March 2003 Archives

What is an ontology?

"An ontology defines the terms used to describe and represent an area of knowledge. Ontologies are used by people, databases, and applications that need to share domain information (a domain is just a specific subject area or area of knowledge, like medicine, tool manufacturing, real estate, automobile repair, financial management, etc.). Ontologies include computer-usable definitions of basic concepts in the domain and the relationships among them (note that here and throughout this document, definition is not used in the technical sense understood by logicians). They encode knowledge in a domain and also knowledge that spans domains. In this way, they make that knowledge reusable.

The word ontology has been used to describe artifacts with different degrees of structure. These range from simple taxonomies (such as the Yahoo hierarchy), to metadata schemes (such as the Dublin Core), to logical theories. The Semantic Web needs ontologies with a significant degree of structure. These need to specify descriptions for the following kinds of concepts:

  • Classes (general things) in the many domains of interest
  • The relationships that can exist among things
  • The properties (or attributes) those things may have

Ontologies are usually expressed in a logic-based language, so that detailed, accurate, consistent, sound, and meaningful distinctions can be made among the classes, properties, and relations. Some ontology tools can perform automated reasoning using the ontologies, and thus provide advanced services to intelligent applications such as: conceptual/semantic search and retrieval, software agents, decision support, speech and natural language understanding, knowledge management, intelligent databases, and electronic commerce.

Ontologies figure prominently in the emerging Semantic Web as a way of representing the semantics of documents and enabling the semantics to be used by web applications and intelligent agents. Ontologies can prove very useful for a community as a way of structuring and defining the meaning of the metadata terms that are currently being collected and standardized. Using ontologies, tomorrow's applications can be "intelligent," in the sense that they can more accurately work at the human conceptual level.

Ontologies are critical for applications that want to search across or merge information from diverse communities. Although XML DTDs and XML Schemas are sufficient for exchanging data between parties who have agreed to definitions beforehand, their lack of semantics prevent machines from reliably performing this task given new XML vocabularies. The same term may be used with (sometimes subtle) different meaning in different contexts, and different terms may be used for items that have the same meaning. RDF and RDF Schema begin to approach this problem by allowing simple semantics to be associated with identifiers. With RDF Schema, one can define classes that may have multiple subclasses and super classes, and can define properties, which may have sub properties, domains, and ranges. In this sense, RDF Schema is a simple ontology language. However, in order to achieve interoperation between numerous, autonomously developed and managed schemas, richer semantics are needed. For example, RDF Schema cannot specify that the Person and Car classes are disjoint, or that a string quartet has exactly four musicians as members.

One of the goals of this document is to specify what is needed in a Web Ontology language. These requirements will be motivated by potential use cases and general design objectives that take into account the difficulties in applying the standard notion of ontologies to the unique environment of the Web."

Morale Low in IT

Tuesday 25th March 2003 by Tony Lock

Meta Group this week released details of its research looking at "IT Staffing and Compensation" and has come up with some interesting findings. Chief amongst these was the result that seventy-one percent of IT managers are now reporting that "burn out" and "low morale" have become serious problems.

Given the state of the economy in general and the pressures that these economic factors are exerting on IT budgets, this result may not be too surprising. Many companies have cut the financial resources available to support their IT services and these reductions have often resulted in direct job losses and in indirect losses through an increased uptake of "Outsourced" and "Managed" services. Low morale is almost to be expected.

Back to Iraq 2.0

I like the idea of free journalism and Christopher Allbritton, former AP and New York Daily News report, has raised funds and will return to Iraq to report on the war. He leaves today, if I have gotten the chronology right; this is a site worth watching.

Regarding the Symantic Web:   This W3C document describes the economic factors that may apply to any one implementing Web accessibility solutions in order to make their Web content accessible. Applicable economic factors vary according to different settings, including governmental, industry, educational. Additional factors for consideration are available on other pages of this resource suite.

Semantic Web Road map

by Tim Berners-Lee in 1998,   I am just getting it.


