

I am always trying to find 'consumer' examples to illustrate concepts- that although might be different in a corporate environment still help the user understand some of the benefits- so these things and flickr- delight me.

Photo credit : jsuler

Monday, April 21, 2008

So Your Company Profile is in the Top Ten on LinkedIn What Does it Mean?

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Through a Twitter message from @Infosourcer a new twitter follower of mine who is the Manager of Internet Research at Deloitte (who also have @DeloitteLLP)- a pointer to a post on the LinkedIn Blog about Top 10 Company Profiles on LinkedIn (April 2008).

So what does it mean to be one of the Top 10 Company Profiles views on LinkedIn?

  • do they have the biggest ego maniacs?
  • are their employees being recruited the most?
  • do they have the most interesting people working for them?
  • do they have the most social media enabled employees that are pushing their online profiles?
  • are they companies that most people want to sell into?
  • are they the most socially connected companies?
  • are they just purging from one another?
  • are they just bigger then everyone ?
I certainly wasn't surprise to see any of these companies and i am sure size attributes to it but i would love to see a comparison graph of how successfull the top 10 profiled viewed companies compare in using LinkedIn to recruit new employees as well. I did a quick search in the job board and found the following numbers of job posted by the top 10:

GE (and General Electric)- 4
Deloitte- 3
Cisco- 236
HP- 22
Oracle- 337
Google- 154
Microsoft - 113
Accenture- 31
IBM- 3

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Knew There was a Reason I Never Started Smoking, I Was Waiting for Something Better

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This article over at Blog Reading: Kind Of Like Getting A Nicotine Fix caught my eye this morning because as you probably guessed it, i am obsessive about reading my blogs with the various tools i use and particularly checking blog aggregating services like Techmeme . Of course, there is nothing like a story about bloggers and blog readers to get a blogger excited (how many times can i say blog and get away with it?)

As the post on states the study was conducted with only a few people (15) and 11 of them are bloggers to boot - but some interesting findings.

I see the use of blogs continuously growing behind corporate firewalls as a new way to communicate with employees and across groups, online newspapers like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal among most of the other biggies, are also pushing out blogs. And it seems that they are having some success (just based on simple comment engagement that i see) so it is important to understand the behavior that drives people to read blogs if you want to make them successful. Some items from the report:
  • study participants who labeled their blog-reading time as “chilling out” and “doing nothing,”>>yeah i am chilling right now so there has to be some 'pleasure' involved don't make your post read like a dissertation
  • one describing his impulse to read blogs as similar to his cigarette habit. >> sure i get a bit jumpy when i can't check my favs, some people have America Idol- i got my blogs so put that in your pipe and smoke it
  • the blog readers typically professed little stress about information overload in trying to keep up with their favorite blogs. When they got behind on reading posts, they just skipped the old ones. >>yep love that 'read all' feature on Google reader- free me please and please recycle that big pile of newspapers in the corner of my kitchen as well!
  • Habitual reading can become potentially detrimental when people disengage mentally and don’t think very critically about what they’re reading. >>not any different from print media where people believe what they read because it is 'published'
Most importantly i think is this comment by one of the study authors Eric Baumer:

I think this finding helps to open up the design space in terms of tools to support blog reading. Rather than focusing on helping readers wade through a deluge of information content, one could envision tools that focus on the reader’s relationship with the blogger or allowing more fluid, nuanced interactions between bloggers and readers.

Bingo- remember years ago we were having conversations about whether a blog was a blog if it didn't allow comments? Comments now are an essential part of building relationships with users. And the evolution of blogging will continue- there are going to be many new tools to engage readers with the content and each other, things like:
  • using alternative ways to push content like using Twitter to 'publish' posts
  • Matching the readers 'Attention' to specific blog posts (see search example on RAM and Whiskey blog)- so the first posts the visitor sees when visiting a blog are the most relevant to them based on their current attention profile
  • allowing readers to comment beyond text for example with video replies
  • allowing 'real-time' chat on blogs- once you post (i just had this experience today with Tangler with a DataPortability logo chat at the bottom of this page not a blog but the concept is an interesting one especially for heavily trafficked and commented site)
What other ways have you seen out there or can imagine that will change how 'blogs' engage their readers?

Picture of the Portuguese 'SG' cigarette by lanier67.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bring it on- the Data that is

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Infectious Greed by Paul Kedrosky is one of my daily reads and i also follow him on twitter which i always recommend to people especially my Dow Jones Colleagues who are interested in the markets and want to get value from Twitter besides how many cups of coffee someone had (although he like all us regular twitter folk also twitts personal messages often).

Today he has some good food for thought with his 'Bring on the Data Blogs' post. He writes:

I am, however, increasingly fascinated with capturing and incorporating useful, alternative data sources from the edge. You see some of that beginning to happen via Twitter (and I'm advising an interesting company doing work here), but there are all sorts of opportunities at the confluence of unstructured data, companies like QL9 and Kirix, webcams and video analytics, and, yes, blogs. While I've long incorporated meta-data from blogs in my thinking, I want to make it more explicit. I want blogs about data, sites that reshape and repurpose data as their central purpose.

I just had this conversation the other day that we should be doing more with our web presence beyond blog posts and contextual links and 'widgets'- the topic of the conversation was putting together an unique Synaptica web presence for our community- something i have been advocating since day one in my role as Business Development Manager earlier this year. The word 'blog' was being used during the call (and there will be a blog element) so of course i turned into my usual snotty self and commented- 'well a blog would have been cool two years ago-we need to do more and while we are at it eat our own dog food'. woof woof growl growl- i say.

DataPortability Logo selection open for public voting

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In early March the DataPortability Group received a cease and desist letter from Red Hat that the DataPortability Logo was too similar (identical, in their words) to their Fedora Logo. Instead of fighting it, after discussing with the community we decided to run a contest to select a new DataPortability Logo.

In addition to having the honor to be the designer of the new DataPortability logo and to help the community create an important Trust Mark for the emerging Data Portability conversation, there are also many prizes from companies who support the DataPortability initiative and have donated prizes to be awarded to the winner including an iPhone, Ad space on Techcrunch, cash and more. We had over 400 submissions, which have been narrowed down to 15 finalists over the course of the last month.

The idea is that the DataPortability Logo will be the center piece of the DataPortability Brand and will be used on blog sidebars, websites and projects to show support for the DataPortability Project.

So Vote Now! The public voting begins on April 15, at 12pm (PST), and ends on Friday, April 18, at 11:59pm (PST).

Some people are critiquing that the DataPortability Group has been too busy dealing with the logo contest instead of doing 'real' work towards data portability. Well some people really have been busy since this process has been very time consuming and Elias one of the leaders of the "logo gang" writes about some of the project processes in this post- at times a challenging technical and organizational project that i am super impressed these folks pulled off within the time lines set! Congrats and Job Well Done!

From the outside i can see how someone might say that the group is not doing much beyond a contest for a new logo-we are a young group (established in late Nov 07)-but i have had the pleasure to see from the 'inside' (which is really public and open to participation!)- there is other work going on and very passionate people who are indeed working towards making data portable while continuing in the establishment of governance and process for the group. Setting up processes is something that just needs to be done as well and this logo contest project in addition to delivering a project that we wanted to do with the community, provided us with some real use cases for getting projects started and completed as DataPortability deliverables-let's hope that some of the lessons learned will hyper-power the next few projects.

What are you waiting for? Vote Now!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Conferences, Events, Travel and Maximizing My Time

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So i have been up since 7am on a beautiful Saturday morning trying to organize my calendar for the next three months and i am totally frustrated. Trying to organize my calendar for events and four conferences that have four online activity calendars/schedulers with four separate logins, plus i need to make hotel and flight reservations as well as appointments so i can maximize my time at these events. Urgh---Who is going to fix this???

Things are certainly getting better and below i highlight one way i am maximizing some of interoperability of web based calendaring using features like iCalendar but i am still having to do a lot of manual work that requires multiple logins and at minimum first time setup on all these services. So of course this activity i am doing this morning is silly because i am reviewing/updating my Outlook calendar (where my work colleagues go to when they need to book appointments so by default my base) , my Google Calendar, my , my Dopplr plus the calendar on the fridge for the hubby (not for a long while will that one be fixed!). DataPortability anyone?