As soon as the stock market recovers and corporate IT spending regains
momentum, investment bankers are ready to take a growing number of
profitable Internet companies public. For now, however, "the doors to the
high-tech IPO market remain tightly sealed." Two Silicon Valley companies
are generally viewed as the frontrunners in the future IPO derby: Google
and In fact, many IT insiders are privately calling Google
the "next Netscape." Until there is a speedy resolution to the war in Iraq
and broad-based economic growth, though, "executives are temporarily
setting aside their dreams of instant riches and pushing on through the

Technology redefines journalism's role

Interesting post on how technology is being used by protesters and by journalists in the Iraqi War.   I find I am more interested in advances in communicaiton and uses of Information Technology than I am in the War.  Geeky or what.

A Gartner Weblog! Conflict in Iraq

"The Conflict in Iraq weblog is a discussion about critical business and IT issues during this difficult time. We encourage you to share your experience and expertise as we work through this together. "

Well, now even Gartner has adopted the weblog format.   The comments are interesting and the spin is expected:  IT's impact on the war.

Pictures from today's anti-war protest at Harvard. [Scripting News]

The Total Information War

By Cynthia L. Webb Staff Writer
Thursday, March 20, 2003; 10:02 AM

The U.S.-led military effort to oust the Iraqi regime started just before daylight in the Middle East today, displaying once again the significant technological resources American forces have at their disposal.

Thursday, March 20th, 2003
Abnormal smoke plumes near Basra

Labeled image is here.
There appears to be some activity in the oil fields south of Basra. While there are normally small plumes from these fields due to natural gas burnoff, these appear significantly larger, darker, and hotter than normal. There is also a new large plume from west of the city of Basra itself. These images are from 10 GMT (5am EST), posted at 8am ET.

9:45 a.m.: What a strange war. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld emerges this morning not to tell Americans what we're doing in Iraq, but to tell Iraqis which orders to ignore and how to surrender.


 The Agonist
Back to Iraq
Stand Down
Daily Kos

Warblogs:cc was conceived of and created by Christopher Allbritton, George Paine, Sean-Paul Kelley and Mike Hudack. It's designed to provide you with a birds-eye view of Gulf War Redux, the American government and civil liberties issues in the United States. To comment on Warblogs:cc, please send mail to Click on the site links below for each site's full archives and features.

IT Workforce Vanishes

Nearly 10% of the IT workforce vanished in the last two months of 2002, an
InformationWeek analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows. Some
272,530 Americans who considered themselves IT professionals in October no
longer did so in December, as the IT workforce fell to 2.6 million.

Where did they go? Many likely got jobs in other professions. "A large
percentage of IT workers are shell-shocked by the unexpected high
unemployment rate," says Tom Fullerton, an associate professor of economics
at the University of Texas-El Paso. "IT skills are transferable to other
segments of the economy." IT joblessness stood at 5.6% in December. The
workforce includes those employed and the unemployed looking for IT jobs.

Nearly all those leaving the IT workforce--all but 5,066--were age 40 or
younger. University of North Carolina finance professor James Smith says
younger IT workers are less tied to the profession and more willing to
accept jobs in other fields where they might get lower salaries but enjoy
better prospects.

New York KM Cluster

The New York  KM Clusteris a professional, academic and business community of practice focused on knowledge management and enterprise collaboration in the greater New York City Metropolitan area. It was launched in 2001 to address the needs of the local KM community and business stakeholders.

The NY KM Cluster is devoted to creating a common understanding, shared vision and focused action regarding applied KM and enterprise collaboration for business.

The KM Cluster is a user community. It represents the greater New York City Metropolitan area. It is vendor-agnostic and draws support only from participants.

The purpose of this New York KM organization is to enable and sponsor a New York cluster of Knowledge Management (KM) practitioners, executives, academics and researchers.

The mission of the New York KM Cluster is to fundamentally advance the art and science of KM and its application to business.

Events and membership are free.

KM Clusters

The KM Cluster is an open community of practice founded in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley in 1998. The focus is knowledge management (KM), enterprise collaboration (EC) and electronic business communities. The KM Cluster sponsors and leads future-focused events in the Bay Area and beyond. All are welcome. Membership in the KM Cluster and its electronic community is free.

The KM Cluster is vendor agnostic and receives sponsorship, guidance and advice only from participants, members and its network at large.

The KM Cluster does not endorse or embrace any particular KM orthodoxy, method, organization or technique. Rather, it draws upon its open community to set event themes, drive agenda and recommend speakers. 

Open, frank conversation, productive interactions and member-led community-of-practice are among the most effective means to advance KM and enterprise collaboration for all organizations. 

Another State Implements Live, Online

Another State Implements Live, Online Reference.

AskUsNow is a new 24/7 online reference service for Maryland residents. [via]

"It uses the expertise of librarians to provide answers to questions, research guidance, and help navigating the Internet. Expand your resources, connect with an information expert!"

I love their tag line: "Get answers from a librarian, not a machine."

As I start to ponder my next cell phone, it will most certainly include texting ability and better web browsing. I can't wait to take advantage of this kind of service. It seems like we always have important reference questions when we're driving down to Springfield, and this type of service would provide us with those oh-so-essential answers.

Illinois will be implementing something similar later this year!

Side note: The term "virtual reference" is often used in this context, but I'm working to stop using it myself. As Andrew Pace points out, "there's nothing virtual about online reference. It's real librarians answering questions from real people."

[The Shifted Librarian]

Being a librarian and an information service provider I think this service sounds great; and I will even try it out!

InfoPath: Golden path or mantrap.

InfoPath: Golden path or mantrap.

OneNote and InfoPath.

I just saw the demos for OneNote and InfoPath.  OneNote is just a glorified Notepad, no where as good as NoteTaker is.  InfoPath, on the other hand, is going to be a catalyst, an monster underwater earquake that will start a tsunami of changes across industries.  Its going to generate Office suite upgrade momentum as well as Microsoft server and middleware software sales.  Buy Microsoft stock.  Their revenue will rise sharply in the near future because of InfoPath.  I am not exaggerating, folks.

[Don Park's Blog]

Reading Don's blog these past few months I've come to trust his judgement on this kind of thing.  The InfoPath demo certainly offers some attractive possibilities.  Looks like M$ may have a winner.

Of course the usual M$ questions remain:

  • Not browser based, back to the proprietary client
  • XML forms but not XForms
  • How easy will it be to work with non-M$ platforms

I guess that the last question is, ultimately, key.  If InfoPath is just another Web Services Architecture client (and something that propels that future) then it's a good thing.  Otherwise...

[Curiouser and curiouser!]

I got the Office System in the mail yesterday.   I have not done much more than open each of the apps.   I am underimpressed with OneNote, and I have not spent enough time yet with InfoPath to understand it's functionality.   I will report back when I know more.   The outlook applicaiton however seems stable and has lots of new functionality that will make it more useful for managing mail.   I agree that more of these apps should be avialable through a browser not through the proprietary applications interface which Microsoft provides us with.   They should do much more work on standardizing the interface.


Voices from Baghdad. A voice

Voices from Baghdad.

A voice from Iraq. Seems reasonable today to hear what Salam, the lone local blogger in Baghdad, has to say. He seems like a normal, intelligent guy, who says what he thinks, but he has been very courageous in sticking his neck out so publically. He supports a regime change, but he doesn't support war, and he thinks the human shields should go home.