I invest time and money in all the conferences and events i go to, so i certainly want to maximize the ones i am attending so i can network and meet with as many people as possible. So after spending some time this morning trying to figure out the best way to not only manage my own life but make myself available, as a first step i have created a
Google public calendar and using the Calendar embeddable feature i added it to my blog (see on the right side menu).

On my Google public calendar i put the following description:

I am the Business Development Manager for Synaptica and Taxonomy Services at Dow Jones. Part of the Dow Jones Client Solutions team, i am responsible for business development for Synaptica our taxonomy and metadata management tool and work very closely with our Taxonomy Services team.

I am as one of the original co-founders of the DataPortability Project :

Please contact me directly at if you would like to schedule a meeting with me at anytime or come find me at the event- this is what i look like in case you are looking for me!

Then i added all my events. Because most of them are on a service i already use often, it was very easy to do because i clicked on "I'm Attending" then clicked to add to my Google Calendar. Then I added personal notes as needed about my attendance at that event so hopefully i can schedule some meetings etc.

It would be awesome if ALL the conference program calendars that i need to fill out for each conference session i want to attend could be portable and then easily included in the details of each calendar entry for people to see which sessions i am attending to get a better idea of my interests. The Semantic Technology Conference Scheduler (what else would you expect from this conference) gets me one step closer.

Hope to see you at one of these events and conferences!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Today On ReadWriteWeb I have the honor of being named one of the Seven Leading Corporate Social Media Evangelists

Wow! I was just named one of the 'Seven Leading Corporate Social Media Evangelists Today' according to Marshall Kirpatrick at ReadWriteWeb! What an honor- especially because of the other Evangelists i was listed among.

This is awesome. First because i am a huge fan of ReadWriteWeb and especially the research that Marshall Kirkpatrik does but more importantly because i truly believe (and have seen it with my own efforts) that Corporate Social Media can have a huge impact on how individuals 'run' their own 'business' in large corporations with benefits all around for clients, the company and themselves.

Early on as i started using Social Media as part of my daily routine, i got some very good advise from someone else on this list- Jeremiah Owyang- who gave me some 'Corporate Membranes' advice that had come from Robert Scoble and although at times i get frustrated with the "Corporate office" because they aren't moving fast enough for me, i keep pushing that membrane... and since i am lucky enough to work for a company that allows me to do it, it has worked out. i have been able to not only build my personal brand but i have had the chance to evangelize the use of Social Media across various groups internally like for example the encouragement of using Social Media tools with my colleagues that result in things like Wikis for roundtables and the Dow Jones Election Pulse blog.

So here is how i think this whole thing went down...another indication of the engagement with the new social media tools we use.

This morning, on Twitter @marshallk twittered a request requesting people to nominate social media evangelists for companies. A bit later i saw cjmconnors twitter a nomination for me (i follow cjmconnors and she is Christine Connors who is the Director of Semantic Technologies and Business Champion for Synaptica at Dow Jones).

Then i get this crypted message from @chrissaad about my ears burning, as i continue to work and twitter along in between client calls and getting work stuff done, including working on a backdrop for a new Synaptica Twitter account that i just put together a couple days ago to use as we announce our new V7 release. Then i get a Twitter Direct Message from @jeffreymcmanus teasing me about being the new Scoble. "The new Scoble?-what the hell is he talking about?", so i head back to Twitter and bam- i remembered the twits and saw this. What a rush!

Over the last year, partially because i have experienced such success, i have really picked up my pace of using social media to Evangelize the work i do; whether it is with personal projects like the Dataportability Group that i am very passionate about or the work i do at Dow Jones- the tools vary but the objective is the same- put myself out there, become part of the community and give back.

Although i have been with Dow Jones going on eight years and blogging about information delivery in the Enterprise for about two years, since November, i have been in new role as Business Development Manager for Synaptica- our taxonomy and metadata management solution. Never heard of it? Don't worry not a lot of people have, the solution is very well received in the marketplace and we have many major global companies using it- but honestly only people in the "know" know about it because it is a niche solution and when Factiva/Dow Jones acquired Synapse- marketing it wasn't done very well and with our recent re-branding to Dow Jones/News Corp it only got worse.