"No one inside Iraq is for war (note I said war not a change of regime), no human being in his right mind will ask you to give him the beating of his life, unless you are a member of fight club that is, and if you do hear Iraqi (in Iraq, not expat) saying 'come on bomb us' it is the exasperation and 10 years of sanctions and hardship talking. There is no person inside Iraq (and this is a bold, blinking and underlined inside) who will be jumping up and down asking for the bombs to drop. We are not suicidal you know, not all of us in any case.I think that the coming war is not justified (and it is very near now, we hear the war drums loud and clear if you dont then take those earplugs off!). The excuses for it have been stretched to their limits they will almost snap. A decision has been made sometime ago that 'regime change' in Baghdad is needed and excuses for the forceful change have to be made. I do think war could have been avoided, not by running back and forth the last two months, thats silly. But the whole issue of Iraq should have been dealt with differently since the first day after GW I.The entities that call themselves 'the international community' should have assumed their responsibilities a long time ago, should have thought about what the sanctions they have imposed really meant, should have looked at reports about weapons and human rights abuses a long time before having them thrown in their faces as excuses for war five minutes before midnight.What is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could 'support democracy in Iraq' become to mean 'bomb the hell out of Iraq'? why did it end up that democracy wont happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful."

[Ming the Mechanic]

It'll be interesting to see if & what this guy is publishing over the next few weeks & months.  Assuming he lives.

[Curiouser and curiouser!] list of Best Media Blogs

Best Media Blogs
Arik Hesseldahl
After scanning hundreds of blogs, we pick the five best media-related commentaries.

Covering the Next War Online

Internet and new technology may level the media playing field.  Good article from the Annenberg Online Journalism Review

Welcome to the RSS Search

Welcome to the RSS Search Engine Formerly Known as Roogle -- I Give you Feedster !.

Welcome to the RSS Search Engine Formerly Known as Roogle -- I Give you Feedster !

Well I've got two very good pieces of news for today.  The first one is the new name:  The site is up and working.  Feel free to stop on by.

Logo help from Etation Media and I know about the swoosh...

The Name

I know we're going to get comments on the name.  Its ok folks.  A name is a name and this one is short (8 chars), .com and has at least something to do with the concept (RSS is a feed after all) but unique enough to be brandable.  Also at this point I think everyone would rather have us making you the best possible RSS search engine NOT doing the corporate naming exercise.  I've done those and they aren't pretty.

New Feature

Search results are now subscribable via RSS.  Lets say you want see daily results for a search on 'feedster' then just search for that on Feedster and then subscribe to the RSS icon at the bottom of the page.  Brent from Net News Wire pushed me on this and helped me understand the <SOURCE> element which is now supported.  Thanks Brent!  I also tested this in AmphetaDesk which worked like a champ.

Known Issues

Here are a couple of things:

  • I'm not 100% certain if this RSS of search queries works correctly in Radio.  I've had problems but it could be me.  Or it could be content encoding on RSS feeds that tell me they are in English when they're really in Russian.  Until we get language detection in place, this is probably going to be an issue.  Working on it.
  • The CSS tabs look horrible at least on my OSX box.  Anyone have a thought?  They work on IE 5.5 (pc), IE 6 (pc), Opera 7, Konqueror (more on that next post) and Mozilla.

If You Find a Problem

We could use the help getting any issues addressed.  There is a mechanism for reporting issues (and easily capturing the page on which the problem exists).   Let's say you do a search and notice that your blog title isn't correct (as they aren't for all too many blogs; mostly my bad).  Click on the Report Problem link and just tell us about it.  Since query results can change, you might want to paste in the blog's url.  I'll look into adding that at the result list element level but no promises since that would mean making an icon.

[The FuzzyBlog!]

Newbury Street community network possibly only commercial/community freenet: Leander Kahney of Wired News writes about Michael Oh's efforts to offer to free wireless networks across an increasing area of Boston's Newbury Street to promote his business while doing good. Oh seems to have a single backhaul, which radically reduces his cost in offering this kind of service.

[80211b News]

Barbara Poole, Artist

I want to promote my wife's new web site.   She is publishing more work on the site and soon will post work in progress.


First impression of XML in

First impression of XML in Office 2003.

Today at Q42 Laurens looked into Microsoft Office 2003 beta 2. After reading John Udell's article about InfoPath we thought Microsoft migth have caught up with Xopus. Thankfully this does not seem to be the case:

  • Infopath 2003 uses its own templating language. It can only export to XSLT.
  • In Word 2003 you can edit a raw XML file and save it. You can also apply an XSLT transformation and edit the styled result, but you can no longer save the XML data separately after that.

Office 2003 is actually a good developer tool to use with Xopus. Infopath is a nice editor for data schemas and data views. The schemas and views can then be used with Xopus to edit XML online in the browser.

[Sjoerd Visscher's weblog]

I have sent for my copy of the Office 2003 beta, I also am an xopus fan.    So I will write my reactions when I see the software.  However, I am certainly not as technical as Sjoerd.

Kapor's Honorable Exit from Groove.

Kapor's Honorable Exit from Groove. New York Times: Software Pioneer Quits Board of Groove. Mitchell D. Kapor, a personal computer industry software pioneer and a... [Dan Gillmor's eJournal]  

I have mixed feelings about whether I agree with Kapor's decision, but I really respect him for doing leaving.  Groove is a great tool and I can understand why people in the Government are using it.   I hope that this effort will not limit our privacy or freedom.   It is really hard in this economic environment to decide who your clients will be and to choose not to sell to the government.  In fact, increasingly, the government, is the only customer buying IT solutions.   Big problem.

This excellent overview was contributed by Woody Pidcock of the Boeing company. Many organizations and companies are struggling with these terms and the ideas behind them; this set of definitions will help to clarify.  It was published at

I will answer this question one step at a time. To keep this answer focused on the question, I will use other concepts that I will not define here. If this generates additional questions, feel free to comment on this post.

A controlled vocabulary is a list of terms that have been enumerated explicitly. This list is controlled by and is available from a controlled vocabulary registration authority. All terms in a controlled vocabulary should have an unambiguous, non-redundant definition. This is a design goal that may not be true in practice. It depends on how strict the controlled vocabulary registration authority is regarding registration of terms into a controlled vocabulary. At a minimum, the following two rules should be enforced:

  1. If the same term is commonly used to mean different concepts in different contexts, then its name is explicitly qualified to resolve this ambiguity.
  2. If multiple terms are used to mean the same thing, one of the terms is identified as the preferred term in the controlled vocabulary and the other terms are listed as synonyms or aliases.

A taxonomy is a collection of controlled vocabulary terms organized into a hierarchical structure. Each term in a taxonomy is in one or more parent-child relationships to other terms in the taxonomy. There may be different types of parent-child relationships in a taxonomy (e.g., whole-part, genus-species, type-instance), but good practice limits all parent-child relationships to a single parent to be of the same type. Some taxonomies allow poly-hierarchy, which means that a term can have multiple parents. This means that if a term appears in multiple places in a taxonomy, then it is the same term. Specifically, if a term has children in one place in a taxonomy, then it has the same children in every other place where it appears.

A thesaurus is a networked collection of controlled vocabulary terms. This means that a thesaurus uses associative relationships in addition to parent-child relationships. The expressiveness of the associative relationships in a thesaurus vary and can be as simple as �related to term� as in term A is related to term B.

People use the word ontology to mean different things, e.g. glossaries & data dictionaries, thesauri & taxonomies, schemas & data models, and formal ontologies & inference. A formal ontology is a controlled vocabulary expressed in an ontology representation language. This language has a grammar for using vocabulary terms to express something meaningful within a specified domain of interest. The grammar contains formal constraints (e.g., specifies what it means to be a well-formed statement, assertion, query, etc.) on how terms in the ontology�s controlled vocabulary can be used together.

People make commitments to use a specific controlled vocabulary or ontology for a domain of interest. Enforcement of an ontology�s grammar may be rigorous or lax. Frequently, the grammar for a "light-weight" ontology is not completely specified, i.e., it has implicit rules that are not explicitly documented.