Since i took this new role i have seen the gap in the marketplace as i speak to prospects (who for example tell me how they think i am very interesting from reading my blog but can't find any information on the tool!) and therefore i struggle that there isn't even landing page to point people to-duh! So over the last few weeks i have also been working internally with the help of some very supportive people from marketing and product and we have a great plan to continue on the social media work i have been doing for two years- so watch this space ;-) and see how i prove that i belong on the list of the 7 leading Corporate Social Media Evangelists!

***Thanks to everyone who has left such kind words on the comments section of the RWW post and thank you for the nominations including Chris Saad's great quote!

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Podcast listen on Libraries and the Semantic Web

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Back in February i stumbled across a blog that i thought had a good purpose and blogged about the Practical Advice being offered on that Blog focused on Library staff on How to Learn About the Semantic Web. The blog is titled Semantic Library Blog and it is authored by Fiona Bradley an Australian Librarian working for IFLA in the Netherlands.

It seems like i wasn't the only one that found it. Yesterday on my walk to the beach i tuned in to what Fiona had to say during her interview with Richard Wallis at Talis. I enjoyed their conversation and thought the point Fiona made that the cataloging community will be the first in the Library to have to deal with Semantic Web is probably on the ball.

She also posted an expanded post on why she got interested in Semantic Web as a follow-up to the podcast in which she writes:
Beyond these issues, I’m interested in what’s next. I think libraries are a natural fit for the Semantic Web because of its emphasis on RDF, and data and metadata. In some ways it’s a return to what we do best - organising information, provenance, databases.

I am a big fan of what Talis has been doing in the Semantic Web community including their talking with Talis Podcasts and their Nodalities blog with Danny Ayers' This Weeks Semantic Web Posts and always enjoy their often focus on the Library world. (and ok i am very big fan of Danny Ayers (Talis Community manager and his DataPortability and Me Video submission to our project!).

Bonus: From This Weeks Semantic Web Lesson, Teaching a Six Year Old About Triples (not to be confused with Triplets- and why every parent should buy their kids a whiteboard)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Semantic Web Experimental Mashup

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Via Peter Reiser's blog a pointer to this very cool experimental mashup using Wikipedia, Open Calais, Goggle and Amazon that demonstrates how to use semantic based term extraction and the Amazon API to search for relevant books for a specific topic like for example i used Dow Jones which brought back books on the Wall Street Journal which is one of the Dow Jones properties.

From Peter's Blog: How it works

1. The search input is sent to
2. The respective wikipedia page is sent to the Open Calais service to extract the terms
3. The extracted terms are sent to google, and get enriched by related terms using the google labs service "google suggest".
4. the terms are sent to the Amazon API and the relevant books from Amazon are displayed

A simple use case for this could be a blog widget that would semantically extracted information from posts, like for example on this post an Amazon widget would present books on the Semantic Web, Google and APIs with my affiliate ID embedded so if a reader wanted to purchase books related to the subject of the specific post they could.

OpenID Status Check: Are There Premium Services Using OpenID?

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OpenID is a key emerging open standard for online identity. A couple weeks ago i posted about how the Political Market Prediction Section of CNN Supports OpenID which i thought was the first implementation of OpenID in a main stream media site and since no one refuted maybe i was right?

Today over at ReadWriteWeb a great writeup and resource titled OpenID Status Check: A Guide to Getting and Using Your OpenID gives you all you need to get up to speed on what is going on in the OpenID space. It is awesome to see such great adoption across the space and usability issues being addressed.

So are there any premium content providers that are using OpenID? By premium i mean having a monthly, yearly subscription fee to access content and services online. I took a look OpenID Site Directory and saw that some services like for example Flickr that provide premium accounts allow users to utilize OpenID - so will we see more services that have a freemium and premium models using OpenID? And will we see it with the online content providers who still want to maintain a user registration model with different levels of access?