A meta-model is an explicit model of the constructs and rules needed to build specific models within a domain of interest. A valid meta-model is an ontology, but not all ontologies are modeled explicitly as meta-models. A meta-model can be viewed from three different perspectives:

  1. as a set of building blocks and rules used to build models
  2. as a model of a domain of interest, and
  3. as an instance of another model.

When comparing meta-models to ontologies, we are talking about meta-models as models (perspective 2).

Note: Meta-modeling as a domain of interest can have its own ontology. For example, the CDIF Family of Standards, which contains the CDIF Meta-meta-model along with rules for modeling and extensibility and transfer format, is such an ontology. When modelers use a modeling tool to construct models, they are making a commitment to use the ontology implemented in the modeling tool. This model making ontology is usually called a meta-model, with �model making� as its domain of interest.

Bottom line: Taxonomies and Thesauri may relate terms in a controlled vocabulary via parent-child and associative relationships, but do not contain explicit grammar rules to constrain how to use controlled vocabulary terms to express (model) something meaningful within a domain of interest. A meta-model is an ontology used by modelers. People make commitments to use a specific controlled vocabulary or ontology for a domain of interest.

The Project-centric Enterprise

The Project-centric Enterprise -- Britt Blaser, in Escapable Logic, recently wrote on the importance of a critical few resources to "multi-project organizations." But I think he got only part of the picture. Britt wrote...

"They are the innovative organizations that seem to get more done than others, probably because they see their business as a series of projects that produce the individual products or service sets their customers want. At the core of each project you'll find just a few people -- maybe just one -- who produce as much and are as overworked as Ming's description.

"These projects are big revenue producers. Just a few of them may be responsible for most of a company's income -- the 80-20 rule says that 80% of your income is from 20% of your products. And projects don't seem to work unless driven by a small core of dedicated people. It's well known that most big software projects' code is written by about a half dozen people -- sorry to be fuzzy about that important data point, but it's true in my limited experience. The reliance on concentrated productivity is what allows the remainder of most organizations to be laughable in their low productivity. This is such a disconnect with industrial age thinking that we can't imagine it's true:

"Can our economy be the work of, like, 1% of us?!"
Britt goes on to look at the characteristics of those "productive few," in an attempt, as I interpret it, to find a prescription to bring everyone else up to their level. On one hand, I agree with Britt regarding the statement that the output of a system is based on very few resources or aspects of that system. That is the basis for my preferred theory of management, Goldratt's Theory of Constraints, and it's common sense approach to managing constraints for maximum systemic output. The recognition of the capabilities and capacities of the critical few is the first step in rational management.

But I want to offer a different point of view about what Britt calls the "laughable...low productivity" of the "slacker many," compared to the apparent effectiveness of the critical few. Their "low productivity" is not necessarily limited by the lack of laudable characteristics listed by Britt, but instead can be an important aspect of a well-run organization. In a well-run organization, the critical few constraining resources need to be exploited, in the best sense of the term. If there are certain resources, skills, talents that by their very nature are the touchstones of the existence of a particular business, they are also by nature, probably limited in availability. If they weren't, barriers to entry by competitors would be nil. It is important to the organization to get the most (in a reasonable, sustainable manner) out of these resources as is possible. To do so means that they should never be starved for work on the input side, and on the output side, their work should not be allowed to be stalled by the lack of availability of other resources or skills. These invaluable strategic constraints need to be surrounded by non-trivial levels of protective capacity throughout the remainder of the system -- protective capacity that might be misinterpreted as "low productivity" by some.

Additionally, a well-run system recognizes the capabilities and capacities of those critical few, and does not allow them to be overloaded or overburdened. While I suggested earlier that they should not be starved for work, they also must not be burnt-out by overwork or loaded up with too many conflicting priorities that drive them to lose throughput to multi-tasking behaviors. The desire to keep everyone busy must be subordinated to the need to primarily exploit the constraining resource.

That said, it is up to the management/leadership of such an organization to assure that constraining resources/skills/capabilities are managed effectively. The "non-productive" supporting players are often a key to successful constraint management. Once identified, effective exploitation of the constraint can often be a matter of having other resources off-load work from the critical few -- work that does not require the special talents that characterize their scarcity. This can also be a path to cross-training and the eventual creation of more people with those critical skills -- a path to elevation of critical skill capacity and to the growth of organizational capability. In addition, too often, projects fight over key personnel and try to assure their availablity by tying them to the project, and then feel forced to keep them busy on things that don't require their special talents. If these projects were resourced not by names, but by skills, they would probably find that the critical skills could be spread around more for the benefit of not the individual projects, but of the whole organization and it's total project portfolio.

The fault lies not in the "low productivity" of what Britt refers to as the "slacker masses" but in the failure of the leadership of organizational systems -- management -- to fully understand their system through their constraints, and to develop strategies to exploit and elevate those constraining components, while at the same time subordinating silly ideas like individual productivity and utilization to the needs of the constraints and of the organization's throughput. Since it is a very rare situation in which individuals can produce anything in an industrial setting (after all, that's why organizations come together -- to produce things that individuals can't), let's stop obsessing about individual productivity and instead get everyone to understand how they contribute to organizational throughput and productivity.
posted by Frank Patrick at 4:04 PM

> As enterprises continue to embrace "collaboration" as a way to increase efficiency and share intra-company knowledge, a number of collaboration technology vendors are offering applications and tools that enable companies to "extract knowledge from individual employees and make it available to the rest of the corporation." Included: a look at new collaboration tools and applications from OpenCola, Kubi Software and Tacit. The prognosis, though, is that "none of them will achieve real dominance. Many might find homes in companies that share their communication philosophies, but companies, like people, are too different for a single application to work for all of them."


I was exploring for good examples of industry wide portals and found Biospace which focuses on the Biotechnology industry.   It is a good example of providing a very useful aggregation of content relevant to this community of users.  It  includes news, databases that follow companies and drug developments, and it provides clinical competitive intelligence.

Chinese Knowledge Management

The Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (YAAS) is working to assist farmers with documenting their traditional agricultural knowledge in their own language. The main purpose of the programme is to help these farmers become economically autonomous within their communities; ultimately, farmers would discover, develop, and improve the market value of their local produce. Simple Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools such as a tape recorder are used. Programmes produced are broadcast on the radio.

Main Communication Strategies
The focus of programme activities is as follows:

  • Traditional knowledge (TK) documentation and exchange to alleviate poverty in Lancang county
  • Use of TK to develop traditional products to increase farmers' income in Mojiang county
  • Development of indigenous biodiversity educational modules in local language as part of an E-kit to rescue the endangered minor language of Bai.

308,000 Jobs Lost in February.

308,000 Jobs Lost in February. The nation suffered job losses in February that were the worst since the two months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the government reported on Friday. By Daniel Altman. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

Q&A: HP's Peter Blackmore on

Q&A: HP's Peter Blackmore on rivals, postmerger strategy. The executive vice president of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s enterprise system group weighed in on a number of issues the company now faces. [Computerworld News]

World of Ends

Great article, click through and read it.

What the Internet Is and
How to Stop Mistaking It
for Something Else.

Doc Searls and
David Weinberger

The Nutshell

1. The Internet isn't complicated
2. The Internet isn't a thing. It's an agreement.
3. The Internet is stupid.
4. Adding value to the Internet lowers its value.
5. All the Internet's value grows on its edges.
6. Money moves to the suburbs.
7. The end of the world? Nah, the world of ends.
8. The Internet�s three virtues:
   a. No one owns it
   b. Everyone can use it
   c. Anyone can improve it
9. If the Internet is so simple, why have so many been so boneheaded about it?
10. Some mistakes we can stop making already

Reasons for Bloggers to Use

Reasons for Bloggers to Use Mozilla over IE.

Reasons for Bloggers to Use Mozilla over IE

Via Blogzilla.  Matthew has a really good article on why Mozilla is a good tool for bloggers.  [_Go_]

[The FuzzyBlog!]

I am forming a new business with two other colleagues here in Boston.   The firm will be called the Coherence Group.   We are in the middle of putting up a web site that will describe our service offerings and the markets that we will target.   At least initially we are focusing on Life Sciences, Phamaceuticals, Biotechnology and the non-profit or social sector.   I had a series of excellent interviews with the Omidyar Foundation in Palo Alto recently and I am very intrigued with knowledge sharing and collaboration in the social sector.   I think there is extraordinary potential to empower people and drive positive social change.

In Life Sciences there is an economic imperative to collaborate better with alliance partners and internally among scientists.   Information about conclusions about the data in the Discovery and Development does not get shared aggresively enough within organizations.   Thus the cost of developing and bringing new drugs to market is skyrocketing.   Focusing productivity efforts on facilitating interaction and knowledge sharing electronically can yield benefits.   Companies will compete better if internally information is shared quickly and the company can sense the external environment.

So watch for more on the Coherence Group!

A list of "known blogs

A list of "known blogs authored by known (or suspected) Microsoft employees." [Scripting News]

February job cuts highest since

February job cuts highest since last fall. After slowing in the spring and summer of 2002, corporate job cuts are on the rise again, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. [Computerworld News]

Idea flow through the blogging

Idea flow through the blogging universe.

Ivan's adventures in weblog space. A story about how Ivan, a meme, is created by Alice and makes his way through weblog space. I wrote this little story to try to illustrate how microcontent cruises through blogs. I try to include all of the applications and services that I use regularly when I blog. It's probably a good place to start in inspiring me to make my glossary. If anyone notices any technical mistakes or things I should add to make this story more interesting, I would greatly appreciate it. [Joi Ito's Web]

A nice overview of how an idea flows through the tools and services that make up the blogging world.

[McGee's Musings]

Mainstreaming Zope.

Paul Everitt

Paul Everitt, former DigiCool CEO now touring Europe to evangelize Zope/Python, has been blogging at Zope Dispatches for a couple of months. Recently he had an epiphany in France: ... [Jon's Radio]

I have been reading and thinking a lot about Zope recently since I have been looking for open source content management systems.   I am really impressed with the functionality.   I am also impressed with the weblog that Paul Everitt put together, check it out.

Outlined RSS Comes to the

Outlined RSS Comes to the Browser. [img] I have finally released activeRenderer vs 1.4. The new version packs 3 new features:

  • activeRenderer now renders RSS format files (news feeds) in active outlined form,
  • with activeRenderer installed in Radio, you can now visualize both OPML and RSS local or remote files in the new outline browser,
  • activeRenderer's rendering engine is now accessible as a web service, via both a local URL and a public one at

Here are some more screenshots of the outline browser: win/mozilla - win/msie - mac/msie - mac/safari).  [read more] [s l a m]

I am using this and it works great!

The Edge Foundation

From the Edge website:  "Edge Foundation, Inc., was established in 1988 as an outgrowth of a group known as The Reality Club. Its informal membership includes of some of the most interesting minds in the world.

The mandate of Edge Foundation is to promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society."

Biotech as a Metaphor

Good article about the growth of information and the challenges of managing it

I am a big Google fan.  I have said it here before and I have frequently posted about Google.   Now there is a yahoo group about google and you can subscribe to the newsletter by following the link.   Great stuff.

Recent Entries

Why learn to program
In the post “Why learning to code makes my brain hurt”, Mamie Rheingold explains why it is essential for all…
A focus on transaction cost explains a lot about the economics of the Internet
How a 1930's theory explains the economics of the internet: Ronald Coase discovered “transaction costs” in the 1930s and it…
Importance of Context in Metadata
Listen to this podcast on the importance of metadata in big data.   We need to be able to use metadata…
View Ralph Poole's profile on LinkedIn